Youth Power aims to AMPLIFY-NY with youth leadership forums and supported leadership activities for young people to speak up, build skills, and prepare to take on leadership roles. This initiative brings the opportunities to YOUth and amplifies the YP network to give the next generation of leaders the tools and support they need for success. Parents and caregivers also have the opportunity to attend a series of workshops entitled “Foundations for Leadership” to assist them in continuing to help set the stage for young people to lead on. 

Virtual Youth Leadership Forums (VYLF) for young people ages 14-24 to speak up, build leadership and self-advocacy skills, and prepare to take on leadership roles. These peer-run forums bring opportunities to YOUth and gives the next generation of leaders the tools and support they need for success. The youth leadership forums and parent/caregiver workshops are FREE to attend. This initiative is funded from 2017-2021 through a grant with the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC).



 Planning Group: Leading the way in planning these forums is a peer-run statewide planning group. Youth and young adults with developmental and other disabilities ages 14-24 are invited to join this group to help design and carry out youth leadership forums across the state, starting with the pilot forum in the Capital District. This group meets 1-2 times per month. Young people interested in joining this group must contact Zack Kilmer at or call 518-708-3808

Sustainability Task Force: In order to help this initiative continue to thrive, the sustainability task force works to build partnerships, share resources, and raise funds. This group is made of all stakeholders including youth, parents/caregivers, members from state agencies, and individuals who are familiar with fundraising, local private foundations, and recruiting sponsorship’s. This group meets once per month. Individuals interested in joining this group must contact Zack Kilmer at or call 518-708-3808.

This VYLF is a FREE 6-day event (2.5 hours a day) that is presented in a fun, interactive and educational format with the support of peers along the way. We create a safe, youth friendly environment with plenty of fun activities to compliment the wealth of knowledge being learned! We invite young leaders to join us to build upon leadership skills and become empowered with self-confidence and self-determination.

  • Attend our first Virtual Resource Fair
  • Learn from guest speakers and panel presentations
  • Enjoy structured, educational yet fun activities (we promise!)
  • Connect with resources that meet the goals/advocacy activities that interest you.
  • Attend optional Virtual evening activities

“As an 18-year-old with severe anxiety and being unable to drive, meeting similar people to me close to my age has been especially difficult. Through the Youth Leadership Forum, I learned about disabilities and different acts, but also made new friends. It also made me more confident when talking to people, especially people with authority, about what I need to be successful. After I signed up, I was extremely nervous, thinking people were going to be judgmental. Luckily, nobody was, which made it safe for everyone. As anxious as I was, I wouldn’t change my experience. I would highly encourage people to attend it because it is a wonderful event.”  – R.P. YLF Alumni

March 15th & April 1st, 2021
6:30-8:00 PM Via Zoom

March 15th – Online Registration

April 1st – Online Registration

After registering for each date SEPARATELY, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Event Flyer

Learn tools and strategies for supporting the young people in your care as they grow into young leaders and transition into adulthood. Foundations for Leadership is FREE workshop series connected to VYLFs and offered in the community for parents/caregivers of youth with disabilities that brings together both the family and youth perspective. We give caregivers the tools they need as a vital part of their transition team through teaching, modeling, and support.

Parents/caregivers attend the workshop in close proximity of a virtual YLF and participate in sessions providing the opportunity to support their child attending a new event, connect with their peers in order to support their own personal growth, and witness their child graduate VYLF with pride. Caregivers without youth participating in the VYLF are welcome as well!

About the Youth Leadership Forums (YLFs) 

By utilizing the California model of Youth Leadership Forums as a strong base and adding some YP flavor, young people across the state will have the opportunity to learn more about a variety of leadership topics. As with all YP events, the forum will be a safe, youth-friendly environment with plenty of fun activities to compliment the wealth of knowledge being learned. This can include talent shows, dance parties, free time to mingle or relax, and more! Participants will also have the opportunity to connect with local resources at the resource fair and learn more about leadership opportunities or have a chance to advocate at the Leadership Luncheon.

Throughout the forum, young people will learn about:

  • Disability History & Culture
  • Strategic Sharing & Disclosure
  • Wellness tools
  • Leadership and Communication Skills
  • Independent Living
  • Financial Literacy
  • Systems Advocacy
  • Creating a Personal Leadership Plan
  • And more!

About the Parent & Caregiver Workshop Series 

Young people with disabilities and their parents/caregivers can both greatly benefit from connecting with their peers and having opportunities to support their personal growth. Additionally, we often hear from young people that they want to be heard by their caregivers and have them involved as support as they grow into young leaders and become more self-sufficient. Through this workshop series, we give caregivers the tools they need to support the young people in their care as a vital part of their transition team.

Families Together is partnering with INCLUDEnyc, and Parent Network of Western NY to develop a series of workshops for parents and caregivers that bring together the family and youth perspectives.  Focusing on teaching, modeling, and support, these sessions take place alongside the YLFs and throughout the community. 



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