Group of people around a conference areaThe APRIL Youth Conference would not be possible without all the work of our dedicated volunteers. Thank you for your commitment to youth with disabilities and APRIL. If you see these young folks at our conference, congratulate them on all their hard work and accomplishments, and give them a huge IL Thank You for getting the next generation excited to LEAD ON.










 To join the Youth Steering Committee calls please jump on our meetings at 6:00pm EST

(5:00pm CST, 4:00pm MST, 3:00pm PST) 

3rd Mondays of the Month

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Meeting ID: 885 5988 4560
Passcode: YSC2022
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For more information please contact our Director of Innovation, Sierra Royster at 919-346-3282 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We hosted the first large-scale gathering of rural youth with disabilities and CILs at the 10th annual APRIL conference in Minneapolis. Establishing an ongoing Youth Steering Committee to make sure the youth conference is for youth and by youth.

The Youth Steering Committee is comprised of young volunteers and more who are passionate about youth involvement and engagement. We meet once a month to plan every youth detail of the annual APRIL Conference.  We plan details to the Youth Conference that is held the Friday before each conference.  We also plan the youth activities that take place throughout the rest of the weekend.  Our goal as a committee is to offer an opportunity to youth from across the country to come together to learn about issues in IL and how they can get involved when they return home. 

APRIL Youth Steering Executive Committee Bios

Sarah Goldman, ChairSarah Goldman, Chair

Pronouns: She/Her



Sarah received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Central Florida and furthered her education by earning a Master’s in Social Work from Florida State University. Sarah has used her education and experiences as an individual with a disability to advocate for and empower others. Before joining the Florida Independent Living Council as the Director of Administration and Youth Initiatives, Sarah worked as a legislative aide for four years in the Florida Legislature. She is also appointed by the Governor to serve on the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, where she Chairs the Public Policy and Self Advocacy and Leadership committees. Sarah has been recognized for her achievements as an advocate for community integration, inclusion, and employment initiatives for those with disabilities.


Noah Russell, Vice Chair


Noah Russell, Vice Chair

Pronouns: He/Him



Noah Russell is a member of the Space Coast Independent Living Center. He is also a 3rd Degree Black Belt, a supporter of United Way, a member of the Austistic Community, and is the Vice Chair of the YSC (Youth Steering Committee). He is a dedicated to helping people all around by advocating for people in his community and in his state of Florida.  He works at Publix Super Markets and through them helps people with disabilities and non-disabled people.  He is glad to welcom everyone to the conference and hopes they learn something. 



Opal Besaw, Secretary Opal Besaw, Secretary 

Pronouns: She/Her

Hi my name is Opal, I am from Kalispell, Montana.  I am excited to be the secretary for the Youth Steering Committee.  My first APRIL Conference was in Grand Rapids, MI.  It was nothing short of life changing.  I met lots of wonderful people and learned an immense amount about the world of advocacy and myself.  When I am not advoccating through various national and local organizations, I enjoy writing (I am a 17 pulished author), reading, acting, eating ice cream, and listening to music (espcially Taylor Swift).



Logan Washington, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator & Fundraising Coordinator Logan Washington, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Fundraising Coordinator 

Pronouns: She/He



 I am the marketing and fundraising person for the conference this year.  A little about me I have been working as an advocate for youth with mental health for 10 years.  I now do work for people with disabilities of all kinds. I have a blog and a podcast for mothers/parents with disabilities.  As a mom of 2 I want all mothers to know that they are enough no matter the struggle they face.  I am completely over the top in everything I do.  If you look up the word EXTRA in the dictionary you will see me.  I love make people smile and laugh to forget their worries if only for a moment.  I beleive that everyone needs that one super crazy friend I am determined to be that for everyone I meet. I am so glad to be a part of the conference this year and hope to bring a special flare to it so that everyone feels as home at the conference as I do.