by Ross Yellin

My name is Ross Yellin, I am 24 and I live in East Brunswick, New Jersey and I am the founder of the Disability Allies. I have been diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome, Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In 2010 I was accepted into the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD) internship program. At the internship program I lived with 30 young adults with a large variety of disabilities including autism, bipolar disorder, learning disabilities, people with physical handicaps, loss of hearing and sight.

Even though we all had completely different disabilities we were all able to relate with each other on a deep and personal level. We all struggle to fit in and adapt to society, make friends and find appropriate accommodations and advocate for ourselves. It is safe to say that my disabilities in conjunction with the summer internship program have inspired me to connect with other people who deal with the same challenges as myself. I have created the Disability Allies to integrate young adults with and without disabilities together in a social environment.

I worked at the Arc of New Jersey as a Job Coach for high school students with developmental disabilities. I worked hard to help them find accommodations, advocate for themselves, understand tasks and stay focused on the job. I also ran a structured support group for students with disabilities at Ramapo College. I have volunteered my time as an Adult leader with Sprout. At Sprout we went on local trips with adults with developmental disabilities. My role involved providing supervision and ensuring that all the participants socialized with each other and participated in the activities. I am also the adviser for the 4H youth group in New Brunswick. My role as an adviser involves ensuring that everyone on our 4H executive board performs their job and stays on task. I also am involved with conflict resolution when any problems occur. Finally I have worked with the Dragonfly arts center to create a theater game/Improv group for people with disabilities.