Background Information

What is the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF)?
YLF is a conference for youth and young adults with disabilities who have demonstrated leadership potential and concern for their communities. YLF participants will have the opportunity to build their leadership skills as they learn about employment skills, career exploration, self-advocacy, assistive technology, independent living, higher education, legislative advocacy, the Disability Rights Movement, and community participation. YLF will take place virtually from June 14th - June 28th,  2021. YLF Delegates and Peer Leaders will attend online YLF sessions taking place during late afternoons and evenings.

Partners for Youth with Disabilities ( is proud to organize and host the 2021 Massachusetts YLF in partnership with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, Boston Public Schools, Denny's, 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 2021/2022) 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  training that will take place by mid-June 2021 (date TBA) and attend all YLF sessions.  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.