Youth Leadership Forum

Black man in a wheelchair presents to group of young adults with disabilitiesThe Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is a one-day conference for youth and young adults with disabilities held annually in Massachusetts and other states across the country. YLF participants build leadership skills and leave better prepared for future employment, higher education, and independent living.

Over the course of the one-day conference, YLF participants take part in both small and large group discussions and workshops on such topics as: self-advocacy, disability pride, assistive technology, independent living, employment skills, career exploration, higher education, legislative advocacy, the Disability Rights Movement, and community participation.

Young people with disabilities can apply to be a YLF Delegate or Peer Leader. We are committed todiversity and welcome applicants with diverse disabilities, identities, andbackgrounds to apply. Below are the eligibility requirements: 


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. Students in the graduating class of 2018 and 2019 should apply to be a Delegate.

Peer Leaders

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 are responsible to help plan YLF activities and mentor Delegates.

Group photo of the 2016 YLF delegates and peer leaders
Apply online
Download paper application
Download flyer

Important Dates

June 8th, 2018 - Youth application deadline
June 29th, 2018 - YLF held at Bridgewater State University


YLF is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, and is FREE for all selected Delegates and Peer Leaders.


Partners for Youth with Disabilities is proud to organize and host the 2018 Youth Leadership Forum, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and numerous organizations across the state:

Boston Center for Independent Living
Boston Public Schools
Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled (CORD)
Center for Living and Working
Easter Seals Massachusetts
Federation for Children with Special Needs
Holyoke Community College
Independence Associates
Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI)
Institute for Human Centered Design
Lesley University
Mass Advocates Standing Strong (MASS)
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC)
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
Mayor''s Commission for Persons with Disabilities
Metro West Center for Independent Living
Robert F. Kennedy Children''s Action Corps
Southeast Independent Living Center
Work Without Limits
You''re With Us!