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Vermont Center for Independent Living Honors Youths

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Deborah Lisi-Baker presents a Youth Leader Award to Joseph McCoy of Manchester.

The Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) paid tribute on Jan. 22 to young people working to make the world a better place. Recipients of the 15th Annual Deborah Lisi-Baker Youth Leader Awards were Jamie Heath of Barre, Joseph McCoy of Manchester, Celilo Bauman-Swain of Charlotte, and the 14 members of the Youth Advocacy Council.

VCIL’s board created the Deborah Lisi-Baker Youth Leader Award in 2006 in honor of emerging leaders in the disability rights and independent living movement. The award was named for the organization’s then-executive director.

Lisi-Baker said of the Youth Advocacy Council, “They lead by picking a focus for community service and they select a particular issue. It could be harassment or bullying. It could be building transition resources so that youths with disabilities can move into adult life more prepared and with more support.”

The council is composed of youths and young adults between the ages of 15 and 26 who show interest in leadership training and opportunities to prepare Vermont students with disabilities for life after high school.

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The council has enjoyed many successes over the past year, including meeting with Gov. Scott and organizing a youth summit.

On Jan. 22, the Vermont Center for Independent Living presented the 2019 Deborah Lisi-Baker Youth Leader Awards. From left are Lisi-Baker, winner Celilo Bauman-Swain, Amanda Garces (who nominated Celilo for the award) and VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville.
On Jan. 22, the Vermont Center for Independent Living presented the 2019 Deborah Lisi-Baker Youth Leader Awards. From left are Lisi-Baker, winner Celilo Bauman-Swain, Amanda Garces (who nominated Celilo for the award) and VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville.
Jamie Heath of Barre signs copies of her book, “Wishes Are Medicine,” after receiving a 2019 Deborah Lisi-Baker Youth Leader Award from the Vermont Center for Independent Living.