YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this YP! Enews
RISE UP! Rally to End State Funded Torture
Board Prepares for a Strong Youth-Led Future
Hudson River Events
Another Big Turnout at the Long Island Forum
Central Regional Forum a Grand Success!
NYC, The Wait is Almost Over!
Pursuing Justice With Urgency and Persistence

Rise Up!
Rally to End State Funded Torture of
Children and Youth

August 9, 2012 from 12:30 - 3:30

West Lawn of the NY Capitol  


Everyday, New York students and their classmates at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center are electrically shocked, subjected to food rationing and held in mechanical restraints for hours at a time. The school calls it therapy. The United Nations calls it torture.


Be the voice that shuts down JRC for good. Occupy JRC, Voices of the Heart and YOUTH POWER! have coordinated an action to protest New York State's use of public funding to support torture and raise awareness about JRC's sadistic approach to behavior management. The march and rally occur on August 9, 2012 from 12:30 - 3:30 at the West Lawn of the Capital.


There is nothing more urgent than this. Our tax dollars keep the dungeon open but the energy we bring will ultimately close the doors. Let those in power know loud and clear that WE WILL NOT allow our brothers and sisters to be tortured. Pull the plug on JRC for good.




Board Prepares Strategy for a Strong 

Youth-Led Future 


Albany, New York - On July 21 and 22, the YOUTH POWER! Board of Directors
met for a strategic planning retreat in Albany. The Board took this time to evaluate its achievements over the past year and to begin planning for the next 3 years. As a result, the Board made some big plans that will strengthen and expand our youth-run network.

"This is an important time for us to look at our future," said Stephanie Orlando, Director of YOUTH POWER! Inc. "Our Board and staff are stronger and more motivated than ever to make these plans and to provide the leadership necessary to make our goals a reality." Board development, training, a young people's advisory council, new programming, and more innovative and unique youth events are in the plan.

"YOUTH POWER! is now incorporated and soon will become an independent not-
for-profit agency," said Aaron T. Baier, President of the YOUTH POWER! Board
of Directors. "Our Board has aligned its priorities in preparation for this transition."
YOUTH POWER! Inc. will be seeking new Board members and offering training to
the Board to ensure that all are prepared to take on the challenges of running an

"YOUTH POWER! aims to ensure that young people get the support they need as well as the respect and dignity they deserve," said Orlando. "Young leaders have led our network this far, I have no doubts that young people will rise to the challenges to make YP! Inc. the go-to-resource for young people who have been labeled and are seeking change."

For more information or to get involved in the YOUTH POWER! Board of Directors
please contact Aaron T. Baier by email at


The Hudson River Region Forums! 
Meet other young leaders, give us your point of view over food and activities and help to build the Hudson River peer movement! 


Dutchess, Sullivan and Ulster Counties 
September 6, 2012, from 4:30pm to 7:30pm
15 Mount Carmel Place, Poughkeepsie NY 12601 
Registrations due by September 4, 2012 


Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie Counties 
September 17, 2012 from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm 
At the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Services 4th floor Conference Room 
1450 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 1220 
Registrations Due by September 13, 2012
Forums for the following counties are coming soon!


Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties
Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester Counties


Contact Ryanna Soule, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner for more info! Office: 518 432 0333 ex. 32 Cell: 518 322 2096


Another Big Turnout at the Long Island Forum
By: Desiree Moore

  many tables of young people at the LI forum

The Long Island region held it's forum July 11, 2012 from five thirty to nine thirty in Nassau County. The forum started with a Suffolk County representative intern speaking in regards to the justice center. This year theme was 'The Great Debate' and 'YP! Got Talent'. Over fifty young leaders attended, and the forum served many purposes this year. Among these reasons were for young people to reunite, make new friends, and most important provide a safe place to express serious concerns about the child serving systems and local issues. The forum ended with several youth revealing their talents in a show. Many young people felt empowered. One young leader shared, "Even though you may be young your opinion really does matter!"  

 Central Regional Youth Forum a Grand Success!

7/19/12, Syracuse, NY-Located at the bright and inviting Q Center in downtown Syracuse, the first Central Regional Youth Forum set a standard for involved, passionate youth. Fifteen youth attended in all, and throughout the day, it was clear that everyone had something important to say.   


young people stand in a circle holding string to form a web "I'm glad there's actually a group that wants to listen to us and puts us first," one youth said after the event.


The day kicked off with some fun icebreakers, then dove right into deep discussion. The youth were first asked to represent what power meant to them in a drawing. The results were wide and creative, with drawings of diverse faces, bodybuilders, and even bridges. During the Q&A section, the youth sat in a circle and discussed their problems in the education system. Among the young adults present was a young man who worked as a substitute teacher. It was proposed that student from age 15 forward should have a vote in their school district's budgets, as well as have a council that interviewed potential teacher candidates prior to hiring. Treating and preventing substance abuse as well as community involvement in bullying prevention were also hot topics of the afternoon. Everyone was so involved in what was being said, the group didn't have time for all of the topics suggested for discussion!


Overall, the youth agreed that the day was both fun and informative. Almost everyone chose to become a YOUTH POWER! member after the event, and many expressed interest in holding an informal focus group to discuss more of the issues that mattered to them. 

The Wait is Almost Over!
By: Pauline Gordon 

YP! NYC peeps get ready for the excitement of our upcoming Annual NYC Regional Youth forum. YP! Youth forum is one of the few peer-run events that are for and by youth across child-serving systems such juvenile justices, mental health, foster care, and youth with a disability. Youth have the opportunity to let their voices be heard and raise awareness on issues concerning youth.

Last year, NYC Regional Youth Forum was held on September 23, 2011. The forum was located at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building's Art Gallery in Manhattan, NY. The NYC Youth Forum attracted a widespread of youth from across systems. The NYC regional planning team worked exceptionally hard buy had loads of fun during the process as they collaborated with various child serving agencies and organizations. At the event, there were youth that were current or former recipients of child serving systems such as foster care, juvenile justice and mental health. At the forum there were various youth-led groups which involved young adults that voiced their life experiences in the form of art such as rap, spoken word, and hip-hop performances. Youth performances had the audience entertained and engaged. Also during the event, youth broke up into groups and discussed topics on how to improve our child-serving systems. The information gathered from the youth at the forum will be used to help shape YP!'s Priority Agenda for 2013.

If you are interested in joining the NYC Regional planning team to help plan this year's youth forum, contact NYC Regional Youth Partner, Pauline Gordon at

Pursuing the Justice with Urgency and Persistence 

My experience at the 2012 
National Children's Defense Fund Conference

By: Pauline Gordon 


From July 22nd -25th, I had the humbling experience of attending not just any informative conference  but a call to action conference to address poverty and injustices in the prison system. The conference was hosted by the CDF. According to Children's Defense Fund, 16.4 million children were poor in the United States, and 7.4 million of those children lived in extreme poverty. Extreme Poverty means to have minimal or no access to basic necessities such as food, clean water, shelter and health care.

The Children's Defense Fund is a national non for profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for America's children. CDF advocates and conducts research on issues concerning children. The organization derived out of the Civil Rights Movements. CDF was founded by infamous Civil Rights Activist, Marian Wright Edelman in 1973.

There were more than 3,000 attendees at the conference. Out of the 3,000 attendees, many were youth advocates such as me. It was inspiring to be surrounded by other advocates from across the states dedicated to the same cause. The conference had a youth track for young adults between the ages of 18-30 called the CDF Young Advocate Leadership Training also known as the YALT program. At the YALT program I engaged in to interactive workshops with my peers as I learned a range of leadership and advocacy skills. The YALT program was insightful and engaging. I was great to network with youth
advocates from across the U.S. and learn different way they are advocating in their communities for systems change.

One of the biggest highlights of the conference was the plenary sessions. The plenary sessions consists of an array of speakers from notable author, Maya Angelou to the parents' of Trayvon Martin. The plenary sessions touched upon injustices within our society. Some of the issues brought up were mass incarceration, economic inequality, gun violence and poverty. I enjoyed all of the plenary sessions but my most favored one was the session which was named, National and Racial Healing Town Hall. I was
moved by the courageous families who spoke up and shared their stories of their children being killed due to gun violence and hate crimes. Their testimonies were empowering. A quote that resonated in my head was a quote by Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton said, "Turning my hurt into something positive and what I mean by power is through our foundation with us helping other kids so this does not happen to them." as she explained how she was able to cope and heal from the death of her son.


Fulton's son, Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old African American boy who was a victim of racial profiling and was shot to death by the neighborhood watch coordinator, George Zimmerman. Her story taught me that we cannot let our oppressors get the best of us by giving in to the wrath of hate but instead utilize it as fuel, as power to spread love and raise awareness of hate crimes. In addition it was an honor to be in the presence of Maya Angelou. At the conference, Maya Angelou had received the CDF's Lifetime achievement award for her dedicated work to helping and motivating children. Maya Angelou gave a inspirational speech where she urged us youth to not give in to acts of violence and hatred. She then recited her poem, "I'm a Rainbow in Somebody's Cloud."

Overall, my experience at the conference was phenomenal. I felt empowered to go back to my community and share and implement the many lessons learned. As advocates it's important to educate ourselves on social injustices and the root causes of them. There were many civil right leaders who spoke of efforts of advocacy and the mobilization of grassroots movement. They taught us to learn from our elders, our history in hopes to influence a strategic plan of action for today. The Civil Rights movement was not just a movement of the 1960s but a movement that still continues on today towards the betterment of humanity and it is up to us youth to continue the movement.  

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!