Student First

Student First Clubs are developed within the high school and transition programs, working with students who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them develop their leadership skills and to demonstrate the importance of self-advocacy and self-determination.

The photo shows a group of smiling Student First participants in a classroom

Student trainers, themselves people with disabilities, primarily help participants learn how to set up and run their own clubs. In gaining experience with organizing and running meetings, public speaking, and electing fellow members to leadership roles, students by default engage in team work, self-advocacy, problem solving and self-determination.

Student First Clubs give students space to thrive and find their voices! Some, for the first time, break through ingrained habits of silence.

Community and civic duty projects help students learn about issues in—and engage with—their communities. Many unique and successful projects and events have been launched as a direct result of students taking advantage of the opportunity that Student First gives them to explore their strengths and interests.

Student First Videos

Student First Introduction

Student First:
Starting a Club #1

Student First:
Starting a Club #2

Student First:
Starting a Club #3

Student First:
Starting a Club #4

Student First Dance



A Partnership Success Story: Spokane County

The photo shows the Student First group that went to Olympia in twenty seventeen.

Once a club is set up and dedicated people involved, the sky is the limit. Student First in and around Spokane is a prime example of the range of activities that can be incorporated and developed.

In this particular case, Craig Sicilia and Michelle Broekling have made great contributions to the success of the programs in the area.

Photo of Craig Sicilia
photo of Michelle Broekling

They've worked hard to establish relationships with schools and teachers which helps the success of the programs. Their trainings (see videos below) have helped set up many clubs throughout the Spokane area.

If you're interested in starting a Student First club, please reach out to either Craig or Michelle.
craig@pfow.org michelle@pfow.org


Events and Areas of Focus Developed by Spokane-area Student First Clubs:


Youth Leadership Summit. The photo shows a student first member speaking at a podium in Olympia.

Each year, students from each chapter elect their own officers. The summit focuses on building the officers' leadership skills and helps prepare them for their roles.

Civic Engagement. The photo shows the entire group of student self advocates who traveled to Olympia.

Efforts to support self-advocacy in youth led to Student First leaders traveling to the state Capitol to speak before Congress on issues important to them.


community service. This photo shows the Student First members gathered around the food collection bins at one of their food drive sites.

Student First Youths organize charitable fund-raisers. From food and coat drives, to building a community center in Ethiopia, students are encouraged to follow their passions to make the world a better place.



Talent Show. This photo shows a Student First member sharing his talent for singing.

The 2018-2019 Student First Talent Competition had 137 talented students participating. From singing and stand-up comedy, to dancing and sharing inventions, students had the opportunity to shine.


Person-centered thinking. This photo shows a Student First member outside a greenhouse holding a vertical planter.

Students not only are trained in communications and other job skills, they are encouraged to identify and follow their dreams such as advanced education and entrepreneurialism and plan concrete steps to achieve them.

People First of Washington
16815 Pacific Avenue South
P.O. Box 1180
Spanaway, WA 98387-9997

253-999-7222
krista@pfow.org

People First of Washington logo. Click to go to the home page.

Privacy   --   Legal

Thanks for visiting! Our site is a work in progress. Help us by sending your ideas and feedback to Clayton Commercial Arts:

louisacclayton@gmail.com