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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