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Youth Talks

Getting Started

So you have decided you want to work with youth? Congratulations! The hardest part is behind you.... deciding to move forward. Now, the fun begins.

Remember: The key to a successful youth program is creating a culture at your CIL from the very beginning that values and understands the basic principles of youth programs:

Youth are not a service: youth with disabilities is a population with their own culture and needs.

Group of people behind a table

Since youth with disabilities are not only a service, it is important that you create a culture within your organization that prioritizes working with young people as a CIL goal and mission. It cannot just be the youth programs service team that are committed to learning about how to work with young people. Besides, making your programs inclusive for young people doesn't mean that other consumers won't enjoy the new changes. Everyone likes to be engaged, everyone likes fun, and everyone appreciates it when you teach and reteach concepts to them in new and easy to understand ways.  

This isn't rocket science, or anything that should be news shattering to you. What the youth who started the IL movement in the 60's and 70's wanted and needed isn't necessarily the same for  youth of today.

Guess what! Independent Living and the Disability Rights movement was started by young people with disabilities. That excitement, energy, and passion that comes from young people who are out there in the world discovering everything for the first time.... including that they have the dignity of risk to make decisions and choices for themselves, even if the adults in their lives don't agree with those decisions, was what kick started our movement in the early days. We still need that passion.... it just might be that youth of today have different needs and wants than the youth of the 60's and 70's. It is because of the hard work of all you advocates that we have come this far that youth don't have to fight for their right to go to public school or to have access to healthcare. Instead, they can care about attitudinal barriers and making friends, healthy relationships, and being meaningful participants in their community.  So.... let’s bottle up their passion, and find out what it is they want and need and how we can help them find it. Which is one of our most important rules. Your idea of where you want youth to get involved at your organization and their idea of how they want to be involved might not be congruent. Deal with it! We need to meet youth where they are at, and eventually once their immediate needs are met, they will be ready to give back to IL. We just have to be patient.

6 getting ready

6 getting ready

 

 

 

Reference Guide for a Successful Youth Program!

FIVE TO LIVE BY

 

1. Turn sense of control over to the youth (Leadership, give choices whenever possible, get constant feedback, answer a question with a question. Let them discover their own answers and their own voice. Don’t impose on them what YOU think they are capable of. Have them come up with the guidelines (rules) of the group or the class. Give opportunities for them to teach each other or you something)

2. Have FUN! (Turn a lesson into a game when possible. Food, snacks, celebrate, ice breaker and get to know each other. Use age appropriate examples. Use media whenever possible. USE HUMOR!!)

3. Peer Mentoring/Model (Students need successful role models with disabilities. Model disability etiquette, acceptance of other disabilities, attitude and energy.) If possible, team teach with a facilitator with an invisible disability and visible disability. Share your story when appropriate.)

4. Invoke Emotion/Passion (Disability history, current events, activities, model PASSION! Use your anger or your frustration to make positive change. Talk about how certain topics or videos make the students feel)

5. Model Inclusivity and Create Community (Model and preach cross disability, integrate youth into all your Center’s other activities, model no hierarchy of disability (ie make sure activities can be made accessible and that you include everyone). Hit the message home that “You are not alone”, encourage calling on the disability community in times of need. Talk about the community they are creating right now and how if one of them falls, they all fall. Talk about how civil rights is an all or nothing proposition, and that all other races, genders, sexuality etc. should be included. Integrate youth in your Center (see section on Recruitment and Retention), AND integrate seasoned advocates in your youth program to add how ‘it looked and felt in color’, share the experience.)

Strategic Planning: APRIL Youth PTP Strategic Planning Document

A tool to help you get started in your youth programming from needs assessing/brainstorming, internal survey of strengths and weaknesses, Community resource/asset mapping, and plan for evaluation. 

For more information contact Sierra Royster, Youth Programs Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or by phone at 919-567-3602  

Many THANKS to those that have helped make this material a reality!!

ADAPT brothers and sisters, Billy Altom, Josie Badger, Mike Beers, Mike Blatchford, Rebecca Cokely, Mike Collins, Rene Cummins, Justin Dart  Jr., Yoshiko Dart, Ellisa Ellis, Barry Fox-Quamme, Letiah Fraser, Gloria Garton, Chiaki Gonda, Linda Gonzales, Carrie Greenwood, Kathy Hatch, June Hermanson, Judy Heumann, Travis Hoffman, Alex Jackson, Mary Leary, Melissa Madill, Mike Mayer, Jude Monson, Michael Murray, John Nousaine, Tom Olin,  Mary Olson, Sierra Royster, Julia Sain, Tom Seekins, Tim Sheehan, Amber Smock, Julia Thomas, Sarah Triano, Craig Ravesloot, Eddie Rea, Curtis Richards, Ed Roberts, Betsy Valnes, Amber Wallenstein, Glen White, YLF Alumni from Montana, YLF Alumni from North Carolina, YLF Alumni of Oklahoma, ABLE CIL, Erin Weierbach, Center for Independent Living of Central PA, Alie Kriosfske-Manielle, Susan Cerverlla, Dustin Gibson, Moriah Grace, Grant Heffelfinger, and Rachel Kaplan.

 

APRIL Youth Resources and Material

Welcome to the APRIL Youth field guide (field guide sounds cooler than manual).

Step 1: Find the closest mirror and stare directly at it. If you have a vision loss, ask the nearest person to stare at you.  If you notice any gray hairs, please discontinue reading this guide and find a young person with a disability to run your youth programs! JUST KIDDING…

Resources Page Image of a text documentThe first myth the APRIL Youth would like to bust is that only a young person with a disability (ages 13ish-30ish) can relate to youth or get them excited.  Don’t get us wrong!  A young person taking over these programs should be the ultimate goal, and if you have a youth who would like to take the lead already, definitely encourage them. The real secret to success, however, is the level of passion with which these ideas are presented.  Passion is the only must have for a person to relate to young people!!

So, sit back, relax and learn from us! Remember that these are our ideas. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have to tweak them or change them to fit your needs, in fact, we encourage you to do just that. Maybe you will contact us and add your material to the kit (hint hint).

Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring: Getting Started

Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring: Recruitment and Retention

Check back for more sections that are being added monthly!

For more information contact Sierra Royster, Youth Programs Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or by phone at 919-567-3602  

Many THANKS to those that have helped make this material a reality!!

ADAPT brothers and sisters, Billy Altom, Josie Badger, Mike Beers, Mike Blatchford, Rebecca Cokely, Mike Collins, Rene Cummins, Justin Dart  Jr., Yoshiko Dart, Ellisa Ellis, Barry Fox-Quamme, Letiah Fraser, Gloria Garton, Chiaki Gonda, Linda Gonzales, Carrie Greenwood, Kathy Hatch, June Hermanson, Judy Heumann, Travis Hoffman, Alex Jackson, Mary Leary, Melissa Madill, Mike Mayer, Jude Monson, Michael Murray, John Nousaine, Tom Olin,  Mary Olson, Sierra Royster, Julia Sain, Tom Seekins, Tim Sheehan, Amber Smock, Julia Thomas, Sarah Triano, Craig Ravesloot, Eddie Rea, Curtis Richards, Ed Roberts, Betsy Valnes, Amber Wallenstein, Glen White, YLF Alumni from Montana, YLF Alumni from North Carolina, YLF Alumni of Oklahoma, ABLE CIL, Erin Weierbach, Center for Independent Living of Central PA, Alie Kriosfske-Manielle, Susan Cerverlla, Dustin Gibson, Moriah Grace, Grant Heffelfinger, and Rachel Kaplan.

Two men one standing one setting in a wheelchairYouth Advocacy Committee

 

Join Us

We meet the 2nd Friday of the month from 4:00-5:00pm EST. To connect to those calls, contact Sierra Royster, Youth Programs Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 919-567-3602  

Future Trainings

Americans with Disabilities Act Youth Training - February 14, 2018 2:00-3:00pm EST

Mission of the Committee

To create a space and place for youth to learn about systems and self-advocacy while being given the opportunity to exercise that skill in state and national settings with the support of the committee. We also want to support the offspring of local chapters of youth advocacy committees.

 

 

11 youth advocacy

Goals Established by the Committee

To receive trainings on advocacy and how to speak up effectively when the need arises. 

To receive trainings on the disability laws that protect the community. 

To be able to effectively reference the laws to support our efforts making change. 

To provide trainings for parent groups, CILs, SILCs, and other non-profits that work with youth with disabilities on a varied of topics.

Past Trainings  

Self-Advocacy and Systems Advocacy Introduction Training

A training in partnership with University of Montana RTC: Rural Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities. Learn more about self and systems advocacy, the disability right law and how they affect you, and how to speak up in your community to see change happen.  This was led by Mike Beers and the Summit Independent Living Center, BASE staff. Click the player to listen. 

June 14th, 2017 

June 28th, 2017 

July 12th, 2017

July 26th, 2017 

 

Resources

University of Montana RTC: Rural Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities.

Using Improv to Teach Advocacy: RTC: Rural Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit   

Direct Link is http://rtc.ruralinstitute.umt.edu/resources/advocacy-skill-building-toolkit/

RTC:Rural is excited to release the Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit, a new set of resources for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and others to facilitate workshops to develop the advocacy skills of emerging Independent Living leaders and youth with disabilities. The Toolkit is a collaboration between BASE, an affiliate of Summit Independent Living in Missoula, MT, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), and RTC:Rural staff, and was developed in response to the needs and interests of CILs and other stakeholders.

This Training is a Partnership with University of Montana RTC: Rural Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities. RTC: Rural research is supported by grant #90RT50250100 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research within the Administration for Community Living, Department of Health

Disability History and Awareness

 

APRIL Manual Disability History and Awareness

 

Activities

 Ellis Island

Guess Who

History Skits

IEP Education

Jenga

Label Game

Laughter

Percentage is Right

Pictionary

Normal Box

Square Game

Stand and Declare

Step Up/Step Back

String Game 

Telephone

Zombies

 Resources

Videos

Ed Roberts "People in Motion"-PBS

Independent Living Research Utilization A Brief History

Lives Worth Living Independent Lens/PBS Documentary

Music Within: The Story of Richard and Art

 

Online

Autistic Hoya: Ableist Language 

http://www.autistichoya.com/p/ableist-words-and-terms-to-avoid.html

 

Deaf and Disabled People Describe how #AbleismExists

Storify a collection of stories about ableism through the lived experiences of people with disabilities

https://storify.com/dominickevans/deaf-and-disabled-people-explain-how-ableismexists

 

Disability 101: Increasing Disability Awareness and Sensitivity

https://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/disability-inclusion/modern-disability-101

 

Ed Roberts 

His Words and His Vision 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSLLMTYDtao

 

Fred Fay Interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR5KxB8ZNNY&feature=related 

 

Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYYhtQXRq10

 

It's Our Story

It's Our Story Trailer 

Jennifer Laird's Story 

It's Just Us 

Crip Culture Montage

https://vimeo.com/user3110239 

 

"Language is more than a Trivial Concern", June Kailes

http://www.jik.com/language%20FINAL-L-12.27.10.pdf

 

Lives Worth Living Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-GgxIgNje0&list=PL2190A68DBABCB8BC

 

Judith Heumann, Disability Rights Activist

http://www.ilusa.com/articles/022301-2judy-heumann.htm

http://www.ilusa.com/articles/0223021judith_heumann.htm

https://vimeo.com/user3110239/videos/page:1/sort:newest

 

Justin Dart, Jr. "The Father of the ADA", Disability Rights Activist

http://www.nndb.com/people/133/000168626/

 

Lives Worth Living 15 Minute Edited video

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XioeUIqsSSs

 

Max Starkloff, Disability Rights Activist

"Acquiring my Disability"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44gaW9wV_tQ

 

Mental Illness: How the Media Contributes to Stigma

an article from Everyday Feminism online Magazine

http://everydayfeminism.com/2012/12/mental-illness-stigma/

 

Moving Foward with SCI: Billy 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiQADSIINmM&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL48CCCE6324B512F5

 

Museum of disABILITY History

http://museumofdisability.org/

 

 National Consortium on Leadership Disability 

http://www.ncld-youth.info/index.php?id=01 

 

Parallels in Time

http://mn.gov/mnddc//parallels/index.html

 

People First Language

http://rtcil.org/products/media 

 

Power of 504

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Power+of+504&aq=f

 

Sixx: AM-Skin (showing the "freak show" experience)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr7t3jEDcrw

 

The Life and Occasionally Scandalous Times of Yoshiko Dart

http://www.mouthmag.com/says/yoshiko_says.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return to Homepage

Transportation

We realize that one of the biggest barriers to inclusion of youth is transportation. Hopefully some of the resources below can help get the wheels rolling (pun intended) at your organization.

 

APRIL Transportation Manual Section

This resource was brainstormed by APRIL youth volunteers from across the country. Please let us know if you have additions or questions.

 

Online Resource Links

The Association of Travel Instruction:

http://www.travelinstruction.org/travel-training

The Association of Travel Instruction (ATI),is a national professional association, which exists to develop the relatively new professions of travel training instructor and travel trainer for seniors and persons with disabilities, other than those with blindness. The goal of ATI is to serve the practitioners who teach persons with disabilities and seniors to use public transit safely and independently. Its members include travel training instructors/travel trainers who work for transit properties, school districts, community rehabilitation agencies, independent living centers, and agencies providing adult day services. Members of the association also include parents of children with disabilities, orientation and mobility specialists for persons with blindness, and persons with disabilities who are transportation advocates.

A Social History of Accessibility

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-history-accessibility-erick-mikiten

Wiki How: How to Ask for A Ride

http://www.wikihow.com/Ask-Someone-for-a-Ride

Resources from our Partners:

Checklist for Preparing for Transportation

Examples of information that could be good to include in a curriculum- tailored to  your community

 

 

Return to Homepage

APRIL Youth Talks

Individual Training Registration

Annual Registration

APRIL understands that across the country youth and young adults is the hot topic. 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. 

We understand that not everyone is at the point in their CIL or SILC to have a Youth Peer to Peer, but we want to support and assist the best way we can with these calls. 

Save the Date for the 2018 Schedule  2:00-3:30pm EST (1:00-2:30pm CST, 12:00-1:30pm MST, 11:00am-12:30pm PST)

 Make Sense of the Youth FAQ Feb 7th, 2018 with Paula McElwee and Sierra Royster 

With the youth transition service being placed on CILs in 2014, the regulations coming out in 2016, and frequently asked questions from ACL coming out in 2017, the WIOA rolling out, what is youth transition and what is serving youth?  The questions are confusing, and we want to make sure as you are carrying your programs and services out you are able to record everything you are doing accurately.  Join us to clarify the muddy waters of services that youth are receiving in your CIL 

How to Apply: Ensuring you are recording all youth activities in the right place in the end of year report.  Make sure you are meeting the core service of youth transition as defined by the Administration on Community Living (ACL). Understand the different places that youth can be served in all of the core services a CIL can offer.  Understand how to report the school program you are running in the proper core service. 

 April 4th, 2018- Dustin Gibson -The Impact of School Suspensions

The policing and criminalization of students, particularly students of color with disabilities, serves as one of the largest contributors to the expansion of our prison systems. Understanding how race and disability are implicated in classrooms, leading to school suspensions, expulsions, and time away from learning is critical to disrupting the school to prison trajectory 

How to Apply: Working with students that are be suspended.  Working with detention centers for young people.  Working with young people with mental health that have been suspended and it has affected their potential outcome for school graduation.  Working with students that have Individualized Education Plans (IEP) or Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIP).

May 30th, 2018- Zach Garafalo and Melissa Ann Santora Youth at the Table and Active SILC Members

Participants will learn strategies to engage young leaders with disabilities with their SILCs. Topics covered will include a SILC readiness assessment for youth engagement, how to build intergenerational partnerships, different recruitment methods, and how to prepare young leaders to be effective SILC members. Additional topics about youth engagement on boards and committees will also be discussed.

How to Apply: If you are a SILC, you can recruit more youth that are valuable contributing members.  If you work with young people, how to get them more involved on a SILC, take the same skills and to engage youth on SILC and apply it to different boards, committees, or councils. 

 August 1st, 2018-Charlie Walters-Balancing Systems Advocacy Efforts with Self-Advocacy Skill Development in K-12 Education

This APRIL Youth Talk will focus on creative ways of balancing work with consumers to address advocacy needs in K-12 education while driving change that gets to the heart of reforming a system that often fails to support youth in reaching their full potential. Participants will learn about how one CIL has shifted its work with both individual and systems advocacy in education in an attempt to affect long-term change.

How to Apply: Working with individual students that have IEPs. Working with classes and groups on how to advocate.  Working with students that are interested in going to college and navigating the disability services as a self-advocate.

October 3rd, 2018- Susan Cervellera-Disability History

New to IL, passionate about what we do, but not sure about where we started?   Many youth feel this way as well.  Come learn about where we started and invite a youth into your CIL/SILC to learn too! Enjoy while we dive into the medical model vs. the social model, history of the ADA, IDEA, Rehab Act, history of ADAPT, institutionalization, sterilization, Ugly laws and talk about the huge advocates including Ed Roberts, Justin Dart, Dorothea Dix plus much more!

How to Apply: Learn more about disability history. Learn how to engage youth into history. Why we need to cover history as a topic when working with youth.

December 5th, 2018- Grant Heffelfinger-LGBTQ+ Community

Join us for an interactive talk on supporting inclusion for our youth with disabilities.  There will be a discussion to support our LGBT youth with disabilities and how to include LGBT youth in our centers.    

How to Apply: To create collaboration with CILs and LGBTQ+ organizations in the community. To increase diversity onto staff, consumers, volunteers, and board members.  To ensure that your CIL/SILC is inclusive.

Cost: Member Rates: Annual Rate (registering and paying for all 6 trainings in the series): $180 Per Training Rate: $35

Cost: Non-Member Rates: Annual Rate (registering and paying for all 6 trainings in the series): $250 Per Training Rate: $50

We hope that you will join us and if you would like more of an individual experience or training you can contact our Youth Programs Coordinator, Sierra Royster at 919-567-3602 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 Register Here

Mentor/Mentee

APRIL Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring

Welcome to the APRIL Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring site. We are so excited that you and your organization have chosen to work with us on your journey to inclusion of youth. Follow the links in the toolkit below to navigate through some of our resources. Do you have resources that you would like to add? Please send them to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Breathing Field Guide created in collaboration with youth from rural Centers for Independent Living and APRIL (The Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living).

Revised: 2017

Sponsored by:

APRIL

University of Kansas (RTC: IL)

   

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the APRIL Youth Peer to Peer (P2P) field guide (field guide sounds cooler than manual).

Step 1: Find the closest mirror and stare directly at it. If you have a vision loss, ask the nearest person to stare at you.  If you notice any gray hairs, please discontinue reading this guide and find a young person with a disability to run your youth programs! JUST KIDDING…

The first myth the APRIL P2P mentors would like to bust is that only a young person with a disability (ages 13ish-30ish) can relate to youth or get them excited.  Don’t get us wrong!  A young person taking over these programs should be the ultimate goal, and if you have a youth who would like to take the lead already, definitely encourage them. The real secret to success, however, is the level of passion with which these ideas are presented.  Passion is the only must have for a person to relate to young people!!

Why are we doing this project? Some of our mentors nationally, and more specifically at Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), recognized that they were getting tired of working the trenches of civil rights alone, and so it was time to make an effort to find the next generation of advocates to train to eventually carry the baton of disability rights forward. Thus, APRIL itself started to Bring Youth on Board (B.Y.O.B, one of many truly fantastic acronyms you will find in this guide.)  APRIL began its journey by holding pre-conferences just for youth, in order to give them an opportunity to network and get a feel for what the rest of the conference would be like. Shortly after, APRIL recognized that they needed input from youth in order to serve youth -- in true Nothing About Us Without Us fashion -- and with encouragement from the APRIL youth involved in the pre-conference, APRIL created a full-fledged board position designated only for a young person. APRIL now has two designated youth board positions (with no limit on how many youth can run for any open seat), a youth conference, and now the youth Peer to Peer project. 

APRIL has had a working Peer to Peer project since 1999. The project recruits Center for Independent Living (CIL) directors and staff who are proficient in a wide area of Independent Living services.  These staff can then be sent as mentors to Centers that request help with any of their core services or other CIL issues.  Even though transition was not yet a “core” service, many CILs began asking themselves the same question: “How do we get youth involved in our Centers?”  So, with grants from the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas (RTC IL) and Easter Seals Project Action, in 2009, APRIL began making these ideas a reality.   What followed was a collaboration of youth programs and experience from young and old…ish leaders in Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, California, Ohio, South Carolina and more. Now that transition is a fifth core service, (and now that we are getting even older) we are continually working to improve how we bring more youth on board. If you would like to become a trained mentor or add to the resources, please contact our team. 

So, sit back, relax and learn from us! Remember that these are our ideas. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have to tweak them or change them to fit your needs, in fact, we encourage you to do just that. Maybe you will contact us and add your material to the kit (hint hint).

Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring: Getting Started

Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring: Recruitment and Retention

 Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring: Transportation

Youth Peer to Peer Mentoring: Disability History and Awareness

Sexuality and Relationships

Speciality Areas

Getting Started

So you have decided to start a youth program? Congratulations! The hardest part is behind you.... deciding to move forward. Now, the fun begins.

Remember: The key to a successful youth program is creating a culture at your CIL from the very beginning that values and understands the basic principals of youth programs:

 Youth are not a service: youth with disabilities is a population with their own culture and needs.

Since youth with disabilities are not their own service, it is important that you create a culture within your organization that prioritizes working with young people as a CIL goal and mission. It can not just be the youth programs service team that are committed to learning about how to work with young people. Besides, making your programs inclusive for young people doesn't mean that other consumers won't enjoy the new changes. Everyone likes to be engaged, everyone likes fun, and everyone appreciates it when you teach and reteach concepts to them in new and easy to understand ways.  

 This isn't rocket science, or anything that should be news shattering to you. What the youth who started the IL movement in the 60's and 70's wanted and needed isn't necessarily the same for  youth of today.

Guess what! Independent Living and the Disability Rights movement was started by young people with disabilities. That excitement, energy, and passion that comes from young people who are out there in the world discovering everything for the first time.... including that they have the dignity of risk to make decisions and choices for themselves, even if the adults in their lives don't agree with those decisions, was what kick started our movement in the early days. We still need that passion.... it just might be that youth of today have different needs and wants than the youth of the 60's and 70's. It is because of the hard work of all of you advocates that we have come this far that youth don't have to fight for their right to go to public school or to have access to healthcare. Instead, they can care about attitudinal barries and making friends, healthy relationships, and being meaningful participants in their community.  So.... lets bottle up their passion, and find out what it is they want and need and how we can help them find it. Which is one of our most important rules. Your idea of where you want youth to get involved at your organization and their idea of how they want to be involved might not be congruent. Deal with it! We need to meet youth where they are at, and eventually once their immediate needs are met, they will be ready to give back to IL. We just have to be patient. 

 

Reference Guide for Successful Youth Program!

FIVE TO LIVE BY

  1. Turn sense of control over to the youth (Leadership, give choices whenever possible, get constant feedback, answer a question with a question. Let them discover their own answers and their own voice. Don’t impose on them what YOU think they are capable of. Have them come up with the guidelines (rules) of the group or the class. Give opportunities for them to teach each other or you something)
  1. Have FUN! (Turn a lesson into a game when possible. Food, snacks, celebrate, ice breaker and get to know each other. Use age appropriate examples. Use media whenever possible. USE HUMOR!!)
  1. Peer Mentoring/Model (Students need successful role models with disabilities. Model disability etiquette, acceptance of other disabilities, attitude and energy.) If possible, team teach with a facilitator with an invisible disability and visible disability. Share your story when appropriate.)
  1. Invoke Emotion/Passion (Disability history, current events, activities, model PASSION! Use your anger or your frustration to make positive change. Talk about how certain topics or videos make the students feel)
  1. Model Inclusivity and Create Community (Model and preach cross disability, integrate youth into all your Center’s other activities, model no hierarchy of disability (ie make sure activities can be made accessible and that you include everyone). Hit the message home that “You are not alone”, encourage calling on the disability community in times of need. Talk about the community they are creating right now and how if one of them falls, they all fall. Talk about how civil rights is an all or nothing proposition, and that all other races, genders, sexuality etc. should be included. Integrate youth in your Center (see section on Recruitment and Retention), AND integrate seasoned advocates in your youth program to add how ‘it looked and felt in color’, share the experience.)

 

 

Strategic Planning:

 

APRIL Youth PTP Strategic Planning

A tool to help you get started in your youth programming from needs assessing/brainstorming, internal survey of strengths and weaknesses, Community resource/asset mapping, and plan for evaluation. 

 

Return to Homepage

Recruitment and Retention

 

Starting a youth program can be a very daunting task. Breaking it up into smaller bite sized achievable tasks can make it seem less scary. This thing about working with young people with disabilities is that youth can not be a service, youth are a population.  Just like any population you might serve, young people have their own culture.  They may respond differently than other groups you work with. As such, it is important to find out what youth want, and to do your best to try and include them and their specific needs and culture. One of the first things you might want to do is needs assess youth in order to figure out what it is that they want out of a program and how to best entice them to get involved. Even if you already have an idea of what you are going to do, you still need young people to come and use your services. So.. where do you find youth? How do you get them to come? 

 

APRIL Youth Peer to Peer Manual: Recruitment and Retention

These are brainstormed lists from youth involved with APRIL from across the country on where to look for young people to get involved,

how do you make your programs and CIL attractive and accessible for young people, and information on how build upon programs you already have that could be attractive to young people as well as how to partner with organizations and programs for youth that are already working. 

 

Sample Materials

Sometimes the hardest part of a new program is figuring out where to get started. Below are some examples from our partners on fliers, letters, or advertisements they used in order to get started. Along with our material of resources and activities to assist you in being successful in this area of programming. 

 

Letters

Resources

Community Tool Box, Assessing Community Need and Resources

Community Tool Box, Developing Strategic and Action Plans

APRIL Strategic Planning Tool 

Activities

Ask Them

Beach Ball

Bumper Stickers

Guidelines

Height Game

Label Game

Name Game

Ouch/Oops

Pass the Artichoke

Pictionary

Say What

String Game

Telephone

Traffic Jam

Two Truths and a Lie

Why and Because

Zombies

Return to Homepage

APRIL Youth Map FinalYouth Peer to Peer

Overview and Application

How to Apply:

In order to receive a Youth Peer to Peer for your CIL, SILC, or YLF you can complete the application and submit it to Sierra Royster, Youth Programs Coordinator.

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YOUTH PTP APPLICATION LINK

 

Overview of Mentoring

Cost:  If chosen for a mentoring, provided through ILRU and the IL-Net the entire $2500+ fee of the Peer Mentor expenses including travel are covered for 3 mentoring’s a year; or vice versa- the mentee (your) travel expenses to the mentor's site would be covered.

What is included?

What to Expect

  • A Peer Mentor, chosen by you because of skills and/or experiences similar to your requests, will make a two-day, on-site visit to your CIL to work with you, staff and/or board or council and then follow up through teleconferencing, email, or video chat for at least 1 year while you work through your goals set with the mentor.
    Peer Mentees would gain free access to the Youth Talk call series for the 1 year following the mentoring.
    Project Background
  • The idea of the Youth Peer-to-Peer project was first developed by the attendees of the 2009 APRIL Youth Pre-Conference in Puerto Rico and in 2010, the youth provided their first Youth Peer Mentoring to one CIL in Indiana. The Youth-Peer-to-Peer project is similar to APRIL’s CIL-to-CIL and SILC-to-SILC mentoring projects, except it was developed and ran by youth rather than Executive Directors. Also, youth from around the country collected resources they and others had been using in their programs. These materials and new ideas that come from you all as you receive mentoring’s or as you want to contribute can be used in future mentoring sessions with Centers who want to develop or modify their own youth programs.

 

Sponsors and Acknowledgements

We are grateful to our sponsors. We believe this project helps facilitate the growth and improvement of youth transition and related services at CILs, and empowers rural youth with disabilities to get more involved with APRIL and lead the Independent Living Movement in the future.

This project was developed by a group of dedicated APRIL youth members. Below are the individuals who were responsible for the beginnings of the Youth Peer-to-Peer Project, and their organizations:

  • Mike Beers – Summit Independent Living Center
  • Chiaki Gonda – formerly employed at, Research and Training Center on Independent Living
  • Carrie Greenwood – Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy
  • Alex Jackson – formerly employed at, Disability Resource Center
  • Mary Olson – formerly employed at, Summit Independent Living Center
  • Sierra Royster – formerly employed at, Alliance of Disability Advocates
  • and Kathy Hatch, former Training and Assistance Director at APRIL

This project is sponsor by:

  • Independent Living and Research Utilization (ILRU)
  • IL-NET (APRIL, CPDUSU, ILRU, and NCIL)

Start up funders included:

  • Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas
  • Easter Seals ProjectACTION
  • Association of the Program for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)

 Below is an image with all of the trainings that have completed thus far.

Address Information

  APRIL
11324 Arcade Drive Suite 9 ~ Little Rock, AR 72212 ~ Phone: 501-753-3400 ~ FAX:  501-753-3406