Search form

California Youth Leadership Forum

California Youth Leadership Forum

1029 J Street, Suite 120
Sacramento, CA 95814

916-325-1690 (Voice)
916-325-1695 TTY
916-325-1699 FAX



Young people with disabilities have both more opportunities and more challenges than at any other time in our nation’s history. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has created unprecedented opportunities for these young people to fully develop as positive, contributing members of our society.The YLF enables them to learn from each other and from successful adults with disabilities. Hundreds of our YLF alumni lead independent lives and many have graduated from such prestigious universities as UCLA and Stanford and have successful careers.

What is it?

The YLF is an innovative, intensive five-day training program for high school juniors and seniors with disabilities. The training is presented in a fun, entertaining, and educational format in Sacramento, California. It was created by the California Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities

What Kind Of Students Participate In The Youth Leadership Forum?

Young people with disabilities who demonstrate leadership potential, academic success, involvement in extra-curricular activities, community involvement and the ability to interact effectively with other students.

What Specifically Happens At The Forum?

The program includes small and large group discussions, a talent/variety show, a dance, a formal luncheon with community leaders, and a meeting in the Governor’s Office.

Topics include “Choosing a Career,” “Understanding the History of Disability as a Culture,” and “Assistive Technology for Independence Presenters include disability community leaders, legislators, celebrities, and other adult role models who have disabilities. Students identify existing challenges to personal and professional success and develop plans to deal on how to overcome those challenges. They learn to manage their independence, develop public policy recommendations which are formally presented by the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities to the Governor and State Legislature, develop “Personal Leadership Plans” which include specific action items for the students when they return to their communities, learn how they may be able to participate in internships, mentoring programs, and other employment preparation activities, once the Forum has ended and learn how they may be able to participate in internships, mentoring programs, and other employment preparation activities, once the Forum has ended.

How Does The Forum Happen?

Approximately 60 high school students are selected to attend through a competitive process. The event successfully integrates students who represent the disability and ethnic diversity of our state. The Forum is held annually at the end of July in the State Capitol, Sacramento, and at California State University, Sacramento


California High School Juniors & Seniors with a disability which may include a variety of disabilities from learning, visual, mobility, mental health, developmental, hearing, and neurological impairments who have demonstrated leadership potential in school and in the community. Some age exceptions may be made.


None. All students selected attend free of charge.

How are students selected?

Finalists will be contacted by telephone to arrange a personal interview. YLF Steering committee Partners will conduct the interview, which will take place by April. Allselected and non-selected applicants will be notified through mail. Approximately 60 students will be chosen to attend.

What happens if you are selected to attend YLF?

Students will be asked to fill out a confirmation form and provide additional information. The YLF staff will then send more detailed information about the Forum’s schedule and activities. All appropriate expenses will be paid by the Youth Leadership Forum. This includes travel, lodging, food, and accommodations such as sign language interpreters, personal care attendants and alternate formats.

To apply

Download and Complete the Application

Applications must be typewritten and signed. Submitletters of recommendation with completed application by mailno later than whatever the deadline is, probably in March.