Youth Programs


NEW – Virtual Learning and Peer Support for Youth with Disabilities

While Access Living and Chicago-area schools are closed due to Covid-19, Access Living’s Youth Team is now offering youth mentorship our in-school programs online!

Graphic is of two people communicating from a distance through their phones. On the left is a person sitting in a chair with a cup of tea. On the right side is a woman wheelchair user wearing a hijab. The text reads "Come Together While Staying Apart."
Virtual learning and connections for young people with disabilities.

1. Connect with your peers and mentors through DJMC online.

2. Learn about disability and how to be independent through virtual Fast Track and Reaching Our Dreams.

Access Living Programs for Youth with Disabilities

Access Living offers multiple opportunities and programs for youth with disabilities to learn, grow, build community, and prepare for their futures.

The Disability Justice Mentoring Collective

A smiling person with long brown hair carries a sign reading "I heart my disability."
DJMC youth participate in all kinds of activities, including the annual Disability Pride Parade.

The Disability Justice Mentoring Collective (DJMC) is an award-winning mentoring program that pairs disabled young people with adult mentors. Together, mentoring pairs work on tasks such as:

  • Setting goals
  • Problem solving
  • Building community
  • Taking public transit
  • Acquiring independent living skills

During the program, participants also learn about the history of disability rights, the issues impacting disabled people today, and how to be their own best advocates.

We are always looking for mentors and mentees to join DJMC. Visit the DJMC page to learn more about participation and eligibility.

In-school programs

Kids in a classroom, listening to their teacher.
Young adults with disabilities can benefit from disability-specific programs.

Access Living offers three programs in schools for students with disabilities:

  • YIELD the Power Workshops teach students with disabilities self-advocacy and leadership skills.
  • Fast Track: Fast Track teaches high school freshman and sophomores with disabilities actionable ways to take control of their futures, whether they see themselves entering the workforce or going to college.
  • Reaching Our Dreams: Reaching Our Dreams teaches life skills needed for students with disabilities to live independently. This program is an add-on for students who already participate in Fast Track.

Community outreach

If you would like representatives from our youth programs to attend an outreach event in your community, or you’d like to have one of our programs offered at your school, please contact a member of our youth team.