The OHSU UCEDD Hosted Five Youth with Disabilities in Salem for a Leadership Training (OR UCEDD)

July 10, 2017

The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) successfully piloted their Empowered Youth Leaders (EYL) Program on June 20 and 21 in Salem, Oregon. Five youth with disabilities and special health needs from around Oregon joined five peer mentors and four staff for a two-day training on leadership, self-advocacy, disability history, and how to get involved in their communities.

The training culminated with a tour of the Oregon State Capitol Building and a goal-setting activity. The youth planned goals for the next year for developing their leadership, independence, and community involvement. One youth from Coquille met with her State Senator and Representative to discuss making job opportunities accessible to young people with disabilities in Coos County. Said one participant about the training: "I liked learning the history about disability. I was happy that others were my age or older. I liked making friends and feeling included."

Project Coordinators Lindsay Sauve and Emily Holmes developed the EYL Program with the goal of increasing leadership and self-advocacy skills of youth transitioning to adulthood. The pilot helped the UCEDD staff assess the curriculum, the feasibility of offering a summer camp on leadership and advocacy training to youth with disabilities, and the role of peer mentors in the facilitation process. The UCEDD hopes to continue and expand the program for transition-age youth who identify as having a disability or health condition. For more information, contact Lindsay Sauve at sauv@ohsu.edu.