Becoming Leaders for Tomorrow
As youth with disabilities prepare for transition from high school into adult living, it becomes increasingly essential for them to have strong skills in self-determination and self-advocacy. Once youth with disabilities have developed these skills for themselves, they become empowered to direct their own futures. These empowered youth are then ready to become leaders in helping other youth develop these skills and realize their own goals.
The Becoming Leaders for Tomorrow (BLT) project is designed to provide materials and opportunities to help youth and young adults with disabilities as they transition into adulthood. The BLT project empowers young people with disabilities to develop strong self-determination/self-advocacy skills and further develop their leadership skills so that they can make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others with disabilities
The BLT project works with and provides technical assistance to local and statewide agencies to 1) Coordinate training and information, 2) Provide information and referrals, 3) Disseminate materials, and 4) Support training led by youth experts.
Youth friendly materials are identified and/or developed into accessible formats and translated into the primary languages of the target community. These materials are disseminated through traditional methods and through the BLT website at http://blt.cpd.usu.edu /.
The project utilizes an advisory committee consisting of youth and emerging leaders, project staff, and project partners in multiple roles including providing guidance, directions and feedback to all components of the project.
FY 2010 Focus
During the FY 2010 grant period, the BLT Project will work with the youth and emerging leaders to expand upon successes of the training events. The BLT Project will continue efforts to recruit new youth and young adults, particularly focusing on youth and emerging leaders who are on the DSPD waiting list. Staff will continue to add links and information to BLT website and BLT Facebook page and will explore further opportunities to add reciprocal links to partner websites.
Additionally, the BLT staff will continue with the following activities.
1.) Host additional leadership and transition training opportunities for youth, emerging leaders, families, and professionals based on the results of the Leadership Self-Assessment.
2) Provide training to a minimum of 35 youth and emerging leaders
3) Update BLT website with links to further training, integrate selected translated materials into lists of website materials, and gather feedback.
4) Seek additional opportunities for the BLT youth and emerging leaders to present at existing training events, conferences, and committee meetings including future Family Links conferences and school district transition fairs.
1.) Distribute additional Youth Leadership Toolkits to local organizations across the country to encourage and support training that includes the voices of youth and emerging leaders.
2) Use the Youth Leadership Toolkit in training for 20-30 professionals and pre-service students.
During the next year BLT staff will continue to explore partnership and funding opportunities to increase the spread and sustainability of the BLT Project goals and objectives.