The Able Trust Holds Youth Leadership Retreat

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Able Trust held its first Youth Leadership Retreat at the Omni ChampionsGate Resort in ChampionsGate, Florida. Thirteen exceptional young adults with disabilities from around the state met to provide insight into the knowledge and skills young adults would like to have as they move into the workforce.

Pictured from left to right 
Back row: Todd Schimpf, Joseph Murray, Katelyn Molter, Dwayne Ingram, Rachel Christian, 
Melisa Lewis, Robert Noren, Holly Williamson, Renzo Burga and Allison Chase 
Front Row: Whitney Harris, R.J. Curtis, Sarah Goldman, Dr. Susanne Homant, Pastiche Graham, 
Joey Chica (with Gunner), Devin Alvarez and Bonnie Ingram

The 2018 Youth Leadership Retreat was designed to gather information directly from the young adults with minimal outside influence. Dwayne Ingram, Partner at Morgan Hill Partners and Ambassador of The Able Trust and Bonnie Ingram of Tampa Innovation Partners, moderated the event. The attendees participated in various exercises and workgroups that helped them look at and analyze what skills and knowledge they thought were important now and when they first started their careers. Attendees also developed an agenda for a youth leadership program they would like to see held and presented their ideas to the other attendees.

“The Able Trust is very proud of all the hard work our 13 volunteers put in,” said Dr. Susanne Homant, president and CEO of The Able Trust. “The feedback and information they provided will be vital as The Able Trust develops its next youth leadership program to help young Floridians with disabilities prepare for the next step in their lives. Thank you to Dwayne Ingram for moderating the retreat and to Wells Fargo and the John Pettengill Ability Fund for their sponsorship of the event.”

The Able Trust also plans to meet with business owners to garner their input into what knowledge and leadership skills they would like to see in young adults who are current or potential employees. The information gathered at these two events will be used to revise The Able Trust’s youth leadership program for 2019 so it better meets the needs of the youths participating in the program and the businesses of the state.

Since 2000, The Able Trust has been providing youth leadership programs to young Floridians with disabilities in the form of the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF). The Florida YLF is part of a national initiative that was started in 1992 by the California Governor's Alliance for the Employment of Disabled Citizens. The Florida YLF is an annual career and leadership training program that empowers young adults with disabilities, helping them to realize their ability to pursue meaningful employment and societal contributions.  Attendees would spend a time in Tallahassee learning about community and academic resources, disability history, career options and personal leadership. They also take part in social activities which enable them to network and build lasting friendships beyond the YLF.

The Able Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to be a key leader in providing Floridians with disabilities opportunities for successful employment. Vocational rehabilitation is the focus of The Able Trust’s programs and grants and making programs available to persons with disabilities helps not only them, but also local and state economies.

The Able Trust supports numerous diverse projects, including a statewide youth program called High School High Tech, youth leadership training, work experience training and technical assistance, transportation assistance, career development training, employment and career path direction, and assistance to businesses as they seek the employment of people with disabilities. Since its beginnings, The Able Trust has worked with community organizations in every county in Florida to put thousands of people with disabilities to work.

To learn more about The Able Trust, please visit and follow @AbleTrust.

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