(Bringing Youth on Board) 

young women  in wheelchairs talking in the foreground, a young man using a walker dancing with a young lady with her arm in a cast. in the background women dancing and laughing


APRIL has and still leads an ambitious and beneficial collaboration with rural youth with disabilities, recognizing that the young people of our country are our true leaders. With the support of the University of Kansas RTC on Full Participation in Independent Living (RTC:FPIL) and other national partners, APRIL focuses on bringing rural youth into the Independent Living Movement by:

Youth Conference 

  • Hosting the first large-scale gathering of rural youth with disabilities and CILs at the 10th annual APRIL conference in Minneapolis.
  • Continuing the youth pre-conference and conference workshops until the 20th Annual Conference when youth attendance grew so large they became an official conference rather than a precon.
  • Establishing an ongoing Youth Steering Committee to make sure the youth conference is for youth and by youth.
  • Working with noted photographers to capture the youth involvement at the Conference.
  • Early support from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation providing stipends to youth to help cover the costs of attending Conferences and continued outreach today to find support for youth across the country to join us every year.
  • Providing a "Youth Wrap Up" session at the conference each year- so the youth get the last word.
  • Creating an entire track at the APRIL Conference geared to those New to IL or Youth.

Leadership and Mentoring

  • Adding 2 youth designated seats to the APRIL Board of Directors, and continuing to fill other seats with qualified youth when applicable. 
  • Hiring a Youth Programs Coordinator to work on growing and sustaining youth related projects nationally.
  • Youth Peer to Peer Establishing a Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring program where we send young leaders out to help other CILS start, improve, or begin the planning process of including youth into their programs or creating a youth focused program.
  • Topical Trainings  APRIL understands that across the country the hot topic is youth and young adults.  We understand that many Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils are unsure how to get youth involved.  This year we have asked our youth expert mentors to present on topics that could assist your goals of starting a program or growing the existing youth involvement you may already have.  Every other month we will have one mentor present on a topic that is often discussed in our Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring for a nominal fee of $25 each.  We will have 30 minutes that our mentor will be presenting on the topic.  Then the following 30 minutes will be an opportunity for an open discussion amongst all callers on that topic.  During that time, we can brainstorm, share experiences, and ask questions while we learn from each other with the guidance of our mentor. We understand that not everyone is at the point in their CIL or SILC to have a peer mentoring, but we want to support and assist the best way we can with these calls. 
Save the Dates:
March 1st, 2017 3:00pm-4:0pm Est Intersectionality and Youth
April 5th, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm EST All Brothers and Sisters-True Cross Disability Work
June 7th, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm EST Fee for Service and Youth Programs


  • Join our Youth Advocacy Committee call 4:00-5:00 Eastern time, the 2nd Friday of the month by dialing in 1-605-475-6006; passcode 8127183.


And we continue to grow each week! To find out what new things we are doing in the youth realm you can become a member to join our Membership Listerv or contact us.

For more information contact Sierra Royster, Youth Programs Coordinator

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youth 2012youth with disabilities standing in front of the road to freedom bus. to the right a chalk drawn picture of justin dart jr.youth group photo 2014