Meet Youth Leadership Program Manager Carl Sidney

Carl Sidney is a change agent.

When he joined PYD as the Youth Leadership Program Manager in May, Carl knew it would be a challenge to debut the new program in less than two months. He was up to the task.

“What interested me in the position is the fact that I can create change,” Carl said. “It allowed me to ignite a passion that I have working with youth and allows me to see them in positions I hadn’t seen them in before.”

The Young Leaders Rising (YLR) program, which launched in July, is a 12-week youth leadership program for Massachusetts high school students with any type of disability. YLR leverages both live virtual workshops and an online learning community to develop leadership and career readiness skills.

The pandemic forced PYD to launch YLR virtually. Although Carl had yet to lead youth programming remotely, the positive response he received from the community quickly resolved any potential concern he may have had. “It makes me hopeful of what YLR can be in the future,” Carl said.

YLR participants have been actively building leadership skills and developing, expanding, and practicing employment and career readiness skills. Workshop topics include networking, interview skills, setting career goals, and accessing available resources.

In addition, YLR participants learn about disability pride, assistive technology, independent living, higher education, legislative advocacy, and the Disability Rights Movement. There are also numerous social and recreational opportunities, allowing participants to build relationships with peers along with mentors, collaborators, and disability advocates. The intent is for youth to be better prepared for future employment, higher education, and independent living.

As program manager, Carl tapped into five plus years of experience working with individuals with disabilities in a variety of positions, most recently as Transition Coordinator at HopeWell. His Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Boston also provided a foundation for his initial success in the position.

Carl sees the inaugural YLR program as just the beginning. He is interested in collecting data from YLR and other PYD programs and using it to improve future programming. “This summer’s program has allowed me to elevate myself to new horizons,” Carl said. “I can’t wait to make YLR it as meaningful as it can be for participants and fellows.”

Want to learn more about YLR? Contact Carl at