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YO! Alumni Profile: Jessica Jimenez

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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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