The Amputee Coalition has launched a program to support the tens of thousands of young people, aged 10-17, living with limb loss and limb difference in the United States.
In a Jan. 16 news announcement, the organization said its Youth Engagement Program (YEP) will operate year round to focus on providing “support, resources, and creating a community for youth and teens.
“As the leading resource for the limb loss and limb difference community, the Amputee Coalition recognized the need to create a targeted program supporting children, teens, and young adults. For youth and teens growing up with limb differences, finding access to resources and a community of their peers can be particularly challenging. That is why the Amputee Coalition is dedicated to expanding youth efforts through YEP. YEP will advance the organization’s youth outreach beyond the annual Youth Camp and find new ways to engage African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ youth and teens with limb loss or limb difference.”
YEP’s offerings will include help with life skills, education and training; workforce development; and mentorship. A YEP app is due out this year, with a Youth Camp planned for August 2-5 in Orlando, Fla. The organization is selecting campers via a YEP contest, with potential campers being asked to submit a personal statement video or essay telling how they overcame obstacles or adversities.
The camp will include sports activities, leadership workshops, and tours of Orlando.
Alicia Straughter, Ph.D., VP of Human Resources and YEP, said in the announcement, “We wanted to take a holistic approach to support young people under 18, and to create a space where they can be who they are and feel a sense of belonging. We are building this program for them as a place they know they can feel comfortable, and building everything around what they want, need, and with member involvement in the development of this from the ground up.”
YEP’s eventual goal is to expand services to include young adults up to age 25.
The Amputee Coalition said an estimated 25,000 to 70,000 people in the United States under the age of 18 are living with limb loss or limb difference.