Youth Leadership Institute

2022 Youth Leadership Institute
Applications now being accepted.

APIDC’s Youth Leadership Institute trains young adults to become advocates for APIs with disabilities. We seek college students from all backgrounds and ethnicities who have a passion for empowering APIs with disabilities.

The Youth Leadership Institute focuses on a combination of developing grassroots leadership skills and providing a safe space for mutual sharing and learning. Participants are selected from a broad variety of backgrounds who show a strong potential to become future leaders. Some recent YLI graduates describe their experience:

2016 Graduate Nikita — “The YLI gave me the skills that helped me become more successful at community inclusion… I’m continuing to learn about our history and the importance of unity.”

2016 Graduate and UC Santa Barbara PhD student Ann — “The program was a journey of self-cultivation; it catalyzed my exploration of what it truly means to live the intersectionality of being an Asian American woman and having a disability.”


2019 Graduate Russell — “Before I started this program, it was my goal to become an advocate for Autism rights. After attending the last three sessions and listening to all the wonderful speakers, I have a much better understanding of my Asian community and how I can become a more effective advocate for the rights of the disabled.”

Qualities of an Institute Participant
  • Have a strong desire to learn from others

  • Demonstrate an ability and willingness to share best practices and lessons learned

  • Be open minded to different ways of thinking

  • Have a desire to share their own story about their experience with disabilities

  • Be committed to implementing a community initiative 1 year within training completion

  • Be committed in staying in touch with APIDC

What to Expect During the Program
  1. Interactive discussions on grassroots leadership, topics including:

    • API/Disability Rights History

    • Advocacy

    • Coalition Building

    • Communication/Networking Skills

    • Public Speaking Skills

    • Basic Employability Skills

  2. Opportunities to discuss how your involvement in the community and the issues that you wish to address or learn more about

  3. Free time to interact with other participants

Are You Eligible to Apply?
  • Be at least 18 years of age

  • Show a track record of involvement in the disability community

  • Show an interest in advocating for APIs with disabilities

  • Attend college and have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent

Selection Criteria
  • Proven track record of participating in community activities

  • Demonstrated leadership skills and an interest in community service

  • Demonstrated ability to relate to people of other cultures and backgrounds

  • Expressed interest in developing and sustaining a community initiative

  • Leadership potential

  • Willingness to speak publicly

  • Energetic, positive attitude

When Is the Youth Leadership Institute?

There are two main components to the Youth Leadership Institute:

  • The training workshops will take place on three consecutive Sundays, from 9am to 5pm. Sessions will be held at the Special Services for Groups (SSG) training room, 905 E 8th Street, Los Angeles. Full attendance at all three workshops is required.

  • A graduation ceremony will take place following the workshops.

  • Following the training series, participants will have one year to utilize their learned skills to implement a disabilities initiative on their campus or in their community.

What Is the Cost?

There is no application fee. 


The deadline for applying to the 2022 Youth Leadership Institute is TBD. Applicants for the program must submit the following:

  1. A completed online application form. Click here for the application.

  2. Two letters of recommendation from adults not related to you and know you well enough to talk about your leadership abilities, character, and ability to handle situations under pressure. Letters should address the applicant’s leadership abilities, character, and ability to handle situations under pressure. Letters should be sent via email to

Finalists will be invited to an interview with the selection committee.

Questions? Email us at, or call us at (213) 207-6838.


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