History and Mission
The Able Trust Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is an innovative, intensive four-day leadership training program for rising high school juniors and seniors with disabilities. Delegates are selected from around the state of Florida to gather in Tallahassee to cultivate leadership, citizenship and social skills.
Throughout this educational and motivational forum, delegates hear from guest speakers that address topics such as disability rights laws, leadership, innovations in technology, and resources at all
levels. Small working groups explore personal leadership, academic and career plans. A mentors luncheon and an etiquette dinner help expose delegates to career choices and provide them with an interactive learning environment for networking skills. Social events, including a tour of the Florida capitol, a dance and talent show, round out an exciting and fun filled weekend that help delegates make friends that will last a lifetime.
The key to YLF is leadership by example. Adults with disabilities who have traveled the same path as these young people serve as speakers, mentors and volunteers.
The Florida Youth Leadership Forum is part of a national initiative that was started in 1992 by the California Governor's Alliance for the Employment of Disabled Citizens. Today, over thirty states replicate the YLF in an effort to develop a national network of young adults with disabilities.
The Able Trust sponsored the first Florida Youth Leadership Forum in the year 2000. A nonprofit foundation, The Able Trust has a mission to be the leader in providing Floridians with disabilities fair employment opportunities through fundraising, grant programs, public awareness and education. The YLF is one of four youth programs of The Able Trust that works to reduce the dropout rate of youth with disabilities and improve their participation in employment related activities. These programs focus on building self-esteem, developing personal leadership skills and preparing young adults with disabilities for life beyond high school.
It is critical that people with disabilities learn to identify themselves with pride as individuals and as members of the disability community. By providing a framework of history and an atmosphere of encouragement, the YLF offers peers with common challenges and experiences the opportunity to learn from each other.
- Develop an Appreciation of the Past
Through speakers and topics about the history of the disability movement
- Develop an Understanding of the Present
By exploring principals of leadership and interacting with dignitaries, professionals and leaders in the disability community
- Develop a Belief in the Future
By learning about career and education options, community resources available to them and developing a personal leadership plan as a guide for setting goals for life beyond high school