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 2021

Wednesday, August 4 to Saturday, August 7, 2021
Virtual Event via Zoom

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.

Application

The deadline to apply for MD-YLF 2021 is Friday, March 21, 2021.

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 Damon Walker at dwalker@innow.org or 240-638-0070.

Our Delegates

College Bound

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

Green graphic with photo of Noah, Maryland Youth Leadership Forum delegate class of 2020, with quote that says Maryland Youth Leadership Forum impacted me by showing me how to live independently and showing that I am a leader for my rights.

Maryland Youth Leadership Forum | Noah’s Experience

Maryland Youth Leadership Forum alumnus Noah, Class of 2020, shared his thoughts on his experience with Independence Now. “I learned how to write a poem. Maryland Youth Leadership Forum impacted me by showing me how to live independently and showing that I am a leader for my rights. My experience with the Youth Leadership Forum

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Photo of Isaiah in teal maryland youth leadership forum tee shirt motorized wheelchair. White text on green background that says Isaiah's journey. Quote: it felt like opening the door to freedom. #INconsumerstory.

Isaiah’s Journey to Independence

At the start of services, Isaiah was a living in a nursing facility in Prince Georges County and was in the process of transiting to a Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) group home. Isaiah was only 23 at the time. He acquired his disability at age 14 from a traumatic brain injury that caused him to

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