MOVE Summit

Empowering African American Males with Disabilities to Overcome Barriers, Become Self-Determined, and to Graduate High School College & Career Ready.

Each July, the Virginia Department of Education welcomes African-American males with disabilities from across the Commonwealth to participate in a three-day summit. The 2021 MOVE Summit will be a virtual event July 18-20.

Through utilizing state leadership and mentors, young men ages 13-21 engage in activity-based learning. Participants unlock their potential to overcome barriers, become self-determined, and graduate high school to be college and career ready.

Concurrent parent workshops offer resources and tools to promote self-determination in their sons and increase parent engagement in the education process.

The MOVE Summit is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education. All costs associated with lodging and meals are covered, as well as reimbursement for mileage to and from the event.

When: July 18-20, 2021 

Where: Online

Who: Virginia African-American male youth with disabilities ages 13-21 and parent(s)/guardian(s)

Applications were due April 9th, 2021, and are no longer being accepted. No late applications will be accepted. Applications will be reviewed and acceptance letters will be emailed on or before April 30, 2021.

All accepted youth will be emailed detailed information about the MOVE Summit closer to the event’s date.

Q1: Who can apply to the MOVE Summit?

A: Virginia African-American male youth with disabilities between the ages of 13-21 can apply to participate in the MOVE Summit. Each youth must apply separately – please do not put two names on one application, even if they are siblings.

Q2: Should my son apply?

A: Watch the video below!

Q3: Do parents need to apply?

A: Parents do not apply for the MOVE Summit. Only youth apply, if accepted, their parents are accepted as well. Parents attend separate parent sessions that happen at the same time as the youth sessions. If you have more than one youth applying, please make sure they fill out separate applications.

Q4: What should I prepare before starting an application?

A: There are a few things that are helpful to have ready before you start the application process:

  • Working email address – All communication, including acceptance and denial letters, are sent through email. Please make sure that you use an email address that is working and that you can access easily. Also, make sure you enter the email address carefully when prompted so that our communication gets to you. Some school systems block outside emails, so if you are using a student email address, please make sure that your school does not block emails that come in from outside of thier division. We suggest that you use a personal email address if you have one.
  • Demographic information – Your address, phone number, email address, and school information (if still attending school) is all part of the application information. The same goes for your parent/guardian. Having this information ready will allow you to complete your application faster.
  • Essay Responses – See Q8 for more information.

Q5: What happens once I submit my application?

Once you click submit, you will automatically receive a confirmation email stating that we have received your application. At this point, your application is complete, and we have everything we need to begin processing it. After the application team has processed all applications, you will be notified by email whether you were accepted or not.

Q6: I didn’t receive a confirmation email. What should I do?

A: There are usually two reasons this might happen:

  1. Your email system is not allowing it to come through. Check your Spam or Junk folder to see if it is there. If you don’t see it there, your email system may have blocked it completely. This sometimes happens when using student email addresses from school divisions. Please contact us if you feel that you did not receive a confirmation.
  2. The email address that you provided was not entered correctly. If this is the case, we need to correct your email address. Contact and let us know about your issue.

Q7: Can I receive assistance when filling out the application?

A: Yes, we encourage youth with all ability levels to apply, and understand that some individuals will need assistance or accommodations when filling out the application. For the essay portion, we do want to see youth-generated work. This doesn’t mean that the youth performed each task necessary to complete the essay, but that the answers provided represent who they are.

Q8: Can you tell me more about the essay?

A: First off, don’t let the word essay fool you! You are simply answering a few questions so that we can get to know you better (we don’t count off for spelling, grammar, etc.). Having your essay answers ready ahead of time will allow you to apply much faster. We encourage you to answer your essay questions in one of two ways:

  1. In a word processing document, type your answers, save it, and then copy and paste your answers into the form so that you have a back-up copy available. Each question has a 100 word limit, so think carefully about how you want to answer the question!
  2. Record a video or audio of yourself answering the questions. Save the recording, and upload it to an online storage folder (such as Google Drive or Dropbox). Copy the sharing link, and paste that link into the answer box. You can use 1 recording for all of your answers, or you can do separate recordings for each question. Each question has a 1-minute limit, so think carefully about how you want to answer the question! Anything beyond the 1-minute mark will not be scored as part of your application.

Q9: How are applications processed? Is it first-come, first-served?

A: All applications that are received by the deadline are given to our review team after the application window has closed. Turning in your application early does not give any extra weight to your application. However, we do encourage you to apply as soon as you can. This will give you time to fill it out thoroughly without needing to rush, and will also allow time to fix any issues, should they occur. All applications are processed equally by our team, who looks for authenticity, completeness of each component, and for the application to represent the youth who is applying. No late applications will be accepted.


For all other questions, feel free to send a message to

Who should attend the MOVE Summit?

What kind of support will my son have at the MOVE Summit?

The MOVE Summit offers many layers of support for each participant. First, whenever possible, we practice Universal Design for Learning strategies. This means, that we try to plan all activities and assignments in a way that anyone can access them and be included. While it’s not always possible for every single thing, we always start with that in mind, and offer accommodations for anyone who needs them.
Second, we have a full staff at the MOVE Summit who are ready to help as needed. For parts of the Summit, your son will be with you, and you are responsible for him at those times. For other times, he will be in a group of about 10 other youth. There will be one adult Coach who will always be with that group. The group travels together to different sessions. At these sessions, an invited guest will lead the youth. Beyond that, we have floaters who come and go, again depending on the need of those in the groups, as well as State Youth Leaders who have experienced the MOVE Summit before and can offer help to any youth. Beyond those individuals, there are at least two adults (I’m Determined Coordinators) stationed at a central location to handle any needs that are beyond the reach of all the other layers. The floaters and adult helpers that we use are mostly trained professionals (special education teachers, behavior analysts, specialists, who come recommended to us as people who can work with whoever comes).
For many parents, this may be the first time coming to an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people, and being separated from their child. We get it…this is not an easy thing to do! Because of this, we always have direct communication set up with those leading the parent sessions, so that we can communicate any needs necessary.
Once we have our group of accepted young men, we send out another survey, where you are able to describe any accommodations, supports, etc. that you or your son would need to have a successful experience. We then use that information to figure out how may support people to hire, how many adults to assign to specific groups, etc. We have one of our staff members call each family to have a conversation and make sure we have what you’ll need. Our goal is for each participant to experience a youth-led Summit where they feel as much success as possible.

For all other questions, feel free to send a message to

What is the experience like for parents?
If you are a parent/guardian, the MOVE Summit is a three-day networking and learning event for parent(s)/guardian(s) of youth who apply and are accepted to attend the MOVE Summit. Youth attend youth-only sessions, and parent(s)/guardian(s) attend parent sessions.

When and where is the MOVE Summit?
The MOVE Summit, is held each July on the campus of Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA.

Who can attend the MOVE Summit?
Virginia African-American male youth with a disability, age 13-21 (by the first day of the event), are encouraged to apply to attend the MOVE Summit. Typically, up to 50 youth are accepted to attend. An adult family member or guardian must accompany youth attending the MOVE Summit. All adults who accompany a youth to the summit are registered to attend the parent sessions.

What if I or my youth has specific needs such as a special diet, interpreting services, a personal attendant or a physically accessible room?
Every effort will be made to meet needs of all who come. Accessible lodging is available. Those who are accepted will receive a form to fill out requesting any dietary needs, as well as personal or room accommodations.

Why should parents want to attend the summit?

Watch the video below!

What is the process for filling out my youth’s application?
Typically, in early March each year, the MOVE Summit application is posted on Youth can get assistance from a parent or teacher in completing the application prior to the application deadline. Applications are reviewed and decisions are made about acceptance by early April.

When are applicants notified of acceptance?
Each spring, applicants are contacted regarding their acceptance. At that time, additional information is gathered from all accepted applicants.

If my youth is accepted, do I have to attend?
Yes, MOVE is an event that is for youth and parents. All adults who accompany a youth are registered to attend the parent sessions.

Can more than one parent or guardian attend with a single youth?
Yes, pending availability, family members are welcome to attend.

Does the MOVE Summit cost anything?
No. This event is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education. Lodging is provided for youth and their parent(s)/guardian(s), free of charge, in conveniently located VSU dormitories. Free meal passes are provided to allow both youth and parents/guardians to receive all meals. Mileage to and from the event is reimbursed by completing a form once at the Summit (a reimbursement check is mailed within four to six weeks). Bringing personal spending money is optional.

What do I need to bring with me to the MOVE Summit?
Once accepted, youth and parent(s)/guardian(s) will receive information with specific directions and suggestions for what you may want to bring with you to make your stay more comfortable.

For all other questions, feel free to send a message to

***Please note – this is not the actual schedule, but typically this is what is followed for in-person MOVE Summits. Accepted youth and parents will receive an updated, detailed schedule before the event. Virtual Summits are run differently and information will be sent to all accepted participants.

Day 1 – Sunday

11:00am – 12:30pm – Registration & Move-in

12:00pm – 1:30pm – Lunch

1:30pm – 5:00pm – Summit Sessions

5:15pm – 6:30pm – Dinner

6:30pm – 8:00pm – Summit Sessions

Day 2 – Monday

8:00am – 8:50am – Breakfast

9:00am – 10:15am – Opening Session

10:30am – 12:00pm – Concurrent Summit Sessions

12:00pm – 1:00pm – Lunch

1:00pm – 5:30pm – Summit Sessions

5:30pm – 8:00pm – Dinner and Networking

Day 3 – Tuesday

8:00am – 8:50am – Breakfast

9:00am – 12:30pm – Concurrent Summit Sessions

12:30pm – 2:00pm – Lunch and Closing

2:00pm – 3:00pm – Move-out


The 2021 MOVE Summit Application is now closed. Thank you to all who applied! Late applications will not be accepted.


For more information or questions please contact:

Cami Williams at