YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this YP! Enews
The Outlet: Peer Support in a RTF
Hudson River RYP Message
Central RYP Message
Legislative Awareness Lunch
Member Newsletter Available to Download
Social Security Benefits
Working group meetings

YP! news on the regular! 

The Outlet 
by Desiree Moore Long Island Regional Youth Partner


photo of girls putting their hands together in a pile while standing in a circle.The Long Island Regional Youth Partner of YOUTH POWER! (LI RYP) worked with Madonna Heights Residential Treatment Facility to increase youth voice and peer support.  The goal was to create a peer support group that would run without the ongoing presence of a YP! employee.  We wanted to set up a group that would be truly run by the young peers in the facility.


Early on the group came up with the name "The Outlet" in effort to create a place where they could relax and have fun. The members have taken on leading roles in creating a safe space to freely express their feelings, hold heart-to-heart discussions and gain support from one another without feeling judged. They have used their time wisely to set up peer mediations, poetry sharing and other unique activities. Members also had the opportunity to learn about self-empowerment, advocacy, and most importantly, about starting a group and continuing to keep it strong.


These young people have made a difference in their facility and in the community. Members have worked closely with YOUTH POWER! in organizing the annual Long Island Regional Youth forum. Also, they have put their advocacy skills to practice by participating in a youth panel presentation. Outlet members have enjoyed working with YOUTH POWER! and have signed up to become official members of the YP! network.


As of January 12, 2012 the LI RYP is has fully passed the facilitation torch to the outlet members. The Outlet is now officially a peer run group that is making sure the meetings keep going strong.  YP! would like to congratulate the members of "The Outlet" on their dedication to increase youth voice and peer support in their facility.


Here is what some members of "The Outlet" are saying:

"I learned to say no and not be taken advantage of; it was a pleasure working with everyone"


"Well there was a time when I thought differently about a person opinion, and I tried to understand why that person thought the way they thought."


"Watching the girls build this group was a pleasure, I watch them grow individually as well as a group" - Desiree Moore, LI RYP




A Message from the New Hudson River RYP

Hey YPers!Ryanna (long brown hair) with YP! wristband on in front of painting of fists with YP! wristband on


I will now be your main contact for all the latest news, information and happenings in the Hudson River region! I'll be focusing on is getting together a regional team, and planning two forums. There will be a forum in the upper nine counties of the region, and one in the lower counties. At these events, youth will be able to come together, network, and discuss ways increase youth voice in the various systems that serve youth. The best part? The forums will be planned by YOU! You read that right, the regional team will be working to plan the forums completely-all the way from what food to serve, to what activities we'll have. I'd love to have you on my regional team, I know you'll be a great asset! I've met so many empowering, and inspiring youth over the years-and now I'll get to work directly with you again! Please contact me if you'd like to join the regional teams, get more info or just want to say hi!


I'm looking forward to hearing from you all!



The Hudson River Region includes the following counties:

Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington, Westchester


To contact Ryanna:

Email  or call 518-432-0333 x34.



A Message from Our Central RYP

On November 15, 2011 Colleen Deitrich started as the Central Regional Youth Partner of YP!. The following is a message she wrote especially for our members. 


colleen in front of we are the change

I would like to take a moment just to thank you, first of all, for making me feel incredibly welcome into Families Together and YOUTH POWER! I cannot fully express how thrilled I am to be working in advocacy, especially in this capacity.


If you want to know a little more about me, I come from a pretty average background. I live with my parents and seventeen-year-old sister, as well as two fat cats and a little white dog. In addition to painting, I love reading and writing. I read so much that the staff at the local bookstore know me by name. I've also acted on stage since I was four years old, but that is also just a hobby of mine.


I graduated from Wells College in the Spring of 2011 as an American Culture Studies major.  Among my long-term goals, I would like to attend grad school and major in political science, advocacy, or social media studies.


In case you haven't had the chance to speak to me personally yet, I have Asperger Syndrome. I was diagnosed when I was ten years old. I spent most of my teenage years fighting alongside my parents against the public school system, who refused to acknowledge my needs for a long time.  In spite of the gross lack of resources available to me as a youth, I persevered with the steadfast support of my family and friends, becoming a fully-functioning, independent member of society. Nonetheless, it took me many years before I was ready to 'come out,' as it were, and speak freely and proudly about who I am.  However, it is my own experiences that enable me to be so passionate about getting resources to those youth in similar situations, as well as giving a voice in policy-making to young people.


If you have any questions about my story or my diagnosis, or just want to chat, just let me know! I'm very open to anyone who wants to know more about me.


As a Regional Youth Partner, I look forward to reaching out to the Central New York area and empowering youth to take charge and find their voices! The region has been my home for nearly my entire life, and as such I'm especially excited to be able to bring positive change to young people in my hometown of Syracuse! I can be reached at 315-679-1476, or through my email at . 



Join Us For Our Legislative Awareness Luncheon
February 14, 2012
Listen to families for change!

You are invited to the Families Together in NYS

Legislative Awareness Day and Luncheon

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Convention Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany

Families Together Logo 

10:00 Registration opens for those who have scheduled meetings

12:00 to 12:45: Lunch with families from your region

12:45: Speakers and awards


YP! will be hosting Legislative Awareness Activity Stations and will be promoting our 2012 Priority Agenda.


You must register for this FREE event.  Click on the link to download Individual or Group registration forms.


  Busses and vans are coming from around the state:

                New York City, Bernadine Meeks: 212-330-1679

                Buffalo / Rochester area, Nancy Craig: 716-432-6238

                Cattaraugus and southern counties, Mary Skorupa: 716-871-8997

                Syracuse, Bob Ireland: or 472-7363 ext 235. 

                Long Island, Eileen Kadletz: 631-263-5438 x 103

                Watertown area: Cathy Wooledge: 315-785-8703



For Member - By Member Newsletter

The 2011 Winter Edition of the YP! member newsletter has been mailed to members and is now available online to download.

The theme of this edition is "Equality is a Right, Not a Privilege!"


Download your copy today.PDF  or text only word

Social Security Benefits 

by Kieran  McGovern

Many people of all ages, and with all kinds of disabilities, are unaware of what services to which they may be entitled, and further, how to access those services. It is important to know all about services you qualify for and that can help make your life a little bit easier.


Many people are diagnosed with a disability after a hospital stay, legal appointment or some other unfortunate disability-related experience. However, the social workers do not always provide people with substantial information regarding social security and medicals benefits.


Always ask questions. It is important to know what services you are entitled to receive. For example Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that grants recipients a certain amount of money per-month to help with daily living expenses. To qualify for SSI, one must be under a certain level of income and have a diagnosed disability. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) exists for people with disabilities who have work experience but are unemployed. The maximum income for SSD is higher than that of SSI. Actual award amounts may vary from person-to-person, based on current living situation among other things. Do not be afraid to ask for details when you go to the Social Security Office. It's your life!


Bring a trusted advocate.  This might be an adult ally, such as a parent, social worker, neighbor, or mentor. It helps if they already have some first-hand knowledge of the Social Security system, but it isn't absolutely necessary. Oftentimes it helps just to have an extra pair of ears to receive the detailed information, and an extra mouth to ask the questions you might forget. Be sure to bring an advocate to your first and every social security meeting-they will present you with a lot of information.


Try to get a general idea of what services you qualify for. SSI and SSDI are just two of many programs social security offers people with disabilities. Food stamps, for example, may or may not be a part of your SSI and/or SSDI packages. Depending on the nature of your disability, as well as other factors, you might qualify for other programs. The Social Security office will likely zdirect you to a Medicaid Service Coordination agency, where community specialists can help you find services to suit your needs. Get an idea of what requirements you must meet and maintain to receive these services.


Stay in touch. Be sure you know what is happening with your benefits, and call social security (1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)) with any questions or concerns you may have. Under which status do I apply for benefits? What services and/or technology wmy  social security medical plan cover. How will my new job affect my benefits? (REMEMBER to always let social security know when you receive some other form of taxable income--this can save you  a long ordeal of them recalculating, and even suspending, your benefits). Also inform them when you are no longer receiving outside income.


You will likely be assigned Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC) soon after being approved for social security benefits. You MSC will help you understand your benefits package, so don't worry too much. Just remember to ask all the questions you may have. It's YOUR life!

Upcoming Working Group Meetings


All three YP! working groups (Action, Outreach and Special Events) will be meeting this month If you are a YP! member that would like to attend, please contact Curtis Grupe at 518-432-0333 x27 or

YOUTH POWER! is the New York State network of young people who have been labeled and are seeking change.  Together, we have decided to speak up about our experiences because no one knows what it is like for us better than we do.  Through peer-to-peer mentoring, we empower young people to be active citizens who are aware of government operations, their rights and the ability to use their voices to influence policies, practices, regulations and laws.  We are young people helping other people, ensuring availability of self-help and peer support while changing systems so that young people get the support they need with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Nothing About Us Without Us!