Life Skills & Leadership

Aurora Youth Options Life Skills and Leadership


Life Skills Development - Aurora Youth Options (AYO)

When a youth enrolls to Aurora Youth Options, they have access to various in-house programming, as well as programming from outside community partnerships. For example, if the identified need for a youth indicates around mental health concerns and/or substance abuse, youth referrals are toward appropriate clinical and/or school-based staff within Aurora Mental Health Center. 

Ongoing participation in the AYO program promotes healthy social skill building to help youth meet personal challenges such as overcoming shyness, communicating clearly and building healthy relationships. Youth will also gain personal self-management skills, allowing them to learn to advocate for themselves and those in their surrounding community. Additionally, youth will develop skills that will help them enhance personal self-esteemproblem-solving ability and invoke critical thinking, while learning how to reduce stress and manage emotion. Key factors of programming focus on developing goal-setting skills and providing the tools to enhance youth leadership abilitiesPositive Youth Development principals are foundational for AYO’s individual and group mentoring programs, Homework Help and other core programming. 

AYO Partners with programs demonstrating best practices for working with youth, identifying individual sparks and overcoming challenges. 

Positive Youth Development Positive Youth Development |

Positive Experiences + Positive Relationships + Positive Environments = Positive Youth DevelopmentBased on the literature, the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, a collaboration of 21 federal departments and agencies that support youth, has created the following definition of positive youth development (PYD):

PYD is an intentional, prosocial approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances young people’s strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.

Partnering For Youth With Disabilities About – Partners for Youth with Disabilities (   

PYD’s goal is to create a world where young people with disabilities will be able to live with dignity and pride in who they are, and to lead self-determined lives filled with purpose. To make this happen, we build the skills and abilities of young people with disabilities, and increase the inclusivity of workplaces, organizations, and communities.

Despite progress made in disability rights over the past 30 years, individual and institutional ableism still exist in the world today. Disability remains highly stigmatized, and people with disabilities continue to be denied equal opportunity, access, and independence. We work to change this status quo.