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Youth Leadership Academy

Partnership with TN's Centers for Independent Living

Youth Leadership Academy

In 2016, the Council launched a new partnership with TN's Centers for Independent Living (CILs) on a multi-year initiative to provide training to transition-aged youth across the state.

The Council and CILs will host and facilitate a 3–4 day training for high school students with disabilities in different parts of the state, with the goal of placing youth exiting high school on a positive path towards post-secondary training, education, employment and living more independently. We will work together to develop curriculum, agenda, selection criteria for participants, budget, local arrangements, and evaluation tools and process. Each training will be held in proximity to the CILs.

The first Academy was held in ​Paris, TN in June 2017 in partnership with T.A.R.P. Center for Independent Living (Training, Advocacy, Referral, Peer Support and Transition). 

The second Academy was held in Nashville in June 2018 in partnership with Empower Tennessee (Middle TN's Center for Independent Living). Read about it in this Breaking Ground article.

The third Academy will be held in Nashville in July 2019 with Empower Tennessee again, as well as STEP-TN (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents).

What topics do the Academies cover?

  • The History of the Self-Advocacy and Independent Living Movements
  • The Importance of Speaking up for Yourself
  • State and Community Resources
  • Developing Independent Living Skills
  • Developing a One-Page Plan/Profiles
  • Putting Technology to Work for You
  • Communicating with Legislators / Telling Your Story


Partners in Policymaking Director

Ned Andrew Solomon

Photo of youth from Paris attending the Youth Leadership Academy and working together on an assignment