One of the hats I get to wear for my day job is the one that says I get to be the Chair of the Youth Subcommittee for the Utah Statewide Independent Living Council. This a fairly new hat that I have been given the opportunity to wear and I am still trying to wrap my head around what I need to do (which is ironic since hats are meant to wrap around our heads : ) to be effective in this role.
Right now the main objective of the Youth Subcommittee is to:
Develop/support a statewide effort to provide young adults with disabilities with greater awareness of the Independent Living philosophy and related community services that can support their transition to adulthood, increased independence and full inclusion in the broader community.
We even have some guiding activities to help us reach our objective. They include the following two activities at this point:
Activity 1: Provide existing groups of young adults with disabilities (such as transition classes in local school districts) with regular opportunities to learn about the history of Independent Living, the philosophy of IL, and the services offered by their local Center for Independent Living that can support their transition to adulthood and independent living.
Activity 2: Support the development of new and/or enhancement of existing youth centered activities in at least three of the Utah CIL’s to provide additional opportunities for young adults with disabilities to connect to their local CIL. Activities will be designed to support the involvement of youth in regular CIL activities and services and will encourage youth to become involved in the planning of additional activities/services that will better meet their collective and individual needs.
I will be the first to agree that the objective and activities can be improved as far as clarity and wording, but it is a start for our group as we work to take the big idea and break it into concrete activities that we can accomplish in a relatively short time with little to no budget.
My questions for all the experts out there, or at least those that have been doing this type of work longer than I : ) are:
1) What specific activities have you hosted at your CIL to get youth to come participate and connect with your services?
2) What kind of activities have you done to help youth learn about IL philosophy, history, and available services?
3) What kinds of activities have you planned for youth that they have found engaging, or better yet, how have you gotten youth involved in planning activities that they find meaningful and that connect them with your CIL and other important support programs?
4) What existing youth groups have you tried to connect with and what worked well or didn’t work?