Alise Smith was born with a rare birth defect called Distal Arthrogryposis which restricts movement in her joints. She was raised in Hayward, California where she sought to go far and beyond her abilities by exceeding in education, volunteer work, and the Arts. With a strong support system, Alise was able to graduate Magna Cum Laude from California State University, East Bay in psychology, receive awards for her dedication in serving her community, and raise money for different causes by selling her artwork at local fairs. Today she is working on applying for graduate school, and volunteers as a crisis counselor/ mentor for local youth. Alise's personal experience with receiving accommodations as an undergrad inspired her to devote her life in assisting students with various disabilities at a local community college, and to one day serve on the Youth Action Council (YAC) to inspire others to reach their goals in higher education. Alise is excited to be given the opportunity for the next two years to serve on the YAC, and hopes to be an informative resource for youth and a reliable aide to her council members. Last but not least, Alise enjoys the leisure of creating artwork, dancing at local churches, volunteering in her community, listening to old school music, traveling around the world to visit family and friends, and watching movies from the 90s.
Youth Advisory Council (YO! YAC) Alise California Foundation for Independent Living Centers – Sacramento, CA
My name is Armand Bujanda. I am a 25 year old college senior at Cal Poly Pomona where I am currently studying Business Administration emphasizing in non-profit management. I also volunteer/intern at the Service Center for Independent Life (SCIL) which is the Independent Living Center (ILC) in my area. As a volunteer/intern, I work with the systems change advocate to understand how to advocate for others as well as myself. As part of my internship duties I also attended several board meetings. Attending board meetings lead to a position on the board at SCIL. As a board member, I plan on serving the interest of the youth and consumers. I have engaged with them in their Independent Living Skills (ILS) trainings by participating and facilitating some of the ILS trainings. This experience helped me understand how to work with people with various disabilities at once. As part of the YAC, my goal is to help lead others towards self-acceptance and to understand the intersectionality of disability and ethnicity. As part of this goal, I am working on starting a Latinos with Disabilities Support Group with my local ILC.
Youth Advisory Council (YO! YAC) Armand California Foundation for Independent Living Centers – Sacramento, CA
My name is Priscilla, I'm 26 years old, and I have a physical disability called Nemaline Myopathy. I live in Sacramento and graduated in 2012 from UC Davis with a BA in Women and Gender Studies and two minors in Religious Studies and Middle East/South Asia Studies. I am currently working on a few prerequisites before pursuing a Masters in Social Work. I'm passionate about advocating for the rights and freedoms of marginalized communities throughout the world and domestically, particularly the disability and LGBTQ communities. When I have spare time, I enjoy computer gaming, reading, blogging, watching movies and TV series, digital painting, eating, traveling to Disneyland when possible, and generally spending as much time as I can with my best friend, my adorable dog, Babee. Through the YAC, I hope to influence new programs and issues related to folks with disabilities. I particularly would like to focus on creating more social programs to facilitate camaraderie between young people with disabilities, as well as further the dialogue about how disability and sexuality intersect.
Youth Advisory Council (YO! YAC) Priscilla California Foundation for Independent Living Centers – Sacramento, CA
Hi, my name is Alexa McBride! I've been a part of YO! Disabled and Proud for five years. I went to Sacramento State University and got my BA in Child Development in 2014. I currently work at Luther Burbank High school as an afterschool team leader. I am very excited to be a part of the Youth Action Council.
Youth Advisory Council (YO! YAC) Alexa California Foundation for Independent Living Centers – Sacramento, CA
My name is Sara and I was born in New York. For the early part of my life, I was raised in Virginia and moved to California seventeen years ago. I graduated from San Francisco State three years ago with a Bachelors in Sociology. Although I have been working since graduating, I have always had a passion for Disability Advocacy. I am looking forward to getting involved with social justice campaigns which will impact the lives of youth with disabilities.
Youth Advisory Council (YO! YAC) Sara Silicon Valley Independent Living Center – San Jose, CA
My name is Ian Doporto. I am nineteen years old and live in Castro Valley, California. I graduated from Castro Valley High School in June 2017. This November I plan to attend a film workshop called Futures Explored, where people with disabilities study film production and disability advocacy. I also am looking towards community college, where I am interested in creative writing and anthropology. I first heard about YO! at the Abilities Expo in 2014. I am calling for full inclusion of disabled youth with their fellow peers/friends, as well as more routes of accessibility for people with disabilities who seek to be active traveling in the community. I want myself and others like me to have social economic equality and resources needed to live independently and to succeed academically.
Youth Advisory Council (YO! YAC) Ian California Foundation for Independent Living Centers – Sacramento, CA
I am a queer and self-identified disabled performer working to bring greater accessibility to the performing arts and challenging society's perceptions of persons with disabilities. I have worked with numerous disability awareness groups such as the P.R.I.D.E (Promoting Rights of Individuals with Disabilities Everywhere) group on my college campus where I served two years as President as well as serving as the Social Media and Advocacy and Legislative Chairs for Blind LGBT Pride International for three years. I currently advise on the creation and implementation of audio description, touch tours, captions, sign language interpretation, wheelchair access and attention to a wide range of access considerations for live performance. This is not only necessary to make performances accessible to people with disabilities, but also beneficial for everyone involved. As a performer who is blind, I hope to challenge questions of perception, identity, possibility and the creative process. I hold a BA in Theatre with a minor in Psychology from Adrian College in Adrian Michigan and have studied Shakespeare at the University of Oxford. I attend many events at the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco and am a recent graduate of the Hatlen Center for the Blind. I am a passionate, outgoing and dedicated person. I am ready to educate others, be a positive and encouraging face and to advocate. I want to connect with and empower others in the disability movement to strive to make positive change in the wider community. I am new to California, so I hope to connect to the larger disability community and learn from those with differing stories from myself. I love to challenge myself and those around me through learning and trying new things. I enjoy public speaking, volunteering and being a part of something bigger than myself. As a member of the YAC, I hope to gain valuable hands-on experience in helping the disability community in California and beyond. I love to take what I have learned and question my ideals to deeply examine my choices and relationship to ableism and many other systemic social issues in order to help become the most well-rounded person possible.