Saturday, March 14, 2009

Youth Leadership Forum - Applications Due By March 31, 2009

"Empowering Young Leaders for the 21st Century"

The YLF-VA program seeks to empower young people with disabilities to further develop their leadership skills. Students, serving as Delegates from communities throughout Virginia, participate in a wide range of activities and learning experiences during the four day Youth Leadership Forum set on a university campus.

The YLF curriculum includes training and development of individual career and life-goals, leadership skills, social skills, and self-esteem. Delegates benefit from sharing the experience of an energetic and socially enriched environment with other delegates, distinguished guests, mentors, and highly motivated volunteer staff.

Program Components:

Small Working Groups to explore and develop self-awareness profiles, personal leadership goals, career and academic plans.
Diverse Activities including educational, social, artistic, athletic and recreational events that demonstrate to young people the joy of leading a well-rounded life.

Guest Speakers and Faculty that address issues such as disability rights laws, innovations in technology, use of assistive technology, employment opportunities, community volunteerism, advocacy and legislative opportunities in the Commonwealth.
Interaction with Guest speakers and staff-people with disabilities from the private and public sector who have successful careers and/or businesses and who have maximized their talents and serve as role models.

Field trip to the State Capitol that provides an opportunity to interact with high-level elected officials in Virginia's state government.

Eligibility, Recruitment, and Selection of Student Delegates:

Eligible candidates include rising high school juniors and seniors from Virginia who have a disability, are highly motivated, and have demonstrated leadership potential.

Student Delegates are recruited statewide through a competitive application and interview process. Application requirements include written references and in-person interviews. Recruitment strategies incorporate criteria into the student selection process that, while being competitive, enable students to attend the Forum who might otherwise not have the opportunity for leadership development and who demonstrate potential and desire to become future leaders. Recruitment and selection strategies include procedures and outreach that demonstrate full commitment to including students with developmental disabilities as well as other disabilities.


The YLF depends on a committed network of volunteers. The volunteers are involved in all aspects of assuring a successful experience for the Delegates including planning and preparation, delegate recruitment and selection, fundraising, serving as YLF staff, speakers, panel members, mentors, or dorm parents, and assisting with travel and logistics. Volunteers come from a variety of diverse areas including directly from the community, service agencies and organizations, YLF Delegate Alumni, Partners in Policymaking Alumni and other organizations.

Applications & Forms

An application to participate as a student Delegate to the Youth Leadership Forum may be submitted by e-mail, by fax, by U.S. Mail, or by direct delivery. Information on how to complete and submit the application in each of these ways is included in their instructions. Electronic submission by e-mail is preferred.

Partners in Policymaking - 2009-2010 Applications Due by April 30, 2009

Become a Partner in Policymaking

Recruitment of individuals with developmental disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities for the 2009-2010 Virginia Board for People with Disabilities’ (VBPD) Partners in Policymaking (PIP) advocacy training program is currently underway. Partners graduating with the Class of 2010 will join over three hundred current alumni of the Virginia PIP program, and thousands who have graduated from similar programs across the country, who have learned how to make a difference every day for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Individuals participating in PIP attend advocacy training, resource development, and skill building workshops led by state and national experts. Topics covered include the history of the disability movement, self advocacy, independent living, supported employment, building inclusive communities, natural supports, legislative advocacy, assistive technology, communication, team building, and much more!

VBPD covers all expenses for participants’ training, lodging, meals, and travel.

Program participants attend and actively participate in eight two-day sessions, from Friday afternoon and to late Saturday afternoon, in Richmond, Virginia. Detailed information including how to apply, an overview of the program, the schedule for the coming year, and staff contacts appear below.

To Apply
To be considered for participation in Partners in Policymaking, individuals must submit a completed application and provide three letters of recommendation. Applications and recommendations may be submitted by e-mail, by fax, by U.S. Mail, or by direct delivery. Information on how to complete and submit the application in each of these ways is included in its instructions. Electronic submission by e-mail is preferred.

To complete an application electronically, then submit it by e-mail, fax, mail, or direct delivery, click on the following link:

Partners in Policymaking Application (Interactive Word Format)
This application may also be printed and completed by hand for submission by fax, mail, or direct delivery.

Annual PIP enrollment is limited. To be considered for the coming year, completed application forms and letters of recommendation must be received in the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities office by no later than close of business on the announced deadline, listed above and on the application form.

Partners in Policymaking participants are people who live in Virginia, have a developmental disability or are parents of young children with developmental disabilities. Individuals attending the program will participate in advocacy skill workshops, resource development, and leadership training.

Application and selection as a participant for the program requires a substantial commitment of time, motivation and energy. If accepted, the Partners in Policymaking program requires attendance and participation in eight two-day sessions between September and May. Each session begins on Friday afternoon and concludes Saturday afternoon. Participants meet competencies by agreeing to complete homework, class assignments and one major project.

The group of selected participants will build networks with state and national leaders as well as one another. Participants will be educated on current issues, state-of-the-art approaches and best practices in many areas including:

History of Disability Movements
Independent Living
Inclusive Education
Supported Employment
Personal Futures Planning
Building Inclusive Communities
Natural Supports
Assistive Technology
Communication & Team Building
Legislative Process and Strategies