APRIL Logo with the words, "The United Voice  of Independent Living in Rural America."

Youth Resources


New Guide for Students with Disabilities on Choosing a Career in Nursing

Click here to check out this resource



College Planning Guide for Students with Learning Disabilities

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Youth Coordinator Connects

Youth Coordinators Connect-COVID-19 1-year out check-in


Youth Coordinators Connect – Disability Identity Process and Barriers 2021 

Youth Coordinators Connect - School Discussion August 2020

Youth Coordinators Connect Covid 19 - May 20, 2020

Youth Coordinators Connect Out of the Box Funding 2019

Youth Coordinators Connect Summer Programs and Adapting to Remote Programming 2020 


Youth Coordinators Connect on Curriculums  

Youth Leadership Training

Youth Engagement on Boards

Micheal Lefevor, Whitney Harris, Audra Paletta, and Mica Stewart
Part 1 training on different types of boards, councils, and committees why to serve and the basics of understanding on how to serve.

Youth and SILCs

Youth at the SILC Table 3 0

Silly Old Barriers: SILCs Are For Youth Too

 Audio File 


Melissa Ann Santora, Anya Carrillo, J.T. Davis, Jim Baker


  • How the Arizona SILC engages youth through a SILC sponsored Youth Leadership Forum.
  • How the Florida SILC started and engages a Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)
  • Other engaging practices both SILCs are using to provide opportunities for youth to get excited about and involved in IL.

Annual Conference

Don't Just Talk ABout It, Be About It!: Strategies for Engaging Today's Youth with Disabilities 


Sarah Harris and Jordan Noble 

Don't Just Talk About It, Be About It! Resources for Independence Central Valley, RICV motivates their youth participants with this phrase all the time. We realized that we needed to practice what we were preaching. We dove in face first on a journey to expand and create new services within our Youth Empowerment Services Program. Let us tell you about our journey including, our mistakes and successes, so that you can walk away and "Be About It!" too!


Templates of Person Centered Planning Discovery Documents: 

Templates of Person Centered Planning Action Plans Templates: 

Conversations with Faculty: Assessing Student Accommodation & Accommodation Denial in Higher Education 

Julie Ballinger 


The purpose and benefit of this Higher Education (HE) session is to give potential and present students, advocates, and HE professionals an organized, straightforward way to resolve difficult issues regarding academic disability-related accommodations to assure ADA/504 civil rights. This training, accompanied by a published guide handout, will map out an organized, straightforward tool to use when engaging, educating, and resolving accommodation issues. This analytical tool can be especially effective when seeking a better method to work with instructors and disability services staff, including resolving their hesitations, resistance, or down-right denial of accommodations in the classroom.


Youth Conference: Crushing Ablism

Emily Cowen, Ayanda Nnachi, Rachel Zaznoni
Discrimination in favor of non-disabled people is nothing new. For centuries, the world has looked down upon people with disabilities and elevated the importance of those without. In ableist societies, disabled people are considered less valuable, or they are even seen as expendable. YSHCN representatives from Family Voices' YASA (Youth as Self-Advocates) project share their thoughts about this age-old challenge and offer ways to crush archaic assumptions in this panel discussion.

Youth Conference: All Grown Up with Nowhere to Go? Who Says You Can’t Get Your Own Place

Rebecca Williams, Rene Cummins
Moving into your own place can be both exciting and scary. What can you be asked? What can you ask for? Can you apply for a mortgage even though you have a disability? Will you be able to keep your service animal in a condo? Knowing your rights and responsibilities will help guide you through this process. The Fair Housing Act [FHA] protects people with disabilities when applying for a loan to buy a house, to completing apartment applications, to moving in, to paying rent and other aspects of housing. During this interactive workshop you will learn the many ways the Fair Housing Act protects you. Focus will be on participants discussing and solving actual housing scenarios to increase knowledge of housing rights. Your understanding of the Fair Housing Act will move you along in search for a place of your own.

Youth Conference: Advocacy Panel
Fanisee Bias, Masha Flinn, Shikha Desai
Join the group to hear other youth share ways they have made change in their communities and continue to advocate for disability justice.

Youth Conference: Disability and Intersectionality  
ChrisTiana ObeySumner
Discussion of the intersect between people with disabilities and the multiple identities that individuals live with daily and how they are all important pieces of our community.


Reaching and Serving the Youngest Youth 
Paige Maxwell, Asha Jones
This session seeks to host a discussion on the reasons why serving youth in elementary and early middle school is so important. We plan to facilitate this discussion through three major lenses: our experiences with working in elementary schools, our experiences with peer mentoring younger youth, and most importantly personal experiences from youth!


Youth Conference: Let’s Talk IL  
Mels Felton
Sharing how important it is to vote and make your voice heard. Also, how do you take the road from being a person to wanting to make change towards independence in your own life to running for office to make change for your community.


Youth Conference: Peer Panel
Opal Besaw, Masha Flynn, Noah Russell, Shika Desai
Youth will be sharing some of the ways they have been leaders in their communities and how they have used their advocacy skills as they send off for the closing.


Transition of Youth and Pathways to Partnerships


Corinna Stiles, Carol Dobak, David Guardino, Lisa Broseke

This session highlights Federal and State-level collaboration between CILs, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies, and special education leaders to improve job opportunities for students and youth with disabilities.  Staff from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) will describe activities both agencies are undertaking to support State level collaboration, OSERs staff will provide information and resources to support VR agency and special education collaboration, and a state collaboration highlight will provide an example for a path forward.  This session will help improve education and employment outcomes for students and youth with disabilities. 

Pathway to Partnership PDF 


IL Among the Generations


Peter Pike, Joan LaBelle, Patricia Yeager, David Hancox, Ian Engle, Evan Shockley, Leo Santos, Andrew Worthen

The session will be an inter-generational presentation of how the Independent Living Movement (and evolution) was shaped with perspectives from people with disabilities from each generational group. 


Addressing Youth Services: Seeing real Positive Outcomes
Autumn Kubatzke, Alice Nichols, and Julie Bosma

Youth to Youth: Successful Engagement in Strategic Leadership
Melissa Ann Santora, Mica Stewart, Audra Paletta, Michael Lefevor, and Whitney Harris

Equipping Youth for Advocacy

Emily Beasley
Equipping Youth Goal Worksheet

Equipping Youth For Advocacy Powerpoint

Youth Talks

Disability History and Youthslides
Rosie McDonnell-Horita, Scott Burlingame
Our History Disability History-Education and Employment, Health Care, Housing and Independent Living, Culture and Language, laws, and policies.

The Future of IL: How Do We Get There?

Billy, Altom, Tim Harrington, and Jeremy Morris

How are national groups preparing?
Steps organizations should be taking before any leaders leave.
Making room for the next generation now.

CIL ED Succession Plan Example Word

CIL ED Succession Plan PDF

The Future of IL Transcript

Future of IL Powerpoint

Strengthening Youth Involvement in Your CIL
CLick for audio file
Grant Heffelfinger
Having trouble keeping youth involved in your CIL programming?
Are you struggling to keep the youth’s attention?
This session will equip you with strategies to hosting a youth-friendly environment/event at your CIL.
Attendees will be able to develop the skills needed to naturally include youth with disabilities in programs, services, and issues that are important to the youth.
There will be examples of events that have worked well that included youth with disabilities at other CILs.
This webinar will help CIL staff get the youth passionate about the issues that affect them.

Youth It Up
Click for audio file. 
Cassie Wick, June Hermanson, Kimberly Tissot
Creative youth funding approaches.
Examples of how to access WIOA/VR
Funding. Youth Programming Ideas.
Click for transcrpt word document.

Succeeding at Succession Planning
Paula McElwee, Robert Hand
Who can take the reins, short or long term, if the ED cannot?
Implementing a plan; how to assure a smooth transition.
Don’t stop planning when someone assumes the title.
Almost everyone needs some information to handle the job.
What info will you provide and how long?
Looking for that long-term leader.

Handout: Example Succession Plan

Youth Transition: Back to the Future Four Core Services with a Twist
Michael Beers, Mary Olson, Sierra Royster
Review the history of the 4 core services and how youth programs are looking at them with new eyes. Discover new ways to address youth issues and how they can be used to increase community participation and transition issues. Hear how youth from 2 CILs have grown their own programs and some of the tactics for keeping youth engaged. Discuss ways to enhance recruitment and retention practices that can be duplicated at your CIL.

Bullying- Strategies and Partnerships for Change
Click for audio file.
John Johnson
Discuss the prevalence of bullying against youth with disabilities and the types of bullying. Find out who the best community partners are in a successful anti-bullying program. Learn what goes into a successful anti-bullying law and how your state rates.
Explore what CILs can do to promote anti-bullying programs in their communities.
Review a sample school survey on the extent of bullying.
Transcript from: Bullying Strategies and Partnerships for Change Conversation of July 19, 2012
Bullying PDF file for this discussion: Bullying Strategies and Partnerships for Change