Harvill selected for Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum

Published 8:26 am Thursday, May 31, 2012

A local high school student has been selected to participate in the 14th annual Alabama Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) from June 3-7 on the campus of Troy University.

David Harvill of Greenville was selected from among 45 applicants to attend the forum, which is sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS), Troy University, the Governor’s Office on Faith-Based Initiatives, and the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities.

YLF delegates are chosen through a statewide competition that seeks students with disabilities who have leadership potential. The group reflects the state’s demographic makeup in terms of geography, gender, ethnicity, and types of disabilities.

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About 30 students statewide are expected to participate in this year’s forum. To be eligible to attend, students must have a disability, be a junior or senior in high school, and be between 17 to 21 years old.

The five-day event seeks to equip high school students with disabilities with valuable leadership skills.

“We want to empower our young people to be involved in all aspects of society,” said Karen Jenkins, YLF coordinator.

During the forum, delegates will learn about self-esteem, self-advocacy, career choices, independent living, and assistive technology, Jenkins said. They will write a Personal Leadership Plan (PLP) to assist them in becoming leaders in their communities.

In addition to their other activities, the group will spend a day in Montgomery, where they will tour the state Capitol. While in town, delegates will attend a Mentors Luncheon, where they will have the opportunity to interact with and get advice from successful Alabamians with disabilities.

But YLF won’t be all work for the delegates. To develop their social skills, they also will be treated to a swim party, a dance, and a talent show.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services is the state agency whose mission is to enable Alabama’s children and adults with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential.