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Disabled Youth Peer Development Initiative (DYPDI)

Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Program Description:
Sponsored by the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), the Disabled Youth Peer Development Initiative (DYPDI) encourages the development of independent living skills and leadership abilities of young people with disabilities.

Chicago Public School (CPS) high school sophomores and juniors with disabilities are eligible to apply. Students are selected based on:

• Attainment of a grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher;
• Demonstration of leadership skills; and
• Recommendations from adult mentors.

The year-long, paid internship requires students to participate during and after school hours, as well as work 35 hours a week during the summer.

DYPDI students participate in a group project designed to address the issues faced by young people with disabilities. Past projects have included production of an educational video and a resource guide.

DYPDI students also have an opportunity to explore different career paths through job shadowing and personal mentoring as part of National Disability Mentoring Day.

Seventy five percent of former DYPDI students have gone onto college, other vocational education opportunities or into the workforce.