Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Inc.: Youth in Preparation for Independence (YIPI)

PROJECT NAME: Youth in Preparation for Independence (YIPI)

PROJECT LOCATION: Western Massachusetts and Buffalo, New York
Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Inc. (PYD), which empowers youth with physical, sensory and learning disabilities to reach their personal, educational and career goals by providing one-toone and group mentoring programs where adult mentors with disabilities act as positive role models and provide support, understanding and guidance.


Leslie Lockhart
617-556-4075, ext. 18
617-314-2989 (TTY)
FUNDING SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy
POPULATION SERVED: Youth with disabilities between the ages of 13-22.
SERVICE TYPE: YIPI is a peer support program for adolescents with disabilities who are committed to building their self-advocacy and independent living skills.


Founded in 1990, YIPI is based on youth who meet biweekly at an accessible space to share important concerns about day-to-day issues and coping strategies. Adult mentors play an active role by leading discussions, sharing resources and providing support. Each year the YIPI core program has a new theme. Past themes have included Disability Rights, Careers, Technology, Health, Theatre and Independent Living. Approximately thirty-five students join YIPI each year and families are welcomed to participate in a group that meets concurrently. The YIPI staff encourages participation in community activities and shares information with students and their families about opportunities in education, recreation, health, technology, independent living and personal development. Many of the participants continue in the program throughout their high school years and go on to enroll in the Peer Leadership Program (PL).