Youth Leadership Training
Effective advocacy that addresses the needs of all people with developmental disabilities (DD) depends on input from a diverse group, including youth. Today’s young people speak from experiences different from those of adult advocates and have a great deal to contribute to current advocacy. These are the people who will eventually shape tomorrow’s public policy and service systems. Directing efforts toward developing self-confidence and leadership skills in youth promotes capacities that may otherwise go unrecognized. Youth need input and guidance from competent and responsible adults. Nurturing their skill development now provides insurance that the advocacy movement will continue after current advocates are gone. Successful youth leadership training programs build upon the identification and development of participants’ strengths and give youth the opportunity to come together to gain information, develop specific skills, and establish personal goals and plans.
Organize a six-day forum for Texas youth delegates with a range of disabilities to raise their leadership bar.
The Children’s Association for Maximum Potential proposed to hold annual six-day forums for about 30 Texas youth “delegates” with a range of disabilities to “raise their leadership bar.” Communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, assertiveness, advocacy, and leadership were to be addressed through large and small group interactive sessions interspersed with social, artistic, recreational, and athletic themes. A Project Advisory Committee was to implement the forum alongside national and Texas-based leaders with DD. Additionally, college students were to be paired with participants to facilitate activities and serve as role models.