Welcome to the 2023 APRIL CONFERENCE 

Awards Banquet and Plated Dinner


Session Overview:

Come together with us to celebrate our colleagues, laugh with friends, and hear what the final word is from the youth conference and LEAD ON attendees.  Entertainment by Jim Meck, and Emceed by Mike Beers.

Cash Bar. Plated Dinner.


Additional Materials for this Session:


About your Presenters and Entertainment:


Musical Stylings and Entertainment:

Jim Meck (he/him)

Jim’s piano/vocal style has been compared with artists like Billy Joel and Jackson Browne. While most of his cover tunes are considered “Classic Rock”, Jim is comfortable with a variety of genres as is evident by his active song list of over 400 titles. He is also a songwriter and his original tunes reflect this variety. Jim’s experience enables him to avoid rigid set lists in order to be free to play music to fit the changing needs or the occasion. His ability to entertain a crowd and adapt the music on the fly is a rare gift that has delighted audiences for years. Jim believes that music is the soul of life “Because life has a soundtrack…”. 

Jim Meck was born in Allentown, PA and raised in Lower Longswamp, Berks County, PA. He began playing piano at age four. When he was thirteen, he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal disease that leads to total blindness. At fourteen, he was hired as Assistant Organist at a local Lutheran church and at eighteen he began performing gigs professionally. As Jim’s sight gradually decreased, he returned to school and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education at Kutztown University in 2006. For over 35 years, Jim played solo, duo and band gigs with his band, The Guide Dogs in the eastern Pennsylvania region, especially the Lehigh Valley (Allentown), Berks (Reading), and Schuylkill Counties.

In January 2016, Jim moved to Tacoma, Washington where he now resides with his wife, Kimberly, (whom he met at a NCIL Conference) and family. Now with almost 100% vision loss, Jim is excited to offer his talents to the Pacific Northwest while continuing his musical endeavors, studying Braille Transcription and advocating for people with disabilities. In response to the closure of venues during the Coronavirus Pandemic, Jim started “Pedestrian Serenades” where he played to his neighborhood from his front porch and also hosted a Saturday evening show live on Facebook for 58 consecutive weeks. These activities were featured on King 5 Evening Magazine and Q13 News.

You can find more information about Jim on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jimmeckmusician) and his song list on his webpage. 

Jim’s CD, Along the Way, is available for purchase from itunes. 

For booking, please email Jim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text/call him at 610.750.4526.


Banquet Emcee

Mike Beers (he/him)

Michael has been in an open relationship with Advocacy since 2001 when he was a delegate at thee Montana Youth Leadership Forum in (MYLF) 2001.  He then began a casual courtship with Summit Independent Living as a Peer Advocate in 2003, a match that would eventually develop into Michael being labeled as Summit’s Youth Transitions Coordinator in 2008. A position He happily held until 2022 when he moved to Oklahoma.  Both these relationships have opened doors for Michael to have a plethora (Many) other opportunities to model model model as an advocate. He was a board member with APRIL (Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living) for the better part of his youth and was a School Board member for MCPS (Missoula County Public Schools) from 2013-2019.  Michael is also very proud to brag that he has been able to return as staff to MYLF ever summer since 2002 and is a staff member of the program throughout the year.  

Finally Michael insists on telling jokes from time to time, another habit he picked up in 2001.  He has traveled this Country and a bit of Canada telling stories to audiences ranging in size from 1-1,000ish people.  He also works at BASE community center (a program of Summit IL) with Missoula’s HomeGrown Comedy to teach communication through Improv classes to students of all ages and abilities. 


Youth Conference and Lead On Attendees

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