Youth Leadership Forum


YLF logoThe 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.

2014 delegates doing a mock testimony at YLF Legislative Day

Selection Criteria

    delegate playing a disability history timeline game
  • 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.

Current and former YLF delegates posing with Independence Now/YLF staff

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
    • Play games around the history of disability and explore technology and adaptations for people with disabilities
  • Explore and develop plans for the future
    • 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


2020 YLF dates: June 24-27, 2020

2020 YLF location: Towson University

Deadline for application: Friday, March 13, 2020

Click here for the 2020 YLF Application.

*If you applied to YLF and cannot attend the scheduled interview date contact Damon Walker to schedule a makeup.

TBA: Meet and Greet for accepted delegates

If you would like to receive email updates about YLF contact or use the contact information below.

2014 YLF delegates and Youth Coordinator talking at the 2014 picnic

 2014 YLF delegate explaining his choice for the ?shred the R word? activity

Connect with YLF

Find us on Facebook at MD-YLF!facebook

Connect with us on Instagram: @mdylf


Post mail:
Youth Leadership Forum
C/O Independence Now, Inc.
12301 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Phone: 240-638-0070