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About NYLN
The National Youth Leadership Network is a national non-profit organization run by and for youth with disabilities. We work to build power and community with disabled youth. We also work to build the capacity of our allies.

Reap What You Sow: Harvesting Support Systems

A hands-on curriculum that brings youth and adult allies together to build support systems that maximize self determination. Over 30 tools video, art, movement, conversation Developed by youth with disabilities with the input of families and adult allies

About Cindy
Serves youth and young adults with disabilities in their goal(s) to be independent as they can and choose to be through a CIL. Serves on NYLN Governing Board and as Chair of the Outreach & Involvement Committee Serves on multiple organization governing boards An AmeriCorps Alum

About Stacey
Works as NYLNs Community Outreach Director Entered social justice through Disability Rights Movement, entered Disability Rights Movement through youth work.

Lets Talk!
What is youth leadership? What is NOT youth leadership? Why youth inclusion? Why not? What has kept it from happening?

a few models of disability to get you thinking

Credit to Ju Gosling

How Youth Can Move the Disability Rights Movement?

Why Without Us Hasnt Worked
Being Without Us is continuing wrong mindset. Start young

There is enough work to go around.

Youth have a new, different agenda! Youth bring a new authentic view and energy.


How Youth Can Move the Disability Rights Movement?

Started with us, cant go on without us!
Where will the movement be without youth?
10 years? 15 years? 20 years?


How Youth Can Move the Disability Rights Movement?

Youth Can Foster Mentorship Youth Motivates Older Populations Youth Learn from their Older Peers

Together, We can change the course of the Disability Rights Movement!



1. Youth in Leadership Roles

It is common to see adults in coordination/program planning roles and young people in unpaid, advisory board roles. Assess where organizational power isand put youth there. Create a plan for supporting youth in these leadership roleswhat would you have needed at 21 to do this work?


Why youth in leadership roles?

Best motivators Understand/Peer Accountability - both ways Parents/Guardians see independence is possible


2. Be strategic, have plans.

Do strategic planning for youth programming just like you would for other programs.
What is your theory of change? Where do funds come from? How much do we need to make it real? What is the purpose? Model? Capacity? What is this years goal? Next year?

3. Act Responsibly
Youth work is unique because whether you are working in disability community, fostercare, juvenile justice, poor communities you are often creating space where people get to have self determination for the first time. Also first time people are told they matter, are beautiful, have potential. This is a very important responsibility. Recognize and respect that. You have impact. (Check yo self before you wreck someone else.)

4. Be Political.
Remember that your work directly corresponds to the future of the Disability Rights Movement. Move from individual level framing to Collective/Society framing. CHANGE the system. Learn the language. Ableism. Power. Privilege. Allies. Oppression. Community. Movements. Popular Education can be a great tool.


5. Create Space for People to Be their Complete Selves.

Conversation encompasses disability, but it is also beyond disability. Support the whole person. Challenge normative cool and promote spaces where young people can be their whole selves. Have fun.



HOT (Healthy Opportunities for Transition)

Led by Youth Advisory Council (16-30 year old) Has youth in majority of youth serving staff positions Fosters self-advocacy Cross-disability Recreational Opportunities


The Empowered FeFes

Chicago-based Support/Action Group organized by Access Living staff Program determined by young women with disabilities Heavy emphasis on self-worth and media Meets bimonthly


Disabled Young Peoples Collective

North Carolina-based multiracial crossdisability youth collective Collective (sometimes called a cooperative) is where everyone shares equal decision making power and responsibility Many with DD, amazing work to create accessible place people felt empowered & safe Funding was project-based. Ended in Fall 2010


Detroit Summer
Detroit-based collective that transforms communities through youth leadership, creativity and collective action Started by elders, largely youth-run Murals, community gardens, hip hop cd, bike repair shop Heavily incorporates intergenerational dialogue (community potlucks, etc) Me



Thank You for Joining Us!!!

Stacey Milbern Community Outreach Director NYLN (National Youth Leadership Network) (910) 578-9552 Cindy Singletary Independent Living Specialist LIFE (Living Independence For Everyone) of Mississippi (228) 341-3449


The National Resource & Information Center


Information & Referral Call Center:


Next Webinar:
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 2:00-3:00 PM, EDT Let's Talk About Sex: Discussing the Topics of Sex, Protection, and/or Sexuality from Three Unique Viewpoints

Email Phuong ( ) to request materials!

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