YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this YP! Enews
New Western RYP
Now Taking Applications for the Statewide Youth Leadership Forum
Adam Fazzone Takes on the Systems Advocate Role
Got time this summer? Help YP!!
Youth with Disabilities get a taste of a different kind of support group
Wave 2012
Dare to Dream Award$
Zach goes to Youth Workers Conference in Boston

YP! Welcomes Jessica as New Western RYP
Jessica holding up her fist wearing a YOUTH POWER! Wristband in front of the word YOUTH



Hello my name is Jessica Hollins and just like a lot of you young people my journey in life has not been all that great. At 11 years old I was introduced to the juvenile justice system, and mental health system. I had been experiencing issues at home with my mom and once I was placed into the system it seemed as though things were just going down here from there.  Because my behavior started to get worse and no one wanted to deal with me I was sent to over 8 different facilities and still wasn't getting the help that I felt I needed. I was always being told that I will not amount to anything; I was going to end up in prison, or just mean things to discourage me. I was restrained almost every day because no one wanted to take the time to talk to listen to what was going on with Jessica. After awhile I learned how to play the system "Fake It To You Make It" meaning if I just pretend then I can get out of these facilities and go home to be with my friends, still with the mindset of doing what I wanted to do. It finally worked after spending 5 years of my life going back and forth from place to place. I was sent home but was placed in a program that was to monitor me while I was home.


After only being home for 2 months I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter. I was part of a statistic "Teen Mom". At that moment I knew that I had to make some changes if I was going to be a mother.  I decided that I was going to go back to high school, graduate and go to college. I met a woman that works with the YWCA supporting teen moms, who assisted me in making these things happen. I was able to attend high school with my daughter, find a place to live and get on the road to success. During school I was to work with the YWCA in spreading awareness in the community about the rapid rate of teen pregnancy, and assist with helping them receive grants to continue to support teen moms. After graduation I went on to college and decided I wanted to study psychology. I then was able to do my internship with OCFS the same system in which I was in as a child. I was able to talk with the young people and start working on projects such as me looking into places that would help them when they go home to stay home, discussing things with the director of the facilities on what they can do to help prepare these young people for when they go home.


Having had experiences as a young child and then being able to sit on the other side and see how things operate pushed me to want to make changes within the system.  With the help of many, we will create change within all of the  child-serving systems. I hope to work with others that are like me.... Empower and make positive change. 


To contact me please email or call.

Email: [email protected]

Cell Phone: 585-314-2452


The Western Region includes the following 19 counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates




Now taking Applications for the 5th Annual Statewide Youth Leadership Forum!




 YOUTH POWER! is proud to say that we will be holding our 5th Annual Statewide Youth Leadership Forum on August 7-9, 2012.   


At this statewide gathering, we will be celebrating our transition to independence.  In 2012 YP! will become an independent organization run by young adults with disabilities.


As young people, we need to work together to ensure our rights are protected.  Whether we are in special education, mental health, foster care, juvenile justice or addiction services, we deserve to remain in our community and get the support we need with respect, dignity and human rights.


Together, we will sharpen our advocacy skills, build a stronger united network and have our voices heard.



Download the PDF Application here.  For a word version, please email [email protected]


If you are selected to attend this event, YP! will cover your travel, meals and hotel costs.


In order to be selected you must:

  • Have a disability.
  • Be in the age range of 16-28.
  • Youth under 18 must have guardian approval.
  • Must live in New York State.
  • Commit to helping a YP! Working Group, Board or a Regional Team for one year.
  • Complete the application and return it by June 30, 2012
Step up and join the leadership of one of the largest youth run organizations in the United States!


Adam Fazzone Takes on the Systems Advocate Role


Adam in front of YP! bannerYP! is pleased to announce one of our long time members is moving up the ladder.  


Message from Adam:


"Hello everyone, my name is Adam Fazzone, and I have been passed the Systems Advocate position held by John Donnelly .
I have been with YOUTH POWER! for a long time and I started working here in June of last year, I have thoroughly enjoyed working for YOUTHPOWER! and getting to see how the organization works from the inside.

I was originally hired as the Administrative Assistant, and it was a great first job for me. Now I am the Systems Advocate, a position I hope to thrive in,I know I have large shoes to fill left behind by my predecessor John. I hope You will all bare with me as I grow into my new position."


As Systems Advocate Adam will continue to represent YP! in Office of Mental Health meetings, speak publicly about his story and YP! activities and will be assisting the Action Working Group in taking on systems advocacy projects. Adam can  be reached at [email protected] or 518-432-0333 x14.






We need some members to step up and help their region by planning events and getting involved in advocacy. We host Regional Forums to get input for our systems change efforts and to empower young people to be active citizens and self- advocates.  In true YP! style, we have a lot of fun in the process.  


Long Island

The Long Island team is seeking ten motivated young leaders between the ages of 13- 28 leaders to serve on the Leadership Committee. The responsibilities of this position are to work closely with the Long Island Regional Youth Partner to increase youth voice, peer support, network, coordinate events and take on special assignments and more. The benefits are of serving is giving back to your community, making a difference in others lives, making change in your region, represent your fellow peers. The Leadership Committee meets monthly and is currently working on the 2012 LI forum and writing the quarterly for-youth-by-youth newsletter.  


Contact Desiree Moore at [email protected] or 631-245-5289


New York City

Together let's make a Difference!

Join the NYC Regional Team to speak out and stand up for CHANGE! Get involved in your community, make new friends, be a part of exciting events such as our upcoming NYC Regional Youth Forum. We are looking for a team of dedicated YOUth to join our team. For more info contact NYC Regional Youth Partner, Pauline Gordon at  [email protected] or (347)880-2735.


Hudson River

In the Hudson River Region we are currently gearing up to hold a series of 'mini forums' across the region. I need YOUR help in not only ensuring these events are a success, but in building a strong regional team that will advise the region, and ultimately the state on various key issues. As a step towards making this a reality, I encourage all youth groups to contact me and possibly nominate a youth from your group to serve on the team. Not only will you be a part of change, you'll also be able to learn from other youth groups, and connect with other groups. 


Contact Ryanna Soule for more information! 

[email protected]  518 432 0333 ex. 34



The Central regional team is currently meeting by phone to plan a regional forum for July in Syracuse.  This region is LARGE and we need more people to help make this event a success.  


Contact Colleen at 315-679-1476 or [email protected]




We are looking for some young people that have experiences with any of the child- serving system, who want their voice to be heard and who are not afraid to speak up.  We need a team to be ready to help put together the western regional forums and assist with growing the movement.


Contact Jessica at [email protected] or 585-314-2452



Youth With Disabilities Get a Taste of A Different Kind of Support Group!

By Colleen Deitrich


 Syracuse, NY-On March 20th, 2012, ARISE of Central New York, in cooperation with YOUTH POWER! had their first ever youth support group for teens with disabilities. ARISE Education Advocate Michael Mapparozzi and Central RYP Colleen Deitrich collaborated on the group, with the idea that young people can run their own support meetings in order to get the most out of it. This idea includes naming the group and creating the group rules, to deciding what to talk about and what projects to explore.


The philosophy is that the best support groups are the ones where youth express their own needs and drive the group in that direction. It is also meant to promote self-advocacy, confidence, and empowerment in a setting where disabled youth are taken seriously and are guaranteed to be heard.


The meetings will be held monthly over the summer at the ARISE Building at 635 James Street, Syracuse. Refreshments are provided. Young people with any and all disabilities between the ages of 11 and 20 are invited. ASL Translators and other resources are available upon request.




WAVE Long Island 

By Desiree Moore


YP! members and parent allies at LI WAVE event

YOUTH POWER! would like to recognize Pederson Krag WAVE for their outstanding work for bringing awareness to bullying in the long Island Region. On March 27, 2012 over 200 people filled Tecumseh Elementary school in Farmingville Long Island, New York. The Speak out/act out against bullying rally kicked off with Wave members sharing their personal experiences on being bullied and how they overcame the bullying. Each young person left the audience with a powerful message. Between WAVE members speeches different organization shared information on bullying. A Suffolk County detective held a discussion on how the law is really enforcing laws around cyber bullying.

Jamie Isaac founder of Jamie Isaac foundation for anti bullying Inc was the keynote speaker. Jamie is known for being a hero for victims of bullying who haven't found their voice yet and for those who have. She shared her personal experiences on being a victim of bullying and how she overcame it. Jamie is very involved in her community and has helped pass the Suffolk County "Cyber Bulling Law." And is working to pass this law in Nassau County and is working with Senator Jeff Klein on the New York State Cyber bullying law. Wave ended the night with information fair along with performances and sports events.



 Apply for a Dare to Dream Award


YOUTH MOVE is pleased to announce that we have extended the deadline for our the Dare to Dream America grant program! Applications are now due on May 20th, 2012. 
Please share this funding opportunity with all youth groups who are dedicated to promotingpositive mental health in their communities. 
This year they will be rewarding 15 youth groups with $1,000 grants!
Click here to access the 'Dare to Dream' portion of our website, where you can download the application.  (Applications have also been attached to this email, for your convenience.)

Youth Work Initiative Conference

By Zachary Garafalo



On March 13 and 14th, I had the opportunity to attend the 11th Annual Youth Work Initiative at the University of Massachusetts Boston campus. This conference was sponsored by Health Resources in Action, an agency in Massachusetts. The event brought together over 200 youth workers from across New England and New York. Both novices and veterans gained knowledge from experts and one another through some 40 seminars like "Supporting Newly Immigrated Youth and Families" or "The Mirror: How We Influence Behavior." Multiple perspectives were represented at this conference, including those of police officers, social workers, community organizers and city planners. The uniting theme was everyone's passion for including youth and youth voice in their work. I had the opportunity to meet a police officer from Cambridge Massachusetts who works with youth involved in the justice system. His approach - and that of the police department - is innovative: they will often work with a youth outside of the juvenile justice system so that a youth can make amends without becoming involved in the system. I also met a student from Cornell who is a graduate student in city planning and she works to incorporate youth voice into the city planning process.


The workshops I attended were very useful for my professional work. One of the workshops used case studies to get youth workers to exchange stories and best practices and another workshop was an overview on the laws and regulations associated with the juvenile justice system. This was a great experience and I benefited greatly from being able to attend.

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!