• Tag Archives youth empowerment
  • YO Volunteer Opportunity

    Youth Organizing (YO!) Disabled & Proud

    The programs of the Service Center for Independent Life (SCIL), Marin Center for Independent Living (MCIL) and California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)


    YO! Disabled & Proud is CFILC’s statewide youth program that is focused on connecting, educating and organizing youth with disabilities ages 16-28 throughout California.  YO! offers youth leadership opportunities, youth social change campaign opportunities, youth specific  trainings, youth activities developed by youth for youth and job readiness skill building through YO! Volunteer Corp.  To learn more visit our website:www.yodisabledproud.org


    Under the direction of the Youth Organizer the YO! Volunteer will engage in youth organizing campaigns, promote the YO! Disabled and Proud program.



    • Assist in organizing of activities related to CFILC’s Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud program.
    • Assist in organizing events that are youth led and youth driven, such as summits, community forums, trainings and leadership events.
    • Assist in collecting youth input for projects and campaigns.

    Marketing & Public Relations

    • Assist in developing website materials and social media content.
    • Bolster social network presence for youth organizing activities within your local community.
    • Assist in maintaining the local social network for youth.
    • Assist in other marketing and public relations tasks such as:
      •  Social Media Outreach


    • Assist in answering the YO! 411 Hotline.
    • Other emerging volunteer assignments as needed. 


    • Youth with a disability between the ages of 16 -28.
    • Ability to communicate with other youth and adults with disabilities.
    • Ability to maintain confidentiality. 
    • Ability to ask for assistance and support when needed. 
    • Ability to research, plan and provide information to youth about local resources and events.
    • Ability to operate in a computer-based office environment.
    • Ability to commitment 16 hours minimum per month for one year.


    STIPEND: $100/per month


    Interested applicants should apply online at: http://www.yodisabledproud.org/volunteer/become-volunteer.php

  • My Technology Wake-Up Call

    by Jose Alan Cruz

    Series of 3 photos in a filmstrip: Photo of a young Latino man typing, using a black Braille device. Text: My Technology Wake-Up Call. Alan Cruz shares his experience using Braille devices.

    I may have started using assistive technology (AT) in junior high, but my  ‘relationship’ with technology did not start until I got to my first year of college. Throughout my junior high and high school years, I used my BrailleNote to do almost all my homework.  A BrailleNote is device that is similar to an iPad in size but thicker. It has 13 buttons and it kind of works like a laptop because it has internet and email.

    The only subject I didn’t use my BrailleNote to do my homework was math. I used to do my math work on a Brailler. A Brailler is a huge machine that has ten keys and once you put a piece of paper in you could start writing Braille. For those that have seen or heard of a Brailler, will know what a pain those machines are. I was never taught or told how to do math on the BrailleNote. I didn’t even know how to use a computer.

    Photo of 2 Braille Display Note-taker devices, one gray, one teal.
    Find Braille Display Note-taker devices like these one the Ability Tools AT Exchange, free of charge to borrow!

    During my first year of college, I did not know how I was going to do my homework because the college didn’t have any Braillers. I needed to figure out a way to do my math work, so I began to research for ways that blind people can do math without using a Brailler.  After a couple of days of searching, I found helpful information on how to do math on the BrailleNote.

    I took that situation as a wake up call and I started to search for all the technology available for me. I also started taking classes to learn more about computers and all the different screen readers. All my work paid off because I was able to successfully pass my math class. Since that event in my life, I have gotten involved with technology and I try to stay on top of it.

    I enjoy connecting youth to technology because I don’t want them to go through the same struggles as I did. I want them to know as much as possible about technology so they can be prepared and successful when they go to college.

    In addition, I provide my students and consumers with as many resources as possible. It is very important to me because I want them to be successful in school and work. I feel that their future depends on what I teach them and also on the resources that I connect them to. Technology is not going away, so I recommend that youth and adults learn as much as possible. It does not hurt any one to know about computers, cell phones, and other software. It would definitely look wonderful in those resumes.


    Check out talking prescription dispensers and more reader devices (available for free to borrow!) on the AT Exchange.

    Jose (Alan) Cruz lives in Southern California and is transitioning from being a Youth Organizing (YO!) Disabled and Proud volunteer to working at the Dayle McIntosh Center (DMC) in Anaheim. He has been blind since the age of four. You can see Alan working (and having fun!) with the DMC youth group via Facebook and Instagram.