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Iowa Department of Human Rights

Iowa Youth Congress

Apply for Iowa Youth Congress

Iowa Youth Congress is accepting applications for the 2023-2024 term.  Gain hands-on education in government, advocacy, and civic engagement. Applications are due May 31,2023.  Apply here:

Testimony of Saw Gee Dow Sow


What is IYC?

2022-2023 Iowa Youth Congress Members

Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) was created in 2006 by the Department of Human Rights (DHR) to enhance opportunity and broader representation of all Iowans in the government process. The IYC provides youth of all backgrounds the opportunity to gain hands-on education in the subject areas of state government, democracy, advocacy, and civic engagement.

Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) seeks up to 100  Iowa high school-aged youth to participate in a year-long program which provides students the knowledge, abilities, and direction to advocate and enact change in their communities and at the state level for issues affecting youth. IYC will hold regional meetings throughout the year and will engage students in a one-day Mock Congress event. 

Through the IYC experience, students attain a variety of skills including public speaking, problem solving, and political debate in multicultural leadership settings. The students also report that IYC participation improves their interest in the legislative process and helps to provide a more hands-on learning experience in the proposal, debate, and passing of bills.

Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) is a diverse and dynamic group of student representatives and we are always looking for students with new perspectives. Any Iowa high school student can apply to be part of IYC. There is no cost to participate and the program will provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.

To apply for 2023-2024 term, click here.  The application deadline is May 31.

Legislative Initiatives:

IYC Members

IYC's 2022-2023 legislative initiatives include:

  To see previous youth issues IYC has advocated for click here:

Past IYC Rosters

2022-2023 Members

IYC and Service

Event Photos

Testimonials & Quotes  



Other quotes from current and past IYC members:

"Programs like IYC help instill power in youth and teach us that power has always been in the hands of youth." -Volta Adovor (2019-2021)

"Through learning about and engaging in advocacy and leadership, I have found power within my voice, a power I never knew existed. IYC has given me the confidence to not only create change within myself, but also to create change within my community." -Abby King (2020-2021)

"I enjoy the exposure to many different ideas, view points, and beliefs that IYC has exposed me to." -2021-2022 IYC Member

"Expanding my network through people in IYC has helped me participate in more social justice events and groups." -2021-2022 IYC Member 

"I think my favorite part of IYC so far has been being able to be exposed to the way the government system works and being given several different ways to reach out to legislators and being given tips on how to properly communicate with legislators about topics I feel are important to bring to their notice." -2021-2022 IYC Member

District Orientations 

District Orientation

Members of IYC meet in-person in their regional districts to learn about the IYC Program and meet each other for the first time.   During that time, they do a feedback wall to decide what issue topics they will be working on for the year. 

Click here to see past year photos. 

Mock Congress

Mock Congress IYC

IYC Members at Mock Congress, hosted in the fall, debate and vote on their legislative agenda for the year.  The event is held at the Iowa State Capitol in the House Chamber. 
"My favorite part of IYC so far would have to be Mock Congress and coordinating with my district throughout that day." - 2021-2022 IYC Member

Click here to see photos from past events

Legislative Prep Day

On January 17, members of the Iowa Youth Congress shared information on their legislative priorities with legislators.

2023 Iowa Youth Congress Legislative Prep Day


For questions regarding applying or IYC in general, please contact the DHR Youth Development Coordinator at