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Youth Engagement Program (YEP): The Priceless Value of Our Youth

Mar 28, 2024 |

Message from the President and CEO Cass Isidro  

2024 has already been one of many successes for the limb loss and limb difference community to use for momentum in continuing to build our collective voice in creating a better tomorrow ensuring dignity and equality. 

We recently released our commissioned study titled: Prevalence of Limb Loss and Limb Difference in the United States: Implications for Public Policy. This study, in partnership with Avalere, outlines that there are 5.6 million++ Americans living with limb loss and limb difference. This study not only announces new research but grounds our mission to support, educate, and advocate for those impacted by limb loss and limb difference. These numbers represent the ever-changing future, and looking forward opens the critical need to continue to make space for the generation coming after us: our youth living with limb loss and/or limb difference. We highlight the Youth Engagement Program (YEP) and the progress and milestones of our YEP members. The Youth Engagement Program (YEP) is committed to helping youth and teens with limb loss and/or limb difference through resources, programs, and support to achieve their life dreams and build their leadership skills. The program thrives on peer support and independence as transitioning from high school to college is an exciting step for a student, bringing with it new challenges and opportunities.  

2023 Christina Skoski, M.D., Scholarship recipient Heidi Burke gave the Amputee Coalition an update and comment sharing that, “The Skoski Scholarship enabled me to enroll in college at Southern Adventist University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in history/secondary education and a B.S. in journalism. This scholarship has made a significant impact on my life since I graduated high school. I currently have the opportunity to enjoy and go caving, have started rock climbing, and have discovered a love for birds.”

Heidi Burke

Divine Favour Akinbobola who has started a new season at Texas A&M University, and is an Amputee Coalition 2023 Christina Skoski, M.D., Scholarship recipient, and currently serves as the 2024 YEP Youth Council President is an exemplary success and proof that the time and resources we place into our youth are priceless. Our other YEP members in high school are involved in social and educational clubs, sports teams, and community service projects. The 2024 YEP Youth Council President-Elect is Brandon Mefford; Vice President Henry Horton; Secretary Giavanna Schembri, and the Treasurer to be selected. The YEP Youth Council meets monthly on open forum topics and is currently in the ideation phase for their 2024 service project for the YEP Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp that has been announced to take place at Camp Aranzazu in Rockport, Texas, July 15-19, 2024. 

The Amputee Coalition’s Youth Engagement Program (YEP) Director of Youth & Workforce Development Maurice Henson says, “The Amputee Coalition has dedicated resources and intentional programming for youth living with limb loss and/or limb difference and I am proud to know we are a part of celebrating, supporting, and meeting our youth and families where they are to come alongside their journey as they adapt to challenges and reach several milestones. Regardless of the point of entry we connect with our youth in YEP, we know the significant role we can play in our young people’s lives.  

Our department includes YEP Outreach Coordinator, Jordan Straughter, and Workforce Development Manager, Trenaya Reid, and we look forward to the future development and growth of youth-centric and youth lead initiatives like the YEP Youth Council, Youth Workforce Development Webinars, the Amputee Coalition’s National Conference Youth Track, and the Paddy Rossbach YEP Youth Camp. We look forward to being the instrumental driving force that propels our YEP Youth into great future endeavors.” 

As the Amputee Coalition continues, we will always remember the priceless value of our youth and the vital role they will play in the future.