KYEA: Educating, mentoring, and supporting youth with disabilities in KS

Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy Newsletter
Issue #37
October 2016 
in this issue
:: Through Julia's Eyes
:: Happy Birthday to KYEA!
:: KYEA Staff Thankful List
:: KYEA Fundraisers
:: Madonna's Corner
:: Spotlight On: Gabe Mullen
:: Tips for Making Voting Choices
:: Presidential Candidates: Where do they stand on disability issues?
:: Did You Know? How one vote can make a difference!
:: State and National Opportunities
:: KYEA Updates
:: Disability Employment Awareness Month
:: Disability Mentoring Day
:: Get the Facts on Voting: Register, Steps to Vote, Important Dates
:: Accessibillity and Voting
:: Question of the Month
:: Community Power: LINK, Inc. in Hays

Various hands in the air that say vote with diverse skin colors and a flag in the background
There is a very important election in November. Did you know that? If you watch TV at all, you have probably seen Presidential debates, commercial ads for candidates, and lots of news stories about who should run our country. In this upcoming election, you will be voting for our next President, as well as for local senators and representatives, Supreme Court justices, local issues, etc. We want YOU to make your own choices when it comes to the election, and we want you to be prepared! So, this entire issue is dedicated to the topic of voting. Read on to find out how to register to vote, important dates, why it's important to vote, accessibility when voting, where the candidates stand on disability issues, and so much more.

Okay, so maybe it's not quite the ENTIRE issue that's dedicated to voting... we also had to give you some KYEA updates as well. We are recruiting for programs and working to raise some money through fundraisers. Find out how you can help!

The election is exciting, but you know what else is exciting about this month? It's Disability Employment Awareness Month AND KYEA's 11th Birthday! Thank you to all who have supported us over the past 11 years and more. It has been a journey, and we look forward to many more great years of empowerment to come!

- Carrie Greenwood, Program Coordinator 
Through Julia's Eyes Julia Connellis in KYEA shirt
by Julia Connellis, Executive Director
"I Can. I Will!"

If somehow you have forgotten, I would like to remind you that it is a Presidential election year.  While I wish I could forget this fact at times, I also realize the importance of elections and the civic responsibility that I have to vote.  When I was younger, I was so excited to turn 18 and have the opportunity to vote.  Not only is it the adult responsible thing to do, but it also made me feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself. I quickly learned how stressful the process of voting can be.  Voting was more than selecting the next leader of the United States, but I also had to vote on the Governor, various issues that would be on the ballot, and judges!  This meant that I had to do more than just watch the Presidential debate, but actually do some extensive research on who and what was going to be on the ballot for that specific election.  Ugh!!

The act of voting is a show of leadership, and who you vote for should be a good representation of leadership as well.  Here are some helpful things to keep in mind:
  • Has either candidate addressed issues that are important to you?
  • Which candidate follows through with most of their promises in the work they have done in the past?
  • Which candidate not only talks like a leader, but acts like a leader in their everyday lives?
  • Which candidate seems to handle stress and pressure better?
It is so easy to fall into the trap of voting for the person your parents are voting for or the person that your friends like.  Remember, this is YOUR vote and not theirs, so choose carefully.  Nobody is perfect, so make sure you are not holding the candidates up to an expectation that is not realistic. You may feel that there is not a candidate that best represents you, but not voting at all means that you are throwing your power and voice away. Here at KYEA, we believe that ALL voices are valuable.    

Happy voting!!
KYEA logo with multicolored birthday balloons surrounding it
Happy Birthday to KYEA! 
The Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy (KYEA) officially opened it's doors as a full non-profit organization on October 1, 2005. So, we are turning 11 years old this month!

Here's to many more years of empowering and supporting youth with disabilities in the state of Kansas!  
"I'm thankful for..."
KYEA Staff share why they love working for this organization!
It's not Thanksgiving yet, but it is never too early to practice thankfulness! KYEA staff have many reasons to be thankful to come to work each day for this organization. Below, they each express what it is about KYEA that makes them thankful.  

Julia Thomas in KYEA shirt Julia Connellis 
Executive Director 
"I am thankful that everyone I work with has a good sense of humor and enjoys laughing. I am also thankful that, in times of personal or professional crisis, we all support each other like family."

Carrie Greenwood Carrie Greenwood
Program Coordinator  
"I am thankful that I have been blessed with the opportunity to make a difference in this world through my job. I am also thankful that we, as staff, get to personalize our offices! I mean, who doesn't want to come to work each day and be surrounded by Paris and pink?!"

Johnna Godinez Johnna Godinez   
Program Assistant   
"I am always thankful to see returning staff to YLF every year and meeting the new additions to the YLF family. I am also thankful for working alongside youth and providing them support so that they may reach their dreams."

Kim Strunk Kim Strunk
Program Specialist for Faces of Change   
"I am thankful that I get to work with those who see the worth in the leaders of tomorrow!! I am also thankful for working with awesome young adults!!"

Eliot Spielman Eliot Spielman
Mentoring Services Coordinator   
"I am thankful for the staff at KYEA. From the day I started, I have been treated like family, which is a new experience for me in the workplace. I'm also thankful for the youth. I have yet to meet a KYEA youth that does not have a heart for the agency, and they make this more than a job, they make it an experience."
KYEA Fundraisers!
Support our organization through these opportunities...
Attend our upcoming KYEA Bewitching Bling Bash!
Bling Bash star

Friday, October 21
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Ramada Inn Downtown, Topeka (420 SE 6th Ave.)

It's Fall! Time to spice up your jewelry. Join us for a night of jewelry galore as we host a KYEA Bewitching Bling Bash! And because it's bewitching, guests are invited to come in their Halloween costume! Premier Designs will be on hand to demonstrate techniques of jewelry wearing, show MANY items in their latest collections, and take orders. You'll be bewitched by all of the colors, designs, and options!

A portion of all order proceeds will go towards KYEA and helping us to fulfill our mission. So, you get awesome bling, while also helping to support youth with disabilities in our state! It's a win-win! Not only that, but you get to learn more about the KYEA, here from our youth who have been impacted, meet our staff, and have lots of laughs with KYEA friends and supporters. Join us on October 21! 

Support KYEA with your Dillons Rewards Card or Amazon shopping account!

Here at KYEA, we're doing great things to expand our programs! KYEA has recently been enrolled in two exciting rewards programs in order to raise money for our organization. We have added our agency to the Dillon's Plus Card Community Rewards program and to where a proceed of items purchased will go toward our agency programs.

Dillons logo
In order to add KYEA to your Dillon's Plus Card, all you h ave to do is visit , create an account, and then enter our NPO number, which is 88911.

Amazon logo
In order to add KYEA to your Amazon shopping experience, please go to: . This will take you directly to the KYEA page where you can follow the prompts.

Thank you so much for supporting the Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy - we couldn't do it without you!

View step by step directions

Buy Chiefs tickets AND support KYEA!

football Want to go to a KC Chiefs football game this year? KYEA is selling tickets because you expressed that you loved this deal! KYEA is selling tickets for the following games:

Sun, Nov. 6th - vs. Jacksonville
Sun, Nov. 20th - vs. Tampa Bay
Sun, Dec. 18th - vs. Tennessee

Tickets are $45 each. Accessible seating is available upon request to KYEA. Support the Chiefs and KYEA by having some fun!

For inquiries or to place an order, e-mail Julia Connellis at . All orders must be made no later than 2 weeks prior to the game you are interested in. 
Madonna- a small, furry, white dog
Madonna's Corner! 
Our therapeutic manager speaks out on voting... 
Voting is all about making choices right? Well, our very own Madonna votes on a daily basis and wants to encourage you to make your voice heard in the upcoming election!
At the dog house, there are always people who walk on their hind legs who give me attention.  While I wuv everyone, I have to admit that I have my favorites.  Please don't bark this to anyone, but Eliot is my favorite. No one compares to mommy Julia, but Eliot gives me wuving and attention ALL the time.  Carrie is nice, but she seems too delicate, so I just sniff her wheels and walk on by.  Johnna gets so excited to see me and talks to me when she can.  Kim takes me out to potty when no one else can.  It is so hard to choose!!  Just thinking about it makes me want to chew my tail!  Even though it is a wuff decision, I make sure I still choose.  Mommy says this is called voting.

My parting advice to all my friends with and without tails: if you don't vote, no one will pay attention to you, so go run and vote!

Have a Wagbulous day!
-- Madonna, KYEA Therapeutic Manager 

"Vote as if your life depends on it. Because it does."
- Justin Dart, father of the ADA

November is election month! Are you ready to vote? Read on for all the details that you need to be ready to vote in the General Election next month!
Spotlight On!
The 2016 Election: A Youth Perspective

Gabe Mullen, Lawrence

by Dallas Hathaway, Newsletter Writer 
Gabe Mullen pointing to a sticker that says I Voted
In just 22 short days, American's will head to the polls to choose their candidates for President of the United States. For first time voters, this can be both a scary and exciting process. University of Kansas freshman and KSYLF alumni '16, Gabe Mullen, spoke with me about the importance of voting, and his thoughts about the upcoming election.

"I started getting interested in the political system when I was 13," said Mullen. "I started learning more during the 2010 midterm elections. I paid attention to the results and began forming my own opinions on issues."

Mullen was also asked about why he thought voting was an important activity for citizens.

"In whatever system, governing officials will determine what happens," said Mullen. "Voting involves the well being of everyone. Not voting could mean the election gets decided by one person."

In 2008, Mullen did not understand much about the political process. He discussed how it was the first time he watched a president get inaugurated. Mullen is glad that he has been able to witness both of President Obama's terms in their entirety.

In terms of getting educated about the issues, Mullen feels that it is a good idea for voters to look at the candidate's websites.

"It is important to look at how much information the candidates are willing to give you. That is an important thing to take note of," said Mullen. "Pay attention to the debates on the local, state, and national level. This gives you a better idea of their stance and what they agree with."

For first time voters, Mullen had a few pieces of advice for stepping into the polls on Election Day. He feels that people should look at the issues and develop their own set of values. Most importantly, Mullen says, "Don't get discouraged."

"If I were president, I would like to reduce wealth inequality within our country," said Mullen. "Although we live in a free-market society, I feel that it should be fair for everyone. We should offer a society for our citizens to have access to a basic standard of living."

Wherever you stand on the issues, one thing is clear: voting is critical! For new voters, it is important for them to be active in the process and knowledgeable about the issues. Although it may be scary, as Mullen pointed out, it is our civic responsibility to participate. See you at the polls on Tuesday, November 8th!
Choices, Choices...
Tips for making the best voting decisions for YOU! 
by Jason Gallagher, KYEA Board Member
Ballot with check boxes So you know you are going to vote on November 8th.  Congratulations!  But how do you know for whom to vote?  Here are some tips to help you decide on candidates and issues:

1. Know who/what you are voting for: Contact your county election office to get a sample ballot.  You may be able to do this online.  Knowing who is on the ballot will help you research candidates and
questions for your local area.  Remember, there are more people running than just for President.

2. Know what issues are important to you:  What issues are important to you?  Healthcare?  Disability Rights?  Education?  Roads/Highways?  The economy?  Taxes?  An ordinance local to your city?  Write down what issues are important to you.  Think of specific questions you want to ask candidates.

3. Talk to the candidates directly if you can:  Most local candidates are very open and want to talk to you.  Find their number and call them, or stop by in person if you can.  Have your questions from step 2 ready to go.  Let them know what issues are important to you.

4. Research candidates:  Maybe you can't meet them in person, or you want to do additional research.  The best resource is the internet.  Do a web search and read articles about their positions and what they have done previously.  Be careful to check the source - is the source reliable?  Is the source biased?  Try to find more than one source to verify what is being said is true.

5. Research questions:  Sometimes, in addition to candidates, there are specific "questions" on the ballot.  A question will ask you if you support a tax or a change in laws.  Be sure to read the question in advance.  Ask yourself, "Do I understand what is being asked?"  If you are unsure, look for newspaper articles and articles online that explain the question.  Talk to friends you trust to see if you both understand the question.  You can also call your local election office and they can help explain.

6. Vote:  After doing all your research, trust your instincts and vote for the candidates you feel would best represent you and your community.  Don't let anyone else tell you who to vote for.  Vote for who YOU want!  Be proud - you just exercised an incredibly powerful right!
Where do the presidential candidates stand on disability issues? 

When voting in the upcoming election, you should consider many different things. As a person with a disability, you should know where our presidential candidates stand on disability issues. Remember, this person will be running our country. They will be making many decisions for YOU, including important disability-related decisions. So, take some time to read up on where the candidates stand on issues facing people with disabilities in our country.

We did a little research to find out an answer to the question above. Below is what we found. Please note that KYEA does not endorse candidates and is not affliated with a political party. The information below is based solely on internet research.

Hillary Clinton

"Disability rights" section on official Hillary Clinton website

2016 Presidential Questionaire from national disability organizations

Connect with Clinton on Facebook or Twitter to view her perspective on multiple issues.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump does not have a page on his website specifically related to disability issues. To read about other issues, visit his Positions/Policies page.

2016 Presidential Questionaire from national disability organizations

Connect with Trump on Facebook or Twitter to view his perspective on multiple issues.

View the Equal Entry: Where do the candidates stand? website for a few more interesting tidbits about the candidates, including accessibility of their webpages. 
Still not sure who to vote for?

Check out these cool websites that help you find out which 2016 presidential candidate fits best with the issues and qualities that you care most about...

Did you know...
Examples of how one vote can and has made a difference!

Your vote counts button You might be thinking, my vote is just one... it doesn't really make a difference. We disagree! First, voting is a right, so you should exercise that right. Also, there are many examples over time where a few votes have made a large difference. We did some research to find some interesting facts on how voting has changed history. Check them out!

by Johnna Godinez, Program Assistant

1. Did you know that in the 2000 presidential race for the president (Bush vs. Gore), 1,500 votes separated both candidates?

2. Did you know that polling places were once inaccessible to people with disabilities?

3. Did you know that there are four federal laws which protect the rights of Americans with disabilities to vote? (Check out

4. Did you know that women first got the right to vote in 1920 (19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)?

5. Did you know that in Willard County, KS, the county sales tax won by 1 vote?

6. Did you know that the race for 22nd District House of Representatives seat (Manhattan) race (Reitz vs. Wilson) was won by 21 votes?

7. Did you know that your vote equals your voice? Did you know your voice counts? Well now you do!
News and Events
Opportunities in Kansas
- Did you know that KU has a new program that allows students with intellectual disabilities the chance to experience post-secondary education? Their Transition to Post-Secondary Education program is now recruiting for their Fall 2017 group! This college program serves students 18-25 years old. It ensures that students with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to experience inclusive postsecondary education and transition experiences. Participants experience on-campus academic, career development and student life activities. Want to experience a bit of college while also taking steps toward a good job in the future? Then check out this program! Learn more

- Special Olympics Kansas is looking to add schools that host inclusive sports teams across the state. Their Kansas Unified Sports Leagues combine students in special education with their general education peers to play sports on the same team. They currently offer three sports: basketball (fall), bocce (winter), and soccer (spring). Seasons are about 8-9 weeks, with at least 1-hour of practice per week. Special Olympics Kansas then brings teams together and hosts competitions. They even provide funding in the first three years to cover expenses. They are actively recruiting new schools to join the League right now! Learn more

- Families Together is hosting their "Together We Can Learn" Parent Leadership Conference at the end of this month. This conference is a great opportunity for parents of youth with disabilities to network, learn about resources, be empowered, and more! The conference will be held on October 28-29 at the Ramada Inn Downtown in Topeka. It is free to all participants. Learn more 
Opportunities on a National Level
- The American Association of People with Disabilities is now accepting applications for their 2017 Summer Internship Program. The program places college students, graduate students, law students, and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in paid 10-week summer internships in Congressional offices, federal agencies, non-profit, and for-profit organizations in the Washington, DC area. AAPD provides the interns with a stipend, transportation to and from Washington, DC, and fully-accessible housing. This is a huge opportunity to grow as a leader and learn more about activism. Applications are due by November 7, 2016. Learn more

Are you a person with autism who has a passion for advocacy? The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is accepting applications for the 2017 Autistic Scholars Fellowship, a scholarship which provides 4 to 6 students with autism with a $5,000 tuition scholarship to promote autistic leadership and create systemic change on their college campuses. Fellows will be required to establish or participate in a leadership role within an ASAN campus chapter or a disability rights student organization, work to promote Autistic culture and community, and take steps to improve disability accessibility and inclusion on their college campuses. Applicants must have autism, be willing to publicly identify as such, and should have a strong interest in disability rights advocacy and activism. Applications are due by Sunday, October 30. Learn more

RESOURCE! What You Need to Know About SSI When You Turn 18

The Social Security Administration recently published a new booklet that has helpful information for young people who are transitioning to adulthood and on SSI.
Check it out
KYEA Updates
Sharing all things new in our KYEA world...
Faces of Change Seeking Participants for Advanced Leadership Training   
Faces of Change logo with a face that has arrows around it

Are you someone who has good leadership skills and would like to use your skills to change your community? Faces of Change is taking applications for our 2017 class.

Faces of Change is a leadership program offered by KYEA, designed for young adults between the ages of 16-25 years old.  Faces is the next step in leadership and focuses on civic engagement and commitment to others.

The goal of Faces is for you to sharpen your existing leadership skills, as well as explore what leadership style works for you. This program is geared to assist you in learning about motivating others, various communication styles, working as a team, using mentors for guidance in leadership and creating a community change project.  Faces aids you in exploring a change that you wish to make in your community.  You will make new connections with peers and with innovative speakers who are leaders from across Kansas.  

Faces meets one weekend per month for seven months in Topeka.  There are fun and challenging group activities and after hours opportunities to socialize. Oh yeah, did we mention it is free?!  Have we piqued your interest yet?

If you are interested in applying, please contact us by email at to get your application.  There is a process for applying and being accepted, but don't get nervous about that, just get your application and get started.  Applications are due no later than February 14, 2017.

Learn more about Faces of Change

KS Youth Leadership Forum Seeking Delegates and Volunteers for 2017!

KSYLF logo with dove It's that time again! KYEA is currently searching for potential youth leaders to attend our 17th Annual Kansas Youth Leadership Forum (KSYLF). Are you a youth with a disability who has an interest in leadership, who wants to become a better advocate, or who would like to meet other youth leaders with disabilities? Then consider applying to the KSYLF! The 2017 KSYLF will be held July 10-15 at Washburn University in Topeka.

All students who are interested in attending the KSYLF must meet the following criteria:

- reside in Kansas
- have a disability as defined with the Americans With Disabilities Act
- be in the 11th or 12th grade as of December 31, 2016
- have demonstrated leadership potential in school and the community

KSYLF delegates gather for a group photo with Gina McDonald in the Senate Chambers Interested students must fill out an application that will be reviewed through a competitive selection process. The application deadline for the 2017 forum is December 15, 2016.

Calling all former and potentially new volunteers! We are also now accepting applications for volunteers for our 2017 KSYLF. We are searching for committed, enthusiastic people who are willing to devote a week to this great program. Do you have the skills and passion to facilitate groups and motivate youth with disabilities? Then consider serving as a volunteer at this year's KSYLF.

Past volunteers, KSYLF alumni, and new volunteers are encouraged to apply! Volunteer applicants must fill out our application form, as well as two background checks, and send to the KYEA office by February 5, 2017.

Print a delegate or volunteer application

Empower Me! Series Workshops Take KYEA Across the State

Empower Me Series logo KYEA is going to be on the road starting in February! We are planning for our third year of conducting Empower Me! Series workshops across the state for youth with disabilities, ages 15-25. Our schedule, in 2017, will take us to three new cities, collaborating with three different centers for independent living (CIL's). We will be conducting an EMS workshop in Wamego on February 4, one in Hays on April 1, and a workshop in Iola on May 6. We are excited to work with the CIL's in these areas and look forward to meeting youth across the state! Stay tuned to our newsletter and our website for more information. Registration forms and flyers for each workshop will be posted on our website as each date gets closer. Hope to see you there!

Visit our EMS website 
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!
People all over the U.S. celebrate with a theme of #InclusionWorks

Disability Employment Awareness Month poster that says Inclusion Works Welcome to National Disability Employment Awareness Month! Did you know that every October our nation celebrates the contributions that people with disabilities bring to the workplace? At KYEA, we believe that every person CAN and SHOULD be employed! This month, people all over the United States are being educated about how our disability community can be an asset in the workplace. We are also celebrating the fact that people with disabilities are currently working in a variety of careers. With all of this to celebrate, check out this statistic: In 2015, 17.5% of people with disabilities were employed as opposed to 65% of people without disabilities (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This statistic needs to change. Use this month to educate yourself and others about the job possibilities for people with disabilities!

The theme for this year's Disability Employment Awareness Month is #InclusionWorks. This theme points out that people with disabilities should be included in the workplace and that they play an important part in making the workforce diverse. By including the hashtag in the theme, the hope is that this encourages people to post images and start discussion on social media about the many ways that "inclusion works."

Learn more about Disability Employment Awareness Month
Disability Mentoring Day also celebrated in October!
Area DMD's host local events

Disability Mentoring Day logo Guess what else is going on in October? Disability Mentoring Day!! This day began nationally back in 2001 and works to promote career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships. Areas throughout the U.S. host their own unique DMD events. Many local cities in Kansas are holding their Disability Mentoring Day during the month of October. If you are a job seeker and a person with a disability, then you might consider participating in your local DMD. Not only is it a chance to job shadow, but it is also a day to learn helpful information about being employed.

KYEA has been asked to speak and help out at multiple Disability Mentoring Days around the state this month! We are excited about these opportunities, and we might see you there!

To find out if your city is having a DMD, we suggest contacting your local center for independent living. Oftentimes, CIL staff are involved in the planning or can point you in the right direction.

Learn more about Disability Mentoring Day
~ Get the Facts on Voting! ~ 
I want to vote in the upcoming election. What do I need to do?
Ballot box that says vote and a ballot going into it Well, first, good for you for seeing the importance of voting! Second, there are simple steps that need to be done before you can vote in the November election. Take a look and see what comes next for you:

1. Find out if you are registered to vote. The Can I Vote website will tell you.

2. Register if you need to, or re-register if you have recently moved. See section below for more information about registering.

3. Find out the General Election dates where you are registered. Put those dates on your calendar. See important dates below. Do know that you can also do advance voting in pers on if you can't vote on the day of the election. Learn more

4. Find out where your polling place is. Ag ain, the Can I Vote website will tell you.

5. Visit the polling place location to note any accessibility barriers that you might face. See accessibility article below.

6. If you need some instructions, or want a demonstration of your district's voting system, ask your Board of Elections.

7. Arrange any transportation help you might need. Or, did you know that you can be sent a ballot through the mail? Read the By Mail section of the Vote Kansas website.

8. Research the different candidates so that you can make the best decision about who YOU want to vote for. Remember, we are not just voting for our next President, but also local and state Representatives and Senators, Board of Education members, etc.

9. Make sure that you have your ID on the day of the election. Learn more
10. VOTE on the day of the General Election or fill out and send in your Advance Ballot!!

*Information modified from Disability Thinking Election 2016 Voter Guide-
How do I register to vote? 
Register to vote It's not hard to register at all. All you have to do is fill out a simple form, turn it in, make sure you have an ID, and then go vote! Here are some steps to successfully register in Kansas:

1. See if you are already registered. Click here to find out if you are registered in Kansas.

2. Make sure that you are eligible to register. Are you at least 18 years old? Check out other eligibility requirements

3. Obtain a Kansas Voter Registration Application. You can fill out a paper copy or register online:
     a. On paper. Find the form online here. You can also get an application at your county election office, at the Secretary of State's office, or at various sites around the state like some banks, grocery stores, libraries, city offices, etc.
     b. Online. You can register on the Online Voter Registration website.

4. Complete the application carefully. Make sure that you read and carefully answer all required questions. Your form might not be accepted if it is incomplete. Remember that, if you are not already registered to vote, then you will need to submit proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register. If you need assistance with any of this, make sure to find a family member or friend who can help you! Also, you can come to the KYEA office or find your local center for independent living and someone there will help you.

5. Turn in your application. If you filled out a paper copy, look on the back of the application and it will tell you where to turn in the application. If registering online, just hit Submit.

6. Don't forget the deadline to register is tomorrow! See important dates below.

7. Receive your certificate of registration by mail from the county election office. Make sure to look it over and see if all of your information is correct. If it is not, contact your county election office.

NOTE: If you are already registered, but just need to update your information, you can fill out a new voter registration application online or on paper. Or, changing the information on your driver's license will automatically update your voter registration information unless you decline.

*Information modified from Vote Kansas-
What important dates should I know about regarding the election?  
There are a few dates that are really important. See below:

Last day to register to vote in General election: October 18, 2016

In person early voting starts:
October 19, 2016

Last day to request advance voting ballot by mail:
November 4, 2016

Last day for in person early voting:
November 7, 2016

Advance voting ballot return deadline:
must be received by close of polls on November 8, 2016

Election Day:
November 8, 2016  Make sure to vote!!
Accessibility and Voting
Everyone has the right to vote and the right to access!

Vote As a person with a disability, you have the right to vote! Federal laws require that all Americans have the same opportunity to participate in the voting process. You also have the right to accessibility when voting. It's time to educate yourself on your rights as a voter with a disability. This way, you have no excuses but to go out there and vote! Read on for full details about accessibility...
10 Tips for Voters with Disabilities
  • Learn more about voting 
  • Register to vote 
  • Choose the right voting method for you 
  • Communicate your needs in advance 
  • Check the location and accessibility of your polling place 
  • Know your rights 
  • Follow up with the elections office after you vote 
  • Know who can help if voting is not accessible 
  • Stay informed 
  • Get more information
To read about each of these tips, view the U.S. Election Assistance Commission resource
Your Rights with Voting

As a voter with a disability, you have the right to: 
  • Vote privately and independently
  • Have an accessible polling place with voting machines for voters with disabilities
  • Wheelchair-accessible voting booths
  • Entrances and doorways that are at least 32 inches wide
  • Handrails on all stairs
  • Voting equipment that is accessible to voters who are blind or who have low vision
  • Bring your service animal with you into your polling place
  • Seek assistance from workers at the polling place who have been trained to use the accessible voting machine
  • Bring someone to help you vote (including a friend, family member, caregiver, assisted living provider, or almost anyone else, but not your employer or union representative).
*From REV UP Campaign-
Other Helpful Voting Websites
Everything else you need to know about the upcoming election!
Question of the Month
Why do you think it is important to vote?
quotation mark Those who are elected have a large control over what happens in our lives, so we need to vote in order to make sure that the person who we want is elected or at least to help influence the election.
- Kelly Morse, KSYLF Alumna '02

So that individuals have a voice.
- Joe Stroud, KSYLF Alumni '07

It all depends on who you feel is most worthy to lead.
- Kyle Christine, KSYLF Alumni '11
quotation markSo people's lives will change.
- Kelly Abrahamian, youth from Wichita

Check out many more reasons why YOUTH need to vote in this election!
9 Reasons We Need Young Voters More Than Ever
Various hands in the air that say vote with diverse skin colors and a flag in the background
Community Power! 
Circle with different types of disability logos Highlighting centers for independent living throughout the state 
LINK, Inc., Hays

Johnna Godinez, Program Assistant, gives us the full scoop on what makes LINK unique from other CIL's in Kansas!

LINK Inc logo

My Mother always said, if you work in Western Kansas, you've got a lot of window pane time. This Center for Independent Living (CIL) knows all about that. LINK, Inc., in Hays, serves consumers with disabilities in Western Kansas. LINK's address is 2401 E.13th St. This one agency serves the following counties: Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Smith, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Graham, Rooks, Osborne, Wallace, Logan, Gove, Trego, Ellis, Russell, Rush, Pawnee, Barton, Rice, Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Gray, Morton, Stevens, Seward and Meade.

Check out LINK's new website (, and sign up for their newsletter. Like other CILs, LINK provides training, advocacy, support, information, and works to transition consumers out of institutions to independence in the community. Reality check - they do this for 37 Kansas counties! Nice going LINK! The staff (11 full time and 1 part-time) are able to serve such a large area by meeting with multiple consumers in one community. This can mean 10-12 hour days. Another thing that makes this CIL unique- one staffer focuses on working with children and another with older youth. Cool!

Okay, let's raise the cool-factor: LINK has a summer community garden that consumers tend. In 2017, the goal is to expand the garden, take its bounty to the farmers market, and use the proceeds for the consumer advocacy group. How cool! If you want to donate some plants next spring, they'll be happy to pick them up in the Topeka or Kansas City areas. Oh, and was mentioned above, KYEA will be giving one of our highly-interactive Empower Me! Series workshops on April 1, 2017 at LINK. Western Kansas, here we come!

For more information about LINK, please contact Angie Zimmerman at or (800) 569-5926.

Learn more about LINK
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Carrie Greenwood
Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy