Building Advocacy and Learning Leadership Skills (BALLS) classes were offered to five high schools this past year and almost 100 students took this training in three Missoula High Schools as well as in Frenchtown and Florence. Disability and IL History, Movement and Culture training was also given to junior and senior history/government classes at Big Sky, Alberton and Upward Bound. Mike Beers, Youth Coordinator, and Mary Olson, Peer Coordinator, continue to offer these courses and will be in Hellgate and Sentinel High Schools again this winter!
Youth Opening Doors through Advocacy (YODA) is a group of young people with disabilities ages 14-30 who want to get together for social and recreational opportunities. Cara Wherely, our new Missoula Youth Specialist is facilitating this group. Cara is an excellent addition to our Youth Team, and is also recently trained as a Living Well facilitator (See our list of classes on page 6).
Western Montana Regional Transitions meetings are held quarterly in Missoula in the Rural Institute conference room. If you are interested in transition outcomes for students leaving high school, please contact Mike Beers.
Montana IL Youth Task Force teleconference meetings are held once a month. The main priorities are transition funding through the 2011 legislature for a coordinator position, student led IEPs and for Vocational Rehabilitation to have a statewide consistent age for student involvement in their transition planning process. This task force also coordinated the Montana IL Youth Symposium in Missoula this summer with 40 people of all ages representing the four Centers for Independent Living (CIL).
The Montana Youth Leadership Forum (MYLF) held its annual training in Helena in July. Every year new students come for this training and past alumni like Mike or IL staff like Mary, come back to assist with this training! Applications are available for the summer of 2011, please consider this as an excellent opportunity to connect with others youth from across the state and to learn the skills necessary to be successful in your adult life.
The MYTransitions transition coordinator facilitated the National Disability Mentoring Day event in Montana along with Mike and Mary who facilitated the event in the Missoula area. 40 students with disabilities from Big Sky, Sentinel, and Frenchtown High Schools were placed in job shadow opportunities with a mentor for one day.
In addition, Mike and Mary have been key leaders in national youth education, such as through the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) youth steering committee, which prepared and held Youth Peer-to-Peer trainings at both the APRIL pre-conference in Kansas City, Kansas and at a CIL in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, they were guest facilitators at the North Carolina YLF in Raleigh, North Carolina!
Summit is honored to have Mike and Mary represent our center as the respected and energetic youth leaders that they are in the local, statewide and national arenas! If you’re interested in participating in a one-day leadership training, they are also the co-facilitators for the LEAD ON training throughout western Montana!
Summit is also proud to announce that Darren Larson is the representative for the Youth Development Network on the Missoula Children’s Forum and Youth Oversight Committee. In addition to Darren’s youth transitions and work experience he will share his expertise in the access and housing needs of people with disabilities. Ask him about visitability and how it can benefit your community!