Maryland Youth Leadership Forum Delegates build leadership skills and prepare for future employment, higher education, and independent living.

Logo consisting of a black, abstract image of a person in a wheelchair with their arms extended into the air. Their arms are yellow and they are holding up an image of a red capitol building. Black border around logo that says Maryland Youth Leadership Forum.

History of the Maryland Youth Leadership Forum

The Youth Leadership Forum was initiated in 1992 by the California Governor's Committee on the Employment of Disabled Persons. This popular program spread across the country and is now conducted annually in more than 33 states. Maryland held its first Youth Leadership Forum (MD-YLF) in August 2000.

MD-YLF Curriculum

Find your unique strengths and develop skills to be a leader in your community

Encourage civic engagement through learning about the legislative process and how to change problems in your community.

Develop communication skills through social activities, role play and discussion.

Learn about Disability Culture and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Play games around the history of disability and explore technology and adaptations for people with disabilities.

Play games around the history of disability and explore technology and adaptations for people with disabilities

Experience "college life" through a stay at one of Maryland's universities.

Meet professionals with a wide range of careers in Maryland who have disabilities.

Discuss independent living and future plans with peers and facilitators to develop goals and paths to success.

Maryland Youth Leadership Forum 2024

June 24 to 26, 2024 at Towson University

Applications Due: Now extended to April 1, 2024

Open to Maryland residents with ANY type of disability in their last two years of high school or graduating in the spring of 2024.

Selection Criteria

  • Must be in their final two years of high school.
  • Applicant accomplishments and leadership potential
  • Academic achievement
  • Community service
  • Participation in school and community activities
  • Disability diversity
  • Ethnic and racial diversity
  • Geographic representation

Applicants will be called to participate in a regional interview after submitting their application form.

Download Fact Sheet for the 2024 Maryland Youth Leadership Forum


Download application and return to:

YLF, c/o Independence Now, Inc.
12301 Old Columbia Pike, Suite 101
Silver Spring, MD 20904

If you would like to receive email updates about YLF, contact Danielle Bustos at or 240-898-2189.

Our Delegates

College Bound

Read stories from past YLF Delegates and Independence Now Consumers on their College Experience

This project was supported, in part by grant number CFDA 93.630, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. Creating Change. Improving Lives.

Scroll to top