YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Call to Action! OMH Listening Tour
YP!'s Network Assistant
YP! and OASAS Erie County Youth Forum
Long Island Regional Youth Forum Coming Soon!
Foster Care and Mental Health Awareness Celebration
2013 ADAPT Youth Summit
Autism Acceptance
ABC Family Pioneering A Wave of Diversity In the Media?
Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards
NYLT 2013
Nominate a Youth Changemaker
NYU Wagner's Research Center for Leadership in Action
Common Core Assessment Video Series
Upcoming Webinar
New Scale: Transition Service Provider Competency Scale
Promising Occupations for At-Risk Youth
YP! Outreach Call For Presentations

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Call to Action!
OMH Listening Tour 

we want YOUth

The New York State Office of Mental Health is hosting a public Listening Tour through May 15th.  This is an opportunity for people to give a new direction to mental health services in NY state. OMH wants shift from hospital/inpatient care to community services.  This is your chance to tell them what you think they should do. 




OMH wants to know:

  • How can they ensure youth/individual and family voice?
  • How can they support people receiving inpatient care to return to their community? 
  • How can the current workforce be used differently to facilitate recovery?
  • What do you expect/hope a regional center for mental health excellence to do?
  • What can OMH do to prepare it's workforce to provide new and helpful services?
  • What are your priorities for change in the mental health system? Why?

YP! members should attend one of the Listening sessions. Let's make sure there is NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US! Your opinion matters and it is important in shaping the new mental health system. 


It is in YP!'s mission to improve systems so that young people get the support they need with the respect and dignity they deserve.  We can not miss this opportunity to raise our voices and strengthen opportunities for youth voice and choice.  We must work to make the voices of self-advocates grow louder and stronger in this new system.  Get out there and ask for more youth and young adult peer support! Let's also take this opportunity to spot light on the lack of services and supports for young adults.  Take a look at the YP! priority agenda for other ideas for things to talk about.


Click here for more information about the Listening Tours

Click here to register to attend a tour 

Can't go? Submit your comments


Click here to download a flyer with dates of the Listening Tour as well as contact information for the Regional Youth Partner who will be attending.

YP! Leader Leaves to Pursue Other Opportunities

Position Open: Network Assistant

Curtis Grupe at legislative lunch 2012 in front of the education trivia wheel. Hello everyone. I am writing this personal message to inform everyone that April 26th will be my last day as Network Assistant for YOUTH POWER!. I have had a wonderful time working with all my great co-workers and members. The time has come for me to step down and focus on my education at Empire State College. I will not be disappearing entirely, however. I plan on remaining active in the Hudson River Region and as a mentor in RAMP.


I have learned a great deal from my role as Network Assistant. I am leaving this job with a much greater knowledge of how I can be helpful to anyone. I am a stronger person and have more life experience that will help me to shape my future. I am looking forward to watching the YOUTH POWER! network grow and expand from my new role.


Thank you to everyone I have met and had the pleasure of working with as a result of this job. I wish everyone the best.




Curtis Grupe


YOUTH POWER! intends to hire a new Network Assistant in the near future. This position is based out of our Albany headquarters. If you are interested in applying, click here for the job posting.

YP! and OASAS Erie County Youth Forum

May 6, 2013

The New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and YOUTH POWER! have teamed up to host a Youth Forum in Erie County for young people ages 15-25 with experience in recovery programs.


Three Youth Power activists rally for change

Speak-Up! Speak-Out!

Tell Us What Helps and

What Harms Your Recovery.

May 6, 2013


5:30pm Sign-in & Eat

6:00pm Start

End at 9:00pm

Buffalo Arts Studio, Tri-main Center

2495 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14214


Join us for an evening of

Activities and Discussion.

Express Yourself Through Artivism.


Every day in Albany, state employees make decisions about the prevention and addiction services young people receive.  We believe youth input is needed so that these decisions are not off the mark.  Help us build opportunities for young people to be heard.  Help us improve community supports and opportunities for young people.


This event is free but you must register.


Complete the registration form and send it to


Don't Miss the Free Food, Art and Opportunity.


Download the event Flyer here.



Long Island Youth Forum

May 9, 2013

YOUTH POWER! will be kicking off it's Regional Youth Forums beginning in May. This year our regional teams are planning new activites and fun ways of collecting youth stories.  We invite young people to share a personal story to boost the advocacy efforts behind the 2013 - 2015 Priority Agenda. 
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

Foster Care and Mental Health Awareness Celebration May 22, 2013

FCMH May 13 Celebration

YOUTH POWER! and Families Together in New York State presents: "Our Time is Now: Celebrating Foster Care and Children's Mental Health Awareness by Fostering Growth and Acknowledging Achievements.


The celebration will be held May 22, 2013 from 5:00pm-8:00pm at the University of Albany's Alumni House - 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY. 


Join us for an evening of hope, partnership and entertainment


Follow this link to register 


For more information, contact Carrie Holmes, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner at or (518) 322-2096.

2013 ADAPT Youth Summit

The ADAPT Youth Summit scheduled for August 2-6, 2013 in Chicago.


They are accepting applications NOW and the deadline for consideration is May 10th! See the attached flyer and application for details.


Information of where to send the completed application is identified in the application. See more on the ADAPT Youth Summit


Remember: If you are a young adult from New York and get accepted to attend the ADAPT Youth Summit, put in an application for a NYSILC Pat Figueroa Young Adult Sponsorship of up to $250


YP! leadership would love to see our members apply for this summit.  If you would like assistance in your ADAPT and Pat Figueroa application, contact Zach at

April is Autism Acceptance Month

"Acceptance is an Action"

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network recently released its first eBook: And Straight on Till Morning: Essays on Autism Acceptance, for this year's Autism Acceptance Month. You can download the ebook for only $2.99 on Amazon. And Straight on Till Morning is part of an ongoing campaign to shift April from discourse about autism awareness toward discourse about autism acceptance, centering Autistic voices and creating a more inclusive, accepting world.


And Straight on Till Morning: Essays on Autism Acceptance features a collection of essays and blog posts originally posted to the ASAN website for Autism Acceptance Month last year. The writings selected for And Straight on Till Morning build on the tagline for Autism Acceptance Month - "Acceptance is an action." The authors are Autistic people and allies, who write about the need for moving beyond awareness and toward acceptance; the ways in which awareness fails the Autistic community; and what acceptance can look like in practice in the community.
YOUTH POWER! encourages our members and supporters to check out the resources below about autism acceptance.
For more information about Autism Acceptance:

ABC Family Pioneering A Wave of Diversity In the Media?

Colleen Deitrich, Central RYP

Until a few years ago, the only disabilities one saw on television were seen in the form of the occasional minor character in a wheelchair, or a token character filling in background space (such as in FOX's Glee). In addition, it seemed that most families were portrayed in a 'traditional' sense. That is, father-plus-mother-plus -children. Thanks to one family-oriented station, ABC Family, that seems to be changing quickly.


Two years ago, ABC Family began airing the wildly successful teen-centric series 'Switched at Birth,' which features a diverse cast, nearly half of which are young and deaf. Unlike most shows before it, 'Switched' features hard-of-hearing actors in main roles. It also features 'non-traditional' families, such as single parent homes. Last month, the show made history for airing the first ever television episode acted completely in American Sign Language by both hearing and non-hearing actors. The episode, as well as the show in general, has been praised for its' risk-taking and maturity.


Now it seems like the channel is willing to dip even further into the diversity pond. Recently, the network has begun promoting its' next youth-oriented series, called 'The Fosters.' Not only will it focus on the everyday struggles and victories of youth in foster care, but it will also feature more 'non-traditional' family scenarios (in this case, a lesbian couple raising both biological and foster children). From the show's official page on "From executive producer Jennifer Lopez, The Fosters centers on two moms (Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) raising a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids."


Hopefully, this trend will not only continue, but inspire other stations to fairly and respectfully feature youth with cross-systems experience. Shows like this not only serve to entertain, but also to inform audiences around the world about the diversity of youth today, and how cultural competency is necessary to create a successful society.


'The Fosters' is set to premiere on June 11th at 8 PM.

Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards 
The Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards invites youth to submit photo essays, music videos, and other forms of visual storytelling that creatively express their vision for positive change in their communities. Submission deadline is April 19, 2013.

National Youth Leadership Training 2013

I wanted to extend this opportunity for high school students and adult mentors to attend NYLT this summer in California. NYLT is an unparalleled opportunity for students to build leadership skills to make a real change in their home communities. Registration is now open and space is limited - From July 20-27, 2013, NYLC will host teams of high school students and adult mentors from across the country at the National Center for Service and Innovative Leadership, a new initiative of the Presidio Trust. 


The NYLT 2013 Registration Packet is available for download at - turn in your packet ASAP to secure your spot before we're full!


Why should you attend?


NYLT consistently sees great evaluation outcomes, both in qualitative reports of the program changing students' lives and also the quantitative data to support those changes.

  • Recent evaluations have shown statistically significant increases in participants' academic identity (persistence, focus, hard work, motivation) and moral identity (compassion, justice, stewardship).
  • Students were more likely to see themselves in a change-agent role, with 100% of last year's participants stating that experience had had a moderate or major impact on their feeling that they could make a positive difference.
  • A vast majority of youth who participated in last year's program reported increases in problem-solving skills, including how to set goals, identify problems and find creative solutions, built reciprocal partnerships, facilitate conversations and trainings, evaluate progress, and more.
  • We have also seen demonstrably increased knowledge of the achievement gap and students' identification of potential solutions to it. Students left the program feeling much more comfortable working on community issues with adults, and students reported that the program helped shape their plans to attend college and consideration of career goals.

Registration fees include: three-day training for one adult mentor, eight-day training for two high school-aged youth, meals and lodging for youth and mentors, limited transportation to camp, take-home resources, year-round follow-up support, and leadership skills that last a lifetime! Browse the website to see an overview of the week and learn more about our program curriculum. We are honored and excited that NYLT will be one of the first programs offered through the Presidio's National Center, and that for the first time in its 30-year history the training will be held on the west coast.


Don't miss this opportunity for your youth to build critical skills! please let me know if you have any questions. You may reach me by email or phone (651-999-7358).

Nominate a Youth Changemaker
Campaign For A Presidential Youth Council
Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council
 The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council has teamed with SparkAction to find the best and the brightest young people and youth councils in America. Are there superstars in your city or state that are changing government for the better? Let the Campaign know.  

NYU Wagner's Research Center for Leadership in Action

NYU Wagner's Research Center for Leadership in Action is now accepting applications for the IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector.

Offered with support from the American Express Foundation, IGNITE is a nine-month program that celebrates and nurtures the leadership of 35 mid-career women of color in nonprofits across the US each year. The fellowship offers exposure to best practices, processes for building personal and organizational leadership, opportunities to
build and strengthen core management capacities, and a national network of women of color leading organizations.

The 2013-14 IGNITE program will begin with a five-day Institute from August 1-6, 2013 that draws on the best of New York City as a hub for nonprofit innovation and offers Fellows a space to engage in reflection and rejuvenation. Fellows will meet with other leaders in the nonprofit arena, learn from experts in leadership and management, and participate in action-oriented, peer-to-peer and experiential learning sessions.

Over the following nine months, fellows will participate in ongoing peer mentoring, coaching and webinars to work toward personal and professional leadership goals with the support of cohort members and fellowship managers.

IGNITE Fellows engage in action-oriented, peer-to-peer and experiential learning sessions that leverage both theory and practice to foster:

- Self Mastery through Reflective Practice: Fellows will acquire the disciplined practice of reflection required to ground leadership in their values while discovering unique strengths, challenges, preferences and tendencies.
- Knowledge of Practical Leadership Frameworks: Fellows will explore new approaches and practical steps to set direction, facilitate alignment, foster commitment and achieve results in a changing environment.
- Senior Management Competencies: Fellows will work to increase their organization's impact by enhancing core managerial skills such as coaching/supervision; branding; and fundraising/board development.
- Powerful Professional Networks: Fellows will develop strategies for strengthening and amplifying their professional networks while cultivating new relationships within the fellowship cohort.

The program is heavily subsidized, so the fee to participate this year is $500. This fee helps to cover Institute expenses including food, accommodations, and faculty honoraria as well as all curricular materials over the course of the nine-month program. The fee does not include travel to or from the Institute.

The fellowship is a program of RCLA's People of Color Leadership Network, which aims to strengthen communities of color by supporting leadership by and for people of color. Applications for IGNITE are being accepted online through noon EST on Friday, May 24, 2013.

To learn more and to apply please visit:

Common Core Assessment Video Series

The Common Core Standards play a crucial role in helping us ensure that all of New York's students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college and careers. As we prepare students to take the first Common Core state tests this month, I am working on a series of videos speaking directly to educators and parents about the changes to the tests and what those changes will mean for students.


The new tests will reflect the Common Core Standards, so the tests will be more challenging. Students will be asked to read more difficult texts, to use evidence to support their arguments, and to perform multiple-step math problems. The number of students meeting or exceeding Common Core grade-level expectations should not be interpreted as a decline in student learning or a decline in educator performance. The results from these new assessments will give educators, parents, policymakers, and the public a more realistic picture of where students are on their path to being well-prepared for the world that awaits them after they graduate from high school.


Watch the video here.

Upcoming Webinar: "Reclaiming Futures: A Model for Communities Helping Teens Overcome Drugs, Alcohol and Crime" 

Reclaiming Futures Model

This webinar is designed for those wanting to learn more about the Reclaiming Futures model and how the model has been adopted as a cost-effective juvenile justice reform initiative. The webinar will (1) provide an overview of the compelling need, (2) describe Reclaiming Futures, and (3) describe how the framework of Reclaiming Futures is pointing to better outcomes for youth.



  • Susan Richardson, National Executive Director, Reclaiming Futures, Portland, Oregon
  • Margaret Soukup, Project Director, Seattle-King County Reclaiming Futures; Science to Service/Workforce Development Coordinator, Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division (MHCADSD), Seattle, Washington

Date and time: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 10:00 - 11:00 PST / 1:00 - 2:00 EST


Click here to register

New Scale: Transition Service Provider Competency Scale 
New Scale: Transition Service Provider Competency Scale
This scale allows service providers to assess their confidence in performing activities related to working with young people with mental health challenges in the transition years (14 - 29). The scale items pertain to effective, youth-led and culturally responsive services and potential areas for competency development.
Promising Occupations for At-Risk Youth 
Occupations in the construction and health care fields may offer at-risk youth, such as those who are homeless or have dropped out of school, opportunities to earn sufficient wages and potential advancement.
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

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