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 2019 Massachusetts YLF in partnership with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,  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 they are between the ages of 16-22, have a disability of some kind, and are either in the last two years of high school (class of 2019/2020) or are in a transition program through their high school. Previous YLF participants are able to re-apply to be Delegates. 

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. 

Peer Leaders are responsible to help plan YLF activities and mentor Delegates. If selected, they must commit to a training that will take place by mid-June 2019 (date TBA), and a full day of training at Bridgewater State University on June 24th, 2019. Peer Leaders will stay overnight on Monday, June 24th, 2019 and remain at Bridgewater State University until YLF ends on Thursday, June 27th. 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.