Earlier this April, Youth Organizing (YO!) Disabled and Proud participated in the California Coalition for Youth’s Taking Action Conference, which is `dedicated to advocating and serving homeless and disconnected youth. Every year at this conference they take a moment to honor the service providers in the youth field that excel at supporting youth. This year they honored Allie Cannington, former YO! Volunteer extraordinaire, with the Susan Matheson Mentoring Award.
When YO! started in 2009, one of our first volunteers was a young woman named Allie Cannington. Since then, she has gone on to do amazing work with youth including those that are disabled, LGBTQ, homeless, at risk of being homeless, and/or disconnected from services that they desperately need.
Her devotion to youth issues was started with her work at YO! and the Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities. She took what she learned with both programs when she relocated to Washington, D.C. to study and work for five years on local, statewide, and national disability rights and social justice initiatives. Allie served as the Youth Transitions Fellow for the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) where they led national and local efforts to empower and organize intersectionally marginalized youth with disabilities, particularly through self-advocacy, community empowerment, and employment development initiatives.
We at YO!could not be more proud of Allie, or the work that she has accomplished in her young life. Christina Mills– Deputy Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) and one of Allie’s mentors– (who also won the Sue Matheson mentoring award in 2009, a fact that Allie herself was ecstatic about) said it best:
“The spark that was ignited when Allie began her disability justice journey as a youth continues to flourish with passion and purpose. The fire in the belly that now resides within Allie is what others see and feel as she demonstrates her leadership skills and impacts the lives of others who ultimately become a part of the growing circle of disability pride and community because of her.
Allie Cannington now works at Larkin Street Youth Services as Youth Advisory Board Coordinator. She brings the spirit of the disability rights community into everything that she does encompassing wholly with her life’s work the idea of “nothing about us, without us”. We know that Allie will continue to do amazing things and bring together multiply marginalized communities to form a more unified society through practices of understanding and listening.
Congratulations on your accomplishments, Allie. We wish you nothing short of the best.
Photo Description: A Woman with long Brown hair and Glasses smiling and standing(Allie) next to a woman sitting in a wheelchair(Yolanda)