Welcome to the Center for Emerging Leadership banner graphic

Welcome to the Center for Emerging Leadership

Photo of Peer Mentors and Ambassadors in front of Interwork Building

California's State Youth Information, Training, and Resource Center

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Developmental Disabilities


News and Headlines:  

After 6 years of providing advocacy, mentoring, education and training, CEL funding cycle has come to an end.

It has been an incredible 6 years for us and we each have enjoyed every minute that we were able to spend with you!

Please view our Power Point: CEL: 6 Years of Success!

This is a very large file and will take some time but we think it is worth the wait!

Please continue to visit our site to view/download

from our Resources Page as often as you like!

If you have questions or need information contact:

Janice Goforth-Melory



Our Vision:
Communities are enriched by the inclusion of capable and empowered people with diverse abilities.

Our Mission:
To support and educate youth and young adults through peer-to-peer mentorship as they transition into adulthood as leaders.


Ambassadors and Peer Mentors are young adults (ages 18-30) with developmental disabilities who are paid employees of the Center.. They work in integraged community employment settings with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Ambassadors and Peer Mentors share their knowledge, insight and experience in self advocating for the things they have wanted or needed and give information about services that are available to help individuals with developmental disabilities to become more independent and better included in their communities..

What Do Ambassadors Do?

Ambassadors bring a higher public awareness about the abilities of people with developmental disabilities, by sharing their experience with Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination with the public. Ambassadors prepare and deliver presentations to advocacy groups, service providers, community agencies and organizations and at major annual conferences such as Cal TASH and the San Diego People First Self Advocacy Conference.


Are You interested in having a presentation made to your group?

Contact the Center at: (619) 594-3588 or

Send us an E-mail at: cel@interwork.sdsu.edu

Reach a Graduate Assistant at: celga@interwork.sdsu.edu

What Do Peer Mentors Do?
The Peer Mentor assists with the day-to-day running of the Center, mentoring Youth (ages 13-17) and Emerging Leaders (ages 18-30). Peer Mentors help Youth and Emerging Leaders to become better self advocates. You can learn how to let your service providers know what you want to do. Peer Mentors can help Youth and Emerging Leaders to become more successful in their education, employment and community living.When asked, a Peer Mentor will go to IEP, ITP, or IPP meetings with the people they are supporting. The Peer Mentor forms a relationship with the people they support through:

  • Contact by telephone;
  • Contact by e-mail;
  • Face to face meetings
  • Advocacy with schools, families, and community programs


Who Needs a Peer Mentor?

  • Youth (ages 13-17) and Emerging Leaders (ages 18-30) with developmental disabilities who want to make changes in their lives
  • People who need someone to talk to
  • People who want to learn to be better self-advocates

Photo of Peer Mentor Chirs working on personal safety with Mentee Trevor

To Contact Us:                                                                            

Marjorie Olney, Ph.D., CRC                             

Project Director

Janice Goforth, M.S., CRC
Project Coordinator


About Us ׀ Stories and Events ׀ Training & Resources ׀ Partners & Collaboraters
Advisory Committee
׀ Staff Page ׀ En Español

This site is provided by the SDSU/Interwork Institute's Distance Learning Team.
Send any questions or problems regarding this website to cdl@interwork.sdsu.edu

Copyright 2009

Click here to go the Spanish Version Click here to view About CEL Click here to go to Stories and Events Click here to go the Training and Resources Click here to go the Partners and Collaboraters Click here to go the Advisory Committee Click here to go the Staff Page