Lowndes County youths attend Governor’s forum

Published 12:16 pm Thursday, June 13, 2024

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By Richard Couch

Special to The Lowndes Signal

White Hall resident Robert Burrell and Hayneville’s Kaydan Williams recently participated in the Alabama Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) on the campus of Auburn University.  

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During Thursday’s graduation ceremonies, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw encouraged the group to pursue their passions and learn the value of teamwork. 

“Each of you has unique talents, abilities, and strengths,” Burdeshaw said. “I hope you focused on those this week. I hope you learned a lot about other people’s strengths and that sometimes we can’t be the best at everything, but that’s okay. We can hang out with somebody who is the best at that thing and then the two of us together can get things done.” 

The five-day event equips high school students with disabilities with valuable leadership skills through sessions on self-esteem, career exploration, technology, independent living, and etiquette.  

The participants traveled to Montgomery to meet state leaders as part of the camp. That trip also included a tour of the Capitol, the State House and a mentor luncheon, where delegates interacted with and received advice from successful adults with disabilities.  

Forum delegates are chosen through a statewide search for students displaying leadership potential. To be eligible, an individual must be a high school junior or senior with a disability between 17 and 21 years old.  

Sponsors for YLF include ADRS, the Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Auburn University, Alabama Department of Mental Health, and the Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities. 

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services is the state agency serving Alabama’s children and adults with disabilities.