The state of transition in Utah

Image of rock climber.
A NINJA participant climbs a rock wall on the Quad.

Transition from high school to work or higher education for young adults with disabilities is a complicated subject, but the state of Utah is taking on the challenge on several different fronts. From youth leadership conferences, to an action team that meets quarterly, to programs a several institutions of higher education—here’s an overview of what’s happening in Utah.

The NINJA Conference started three years ago as an attempt to engage young people with disabilities in advocacy work. The lighthearted name comes from a game that was played at the first conference, but the acronym’s meaning has a serious message: New Ideas to Network Junior Advocates.

“It was fantastic,” said Jeff Sheen of the third annual conference that wrapped up in mid-June. 

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CPD by the numbers

The NINJA conference served 19 youth this year, and graduated three participants who had attended all three conferences.

Non-profit receives Community Investment Award

CIA award
Left to right: Gordon Richins, Shane Johnson, Leeann Whiffen, Megan Nickel and Sean Whiffen.

Utah Autism Give, an American Fork-area non-profit, has received the Community Investment Award from the Consumer Advisory Council at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. The $500 award was presented by Gordon Richins, the CPD’s Consumer Advocate, and Shane Johnson, Associate Director of Development at the CPD.

The CAC, which is comprised of five self-advocates, five parents and five non-profit agency representatives, gives the award twice a year. CAC members nominate, advocate and vote for the recipients.

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Disability Law Center

The Disability Law Center (DLC) is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to enforce and strengthen laws that protect the opportunities, choices and legal rights of Utahns with disabilities.

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