The Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is a conference for youth and young adults with disabilities held annually in Massachusetts and other states across the country. YLF participants (Peer Delegates) and (Peer Leaders) build leadership skills and leave better prepared for future employment, higher education, and independent living. Participants attend a multi-day conference and engage in both small and large group discussions and workshops on topics such as: self-advocacy, disability pride, assistive technology, independent living, employment skills, career exploration, higher education, legislative advocacy, the Disability Rights Movement, and community participation.
YLF 2023 will be an exciting year as PYD returns to in-person programming! The Forum will be held at Emerson College from Sunday, June 25 through Thursday, June 29, 2023. In order to increase accessibility for all youth in MA, the Forum will offer two options for participation:
- In-person full participation where participants will experience living and studying on a college campus, and two off-campus learning opportunities for youth to apply their learning, and experience some of the many cultural sites Boston has to offer.
- Partial virtual access, which will provide access to keynote speakers, panels, and select virtual workshop sessions.
Peer Leaders are young adults with a disability between the ages of 18-25 who are currently out of high school and are working and/or taking college classes. Peer Leaders will assist in planning YLF activities, facilitate small group discussions, and group projects. Peer Leaders will be matched with a small cohort within the dormitory housing to provide mentoring and support to delegates.
If selected, Peer Leaders must commit to extra training before the Youth Leadership Forum (more details TBA). Peer Leaders receive a $500 stipend for their work.
Delegates are youth with a disability who are between the ages of 16-22, and are either in their last two years of high school or are attending a transition program. Delegates must want to develop self-advocacy and leadership skills, begin to plan career goals, and build a network of supports and friends.