YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
OMH Listening Tours
The FTNYS Conference Is Less Than A Month Away
Regional Youth Forums Announced
YP! Hires Youth Engagement Consultant
April is National Autism Awareness Month
Updated Publication: Special Education in Plain Language
New Policy Analysis on Transition Age Youth
Action Alert - 3/25/2013
YP! Outreach Call For Presentations
NCWD/Youth Releases Policy Brief on Using Individualized Learning Plans to Increase College and Career Readiness
New York Drives Program Is Now Recruiting
FEMA Seeks Applicants for Youth Preparedness Council
Public Policy Fellowship Program
Youth Justice Leadership Institute: Building a Movement
Job Announcement for CDR
Job Opening with Global Action Project

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CAll to ACTION! OMH Listening Tours

YOUR Voice Counts

The Office of Mental Health (OMH) will be holding Listening Tours across the state in April and May. The first session will begin April 9 in Albany NY.  YP! encourages all of our members and partners to attend one of these sessions. This is a real way to contribute to meaningful change in the public mental health system. The input that is received will help in redesigning the way OMH services are delivered. As the state moves to Medicaid Managed Care Plans, OMH has to rethink the way it delivers services. OMH hopes to:
  • Reduce OMH inpatient capacity
  • Increase OMH community-based services 
The OMH Listening Tour website is now live and accessible. Please visit this site to get information about OMH's upcoming Listening Tours where we want to hear from you. Your thoughts and creative ideas about the state-operated mental health system are very important as we look to prepare the system for the advent of managed care. You can access the site by going to:


For dates and locations of the listening sessions click this link.


The FTNYS Conference Is Less Than A Month Away!

In just a few weeks, YP! members from across the state will be attending Families Together in New York State's Annual Conference on April 21 and 22 in Albany. This year's theme is "Wellness, Empowerment and Resilience: The Power of Family Support." We anticipate a great environment for friends and family members to come together to celebrate the power of family support and real recovery.  


This year YP!'s Special Events Working Group planned a outstanding set of six workshops for young people and three for our partners, senior peer advocates and adult allies.  At this exciting educational event, we hope to share valuable information that will strengthen youth self-advocacy, systems advocacy and peer support.


At dinner on Sunday night, FTNYS and YP! will present the annual Outstanding Youth Advocate Award. Make sure you are there to support a great person who has done so much for advancing youth voice.

After dinner, come rock out at the conference's annual party - which is planned by YP!'s Special Events Work Group! This year's theme is "Shine Bright Like a

Diamond." There will be music, dancing and even a 13 person photo booth to capture memorable moments with friends and family.  


And Don't forget our annual Speak Out (this will be our eighth time)! Have your voice heard in front of peers, family members, service providers and state representatives who want to hear from you. 


It is not too late to register! Come educate yourself and have a little fun at the same time. Click HERE to register!


Sneak Peak at Youth-Led Conference Workshops:


Spreading Hope Through Sharing Our Stories:

Need HOPE? Come listen to our stories. A group of young leaders share their powerful stories of overcoming adversity to remind people that there is still hope. This workshop includes a question and answer session, group activities and discussion around hope and how to spread it.


Be Inspired To Be You:

You are unique and have incredible value "because amazing is just who you are." It is

important to have positive self-awareness and know your strengths to reach your goals. Join us for an interactive workshop as your peers lead activities that inspire you to be the wonderful and creative YOU!


Sharing Our Stories Strategically:

This workshop is based on the concept of "Strategic Sharing." Ideally, sharing personal experiences educates, influences, inspires and makes a difference in the lives of our audiences. At its worst, it can feel manipulative or exploitative and lead to harmful consequences. It's about making good choices and telling our life stories so that our voices can be heard, our message is effective and our well-being is protected. Strategic sharing is meaningful, respectful and safe.


Let's Talk Money:

This workshop is for young adults between the ages 16-29 who are struggling with financial woes and want to become financially empowered! One of the biggest challenges for young people transitioning into adulthood is managing finances. This workshop educates and challenges the way young adults look at money. Start investing in your future and begin managing your finances responsibly and with confidence.


The Evolution of Disability Voice in Art and Film:

Throughout the history of art and film, voices of people with disabilities have come a long way; from not being recognized to being the symbols behind a civil rights movement. This presentation looks into the rich history behind famous artists, how their disabilities influenced their artwork and how they have come to be portrayed. 

Regional Youth Forums Announced!
Save These Dates 

YOUTH POWER! will be kicking off it's Regional Youth Forums beginning in May. The input gathered at these forums will guide our advocacy efforts and inform updates to our 2013 - 2015 Priority Agenda. To find out information about a forum in your region, check out the information below.
Long Island Regional Youth Forum
May 9, 2013: 5:30 - 9:00
Theme: Creative Advocacy Sampler

Join the Long Island Regional Youth Forum for young people who have been in out-of-home placements such as (foster care, hospitals, community residences, residential treatment centers and others). This event is free and dinner will be served. Please RSVP by April 30.



141 Garden Street, Westbury


For more information and to RSVP:

Desiree Moore, Long Island Regional Youth Partner
Central LogoCentral Regional Youth Forum
Friday June 14, 2013


Do you know any youth labeled by the system and wants to be heard? Tell them to come to the Central New York Regional ForumThis will be a great opportunity for young people from foster care, juvenile justice, mental health, LGBTQ, or disability-related systems to stand up and be heard on issues important to them!


A flyer and registration form will be available once a location has been settled.


For more information:

Colleen Deitrich, Central Regional Youth Partner

(315) 679-1476 




WSTRN in block lettering and Western written under it

Western Regional Youth Forum

 Thursday June 20, 2013


For more information and to help plan:

Jessica Hollins, Western Regional Youth Partner





HUD (hudson) YOUTH POWER!  

Hudson River Regional 

Youth Forum

 July 15, 2013: Upper Hudson Forum

July 16, 2013: Lower Hudson Forum


For more information and to help plan:

Carrie Holmes, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner

(518) 322-2096 

YP! Hires Youth Engagement Consultant

YOUTH POWER! is proud to introduce a new employee that is based in our headquarters in Albany.

Hello Members! My name is Melanie Hecker and I am YOUTH POWER!'s new Youth Engagement Consultant. I am a 19 year old student from Albany NY attending Hudson Valley Community College in the Human Services program. I have both Mental Health and ASD diagnosis and seek to provide understanding and equality for all those with a disability or in a system.


With YOUTH POWER! I am working the NYS Success grant. The NYS Success grant aims to coordinate the various care/support systems in New York State. The grant also aims to implement Systems of Care at the statewide level.


"System of Care" is not a program - it is a philosophy. The System of Care (SOC) framework is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is organized to meet the physical, mental, social, emotional, educational, and developmental needs of children and their families.


NYS Success is family driven, and seeks to connect the different care providers as opposed to them being "Silos". By having the systems share resources and responsibilities, children and youth will be better served.


In my role as a Youth Engagement Consultant I provide a youth voice and perspective to the grant meetings. I make sure the needs of youth are met and ensure that our experience matters in the decision making. There are 55 upstate counties involved in the grant, with the first year involving Cattaraugus, Chemung, Chenango, Columbia, Cortland, Essex, Franklin, Greene, Rensselear, Schuyler, Tompkins, and Ulster counties.


To contact me, I can be reached at or at (518)-432-0333 ext. 31


I look forward to serving YOUTH POWER! In these duties and helping make the state a better place for youth.

April is National Autism Awareness Month
The month of April is dedicated to increasing awareness of the issues faced by children and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as their families.

YOUTH POWER! received valuable input at our 2012 Regional Forums that indicated that the general public is not informed about autism. We encourage you to check out the following links to learn more about autism and what it means for people who are autistic.


Too often, our national conversation on autism is something that happens about us, without us. Organizations, conferences and panels on autism somehow fail to include Autistic voices. We are asking you to be part of the solution. Help us send a message to event organizers across the world - if you want our business, involve self-advocates. It's just that simple. Take our pledge today and share it with your friends.


Take The Pledge 


For more information and resources on autism awareness visit the following links:


 Updated Publication

Special Education in Plain Language

The Special Education Taskforce is comprised of over 200 parent advocates, school district staff, attorneys and other individuals who specialize in Special Education Law, and work collaboratively to ensure that children with disabilities are educated in the least restrictive setting and receive a free and appropriate education. The Special Education Taskforce works to assure that families and school personnel have the knowledge and skills to enable them to effectively assist students with disabilities. To this end, this publication was developed to help families and educators to work collaboratively in supporting students with disabilities throughout their school years.

Parents and family members are important partners, along with school district personnel, in the education of children with disabilities. Parents provide necessary information to teachers and administrators, play an important role in decisions made about their children and participate as a full member of the Committee on Special Education.  In order for families to have a meaningful role in their children's education they must understand their rights and responsibilities in special education.

This publication provides information for parents and families about laws, regulations, and policies affecting special education programs and services. Our hope is that through the use of this publication, parents, families and school districts will collaborate together in order to help students reach their full potential. Developing this publication has taken the collaborative efforts of many dedicated individuals, organizations and school district personnel. This document is a reflection of the collaboration that is possible when schools and advocates, administrators and families work together to meet our obligation to students with disabilities. Check out the guide in the link below.


Special Education in Plain Language

 New Policy Analysis on Transition Age Youth

The Promise for the Future report examines various federal programs that can provide assistance in meeting the educational, vocational and basic supports needs of youth and young adults (ages 16 to 30) with serious mental health conditions (SMHCs). It briefly examines the breadth and scope of available assistance and offers recommendations to improve state, local and federal policy.
The information is intended for a diverse audience including policymakers, those assisting youth and young adults (family members and professionals), and individuals and groups that advocate for improved public policy.

US Department of Labor Changing Companionship Exemption

DOL Logo The US Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing to change the companionship exemption. If the exemption is implemented, there will be negative impacts on people with disabilities and their attendants. People with disabilities will be forced to cut the hours of long-term attendants and hire new attendants to replace them.


These rules are problematic because the Department of Labor did little to work with the disability community when it was first developing them. Despite assurances that the administration would work with the disability community to resolve the problems with these rules from Cecilia Munoz of the Domestic Policy Council and the President, himself, the administration has - instead - sent the rules to the Office of Management and Budget for final approval.


For more information:

End of the FLSA Companionship Exemption? 

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Amend the Companionship and Live-In Worker Regulations 

National Council on Disability Letter to OMB about the Companionship Exemption 

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 Avenue Albany, NY  12208


Fax to ATTN: Curtis (518) 434-6478

 NCWD/Youth Releases Policy Brief on Using Individualized Learning Plans to Increase College and Career Readiness

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) has released the policy brief "Using Individualized Learning Plans to Produce College and Career Ready High School Graduates," which summarizes findings and recommendations from a multi-year Individualized Learning Plans (ILP) research and demonstration project funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). An ILP is both a document and a process that students use - with support from school counselors, teachers, and parents - to define their career goals and postsecondary plans in order to inform the student's decisions about their courses and activities throughout high school.

Do You Live in NYC and Need a Driver's License?

New York Drives Is Now Recruiting

Brooklyn Works Do You Want to Work But Need A License?


New York Drives is an exciting and FREE program that allows for people to receive their driver's license and attend training programs focusing on TV/Film Production, Cable Installation, Wood Working and Security.


We Offer Our Students:
  • Driving lessons to prepare you for the NYS licensing road test
  • Connection to BWI training programs in woodworking, TV/film production, and cable installation
  • Connection to Security Guard Training (for women who recieve SNAP benefits only)
  • Career readiness workshops to help you get more out of your job search
  • Grant to cover all class, road test, and license fees

Minimum Requirements:

  • MUST be a NYC resident
  • 21 years or older
  • Must be able to obtain a permit
  • Eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Qualify as low-income, OR unemployed
  • Have full-time availability (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)
  • Recieve Snap Benefits (for Security Guard Training only)

Who We Are:

Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI) helps jobless and working poor New Yorkers establish careers in sectors that offer good wages and opportunities for advancement.


BWI's mission is to empower low- and moderate-income people by creating living-wage employment and access to career paths. We seek to develop programs that counter prevailing market inequalities (especially those based on race or gender) and contribute to a broader movement for economic justice.

Orientations are held every week on Thursday at 2PM (No RSVP Required):

621 Degraw Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Please Be On Time.
Late comers will NOT admitted.
FEMA Seeks Applicants for Youth Preparedness Council 

FEMA Logo The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking applicants/nominations for its Youth Preparedness Council (YPC). The YPC is a unique opportunity for youth leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council. Members will have the opportunity to:

  • Complete a self-selected youth preparedness project.
  • Voice opinions, experiences, ideas, and questions on youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and national organizations working on youth preparedness.
  • Participate in the YPC Summit.

Any individual between the ages of 12 and 17 who is engaged in individual and community preparedness may apply or be nominated to serve on the YPC. An individual may apply on his/her own behalf, or he/she can be nominated by an adult familiar with his/her youth preparedness activities.


Individuals interested in applying to the YPC must submit a completed application form, a narrative, and a letter of recommendation. The letter of recommendation can be from any adult, including a parent, guardian, community first responder or teacher. Applications that do not include a letter of recommendation will not be reviewed.


Individuals interested in nominating a youth to the YPC should complete the application form and narrative, but a letter of recommendation is not mandatory. Specific information about completing and submitting the application and attachments can be found on the application.


All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than 11:59 E.D.T. on April 19, 2013 in order to be eligible.


Council members will be selected based on vacancies in the Council. National and regional FEMA representatives will review applications/nominations. Each state and territory falls into one of ten FEMA regions, and each region has a Community Preparedness Officer (CPO); the CPOs report to FEMA Headquarters. Applications will be reviewed by FEMA Headquarters staff and the CPO from the region from which the application originated.


YPC members will be announced in May 2013. Once selected, members serve on the Council for one year, with the option to extend for an additional year, based on a formal request by FEMA.


For more information about the YPC and the Individual and Community Preparedness Division's work on youth preparedness, and to access the application materials, please visit

 Public Policy Fellowship Program 2013 - 2014

The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is seeking exemplary professionals and/or family members of persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities and/or persons with disabilities, particularly self-advocates who are currently working, advocating or volunteering in the field of inclusive services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for an intensive one-year Public Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to prepare emerging and seasoned leaders to assume leadership in the public policy arena nationally and in their home state. During this one year Fellowship, the successful applicant will learn how federal legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by the Congress, as well as how programs are administered and regulations promulgated by federal agencies.

Click here for more information on this internship

 Youth Justice Leadership Institute: Building a Movement

The National Juvenile Justice Network is now accepting applications for the third year of its Youth Justice Leadership Institute! The Institute is a robust, year-long program that includes leadership development, training in juvenile justice system policies and practices, theories of change, and advocacy skills development. Our mission is to create the foundation for a more effective juvenile justice reform movement by developing a strong base of advocates and organizers who reflect the communities most affected by juvenile justice system practices and policies, so this year, we will again focus on cultivating and supporting professionals of color.


Want to become a fellow, or know someone who would love to join the movement? We are now accepting applications for the Institute. (Application deadline is May 6, 2013). To learn more about the Institute, read our brochure and follow the links below, or contact the Institute's coordinator, Diana Onley-Campbell, at or 202-467-0864 x112.

Job Opportunity

Disability Voter Rights Coordinator: CDR

The Center for Disability Rights (CDR) is pleased to announce a new part-time job opening for a Disability Voter Rights Coordinator to be based out of the Albany office.

The Disability Voter Rights Coordinator's primary function is to increase people with disabilities' participation in the voting process through nonpartisan, coordinated policy and grassroots activities. The Coordinator is responsible for the development and maintenance of a statewide coalition and database of voter information in order to increase voter registration and turn-out within New York's disability community.


For more information, please visit CDR's website People with disabilities are encouraged to apply. All applications should go directly to CDR's Human Resources Department.


We are really excited about this new position so please help us to distribute this announcement.

Job Opportunity

Executive Director: Global Action Project

Executive Director Opening at Global Action Project (click for full job description and application information)
The position is open until filled. However, priority will be given to resumes received before April 15, 2013


Global Action Project, Inc. is an award-winning youth-media organization located in New York City. We seek a Co-Director to collaboratively lead G.A.P. into its next evolution.

G.A.P. MISSION AND HISTORY: Global Action Project (G.A.P.) works with young people most affected by injustice to build the knowledge, tools, and relationships needed to create media for community power, cultural expression, and political change. Since 1991 G.A.P. has brought young people together to produce media, creating over 150 videos that address critical social issues.


POSITION: G.A.P. is looking for a dedicated, courageous and enthusiastic Co-Director to grow and guide G.A.P. into its next evolution as an organization. Excellent leadership in an inter-generational consensus based organization, communication, fundraising, strategic visioning, and organizational development skills a must.


The ideal candidate should be passionate about the use of media by young people for creative expression, education, activism and social change. They should have knowledge of social struggles and movements (i.e., immigrant justice, racial justice, lgbtq justice, educational justice) and be experienced in multiple media platforms, popular education techniques, and youth development.

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