Youth Leadership Forum concentrates on success for disabled high school students

Posted: Wednesday, 29 May 2013

TROY - Thirty-one high school students with disabilities will take part in leadership exercises and get lessons in how state government works as a part of the Alabama Governor's Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) at Troy University, June 2-6.

The forum is co-sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Troy's Institute of Leadership Development with support from agencies including the Alabama Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the Alabama Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and the Alabama Department of Education.

“The forum is a unique opportunity to learn a variety of life skills," said Dr. Denise Green, Chair of the Department of Human Services, Rehabilitation and Social Work and co-chair of this event. “We focus on relationship building, self-advocacy and continued growth and development for a life-time of positive achievement."

This year's YLF will feature sessions on career exploration and technology available to assist people with disabilities, as well as "Living on My Own," a panel discussion led by successful Alabamians with disabilities. Other sessions will look at self-advocacy, team building, and life goals.

Students will also tour the state Capitol beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 5, and attend a mentor luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at the RSA Activity Center in Montgomery.

Donovan Beitel, a TROY alumnus and an instructor in the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind's Business Enterprise Program, will serve as a guest speaker. As a child, he was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration, and lost his central vision by the age of 10.

A closing ceremony and graduation will be held Thursday, June 6, beginning at 12:45 p.m. in the Trojan Student Center on the Troy Campus.