Leadership training for students with disabilities

The South Carolina Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) for students with disabilities is an annual career leadership program for high school students who will be a junior or senior in the current school year or a recent graduate.


Students selected to be delegates to attend the YLF learn about disability history, community and academic resources, career options and resources that can help them face challenges that arise in becoming participating members of their communities.

By serving as delegates, students enhance and grow their leadership, citizenship, and social skills. They take part in activities enabling them to network, learn from each other and build lasting friendships.

The YLF is a program working to improve the participation of youth with disabilities in employment related activities. YLF focuses on building self-esteem, developing personal leadership skills and preparing young adults with disabilities for life beyond high school.

Youth Leadership Forum

Youth Leadership Forum

What happens at the YLF?

Youth with disabilities will share their experiences with each other and learn about various topics, including:

  • What is leadership?
  • Self-advocacy
  • Developing and reaching my career goals
  • Life after high school
  • Preparing for college or work
  • Service projects
  • Leading in the community and career through lunch with local businesses

Apply to be a delegate 

Approximately 35 delegates will be selected to attend the YLF. Delegates will be notified and provided with additional information. Selected delegates must fill out and return a confirmation form.

(Information on the 2016 SC Youth Leadership Forum will be coming soon)

Apply to be a Mentor

What is a Peer Mentor?

A Peer Mentor is another person similar in age who can serve as a role model, a resource and a helping hand. The role of a peer mentor is to provide support, encouragement, and information to YLF delegates to help them have a successful and beneficial experience in learning about self-­advocacy and leadership.


  • Be age 18-­‐26 and have a disability.
  • Prior attendance to YLF or experience as a Peer Mentor.

Roles & Responsibilities:

  • Assist with registration and showing delegates to their room.
  • Participate and encourage delegates in large group activities.
  • Serve as a co-­leader  for small group activities.
  • Travel Expediter ­‐ make sure your delegates know where each activity is.
  • Assist counselors with bed checks as needed.
  • Troubleshooter/problem solver for group.
  • Try to resolve problems at the peer level.
  • Keep counselors informed of any concerns.
  • Develop a rapport with your delegates and encourage them to participate.
  • Observe and enforce YLF rules. (Copy to be shared)

Other considerations:

  • Peer mentors will arrive the evening before YLF starts to get acclimated and help counselors get everything set up.
  • Peer mentors must arrange their own transportation to and from YLF.
  • This is a volunteer role as mentors are not paid wages to assist with YLF.
  • Meals and lodging will be covered.

(Information on the 2016 SC Youth Leadership Forum will be coming soon)


The SC Youth Leadership Forum is implemented by state and local partners, including VRContinuum of CarePRO-ParentsSouth Carolina Assistive Technology Program (SCATP)Wil Lou Gray, theDevelopmental Disabilities CouncilSC Department of Mental Health andABLE-SC.