Youth Leadership Forum

Youth Leadership Forum

The Colorado Statewide Independent Living Council (CO SILC) is a voice for people with disabilities. And, included in those with disabilities are youth. To help them grow self-confidence and power, the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) was started nearly 30 years ago in California and has spread since then. Colorado has been involved and holding a forum since 2018. While we are a little new this, these forums have already been a huge success

The Colorado Youth Leadership Forum (CO-YLF) is a 5-day innovative conference for high school juniors, seniors, and young adults ages 15-26 with disabilities as they prepare for and experience transitioning to adulthood.

In this forum, students serve as delegates from their communities and are given the opportunity to cultivate their potential leadership, citizenship, and social skills. Designed to foster personal growth through self-discovery, the CO-YLF provides dynamic, experiential learning opportunities to assist each individual as they identify and embrace their strengths while planning for their future. Click here to see the 2022 Forum schedule for an idea of what is presented.

Successful adults with disabilities serve as role models in helping youth realize their ability, right, and obligation to pursue meaningful employment and contribute to society.

Those role models include gold medal winners, national speakers, local commissioners, disability advocates, and staff from the Center for Independent Living (CIL), Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) and its board members, just to mention a few.

“This is what gave me the confidence to follow my dreams,” said a Youth Program Coordinator at DRS attended the YLF in 2018. “YLF and attending it as a delegate was one of the main reasons I have the youth job now. If I never attended that and never got my “shell” broken, I would have never had the self-confidence to do what I’m doing now.”

To learn more about this program, visit coloradosilc.org.

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