Youth Reach

Young people with or without disabilities want what all young people want: a chance to learn, work and connect. Today’s youth are the leaders of tomorrow, the ones who will be at the forefront and contributing to the well-being of their communities when today’s leaders have passed on. Yet why are so many of today’s youth on a narrow and marginalized path to their future? Up to one in five youth in the United States experience a mental health challenge each year, and a whopping 70 percent of youth in juvenile justice institutions have some sort of disability. Youth with disabilities are falling through the cracks and constantly being overlooked where education and career building are concerned.

How can we uphold our collective responsibility to ensure young people are taught to lead productive lives and steer clear of violence and other at-risk behaviors? A boisterous and out-of-the-box solution comes from Raphael Travis, Program Director at Texas State University in the School of Social Work and keynoter for this topic area who will share insights from his book The Healing Power of Hip Hop and talk about his experiences at the helm of FlowStory, an organization adapting Hip Hop culture as a critical tool for growth in families, education, therapy, and afterschool and summer programs.

As it is in other cultures, so it is in youth cultures that one size does not fit all. With an eye to the special challenges of Pacific Islander youths, Judith Clark presides over a breakout session which draws on her experience as the Executive Director of Hawaii Youth Services Network responsible for creating culturally relevant educational materials on bullying, teen pregnancy, STI prevention, and teen dating violence. On another provocative front, the spotlight falls on efforts to protect students with disabilities from getting caught up in a school-to-prison pipeline.  Whether you are a concerned parent, program provider or both, you will come away from youth reach topic sessions with fortified compassion for connecting with the next generation. 

For more information about this topic area, please contact the Conference Team at For general information on the conference, please contact Charmaine Crockett at, (808) 956-7539. For registration questions please contact the registration desk at (808) 956-8816, fax (808) 956-4437 or email