Background Information

What is the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF)?
YLF is an overnight conference for youth and young adults with disabilities who have demonstrated leadership potential and concern for their communities. YLF participants stay in dorms at Bridgewater State University to experience life away from home in a college setting, and have the opportunity to build their leadership skills as they learn about self-advocacy, assistive technology, independent living, employment skills, career exploration, higher education, legislative advocacy, the Disability Rights Movement, and community participation.

Partners for Youth with Disabilities ( is proud to organize and host the 2016 Massachusetts YLF in partnership with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and numerous collaborators across the state.

Who should apply to be part of YLF?
YLF is for youth with any type of disability who want to develop self-advocacy and leadership skills, begin to plan career goals, and build a network of supports and friends. Young people with disabilities can apply to be a Delegate or Peer Leader:

Delegate: Youth are eligible to apply as a Delegate if are between the ages or 16-22, have a disability of some kind, and are either in the last two years of high school (class of 2016/2017) or are in a transition program. Previous YLF participants are able to re-apply to be Delegates in 2016. (Note: Starting next year, youth will only be able to serve as a Delegate once.)

Peer Leader: Youth are eligible to apply as a Peer Leader if they are between the ages of 18-25, have graduated high school, have a disability of some kind, and are either working, taking college courses, or (if a previous YLF Delegate) in a transition program. Youth can only serve as a Peer Leader twice.

Peer Leaders are responsible to help plan YLF activities and mentor Delegates. If selected, they must commit to one evening training in June in Boston (date TBA), and a full day of training at Bridgewater State University on July 11th, 2016. Peer Leaders will stay overnight on July 11th and remain at Bridgewater State University for the remainder of the three day YLF. Peer Leaders receive a small stipend for their work.

YLF participants represent communities across Massachusetts. We are committed to diversity and welcome applicants with diverse disabilities, identities, and backgrounds.