PC hosts S.C. Youth Leadership Forum for youth with disabilities

PC hosts S.C. Youth Leadership Forum for youth with disabilities


Dozens of youth with disabilities from across the state gathered this week at Presbyterian College to develop leadership and advocacy skills with the S.C. Youth Leadership Forum.

Hosted by Able South Carolina (Able SC), the S.C. Youth Leadership Forum (SCYLF) is a four-day, three-night leadership intensive experience open to juniors, seniors, and those who recently completed high school with any type of disability. During the forum, through several different breakout sessions and interactive events, students learn about independent living, advocacy, employment, and disability pride.

“We uphold youth with disabilities as experts on their own lives and, more generally, current issues in disability rights,” said Paige Winget, director of youth transition programs with Able SC. “In providing access to robust leadership skill-building, we hope to encourage the next generation of disability rights leaders.”

The 2022 event offered a number of speakers ranging from those internationally famous for their disability advocacy, those who have been dedicated to local grassroots advocacy, to former SCYLF delegates who’ve used the skills they learned as a youth and applied them to their personal advocacy and professional career.

Presenters included:

  • Judy Heumann, co-founder of the World Institute on Disability and subject of the 2020 Netflix documentary, “Crip Camp”
  • Rebecca and Patrick Cokley, program officer for the Ford Foundation’s U.S. Disability Rights Program and the program director for the Workforce Recruitment Program for the Office of Disability Employment Policy for the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Kimberly Tisson, Able SC chief executive officer and president
  • Wednesday Jones, former SCYLF delegate and current employment and financial literacy specialist at Able SC.

The S.C. Youth Leadership Forum seeks to equip young people with disabilities with the tools they need to become leaders in their communities. By spending four days in an intensive setting, these youth receive the education they need to accomplish their leadership goals, and leave with memories that will impact their personal values for years to come.

The SCYLF was made possible through the generosity and support of
the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council, Abacus Planning Group Inc., McGuire Woods Consulting, Bluestien Attorneys, and Publix, AccessAbility, Family Connection of S.C., S.C. Assistive Technology Program, and Walton Options for Independent Living.