YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In February's eNews:
New YP! Priority Agenda
Schools Must Provide Students with Disabilities Equal Access to Extracurricular Sports
RAMP Mentee Wins Spelling Bee
Pat Figueroa Jr. Sponsorship
American Youth Summit
HSC Is Now Accepting Applications For The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA)
YP! Outreach Call For Presentations
2013 YouthActionNet Laureate Global Fellowship!
Upcoming Community Asset Mapping Webinar
Immigration Policy Agenda
Opportunities and Resources

Now On Twitter


Follow us on Twitter Follow us  at @YOUTHPOWERNY 

YOUTH POWER! Releases 

2013-2015 Priority Agenda


view of the convention center full of people seated at round tables On Tuesday, February 12, 2013 YP! released the 2013-2015 Priority Agenda at the Families Together in New York State Annual Legislative Awareness Day.


Since 2008, YP! has developed an annual advocacy agenda which sets the priority issues our network chooses to address.  YOUTH POWER! takes these priorities seriously and works hard to make a difference.  We understand that these changes will not happen overnight, and in fact may take several years.  


The new YOUTH POWER! Priority Agenda will guide our efforts over the next three years, 2013 - 2015. This move from a one year plan to three will focus our efforts long-term. As a network we will set and reach goals which will transform service systems so that young people will get the support they need with the respect and dignity they deserve. 


605 people were registered for the Families Together's Legislative Awareness day which was held at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.  YP! Board Members Christina Felix and Marc Rosen spoke on behalf of our network and invigorated the room.  We want to spread that same sense of passion and urgency in this enews.  The following is the text from Marc's speech.


Marc Rosen, Secretary, Board of Directors, YOUTH POWER! Inc.: 

Marc Rosen stands at a podium wearing a YP! hoodie and speaking into a microphone.
 "I'm here today because New York's youth and young adults need a new path, one that's far from what I see here today.  I'm here because just as a minister did decades ago, I, too, have a dream.  I dream of the day when finding OUR answers is more important than finding THE answers.  I dream of the day when administrators remember the importance of associations, humor, and so-called "abnormal thinking!"  I dream that schools will exist to make sure that ALL students have ALL of our needs met, no matter what!  I dream that nobody will lose their rights on the basis of labels forced on them by someone wielding a pill pad!  I dream that every student in this great state will learn about ALL FOUR OF THE GREAT CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS OF OUR AGE, AND WHY WE, TOO, ARE PART OF THEM TODAY!  I DREAM THAT NO SCHOOL WILL EVER RESTRAIN OR SECLUDE ANY OF US, EVER AGAIN!  Most of all, I dream that labels will have no impact on employment opportunities, nor influence on pay scales!


The most important part about these dreams is that THEY CAN HAPPEN!  People with the power to make all of this a reality RIGHT NOW are in this very room!  So, now I ask those of you in power, especially legislators, WHY HAS NONE OF THIS HAPPENED YET?!  Why do you still allow the Board of Regents to ignore us?!  Why do you let them give us worthless pieces of paper that say that we're someone else's problem, instead of opening the door to alternative options such as apprenticeships, business management training, and other options that colleges won't offer?!  Why don't these so-called "life skills" classes teach ACTUAL life skills, such as how to balance a checkbook, how to negotiate for a raise, how to file a tax return, how to file a labor dispute, or how to identify employment opportunities with growth potential?!  Why do we continue to have only a 30% employment rate for labeled New Yorkers, compared to over 70% of non-labeled New Yorkers who are gainfully employed, and WHY DO WE STILL GET STIFFED OVER TEN GRAND A YEAR COMPARED TO OUR NON-LABELED PEERS ON THE JOB?!  Why is this discrimination against us still allowed?!


WE are your constituents!  You're here because of US, and our grievances MUST be redressed!

Download the 2013-15 Priority Agenda here  or for the text-only version, please email


Schools Must Provide Students with Disabilities Equal Access to Extracurricular Sports


The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has issued guidance on the legal responsibilities of school districts to provide equal access to extracurricular athletic activities to students with disabilities. The letter urges school districts to work with community organizations to increase athletic opportunities and provides examples of types of reasonable accommodations schools may need to make. Students with disabilities have the right, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, to an equal opportunity to participate in their schools' extracurricular activities.


The guidance letter provides examples of the types of reasonable modifications that schools may be required to make to existing policies, practices, or procedures for students with intellectual, developmental, physical, or any other type of disability. Examples of such modifications include:

  • The allowance of a visual cue alongside a starter pistol to allow a student with a hearing impairment who is fast enough to qualify for the track team the opportunity to compete.
  • The waiver of a rule requiring the "two-hand touch" finish in swim events so that a one-armed swimmer with the requisite ability can participate at swim meets.

Read the full article here.


 RAMP Mentee Wins Spelling Bee

January 9, 2013 - Eighth-grade student Roy Grant will represent the Cohoes City School District on stage at Proctors Theater in March when he competes in the BOCES Capital Region Regional Spelling Bee after winning the 27th Annual Cohoes Middle School Spelling Bee on Monday, January 7. Roy, who finished in third place in last year's competition, won the bee by correctly spelling "coyote." 


Students earned their place on stage by competing in, and winning classroom bees held earlier this month. Roy will represent Cohoes Middle School at the Capital Region Spelling Bee at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, 2013 at Proctor's Theater in Schenectady.


The champion of the Capital Region Spelling Bee will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C, from May 26 through June 1, 2013. Roy has been a participant in the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program from April 2011 - September 2012.

Pat Figueroa Jr. Sponsorship

By Brad Williams of NYSILC


 The Patricio "Pat" Figueroa, Jr. Sponsorship is for young adults with disabilities to attend leadership trainings or training opportunities consistent with Independent Living philosophy. This sponsorship, supported by the State Plan, is named in honor of Patricio "Pat" Figueroa, Jr., a recognized leader and advocate of people with disabilities. In 1978, Pat founded the first Center for Independent Living (CIL) in New York State - the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (CIDNY). The network has since grown to over forty centers. He was the co-founder of the 504 Democratic Club and publisher of the national disability newspaper, Independence Today. Pat helped train and mentor numerous individuals over the years. For young advocates looking to become future leaders, he is someone to look up to as they learn and strive to reach their ultimate goals.


The New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC) is conducting outreach to young adults with disabilities (age 18-28) with leadership potential looking to attend training opportunities. Any young adult with a disability from New York interested in applying for a sponsorship should complete the entire application (attached above) and email it back to Electronic format is preferable, since it allows equal access for NYSILC members to easily review the information. A second attachment (also above) references potential 2013 conference and training opportunities young adults might consider.


It is expected that sponsorships of up to $250 each will be awarded to young adults with disabilities based on cost and need. Recipients will be asked to provide documentation via a NYSILC reimbursement form and complete a follow up questionnaire to summarize their experience. Council members will make their decisions based on the availability of applications received, on a first come first served basis and on need while attempting to maximize the resources and representing as many young leaders throughout the state as possible.


If you have any questions related to the application, contact the NYSILC office at (518) 427-1060 (Voice/TTY), 1 (877) 397-4126 (Toll Free NYS Only), or Thank you for your interest.


Brad Williams



American Youth Summit  

Young people played a critical part in getting President Obama and countless elected officials around the country elected. People in Washington are listening and the NYA will be hosting the American Youth Summit as a way to bring leaders young and old to a national discussion on youth issues. As the Obama Administration and Congress begin to work through their policy priorities for the next 2-4 years, the National Youth Association will be convening all relevant policy officials and advocacy leaders into one room for two days to discuss the future of youth activism and the priorities it should set.


The National Youth Association is hosting the "American Youth Summit" bringing together top youth leaders in Washington, DC to engage with Obama Administration officials (White House and US Department of State, Energy, Commerce, Labor, and Education), bipartisan Congressional leaders and other national policy groups in a two-day summit working towards a "National Young Americans Report." This event is sponsored in part by George Washington University and Georgetown University.


Our goal is to create a working report of what young Americans want, suggested solutions, as well as a field plan with a coalition of organizations to take the report throughout the country and try to implement as many planks as possible.


The summit will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30.


There will be a networking party on Friday night followed by an all-day summit on Saturday.

The cost is $15 Earlybird, $25 General registration, and $75 vip.

Get your ticket here.
HSC Is Now Accepting Applications For The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA)
The HSC Foundation's ADA Program is seeking the next generation of disability advocates!! If you are a young leader with a disability or know of anyone who is, you/they are encouraged to apply for the 2013 Advocates in Disability Award (ADA)! 
The purpose of the ADA Program is to award and encourage a young individual with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26, who has dedicated himself/herself to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families in the United States. The program also supports an innovative project developed by that young person with a disability that serves and empowers individuals with disabilities.

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) is a program of The HSC Foundation, funded in part by the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his/her past disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for his/her proposed project.

Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection.

The Advocates in Disability Award Program is part of The HSC Foundation's National Youth Transitions Initiative (NYTI).

To apply, please see the attached guidelines and application. You may also apply online at:  


Applications must be received by March 15, 2013 (by 5:00pm EST). 
YP! Outreach Call For Submissions

ATTENTION YP! Members:  we want YOUth


Help Us Write Our Newsletter!


YP! wants YOU to contribute to the Spring/Summer Edition of our for-members-by-members newsletter! The newsletter comes out twice a year.


This next issue will have the theme "What YOUTH POWER! means to me"

We need members to send us:

  • News articles
  • Short stories
  • Poems
  • Photos
  • Drawings
  • Comics
  • Puzzles/brain teasers


Send us anything about how YOUTH POWER! has made you feel or the power of our movement. Have you been inspired by someone who fought for rights? Have you achieved a goal recently? Did YP! open your mind to a broader world view?


Your fellow YP! members want to hear about it.


Share with us! Get connected!

Please send submissions to:

Curtis Grupe, 737 Madison Ave. Albany, NY 12208


Fax to ATTN: Curtis (518) 434-6478

2013 YouthActionNet Laureate Global Fellowship!

Launched in 2001 by the International Youth Foundation, YouthActionNet strengthens, supports and celebrates the role of young people in leading positive change in their communities. Each year, 20 exceptional young social entrepreneurs are selected as YouthActionNet Global Fellows following a competitive application process. The year-long Fellowship program includes:



  • A seven-day leadership retreat for twenty selected Fellows which offers dynamic peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and sharing among young visionaries
  • Focus on the personal growth and leadership abilities of Fellows, in addition to providing instruction in specific skills required to manage innovative, world-changing organizations
  • Year-round learning opportunities based on Fellows' individual needs and the six dimensions of leadership highlighted in the YouthActionNet® Global Curriculum: Personal, Visionary, Political, Collaborative, Organizational and Societal.

Networking and Resources:

  • Access to potential resources to support Fellows and their projects, including volunteers, mentors, and grant opportunities
  • Opportunities to network and collaborate with IYF projects and partners
  • Membership in the YouthActionNet® global network of fellows and alumni 


  • Training in areas such as communications planning, media outreach, message development, presentation skills and innovative uses of new media technologies
  • Access to global advocacy platforms and media coverage


  • Open to all young people, ages 18-29 as of October 1, 2013
  • Applicants must be the acting founder/co-founder of an existing organization, or a project within an organization, with a demonstrated one year track record of leading societal change
  • Proficiency in English is required; applications must be submitted in English
  • Applicants must attend the full retreat (all expenses paid) to take place in early October 2013 

Key Dates:

March 17: Applications for the 2013 Fellowship program are due by March 17, 2013 at 11:59 PM EST

May 22: Finalists will be notified by May 22, 2013.

October 2013: The 2013 retreat will take place within in early October in Brazil.


While online submissions are strongly preferred, applicants may email completed

word application forms to:

Upcoming Community Asset Mapping Webinar

NYS Council on Children and Families

This webinar will demonstrate how to use KWIC's interactive map to showcase resources available within local communities. The interactive map is the initial step in the expansion of the KWIC mapping tool. Learn how to use the map and also provide suggestions for future KWIC mapping developments.

Tuesday, February 19: 1:00 - 2:00 pm

Dial: 866-394-2346

Participant Code: 307-046-5989

Immigration Policy Agenda
By Brett McMullin 

Obama and the republicans are showing signs of willingness to talk on the issue of immigration reform. Some in congress are talking about finally doing something about the problems we have in the immigration system. This sudden push to get things done may have some slight connection to the GOP having lost the Hispanic vote in the last election. While both democratic and many republican lawmakers have come behind this move to change these policies, the right wing is still against it. Texas Rep. Lamar Smith says he won't support any form of amnesty. Speaker Boehner is not committing one way or another.


There are many proposed changes that probably will not be passed and new items may be proposed. Some of the main points are: allowing a pathway to citizenship if one admits to breaking the law and pays all taxes and some penalties, cracking down on companies that hire illegal immigrants, Strengthening border security, and creating a new way to register if someone is allowed to work. They also want to add visa/green card programs for people with advanced science and tech degrees and farm workers.                                                                                                                                                                  


There is also a change that has been enacted that applies to people who were 16 or under when they came here and who are now 30 or under to help get them jobs. However, it gives no citizenship or immunity and could be revoked by future presidents. There are an estimated 11.5 million undocumented workers in the US. Of the 391,953 people deported during fiscal year 2011 203,953 of them had not committed any crime what so ever.                                                                                                                                        


President Obama's plan aims to provide a more direct path to citizenship than the Senate's version of the reform. He also wants to extend the green card marriage right to same-sex couples. He refuses to tie a path to citizenship and border security. Senator Rubio of Florida says that he won't support a bill without border security and punishments for those who break the law.                                                           


Another bill with popular support is the dream act. This bill would allow some people who came to the country when they were 15 or under and have graduated high school or gotten a GED, to apply for citizenship on the condition that they must first complete two years of college or two years in the military. However, you have only six years to complete this and if you fail you will be disqualified. In addition, you can only spend 365 days outside of the United States. 

Opportunities and Resources

New Mobile Apps Make Your Job Search Easier - The U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop website now offers five mobile web applications you can use on your smartphone, tablet computer and other mobile device. These mobile apps can help you locate an American Job Center near you, search job listings and find local education and training programs. 


Teaching the Facts About Checking Accounts, ATMs and Banking - It's never too early to start kids on the road to good money habits. The Mint has great resources to help educate young people about checking accounts, ATMs and banking basics:

For younger kids, The Mint has a Fun For Kids section that introduces kids to the concepts of earning, saving and spending money.


For more advanced topics and resources for adults:

Three New Pages for Young Adults on Voices4Hope - Are you ready for the new information the Young Adults at the Transitions RTC have launched on the Voices4Hope website?

Introducing three new pages for young adults by young adults:


Eating Disorders
Young Adult Parenting

In these new pages, young adults will be able to learn about conditions or circumstances that can affect them, read recovery stories and gain resources to get help and make the best of their lives in recovery.
About V4H
Voices4Hope is a place for teenagers and young adults with mental health conditions to find resources and stigma busting information that can help them lead happy and independent lives.

This website was created and is maintained by four young adults
with mental health conditions at the Transitions Research and Training Center (RTC).
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!    @YOUTHPOWERNY