locally based  |  leadership focused

We exist to ignite bold hearted leaders who will influence their families, schools and communities to change the world.

Ignite Leaders is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization


Started by Tucson residents Chris & Cathy DeGraff, who have over 40 years combined leadership experience in youth development organizations.

Both have curated and executed all facets of youth and adult leadership programs – nationally and internationally – over the past 15 years.

Ignite Leaders is led by a talented and compassionate board of students, business professionals and educators from Tucson and across the US.

Student Leadership Experience

Students participate in workshops, relevant curriculum and service learning, with the goal of helping develop students from across the US into bold-hearted leaders, who will influence their schools, families and community… to change the world.

2023 Student Leadership Experience

Our Staff

Sydney Del Real


Sydney Del Real is a Colorado State University graduate with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies with concentrations in prevention and intervention science and leadership entrepreneurial professions. She completed internships with the Denver Rescue Mission.

She is most passionate about the next generation of leaders. Once asked “what are you doing when you feel most alive?”, she responded, “this work with high school students, it’s the most invaluable work I will ever do and get to be part of”.

Sydney has five-plus years of youth leadership experience. She is eager to make a tangible difference in the lives of high school students, knowing “the trajectory of her life was changed” as a student and intern with Ignite Leaders.

Sydney lives in Denver with her husband, Sean. Her favorite word is “intentionality” because that is the heart of how she lives-intentionally loving and serving those around her.

Cathy DeGraff

Cathy DeGraff