• Category Archives YO! Alumni Profiles
  • YO! Alumni Profile: Rosie Mcdonnell-Horita

     

    1. Why did you originally get involved with YO?

    I started volunteering with YO! shortly after I attended the California Youth Leadership Forum for students with disabilities in 2010. After spending a week with the community, I knew I wanted to become more involved within the world of leadership, advocacy and take action. I gained so many tools and resources while at YLF and I wanted to find a way to share that knowledge and apply it in my life. Initially I started out working on the Disability History Week campaign which had just celebrated the passing of the resolution to have disability history taught in schools k-12, and I was excited to get started on a new project!

    1. What did you gain from being a part of YO?

    During my three years with YO!, I gained confidence, leadership skills and a professional network that I still rely on today. As a 16 year old volunteer, it was amazing to have an organization and group of leaders who were giving young people an opportunity to have their voices heard. I gained the confidence to speak out for what I believe in and take pride in educating people about disability culture and community. I also grew as a leader when working with other fantastic youth from across California. We shared our strengths and knowledge to do the best work we could. I also had the opportunity to attend different conferences, speak at schools and network with many different professionals which I still keep in touch with today.

    1. Would you do it again if you could? Why?

    I really enjoyed my time volunteering and working with YO! Some of my greatest friendships grew out of being a YO! member and I would absolutely do it again if possible.

    1. Would you refer or recommend a youth to be a part of YO?

    Over the years of my involvement with youth, I have recommended they become involved with YO! in whatever capacity they felt comfortable in. I think experiencing any opportunity such as YO! would be great for young people.

    1. What was the best part of being a YO! Volunteer or time on the YAC?

    The best part of being a YO! volunteer was being able to meet and work alongside leaders in the disability community. It was because of my involvement with YO! and the disability community that I was able to travel to Washington D.C. and meet even more amazing leaders who are also fighting our fight.

    1. How would you describe YO! to a friend?

    I would describe YO! as a community of young thought leaders who are the next generation of positive action. It’s a safe space where you can learn from others and feel proud of who you are in all your identities.

    1. What have you accomplished since you completed your Volunteer or time on the YAC?

    Since I was a YO! volunteer, I have continued my involvement with YLF, did an internship in Washington D.C. and in 2015 I graduated with my Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Ethnic Studies from University of California of San Diego. I currently work for the San Diego County Office of Education as an instructional aide working with students who are visually impaired. My long term goal is to go back to school and get my Ph.D!

     

     

     


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  • Featured ImageYO! Alumni Profile: Jessica Jimenez

    A black and white photo of a young woman holding up a sign.
    Featured Alumni Jessica Jimenez

     

    1. Why did you originally get involved with YO?

    I got involved with YO! because I looked for programs that focused on disability issues and YO! Consistently kept popping up in my web searches.

    2. What did you gain from being a part of YO?

    I gained a lot from YO! I learned a lot about the disability movement that I was never taught in school. In college I had some idea about what the Americans with Disabilities Act was, but when I joined YO! I learned the history and learned how to educate my peers better, to know their rights as an individual. I also gained a scholarship to NCIL as a YO! Member and as a YO! Volunteer I became the Chair for the Youth Caucus for NCIL.

    3. Would you do it again if you could? Why?

    I would be a YO! Volunteer again if I could. I attained so many contacts within the disability community, and I learned so much from everyone.

    4. Would you refer or recommend a youth to YO!?

    I would recommend youth to YO! I have recommended individuals from my alma mater Long Beach State.

    5. What was the best part of being a YO! Volunteer or YAC member?

    The best part about being a YO! Volunteer was that I found my place in some social justice movement and it was great. It wasn’t so much my need to go out and protest, it was my need for learning more about disability. When I majored in Women’s Studies, the only women talked about were able bodied women whom made a difference during the passage of laws like the 19th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act. I felt isolated in those classes not learning about the disabled bodies that were involved within those movements. When I learned about Judy Heumann’s role for the passage of the ADA made me want to learn more about the role women with disabilities played in different parts of history!

    6. How would you describe YO! to a friend?

    I have described YO! To my friends that it is an organization for Youth with disabilities (or young adults with disabilities), that helps empower them to become more independent throughout society. Volunteers, volunteer at independent living centers and gain work experience.

    7. What have you accomplished since you completed your Volunteer with time YO! or time on the YAC?

    Since I completed my time volunteer time with YO! I have been involved with the NCIL Youth Caucus, I recieved a fellowship for Young People For from the People for American Way Foundation and this July 2017 I facilitated in the North Carolina YLF.

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  • Featured ImageYO! Alumni Profile: Damary Celita Bustos Beltran

    Photo of Damary Celita Bustos Beltran
    Featured YO! Alumn Damary Celita Bustos Beltran

     

    1. Why did you originally get involved with YO?

    To learn more about my own disabled history and to meet more youth with disabilities.

    2. What did you gain from being a part of YO?

    What I gained from YO was knowledge about disability issues and meeting young youth who were interested in learning about disability history.

    3. Would you do it again if you could? Why?

    I would join YO! again because I was close minded about disability issues and I learned a lot throughout my volunteering at YO! I have a different perspective about disabled people as well.

    4. Would you refer or recommend a youth to YO!?

    Of course I would reccomend and refer a youth to YO! Especially if they are close minded like I was.

    5. What was the best part of being a YO! Volunteer or YAC member?

    The best part of being a YO! Volunteer was making friends who have disabilities. Especially meeting my friend Alexa who has a very similar disability as me. Also I liked going to events and presenting disability history in high schools.

    6. How would you describe YO! to a friend?

    YO! is a organization throughout the state for youth with disabilities that connects them via online or events.

    7. What have you accomplished since you completed your Volunteer with time YO! or time on the YAC?

    I have accomplished having more knowledge on disability history & to learn how to treat disabled people.

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  • Featured ImageYO! Alumni Profile: Sara Moussavian

    Photo of a young woman dressed in black with a white hair band.
    Featured Alumni:
    Sara Moussavian

     

    1. Why did you originally get involved with YO?

    The reason I became involved with YO! is because I was interested in finding a group of peers like myself in efforts of feeling like I belong in the social clique.

    2. What did you gain from being a part of YO?

    In addition to an expansion in my social group; my leadership, advocacy skills and most importantly knowledge about Disability history increased through my work on the Disability History Week Campaign.

    3. Would you do it again if you could? Why?

    Yes, I would participate in YO! again as I’m interested in participating in campaigns which would make a difference in the community (both with individuals with disabilities and individuals who do not have disabilities).

    4. Would you refer or recommend a youth to YO!?

    Yes, I would recommend YO! to other youth in the community.

    5. What was the best part of being a YO! Volunteer or YAC member?

    The best part of being a YO! volunteer was having an opportunity to make a difference in the community and wanting to participate as it became a hobby versus being a participant in the activity to fulfill a requirement for school.

    6. How would you describe YO! to a friend?

    I would describe YO! to a friend by stating it is a life changing experience by having the opportunity to participate in a social justice campaign with other youth who are pleasant to work with.

    7. What have you accomplished since you completed your Volunteer with time YO! or time on the YAC?

    Since my time at YO! has ended, I have graduated from San Francisco State with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and have obtained a job with the Federal government.

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  • Featured ImageYO! Alumni Profile: Tina Yeh

    Young Asian woman in wheelchair smiling.
    Featured Alumni: Tina Yeh

     

    1. Why did you originally get involved with YO?

    I attended YLF, and volunteered at DMC.

    2. What did you gain from being a part of YO?

    I really got to see some of the disability history work they did and got to help with presentations.

    3. Would you do it again if you could? Why?

    Yes I would. I just like to help other people. I’m able to develop my sense of empowerment as well as broaden my horizon by interacting with different individuals.

    4. Would you refer or recommend a youth to YO!?

    Yes and I have!

    5. What was the best part of being a YO! Volunteer or YAC member?

    Being able to see the different projects going on by just being involved in the community.

    6. How would you describe YO! to a friend?

    YO! focuses on education and empowerment around various types of disabilities.

    7. What have you accomplished since you completed your Volunteer with time YO! or time on the YAC?

    I interned for a local organization on my college campus. I am finishing up a B.A. in psychology on track to graduate this summer.

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  • Featured ImageYO! Alumni Profile: Jamie Caron

    Photo of a light-skinned young asian woman standing and smiling near a fireplace. She is wearing glasses, a maroon blouse and a black skirt.
    Featured Alumni Jamie Caron

     

    1. Why did you originally get involved with YO?

    I wanted to educate others on disabilities and to be around other people with disabilities.

    2. What did you gain from being a part of YO?

    More awareness about myself and proper etiquette for people with disabilities.

    3. Would you do it again if you could? Why?

    Yeah, I like teaching legislators about issues that people with disabilities face; I want more people to treat us with respect and equality.

    4. Would you refer or recommend a youth to YO!?

    Yes, it’s good they learn how to treat other people with disabilities act that it’s cool being part of that community.

    5. What was the best part of being a YO! Volunteer or YAC member?

    Meeting other youth with disabilities and teaching people about what it’s like to be a youth with a disability. Also I really liked working on the campaigns.

    6. How would you describe YO! to a friend?

    Yo is a program that connects youth with disabilities to the community.

    7. What have you accomplished since you completed your Volunteer with time YO! or time on the YAC?

    I got an AA as communication, and I became a stronger leader.

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  • Featured ImageYO! Alumni Profile: Jonny Vallin

    Photo of Jonny Vallin
    Featured Alumni Jonny Vallin
    “YO! Disabled & Proud gave me a way to stay connected and practice the skills I learned after attending the Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities. YO! Volunteer Corps provided an opportunity for me to gain employment readiness skills while serving at my local Independent Living Center and eventually a paid position. YO! Volunteer Corps gave me the self-confidence I needed to earn my AA degree and transfer to a four year university.”

     

    1. Why did you originally get involved with YO?

    After attending YLF in 2009, YO was a way to stay connected and practice all I learned. I was able to advocate on behalf of youth with disabilities for rights and equal opportunities.

    2. What did you gain from being a part of YO?

    I gain many skills! I got to placed in an ILC and got work and volunteer experience. I built an intense network as well as develop youth-driven projects.

    3. Would you do it again if you could? Why?

    In a heartbeat. I had a blast and found my passion in life.

    4. Would you refer or recommend a youth to YO!?

    I have! many!

    5. What was the best part of being a YO! Volunteer or YAC member?

    I think knowing that I apart of a group of youth that was statewide and that we would work
    together to implement disability history week in schools.

    6. How would you describe YO! to a friend?

    Great work experience and friendly environment .

    7. What have you accomplished since you completed your Volunteer with time YO! or time on the YAC?

    I have had seasonal employment at the ILC and finished my AA.

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