Youth LEAD

7days since
Next Youth Congress Meeting

Next Youth LEAD Youth Congress Meetings

Thursday, August 20
Thursday, October 22
Thursday, Dec. 10
Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010

All meetings held at:
UMKC Admin. Bldg.
Brookside Room

Next ULA Meetings

To Be Announced (TBA)

The YouthLEAD Dashboard

YouthLEAD Youth Congress Logo: Basic Black & White with a few small 2-dimensional faceless people at the bottom and a person behind a podium with outstretched arms. Podium reads: YLYC

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Gabe & Mary dancing at the Youth LEAD Holiday Party

Carol and Darryl at the YouthLEAD holiday party

Members of the YouthLEAD Urban Leadership Academy playing the Wii Gaming System

That's right, YouthLEAD Youth Congress now has a profile & group page on facebook. You can follow the link here, or search for it at or by logging in below.

The Call to Everyday Leadership
By Denise Bissonnette

To those who would be leaders,
let us not wait a single moment to invoke the powers
that would lend light and love into the world.

Let us not wait for an event of great import,
or a golden moment of opportunity
to rise to a noble challenge, to inspire the crowd,
to deliver a final blow to the enemy, or
to ride in on a white horse to save the day.

What if, instead, we treated the time at hand as if it were of import?
What if we sought the gold in each moment,
and faced our daily challenges as if they were noble enough?
What if we were to inspire ourselves,
to fend off the enemy of indifference,
and work to save each day from losing its capacity for hope and for good?

Leadership is not the province of a fortunate few.
It is the birthright of every human being.
We know well the stories of great leaders
whose lives helped change the course of human history:

Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa,
the Dalia Lama, Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks,

Franklin Roosevelt, Benazir Bhutto, Pope John Paul II,
César Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Albert Schweitzer,
Golda Meir, Aung San Suu Kyi, Sojourner Truth –

Even the sound of their names makes us sit up straighter
and lean forward into our deeper humanity.

But what if we were to add to this portrait of leadership
the people in our own lives who, without fame or fortune,
inspired us, modeled a way of being we can only aspire to,
or left an imprint that changed the shape of our own story?
These were grandmothers, uncles, sisters and sons.
They were teachers, nurses, coaches, and grocers down the street.
They were rich and poor, young and old, with or without a job or a degree.
They wore no shining armor, held no political office,
or ever won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Yet in our hearts we proclaim them leaders
because we know the truth about leadership:
It isn't about position or popularity,
but acting on matters of principle.
It's not about being able to make a great speech,
but speaking for truth where it needs a voice.
It's not about the accumulation of power,
but championing the rights of the powerless.
True leadership is putting the pursuit of
one's purposes before personal goals and interests.
It's about embracing one's gifts, accepting one's limitations,
and with an equal measure of confidence and humility,
taking up the mantle of each new day.

Most of us will never hold the designated role of "leader".
But how many times in a day, a week, or a month
are we called to make a choice, pose a question, or advance a cause
in which we must summon within ourselves
the one willing to take a leadership stance?
How often are we the ones to catch the star
that has fallen from the sky of one who's lost hope –
and with a word, a look, or a gesture of kindness,
helped return it to its rightful shining place?
To ignore or refuse the call of everyday leadership
is to carry an unlit lantern.
To respond to it is to add one's unique and
much needed light to the world.

Each of us has a unique perspective
of the work that needs to be done
in order to fight the good fight.
"Be the change you wish to see", advised Gandhi!
Wait for the cavalry to come? I don't think so.
Wait for the next sage to set the stage? I'm not so sure.
Wait for the newest management method? I guarantee disappointment.
But dare to unleash the leader within ourselves,
in our colleagues and co-workers,
in the students in our classroom,
in the sons and daughters at our kitchen table?
That is where our real hope lies.

This is a call to everyday leadership!
You bring your light, I'll bring mine…
We'll encourage those around us to bring theirs…
and together we will illumine the shadowed paths
of this, our shared and humble journey.

© Copyright 2008, Denise Bissonnette, Diversity World

Free our People! Breaking the Chains

Willing and Able: Wrestlers with disability sees it as an asset

Willing and able: Lincoln West wrestlers Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton excel on mats

by Pat Galbincea/Plain Dealer Reporter
Friday February 20, 2009, 2:28 PM

Crockett also draws respect. Despite his severely limited vision, he became a two-time Senate champ when he pinned Irayel Williams of Rhodes in the finals in 1:15 in an unusual defensive maneuver.

Like Crockett, Sutton said he views his disadvantage as an advantage.

"My opponents have a higher base, so they often don't know how to attack me" Sutton said. "They have to stop my shoulders or I'll get to their legs. Once I do, I'm so strong I'll pull them down, and I do know two or three pinning combinations."

Read more here...

Deaf Juror Debate Article

"We can't have quadriplegics running track, nor do we need to have deaf persons serving on juries."
Rep. Ronnie Sutton, a Pembroke Democrat, on July 16, explaining why he opposed a bill providing for interpreters for deaf people who are picked as jurors.

A bill that would have provided a procedure for judges to deal with deaf jurors led to a debate in the House over whether those who cannot hear should sit on a jury in North Carolina.
Read More Here...

British woman with prosthetic arm sues Abercrombie

June 24, 2009

British woman with prosthetic arm sues Abercrombie

Associated Press Writer

A British woman with a prosthetic arm has filed a discrimination claim against Abercrombie & Fitch Co., alleging the U.S. retailer made her work in the stockroom because she didn't conform to its "look policy."

Riam Dean is seeking up to 25,000 pounds ($41,000) in damages at an employment tribunal that began Wednesday.

Dean, a 22-year-old law student at the University of London, told the tribunal she worked at Abercrombie's store on London's posh Saville Row and had been given permission to wear a white sweater over the company-issued white polo shirt to cover her prosthetic arm.

But in July 2008, several weeks after she started work, a manager sent her to the stockroom, saying the cardigan violated the store's "look policy," Dean said.

She said the same manager later taunted her and challenged her to go back out to the shop floor with her arm uncovered.

"It made me feel as though she had picked up on my most personal, sensitive and deeply buried insecurities about being accepted and included," Dean said.

Dean said she was asked by an employee from the company head office whether it would be possible "to keep you in the stockroom until the winter uniform arrives." She said she later received an e-mail from management saying she had been "erroneously placed on the shop floor."

Abercrombie & Fitch said in a statement it "has a strong anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy." It said Dean's account of what happened was inaccurate.

Dean, who was born missing her left forearm, said she did not mention her disability when she was interviewed for the job.

"I have never had any concessions made because of my arm, and all of my life my family friends and other have treated me equally. I would not have it any other way," she said.

She said her experience at the store had left her shaken.

"I was always prepared for children to be curious about my disability, but to be faced with adult bullying, no one could have prepared me for such debasement," she said.

Akash Nawbatt, a lawyer for the company, said Abercrombie had never asked Dean to cover her prosthetic arm and that the cardigan had been a temporary solution. He said that about a week after Dean was asked to work in the stockroom, the company proposed wearing a fleece top during the summer as a permanent solution and that this concession was made specifically for her.

The hearing is expected to last for three days.

The New Albany, Ohio-based company is known for its edgy advertisements and shops with nightclub atmosphere. It has faced criticism in the past by those who claim it deliberately selects young, good-looking people to work in its stores.

In 2004 it spent $50 million to settle a number of employment discrimination lawsuits in the United States.

Down's syndrome reveals one key to fighting cancer

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People with Down's syndrome rarely get most kinds of cancer and U.S. researchers have nailed down one reason why -- they have extra copies of a gene that helps keep tumors from feeding themselves.

The findings could lead to new treatments for cancer, the researchers reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday, and further study of Down's patients might reveal more ways to fight tumors.

The researchers at Harvard University and elsewhere made use of a new kind of embryonic-like stem cell called an induced pluripotent stem cell or iPS cell. These cells, made from ordinary skin, can be transformed to act like powerful stem cells, the body's master cells.

Using iPS cells from a volunteer with Down's syndrome and mice genetically engineered to have a version of the condition, the researchers pinpointed one gene that protects against tumors.

"It is, perhaps, inspiring that the Down's syndrome population provides us with new insight into mechanisms that regulate cancer growth," they wrote.

Down's syndrome is the most common genetic cause of mental retardation, occurring in 1 out of 700 live births.

The Down's syndrome theory had long been explored by Harvard's Dr. Judah Folkman, who died last year. Folkman, whose name is on the study, developed theories about how tumor cells grow blood vessels to nourish themselves in a process called angiogenesis.


Folkman also noticed how rare cancer is among Down's patients, except for leukemia, and he wondered whether the genes explain why. A study of nearly 18,000 Down's patients showed they had 10 percent the expected rate of cancer.

People with Down's syndrome have a third copy of chromosome 21, where most people have two copies. The extra copy gives them extra versions of 231 different genes.

"One such gene is Down's syndrome candidate region-1 (DSCR1, also known as RCAN1)," Harvard's Sandra Ryeom and colleagues wrote.

This gene codes for a protein that suppresses vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF -- one of the compounds necessary for angiogenesis.

Down's patients have extra amounts of this DSCR1 protein, as do the genetically engineered Down's mice, the researchers showed. Genetically engineered mice with an extra copy of DSCR1 were resistant to tumors.

DSCR1 affects a compound called calcineurin, long a focus of cancer research.

"These data provide a mechanism for the reduced cancer incidence in Down's syndrome," the researchers wrote.

The study also provides three new potential targets for preventing or treating cancer -- calcineurin and two genes that regulate it, DSCR1 and DYRK1A, they said.

People with Down's syndrome are also less likely to develop angiogenesis-related diseases such as diabetic retinopathy (an eye disease related to diabetes) and atherosclerosis (hardened arteries), "suggesting that cancer protection ... may be due, in part, to angiogenesis suppression," the researchers wrote.

"Because human chromosome 21 contains over 200 genes, it would be surprising if DSCR1 was the only chromosome 21 gene implicated in tumor suppression in Down's syndrome individuals," they said.

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

North Pole Now Wheelchair Accessible

Press Release Source: Team Independence

TORONTO, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The North Pole has now been made wheelchair accessible. On April 11, 2009 a disabled parking sign was raised at the North Pole on the 100th anniversary of the first successful polar expedition. David Shannon became the first person in world history with quadriplegia and in a wheelchair to reach the Pole. He along with expedition co-leader and fellow Canadian, Chris Watkins, developed "Team Independence 09" to promote breaking barriers to accessibility and greater community inclusion.

David upon reaching the pole stated, "This sign represents all peoples who have faced challenges or adversity in their lives and have dreamed of overcoming them. If we as people, work together in our homes, our cities, our countries and in our global village, there is no dream that cannot be realized."

Chris Watkins who himself was injured in 1988 stated, "David and our team represents the long-shot win of the underdog. But it shows that there is no dream too big to dream and no challenge to big to overcome. What David has left us with is a world of infinite horizons."

Media is invited to go to for more information and a media package on this historic first North Pole expedition. A photo of their arrival at the North Pole is available.

During the expedition the team struggled with adversity. In addition to the cutting arctic winds, David's spinal cord injury compromised his ability to maintain body heat. The week of the final polar push, this heat retention problem was compounded by a significant infection, which caused increased susceptibility to the life threatening cold temperatures. David and Chris have returned exhausted and with some minor injuries. For example, Chris suffered some frostbite to his fingers and a cut to his foot. They are recovering in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway with their team mate Darren Lillington. This is an island still within the Arctic Circle north of Lapland. They will return to Canada in a few days.

Typing with Brainwaves

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Adam Wilson posted two messages on Twitter on April 15. The first one, "GO BADGERS," might have been sent by any University of Wisconsin-Madison student cheering for the school team.

His second post, 20 minutes later, was a little more unusual: "SPELLING WITH MY BRAIN."

Wilson, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, was confirming an announcement he had made two weeks earlier -- his lab had developed a way to post messages on Twitter using electrical impulses generated by thought.

That's right, no keyboards, just a red cap fitted with electrodes that monitor brain activity, hooked up to a computer flashing letters on a screen. Wilson sent the messages by concentrating on the letters he wanted to "type," then focusing on the word "twit" at the bottom of the screen to post the message.

The development could be a lifeline for people with "locked-in syndrome" -- whose brains function normally but who cannot speak or move because of injury or disease.

Wilson and his supervisor, Justin Williams, made the breakthrough last month after hearing a question posed on the radio. Watch a demonstration of the technology »

"Wouldn't it be great if you could Twitter just by thinking about it?"

That query sparked what Williams called the "a-ha moment."

"We can do that," said Williams, an assistant professor and the principal investigator at the lab in Madison, Wisconsin. "We can do that tomorrow."

In the end, it wasn't quite "tomorrow," Williams said, but Wilson had written the software to link existing technology with Twitter "within a couple of days" of starting on the project in March.

He sent Williams his first "tweet" -- or message -- from the brain-computer interface on March 31. Watch Dr. Gupta explain how it works »

"I had set up my phone to get Twitter updates, and I walked in my door and got this message, and I knew it was really possible," he told CNN by phone. "My wife was sitting there, and I showed her the message and she immediately got excited about it -- and it's rare that I come home from work and she gets excited about what I have been doing."

That's because using the brain to post Twitter messages is potentially much more than an academic exercise or a party trick -- it could help paralyzed people communicate.

"These are people who have ALS, like Stephen Hawking, or they have a brainstem stroke, or a high spinal-cord injury," Williams explained. "There is nothing wrong with these people's brains. It's a normal person, locked into a lifeless, useless body." (The British physicist Hawking has ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.)

Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from locked-in syndrome, Williams estimated.

Many of them want just the kind of ability the brain-Twitter project seems to offer, said Kevin Otto, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana.

"The interesting thing about this project is they are directly addressing some of the patient desires," he said. "A lot of people think [locked-in patients] want to walk and want fancy prosthetics, but a lot of times what they want are bladder control and basic communication skills."

Otto, who was not involved in the University of Wisconsin project, called it "a very important incremental step to take two existing technologies and marry them together like this."

Williams had been working on brain-computer interface technology "for many years," he told CNN, before the idea to use Twitter.

"The technology we were developing was 10 or more years down the line, so we started wondering, 'Is there something we can do now?' "

His lab at the University of Wisconsin -- like those at Brown University, Purdue and the Wadsworth Center in Albany, New York, among others -- is developing ways for locked-in people to communicate. Projects range from manipulating a cursor on a computer screen to operating a robotic arm, and they can include devices physically implanted into a brain.

But the Twitter project has a lot of advantages, Williams said.

"Twitter fits so many of our needs and patients' capabilities," he said. "Their first interest is in being able to communicate in a normal fashion, and at a distance."

Twitter is simpler than e-mail, he said.

"If I am locked in and I want to e-mail someone, the format is all wrong. You have to be able to select recipients and group them, copy, paste, send. ... We don't think about that much as normal people, but it can become unmanageable.

"Twitter takes care of all those things. They just have to get [the message] to a location where people can come and find it," he said.

Locked-in people communicating by tweet might have followers who don't even realize they are disabled, Williams said.

"Nobody's going to notice that the person at the other end is disabled. They might not have any idea. And that might be very empowering for people," he said.

The interface is not unlike the method the French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby used to dictate his novel "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" -- later turned into a movie -- after a massive stroke left him paralyzed except for his left eyelid. Bauby's caregivers recited letters of the alphabet; he blinked when he heard the one he wanted and they wrote them down.

The brain-Twitter application flashes letters on a screen while the user, wearing a cap fitted with electrodes, concentrates on a letter.

"When the letter that you are concentrating on flashes, we can pick that up," Williams said.

Williams declined to say how soon the interface could be available commercially, noting it has not yet been used by anyone with locked-in syndrome.

"I'd hate to speculate about things being on the market," he said. "Adam [Wilson] is going to graduate in May, and his next role is to start preclinical trials with subjects in New York and Germany."

But Williams said he is excited about the development. "We were interested in seeing what we could do right now to help people," he said. "The field has come far enough that we need to start getting to people in their homes."

The Danceabled

Seeing without Eyes: Echolocation

Fragile X Advocacy Day 2009

Elephant & Dog Rise Above Differences

Power Wheelchair Soccer

COLUMBIA, MO - When you think of January sports, you don't usually think about soccer.

There is a new sport in Mid-Missouri. It takes a lot of power and eye/hand coordination is a must.

The athletes won't just impress you, they have a way of inspiring everyone that watches.

Greg Moss needed to do a community outreach program as part of a class. What he learned is more than any classroom can teach.

"They love it, they don't have a lot of opportunities like this, but this is the first team in Columbia like this," said Moss, Power Soccer coach.

He's the coach of driving force a Power Soccer team in Columbia.

It uses power wheelchairs with metal guards on the front to hit an oversized ball into a goal.

"I've never had the chance to play competitive sports. So, at 38 I'm out there learning all the things about team sports," said Aimee Wehmeier, Power Soccer player.

"We frankly don't care about their disability. We care about one thing, their interest in soccer," said Power Soccer organizer Mark Ohrenberg.

Interest is not a problem for 19 year old Greg Abbott. A chance to play sports is all he ever wanted.

"My son had been looking for a competitive sport ever since he could think about sports," said Abbott's mother, Cara Wright.

"Fun to play with teammates to talk and to play real sports," said Abbott.

"He was on top of the clouds, it was wonderful," Wright said.

Abbott starts at center on the four person team.

"Greg is an amazing competitor. If he gets a break away, nobody can stop him," Moss said.

But rules can slow him down.

"They actually limit the amount of speed you can travel. The regulation is six miles per hour," Wehmeier said.

Anyone from age 8 to 80 can play, all you need is a power chair.

"There is a lot of skill involved in driving the wheelchair and skill involved in figuring out how to do spin kicks and things like that," said Wehmeier.

You need skill and a lot of bravery. Power soccer is a contact sport.

"You do get banged up. We've had some broken wheelchairs and had a few crashes," Wehmeier said.

"The players, no matter how fragile they may seem are all really really tough. I've seen them take some big hits," said Wright.

But these athletes understand more than most. Life is all about how you take a hit and keep going.

"Anybody with disabilities should have the same opportunity to have success, failure, to get hurt," Ohrenberg said.

Moss' class is done, but he still feels a driving force to learn more from the team he coaches.

"It's just been amazing, they've taught me so much, probably way more than I've been able to teach them," Moss said.

"If I'm not having such a good day, after I leave here, I'm good," Wright said.

Coach Moss says spacing on the floor is the most important aspect to having success at Power Soccer.

The team plays at Woodcrest Church and is always looking for more players.

If you are interested in playing Power Soccer call services for independent living at 573-874-1646.

Reported by: Eric Blumberg,

Stephen Wiltshire, a 34-year-old London-born artist, is the only artistic autistic savant in the world whose work has been recorded and published since his childhood.
Stephen Wiltshire drawing another one of his panoramas - right side view
Stephen Wiltshire stands in front of his sketch of Jerusalem, left side view

Above: Stephen Wiltshire stands in front of his sketch of Jerusalem as he presents it to Jerusalem's Mayor Uri Lupolianski (not seen) at the city hall in Jerusalem May 22, 2008. Wiltshire is an artist who has been diagnosed with autism at the age of three. He sketched Jerusalem from memory between the 19th and 22nd of May 2008, after a short one-hour helicopter ride over the city. (Reuters)

Stephen Wiltshire Draws Tokyo

Stephen Wiltshire Draws Tokyo (International Version)

Para Olympian stands on prosthetic right leg holding up bicycle in confident pose

Listed below are some websites to find updates on the 2008 Paralympic Team, as well as other info on the 2008 Paralympics:


New update of current Paralympic Athletes!


Awesome video - check it out!

 ^ (Logo Taken from ADAPT)