the Youth Leadership Initiative display banner saying "Uncovering and overcoming employment challenges for young job seekers with disabilities"

Youth Leadership Initiative 

Did you know that post-secondary students with disabilities experience greater difficulties with gaining employment in comparison to their peers, and typically have higher unemployment and underemployment rates? 

The Disability Foundation’s Youth Leadership Initiative empowers youth with disabilities to lead a national three-year project to identify and articulate often overlooked attitudinal barriers to transitioning from studies to the workplace, as well as producing a solution to help break down those barriers. This project is run by a diverse group of young paid interns including those with disabilities who are working together to perform research and identify barriers, brainstorm solutions, and create a multimedia toolkit to support employers and post-secondary students with disabilities in the job seeking process. 

We are proud to have partnered with Royal Roads University for this project, who will be providing a Leadership Foundations program and peer mentorship in a Community of Practice. 

Are you between the ages of 17 to 24 and living with a disability? 

Take the Youth with Disabilities and Employment survey and let us know your experience with finding employment in Canada. 


Meet Our Team

headshot of Alice Pan

Alice Pan

Having completed a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Marketing and gaining work experience in the import/export industry, Alice is applying her diverse skills to her role as a Youth Leadership Initiative Coordinator at the Disability Foundation. As a compassionate and reliable person with a disability, she is committed to serve the youth community and promote diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Curious by nature, Alice enjoys travelling and learning about different cultures and history. By discovering the uniqueness of each destination, she is able to broaden her horizons and understand that “there’s no one way to live life”. 

E-mail: apan@disabilityfoundation.org 


Serena Bains posing in her graduation gown.

Serena Bains 

Serena is a Youth Leadership Initiative Coordinator with the Disability Foundation and a fourth-year Health Sciences student at SFU in the Population and Quantitative sciences stream. She is passionate about disability justice and supporting marginalized communities to receive the resources and rights they deserve. Serena’s interests include politics, painting and playing softball. She is excited to work with the Disability Foundation to further the vision of empowering and inspiring people with physical disabilities to re-imagine what is possible. 

E-mail: sbains@disabilityfoundation.org 


Max Muratov outside smiling.

Max Muratov 

Max is the Head Researcher of the Youth Leadership Initiative, and he is also a graduate student from SFU in the political science program. Max’s interests include, soccer, reading, and movies. This project is a great opportunity to apply the research skills that he learned in university, and it is an opportunity to make a valuable contribution. Overall, he is excited to be working alongside such a diverse and talented team. 

E-mail: mmuratov@disabilityfoundation.org