Have no fear, the Shawnee County Disability Mentoring Day is still going to happen! Due to low participation numbers, we are postponing the event until February 19, 2014. This is a great opportunity for youth and job seekers with disabilities to get some hands on exploration in their career field of interest. Sign up today to participate!
KYEA Seeking Garage Sale Donations for Upcoming Fundraiser
It’s that time again! Help empower youth with disabilities through your donation! KYEA is needing your unwanted house hold items for our garage sale fundraiser so that our vital programs can continue to serve youth with disabilities in Kansas. We will accept the following items: decorations, kitchen ware, old DVDs, CDs, small pieces furniture, working appliances, books, blankets, sheets, toys in working condition, etc. Please no clothing or shoes. We are also needing baked home goods, including a dozen cookies, pies, tarts, breads, cakes, etc. Baked goods will be accepted from April 10-12. Please drop off your donations from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the KYEA office at 517 B SW 37th Street in Topeka (In between Credit Union and Blind Tiger). Also, don't forget to put the garage sale date on your calendar! It will be held Saturday, April 13 from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm in the KYEA parking lot. We hope to see you there!
Celebrate Kansas Mentoring Month! Our very own Director, Julia, did! Julia recently attended the signing of a proclamation declaring January as Kansas Mentoring Month. Governor Sam Brownback signed a proclamation on January 10, 2013 declaring January as Kansas Mentoring Month to recognize the importance of mentoring and to encourage more Kansans to serve as mentors in their communities. KYEA was represented, along with other mentoring programs on the Kansas Mentors Advisory Council. Celebrate your mentors this month! Are you a mentor? Consider being one! View the press release See the photo
Our very own KSYLF 2012 Alumni, Jared Ratzlaff, was recently featured in the Newton Kansan newspaper! The article talked about Jared's experiences in his internship for the Project Search program. Jared is working hard and making us proud! Read all about it at our Youth Corner.
KYEA is announcing that the delegate application deadline for the 2013 Kansas Youth Leadership Forum has been extended to February 8, 2013. This extension is being made in order to provide more youth with the opportunity to apply this year. So, do you know of a high school junior or senior with a disability who has leadership potential or interest? Then they still have time to apply for this year's KSYLF!
The 2013 Kansas Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities will be held on June 10-15 at Washburn University in Topeka. The KSYLF is an annual conference that is heading into its thirteenth year serving students with disabilities across the state. During the forum, delegates enjoy a week full of learning, fun, friends, and, most of all, a new sense of empowerment!
Students must fill out an application that will be reviewed through a competitive selection process. About 25 - 30 delegates will be selected to attend. The delegate application deadline has been extended to February 8, 2013.
Yes, you read the headline right! A public service announcement, featuring many KYEA youth, recently won a Heartland Chapter Emmy Award in the Community/Public Service Campaign category. The PSA was created by videographer John Njagi, previously with KTWU Public Television. John has been the videographer, and has created the memory DVD, for three Kansas Youth Leadership Forums. At the 2011 KSYLF, he captured many KSYLF delegates on video and created multiple "Disability Pride" PSA's from these clips. The PSA's have been shown many times on KTWU and have served as promotional tools for KYEA in the last year.
The Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards (for film), Grammy Awards (for music) and Tony Awards (for stage).
Congrats and thank you to John! Also, congrats to the KSYLF alumni who were featured in these PSA's!
Support KSYLF Alumni, Taylor Boykin, to Achieve His Dream of Driving
Please support KSYLF Alumni Taylor Boykin! He needs to raise $10,000 in the next 40 days so that he can get the training and equipment he needs to drive. Taylor has a goal to be able to drive his very own van with adapted hand controls. He is seeking support from his family and friends to be reach this goal. Check out his Indiegogo page for more information and PLEASE spread the word!
It has been a very busy summer for KYEA! In June, we held our 12th annual Kansas Youth Leadership Forum at Washburn University in Topeka. Twenty-five youth with disabilities from across the state came together to learn about leadership, advocacy, and disability pride. The theme for this year's KSYLF was "I am Able. I am Strong. I am Proud. I am ENOUGH!" This year's delegates really bonded and are now ready to take on the world!
KYEA also hosted our 3rd Empower Me! Challenge this summer. This year's EMC was attended by six Topeka youth and took place at the KYEA office and the Resource Center for Independent Living. All week long, the participants learned about community resources, employment, education, disability awareness, and so much more! The youth also gained a new set of friends and a new support system at KYEA.
This summer also brought a new round of Ambassdor Trainings. In July, four new Ambassadors completed their weekend trainings and have now moved into the presenting phase of their training. These Ambassadors have been learning all about public speaking and how to talk about their disabilities with an audience. They have also been trained on KYEA presentations and will begin presenting alongside KYEA staff in the coming months.
Our office is also buzzing with many ICON interns! Our current intern, Justin, is on his third month as a KYEA intern and is a valued part of the KYEA staff team. We also recently hired two new ICON's- Andrew Green and Clovis Reinsch, both KSYLF and EMC alumni. Learn more about all of our interns on our staff page!
Pictures from our summer programs will be coming soon...
A KSYLF alumni from this year's Forum was recently featured in a Topeka Capitol Journal article. Josh Ruoff was the subject of an article entitled "Topekan uses 'unique circumstances' to become discus champion." The article was published on August 19 and focuses on Josh's interest and achievements in sports. Read the article at CJOnline.com.
Come on out to our Spring Fling on Saturday, April 14! KYEA is partnering with the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL) to host a Spring Fling this weekend. The Spring Fling will include the Annual Justin Cosco Fundraiser Garage Sale and Bake Sale, held by KYEA. RCIL will hold an Assistive Technology Resource Fair and a Durable Medical Equipment Drive. There will also be a voter registration booth, plant sale, and food stand.
The Spring Fling will take place from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM and is open to all people. The event will be held in the parking lot in front of the KYEA and RCIL offices at 517 & 519 SW 37th Street, Topeka, KS. KYEA and RCIL are located in the Cedarwood office park, south of 37th St., between Topeka Boulevard and Kansas Avenue.
Do you have an interest in educating the community through presentations and representing KYEA? Then become a KYEA Ambassador! We will very soon be starting a new round of Ambassador trainings, and we are currently looking for youth with disabilities (ages 14-25) who are willing to be trained to present on topics such as disability history, awareness, advocacy, and anti-bullying to groups in their area. You do not have to be an expert at public speaking… that is where we come in! We will provide training and support to our Ambassadors every step of the way.
Our Introductory Training is coming up on Sunday, April 22, so sign up to attend today! Learn more about this program on our Other Programs page. Ambassador participant forms must be returned by APRIL 16, 2012. For more information, contact Carrie at 785-215-6655 or email@example.com.
The Empower Me! Challenge is back for a third year! We are currently accepting participant forms for high school youth to take part in this week-long strength building challenge. EMC is open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors with disabilities who attend school in Topeka or surrounding areas. The entire week is focused on helping each youth learn how to live independently throughout high school and beyond. A variety of topics related to transition are covered including disability awareness, goal setting, assistive technology, education, employment, and independent living.
This is not just a simple week of learning, though; this is a week of empowerment! Participants are immersed in an encouraging environment and learn in a variety of interactive ways, including trips out into the community, activities, speakers, group discussion, and more! Empower Me participant forms are due by MAY 13, 2012. Learn more by visiting our Empower Me page.
KYEA needs your help! We will soon be holding our Annual Justin Cosco Scholarship Award Garage Sale, and we need your donations. We will accept the following items: small working appliances, CDs, DVDs, video games, books, kitchen items, towels, sheets, toys, small pieces of furniture, small pieces of children’s furniture, stuffed animals, knick-knacks, sporting equipment in good condition, and picture frames. No clothing items or shoes please. Garage sale items will be accepted March 1-April 2. We are also needing baked home goods. Baked goods will be accepted April 11-13. Bring all donations to 517 SW 37th St, Ste B, in Topeka, Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM. Also, don't forget to put the garage sale date on your calendar! It will be held Saturday, April 14 from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm. We hope to see you there!
KYEA is invested in creating community for youth with disabilities in the state of Kansas. One of the ways we hope to do this is by creating a Facebook group. This is a safe, private space on Facebook for you to meet other youth with disabilities, problem solve and discuss issues in your life, share resources, or just talk about your day! You do not have to have experience with KYEA before; if you identify as a young person with a disability, check out our group at www.facebook.com/groups/kansasywd. It’s a closed group, which means that people can see the group, but they can’t see what people post, so everything that you talk about stays within the group. If you have any questions, please e-mail Rachel Gadd-Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you were watching the WIBW evening news in Topeka on Tuesday, and you thought you recognized someone, then you were right! Our very own, Trey Morgan, former ICON intern and KSYLF alumni, was featured on the newscast for his advocacy work. Trey was advocating for HB 2444, which promotes safe seclusion and restraint in Kansas schools. Trey, who was restrained quite a bit while in school, gave testimony before the House committee and shared his story with legislators. He was also interviewed for the news story covering the advocacy at the Capital. See Trey in action by viewing the news clip!
Just before Christmas, KYEA got the best gift ever! After many, many months of funding struggles, KYEA recently submitted a grant to Kansas Rehabilitation Services to continue serving youth with disabilities in our state. On December 21, we learned that we have been awarded this grant that will sustain our funding for the next 18 months, with the possibility of renewal beyond those months. So, KYEA LIVES! We want to send a huge thank you to KRS and to everyone who has supported us in the last few months. We are so excited to continue empowering youth in our state!
Along with the KRS grant, KYEA was also recently awarded funding from the Kansas Health Foundation! This funding will assist us in sustaining some of our current programs and building a new program entitled the "No More Bull" Anti-Bullying Program.
We are very excited about what is to come for KYEA in the coming year! Visit this website often for the latest updates and new programs.
Are you a youth with a disability who wants to learn how to "call the shots" with your own healthcare? Maybe you are a parent, service provider, or school nurse who wants to better assist youth in their transition journey to a healthier life. Then you should attend an upcoming conference entitled "Calling the Shots: Building a Voice for a Healthier Future." KYEA is working alongside the KS Dept. of Health and Environment and Families Together to ensure a youth track, as well as a parent track and professionals track.
This conference will take place on Saturday, March 31 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Salina. This is a full day conference starting at 9:00 am and ending at 4:00 pm. A variety of people are encouraged to attend, including: Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Parents & Families, School & Public Health Nurses, and Health Care & Community Providers.
This is not your typical health class! Come and learn about the following topics:
- Get people to listen to you about what you need
- Create a youth-centered road map for healthy living
- Learn about real sexuality and healthy relationships
- Prepare for the transition to the real world
- Plan for emergency preparedness within your home
All this and lots of activities, booths with information and giveaways, and free food!
To register, visit the Families Together website or click the registration form link below.
Have you seen some familiar faces on KTWU lately? If you haven't, then be sure to check out this channel every now and then... you might catch a glimpse of some of our 2011 KSYLF alumni! At this past summer's KS Youth Leadership Forum, our videographer, John, taped some interviews with the delegates. Out of these interviews, he has created some public service announcements that promote KYEA and our message of empowerment of youth with disabilities. We are excited about spreading our message to a wider audience through these PSA's! So, be sure to flip on over to KTWU every now and then... and celebrate when you see KYEA on your screen!
We are currently recruiting youth applicants for our 2012 KS Youth Leadership Forum! KYEA seeks motivated young leaders to attend this Forum that will be held June 18-23, 2012 at Washburn University in Topeka. KSYLF is a motivational five day forum in which a group of 30-35 high school juniors and seniors, with various disabilities, come together to learn about leadership, advocacy, goal setting, and much more! All students who are interested in attending the KSYLF must meet the following criteria:
- reside in Kansas
- have a disability as defined with the Americans With Disabilities Act
- be in the 11th or 12th grade as of January 15, 2012
- have demonstrated leadership potential or interest in their school and community
Visit our Upcoming KSYLF page to learn more and download the application. The application deadline is January 15, 2012.
Calling all former and potentially new volunteers! KSYLF is now accepting applications for volunteers for our 2012 KSYLF. We are searching for committed, enthusiastic people who are willing to devote a week to this great program. The volunteer application deadline is February 5, 2012. Apply now!
Website Links Page Updated
We have added lots of new links on our Resources page! Check them out...
Time for more ice cream! Join the Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy, AGAIN, while we stuff our faces with some sweet treats for a good cause!
KYEA Frozen Yogurt Fundraiser
Monday, September 19
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Orange Leaf in Topeka
1570 SW Wanamaker Rd.
Tired of ice cream yet? Impossible! The Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy's fundraiser at the Coldstone Creamery was such a success, we wanted to do it all over again! This time, we're going with frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf. Choose your favorite toppings, mix and match flavors of frozen yogurt, and chow down - all for a great cause!
ALL DAY on Monday, September 19, you can stop by Orange Leaf in Topeka with a flyer and have a portion of the proceeds of your purchase go to KYEA. Come out and show your support for youth with disabilities in Kansas! Share this with your friends and family too.
DON'T FORGET: You must bring the flyer to Orange Leaf in order for the proceeds of your purchase to go to KYEA!
For more information, or if you have any problems printing the flyer, contact Sydney at email@example.com or at 785-215-6655.
KYEA recently added one very important family to OUR family! We were honored to be named the recipients of the John Peterson Memorial Fund. We, at KYEA, always consider our KSYLF alumni and past staff members our family, but when we learned that past KSYLF personal care attendant, Hanna Peterson, had lost her brother and were donating his memorial fund to our organization, we felt a range of emotions. We felt sad, shocked, and then very honored.
John Edward Peterson, 23, of Emporia, KS, died from a motorcycle accident in Lyon County on Saturday, July 30, 2011. John enjoyed, and felt very strongly about, his professional work as a Day Services Mentor for people with developmental disabilities. Ed, John's father, describes his son as a man who valued his family and friends and never missed a family reunion. John was also described as a motorcycle enthusiast who drove 40,000 miles in one year.
To honor John’s life and passion for working with people with disabilities, the Peterson Family generously designated KYEA as the beneficiaries of their son’s memorial fund. Due to a recent severe budget cut, KYEA has been diligently working to secure stable funding. This contribution from the Peterson Memorial Fund will supplement a portion of these funds and will be a step towards helping KYEA to continue serving youth with disabilities in Kansas.
2011 KS Youth Leadership Forum Welcomes 26 New Alumni!
KYEA recently welcomed 26 new youth to the KS Youth Leadership Forum family. This year's KSYLF was held on June 14-18 at Washburn University in Topeka. The theme was "Believe More. Do More. Be More." Delegates spent the week learning from speakers through sessions on leadership, advocacy, goal setting, disability heritage, and more. The Mentor Luncheon was attended by the delegates, their mentors, and many community supporters. The keynote came from California YLF alumni Eddie Rea, who talked about the importance of mentors and embracing who you are. Participants also enjoyed the ever popular Day at the Capital, barbecue and wheelchair basketball, Real Life Affair, talent show, and dance. The 2011 KSYLF was led by a team of 27 staff members, including 6 alumni. By week's end, all participants left with a newfound sense of disability pride and a solid support system. Welcome 2011 alumni to the KYEA family!
Do you have items in your home that you would like to get rid off? Well, we would love to take them off of your hands! Our annual Garage Sale Fundraiser is quickly approaching and we need your help! The purpose of this fundraiser is to raise funds for our Justin Cosco Scholarship Award, which is given to a selected youth with a disability who has shown increased leadership skills in the community. We are in need of garage sale items such as decorations, kitchen ware, old DVDs, CDs, small furniture, working appliances, books, blankets, sheets, etc. We are not accepting donations of clothing or shoes. We will also be having a bake sale, so please consider donating home baked goods such as dozen cookies, pies, tarts, breads, cakes, etc.
All items can be brought to the KYEA office in Topeka at 517 SW 37th St, Suite B. Items will be accepted until March 29 for the Garage Sale and April 9 for the Bake Sale. We appreciate anything that you can contribute. Oh, and of course, don't forget to come on out to our sale and do some shopping!
Have you been attending the Youth Advisory Council for youth with special healthcare needs? Would you like to join this group? Do you have an interest in attending a fun weekend retreat for youth with disabilities? Then read on...
KYEA is partnering with KDHE- Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs to coordinate a weekend retreat for youth with disabilities. On March 26 and 27, KDHE and KYEA are hosting the 1st Youth Advisory Council Retreat! Youth will meet other youth with disabilities, discuss the issues most important to them, and learn from each other’s experiences. Mallory Cyr from Maine has been invited as the keynote speaker and will share her story (as a youth that has been recognized nationally for her advocacy skills and leadership). Mallory will share what being on a youth council like this is all about and how you can use your experiences and personal skills to take control of your own life and lead the way into the future for other youth like you. To view the flyer, registration materials, and meeting details, visit the Systems in Sync website. For more information, contact Heather Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-296-4747.
We have added a new link on the Resources page of our website! Check out First in the Family, a site related to attending college, at www.firstinthefamily.org.
We have added two new links on the Resources page of our website! Check out the Kansas Consortium for Youth Voice at www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=281579184491 and the Traveling with Disabled People site at www.1800wheelchair.ca/news/post/traveling-with-disabled-people.aspx.
KYEA is currently searching for someone to fill our Development Coordinator position. This is a new, part time position that is 20 hours per week. The person in this position will work closely with the Executive Director, staff, and community volunteers to plan and implement a comprehensive, integrated development and marketing program based on community alliances and relationship building. They will also plan and implement the organization's role and profile in the community and will be a primary organizational contact that develops and cultivates individual relationships. The Development Coordinator will also be assisting the Executive Director in creating a training manual focused on internships/employment and youth with disabilities.
See the full Development Coordinator job description for more details. If you are interested in this position, please email your cover letter and resume to email@example.com. The deadline to apply is February 1, 2011.
Our second Empower Me Challenge, that was to be held in Topeka, has been postponed until July 2011. We are very excited about having our second EMC and will be using the next few months to recruit youth participants. This Empower Me Challenge will take place during a week in July and will be open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors with disabilities who attend school in Topeka or surrounding areas. Empower Me is a strength building challenge that prepares high school students for the transition to post high school. Be on the lookout for more information as July approaches!
KYEA is announcing an extension on the deadline for students to apply for the 2011 Kansas Youth Leadership Forum. The new applicant deadline will be January 15, 2011. If you know of someone who is interested in applying, they still have time to send in an application!
We are searching for motivated young leaders to attend this Forum that will be held June 14-18, 2011 at Washburn University in Topeka. KSYLF is a motivational five day forum in which a group of about 30-40 high school juniors and seniors, with various disabilities, come together to learn about leadership, advocacy, goal setting, and much more! All students who are interested in attending the KSYLF must meet the following criteria: (1) reside in Kansas, (2) have a disability as defined with the Americans With Disabilities Act, (3) be in the 11th or 12th grade as of December 31st of 2010, and (4) have demonstrated leadership potential in school and the community.
To download an application, visit our Upcoming KSYLF page.
The Empower Me Challenge is back for a second year! We are currently accepting participant forms from youth with disabilities in Topeka to take part in this five month long program. This strength building Challenge is open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who attend school in Topeka or surrounding areas. Participants learn about topics related to successful transition. The original deadline for participant forms was December 15, but this deadline has been extended in an effort to recruit more participants. The new deadline is January 3, 2011.
To learn more about the Empower Me Challenge, visit our Other Programs page.
KYEA is getting into the holiday spirit with a new fundraiser! Please consider providing a donation that will help KYEA to continue empowering youth disabilities our state. During the month of December, every time that KYEA receives a donation, a gold or silver ornament will be added to our office Christmas tree. Not only that, but the donor will have THEIR name put on the ornament. Then, at the end of the month, the donor who provides the largest contribution will win a beautiful star tree topper as our thank you.
Each time that we receive a donation, our homepage will be updated with a new photo of our tree, so check back often! To learn more about donating, visit our Funding page. Happy Holidays to our KYEA family and friends!
It's finally here! Have you noticed some changes to our website? The KYEA website has undergone a major redesign and you are now looking at the final product. We have completely redone our website in order for it to be more youth friendly, user friendly, and accessible to everyone. There are a couple of sections that are still a bit under construction... those will be fixed soon. Please take a look around, enjoy the site, and we always welcome feedback, thoughts, and suggestions. To give a compliment or suggestion, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are currently recruiting youth applicants for our 2011 KS Youth Leadership Forum! This program is available to high school juniors and seniors with disabilities. Visit our Upcoming KSYLF page to learn more and download the application.
KSYLF Searching for Enthusiastic Volunteers for 2011
Calling all former and potentially new volunteers! KSYLF is now accepting applications for volunteers for our 2011 KSYLF. We are searching for committed, enthusiastic people who are willing to devote a week to this great program. Apply now!
Justin Cosco Scholarship Award Seeking Nominations
Do you know a KSYLF alumni who is currently demonstrating great leadership skills? Then nominate them for the Justin Cosco Scholarship Award! Learn more
The KS Youth Leadership Forum is officially ten years old! KSYLF recently celebrated ten years of empowering high school students with disabilities by having a reunion / graduate's training. The reunion took place on October 15-17, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Holidome in Topeka. Twenty four alumni from across 10 KSYLF years came together to reunite and meet new friends from their KSYLF family. The weekend was also a Graduate's Training with various speakers and activities. The theme for the weekend was "The Total Package: Learning to be healthy in all aspects of life..." Here's to 10 more years of empowering youth in Kansas through the KSYLF! Pictures from the Reunion coming soon...
Empower Me! Challenge Seeking High School Students with Disabilities in Topeka
KYEA is currently recruiting high school students with disabilities to participate in our upcoming Empower Me! Challenge. Empower Me is a five month long strength building challenge that prepares youth participants for their remaining years of high school and beyond. The program is open to freshman through seniors who attend school in Topeka or surrounding areas. Our 2011 Challenge will take place on the third Saturday of January and February, as well as the first Saturday of March, April, and May of 2011. Visit our Programs page to download a participant form.
To view more news, visit our Archived News page.