YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Obama Declares May Mental Health Awareness Month
Foster Care and Mental Health Awareness Celebration
Foster Care and Mental Health Highlighted on
National Prevention Week
NYC Peer Advocacy Training
Apply for YP!'s Sixth Annual Statewide Youth Leadership Forum
Upcoming Regional Forums
Action Workgroup Update
Got Art?
Thank You Albany Devils!
CNN Radio interview with YP! Exec
Federal Restraint and Seclusion Legislation
Job Opportunity: YP! Network Assistant
Job Opportunity: Youth Communication
Join a National Dialogue on Transition Service for Youth with Disabilities
2013 ADAPT Youth Summit
Apply for a Pat Figueroa Scholarship
The Thousand Dollar Tax Increase on Students
New York City Youth Led Mayoral Debate
Youth Justice Board

Now On Twitter

Follow us on Twitter

 Follow us at @YOUTHPOWERNY 

Thank you to our recent event supporters and attendees in Buffalo and Long Island!

President Obama Declares May 

Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month President Obama has declared the month of May "National Mental Health Awareness Month," and has called on citizens, researchers, and mental health support agencies to continue to raise awareness and help support those with mental health challenges.
Follow this link to view the Presidential Proclamation

Foster Care and Mental Health Awareness Celebration May 22, 2013

FCMH May 13 Celebration
"Save the Date" Flyer for YP/FTNYS Mental Health/Foster Care Awareness Event
YOUTH POWER! and Families Together in New York State present: "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.

Foster Care and Mental Health Highlighted on
The following is an excerpt from an article co-authored by Stephanie Orlando, Executive Director of YOUTH POWER! and Council Member on the National Council on Disability (NCD) and Robyn Powell, NCD's Attorney Advisor.
The Intersection of Foster Care and Mental Health
May is recognized as both National Foster Care Awareness Month and Mental Health Awareness Month.  What most people do not realize is the overlap that often occurs with these populations.


In the United States, there are more than 400,000 children and teens in foster care.  Research reveals that children and teens in the foster care system have disproportionately high rates of psychiatric disability.


One study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that nearly half (47.9 percent) of youth in foster care were found to have clinically significant emotional or behavioral problems.  Likewise, researchers at the Casey Family Programs estimate that between one-half and three-fourths of children entering foster care exhibit behavioral or social competency problems that warrant mental health services.


Youth who have "aged out" of foster care also show high rates of psychiatric disability.  According to a study by the Casey Family Programs and Harvard Medical School, a high number of former foster children have psychiatric disabilities as adults.  Over half of foster care alumni had mental health diagnoses, compared to 22 percent of the comparison group. 


Follow this link to read more about the intersection of foster care and mental health

Follow this link to learn more about 

National Prevention Week

May 12 - 18

National Prevention Week
Logo for National Prevention Week

This year's National Prevention Week runs from May 12-18, 2013. During National Prevention Week, awareness is raised about mental health and substance abuse issues. This year's theme is "Your voice. Your choice. Make a difference." To make a difference and commit to a healthy lifestyle, sign and share the "Prevention Pledge" on the Facebook page of the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

New York City Peer Advocacy Training

May 29, 2013

NYC Peer Advocacy Training
Informational Flyer for NYC Peer Advocacy Training

We Are The Change We Have Been Seeking!

RSVP Today

Discover Your Full Potential!


YP! Peer Advocacy Basics training is a fun, engaging, and interactive one day training for individuals between the ages of 14-28 who have lived experience in a child serving system such as mental health, foster care, juvenile justice, and/or have a disability. 


We are a grassroots movement of young people who have been labeled and are seeking change!


Time: 10:30am-4:30pm

Location: 330 Fifth Avenue (9th floor) Manhattan, NY 10001

Date: May 29th, 2013

Light Refreshments will be served!


In our training, you will learn the following: 

  •  Grassroots Advocacy
  •  Child Abuse Mandated Reporting
  •  Peer to Peer Mentoring
    •  Cultural Competency
    •  Setting Boundaries
    •  Strategic Sharing
    •  Group Facilitation
    •  Group Conflict Resolution

Download the flyer


For more info, contact  NYC Regional Youth Partner at or (347)880-2735.

Apply for YP!'s Sixth Annual

Statewide Youth Leadership Forum

Hope, Justice, Pride!
Graphic for the 2013 Statewide Youth Leadership Forum
This year's theme Hope, Justice, Pride!

Dates: August 13-15, 2013

Location: Albany, New York


Only 20 Young  People will be chosen to attend our 3-day forum with their travel, food and hotel expenses paid for! Apply Now to join in on all the fun and action. 


At the 6th Annual Statewide gathering, we will power up our advocacy skills and strengthen the cross-systems and cross-disability youth movement.


YP! is an independent organization run by youth and young adults with disabilities and cross-systems experiences. As young people, we need to work together to ensure our rights are protected. Together, as a united movement, we work with state agencies to ensure young people get the support they need with the respect and dignity they deserve.


We are proud of our culture and our community. Join us at this prestigious annual event.



  • Advocacy to Activism - Activities and guest speakers to learn ways to create change.
  • Meet other young people who have been labeled and want to change the way the system works.
  • Have dinner with NY State officials and tell them how it really is for young people.
  • Develop your own leadership plan.

In order to be selected you must:

  • Have a disability.
  • Be age 16 to 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 24, 2013 

For more information, call Zach Garafalo, YP! Assistant Director at 518-432-0333 ext. 26 or email
Upcoming Regional Youth Forums

YOUTH POWER! has begun it's Regional Youth Forums. 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.

WSTRN in block lettering and Western written under it
Western Region Logo
Western Region Youth Forum

Thursday June 20, 2013


For more information and to help plan:

Jessica Hollins, Western Regional Youth Partner


 Click here to download the registration form
Central Logo
Central Region Logo
Central Region: Central New York Youth Forum
June 14, 2013
Liverpool Public Library
310 Tulip St, Liverpool NY
Carmen Community Room 
Pre-registration is required
Central Region: North Country Youth Forum
Friday July 12, 2013
Malone YMCA, Malone, NY
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

YOUTH POWER! is holding a North Country Regional Youth Forum on July 12th, 2013

at the Malone YMCA in Malone, NY from 1PM-5PM.


If you are/know of youth with systems experience (disability, foster care, juvenile justice, LGBTQ, mental health) who would love to have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them, this is the place! YOUTHPOWER! is here to listen to YOU! What is working in the system? What needs to be changed? Speak up and be taken seriously!


There will be food, giveaways, and even an OPEN MIC SESSION, so encourage youth with songs, poems, stories, and speeches to share. This is a safe, friendly, non-judgmental environment for them to show their talents!


PR Packet

Regional Forum Registration Packet

North Country Flyer




For more information:

Colleen Deitrich, Central Regional Youth Partner

(315) 679-1476  


Hudson River Region Logo

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 



Action Workgroup Update

Speak Up Speak OutNext meeting: Monday, May 20

Time: 6:00 pm

How do I get involved?: Call/email Brett McMullin: (518) 432-0333 ext. 14 or


We need YOU on our calls! The Action Workgroup has begun an effort to get the Local Diploma brought back to New York State High schools. We want to make sure that everyone has the ability to graduate from High School with a meaningful diploma.


The Action workgroup meets twice a month via videoconference and is open to all YOUTH POWER! members. The next meeting is Monday, May 20 at 6:00 P.M.  If you want to join the call please call or email me for call-in information. We will be discussing our campaign plan and the upcoming action alert at our next meeting.

Got Art?

Colleen Deitrich, Central RYP

On Tuesday, May 7th, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Week, the MOST (Museum of Science and Technology) in Syracuse collaborated with the Office of Mental Health to bring 'Got Art' to town!


An event that recognizes both the talent and the needs of young people affected by mental health issues of all sorts, Got Art turned a museum of science into a museum of color, splashing the walls with paint and information on each of the artists and their stories. Approximately sixty young artists represented though art and in person, participated.


"People, I think, don't appreciate what a blank canvas and a few tubes of paint can provide for someone like me," said Will, a young man with schizophrenia. "I can't control very much of my life...but I can control the painting!"


Young artists like Will proudly presented their works to anyone walking through the front door. Pieces ranged from photography to rough sketches, from sculptures as tall as a person, to even animated cartoons and digital graphics. The wide range of artistry was evident, and each person showed what Mental Health Awareness and Acceptance truly means. There was also a degree of pride among the artists watching as their work was praised, and their stories exposed.


"Yeah, I have my issues. I struggle with them every day. But then again, who doesn't?" commented Will. "And some people paint to deal with it, others play football, and some people do other stuff like baking or writing. Its how we show people who we are and what we're good at." 

YP! Thanks Albany Devils for Supporting RAMP

On Friday April 19th, 2013, youth, parents and mentors from the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program had the opportunity to go see the Albany Devils, a local minor league hockey team and affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, take on the Connecticut Whales (New York Rangers Affiliate) at the Times Union Center in Albany.   

Albany Devils
RAMP Youth and Mentoring Coordinator Elijah Fagan-Solis


The successful and memorable structured mentor-mentee activity was made possible by a generous donation of numerous unused season tickets by one of the mentors, Matt Whalen.  YP! staff also met with Meg Emery, Group Sales Account Executive for the Albany Devils, who was instrumental in coordinating the trip.  The Devils provided additional discounted tickets, preferred seating, and a very warm welcome complete with acknowledgment on the overhead jumbotron.

The Albany Devils have expressed interest in getting further involved with RAMP by having players serve as guest speakers for youth in the program, serving as mentors, and providing fundraising opportunities.  YP! is excited for what this partnership will bring forth for RAMP mentees.


Zach Garafalo, YP! Assistant Director had this to say: "Thanks to the generosity of Matt Whalen and Meg Emery, 20 young people and their families had the opportunity to attend the Albany Devils hockey game. Strong support from members of our community make experiences such as these possible. We are so fortunate to have people who believe in the power of community." 


YP! is truly grateful for the generosity and hospitality shown by the Albany Devils; a great time was had by all who attended because of their support.  RAMP is looking forward to working with Meg and the Albany Devils again. 

YP! Executive Director Interviewed on CNN Radio for a Segment about Trauma and the Mind 
On May 10th, in her role as a Presidential Appointee on the National Council on Disability, Stephanie Orlando was interviewed on CNN Radio about trauma and how it relates to the people held hostage in Cleveland, Ohio. Follow the link below to read excerpts from the interview as well as listen to the audio.

Federal Legislation Introduced to Ban Restrain and Seclusion

Keeping All Students Safe Act (HR 1893)


On May 9, Congressman George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education and Workforce Committee and Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act, HR 1893, a bill to protect all students nationwide from restraint and seclusion.


Please CALL your members of Congress and ask them to Cosponsor and Support the Keeping All Students Safe Act, HR 1893. 


Dial 202-224-3121; ask for your Representative's Office, and then ask for the education aide.


Why should they support this Bill?


The Keeping Students Safe Act will:

  • ban restraint/seclusion except in emergencies where someone is in danger of physical harm
  • require that parents be informed if their child was restrained/secluded on the same day that the event occurred
  • ban restraints that impede breathing, mechanical restraints, and chemical restraints
  • prevent restraint/seclusion from being used when less restrictive alternatives, like positive supports and de-escalation, would eliminate any danger 
  • require that if children are placed in seclusion rooms, school staff must continuously visually observe them
  • ban dangerous aversive practices that threaten safety; require the collection of data; and require appropriate training of staff
You can find your representative here
Click here to download a summary of the bill
Follow this link for the full text of the bill

Job Opportunity: YOUTH POWER!

Network Assistant

YOUTH POWER! is hiring a part-time Network Assistant to be based in our Albany headquarters. The Network Assistant, among other things, will be responsible for:
  • Updating our website
  • Compiling the eNews
  • Serving as staff liaison to the Outreach and Special Events workgroups
  • Participate in the planning of all of YP!'s statewide events
  • Keep our membership database up to date
  • Keep our members informed of network activities
We are looking for the perfect blend of someone who is interested in computers and graphic design as well as someone who is good with people. The Network Assistant is one of the key jobs within our network.

If you are good with/at, then you should apply for this job
  • Microsoft Office Suite (Excel and Word)
  • Google Apps (Documents, Spreadsheets)
  • Constant Contact
  • Buiding/maintaining a website/blog (we currently use WordPress)
  • Working with people
  • Returning phone calls and phone etiquette
For more information, contact Zach Garafalo, YP! Assistant Director at 518-432-0333 ext. 26 or

Job Opportunity: Youth Communication
Editor/Program Manager
Youth Communication
Logo of Youth Communication
Youth Communication, a non-profit educational publisher, seeks an editor/program manager to run our high school writing program and produce 
YCteen magazine. 

The YCteen editor/program manager position requires both strong editorial and program management skills. It also requires the ability to work effectively in a loosely structured environment in which broad organizational goals have been determined, but in which the editor/program manager has some autonomy and responsibility for figuring out how to achieve them.


As editor, s/he will spend most of his/her time guiding teen writers through 10 or more drafts of each story. That includes helping them develop story ideas or assigning stories, working with them to build a narrative arc, and then cutting and copy-editing the story to ready stories for publication. S/he will also develop issue themes and see the magazine through the entire production process, providing layout directions, headlines, cutlines, blurbs, and art memos to the production department, as well as proofreading and working with the multimedia editor to ready the magazine for online publication. The YCteen editor/program manager will also provide editorial assistance to Represent magazine. In that role, you help with issue planning and help with production by proofreading and providing feedback at issue planning meetings. From time to time, the two magazines share writers and content. Similarly, the Represent editor will serve as an assistant editor to YCteen, providing the same kind of support to you.


As program manager, s/he will be responsible for the smooth day-to-day operation of the YCteen writing program, training and supervising a diverse group of writers aged 15-20, and co-teaching an intensive summer writing workshop that teaches both reporting and memoir-style writing. S/he will also participate in an ongoing process to determine the best way to deliver our stories to readers.


Join a National Dialogue on Transition Service for Youth with Disabilities

National Transition Dialogue
Logo for Federal Partners in Transition
The U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration invite policymakers, service providers, the advocacy community and others to participate in an online dialogue to examine the impact of existing federal regulations and legislation on the successful transition from school to work of youths and young adults with disabilities. The dialogue will be open May 13-27. "We must ensure that our federal programs and resources support our nation's youths and young adults with disabilities in reaching their dreams of economic empowerment and independence, and we need to hear from many people," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. "Speaking up online can help us identify barriers as well as opportunities that may exist at the federal level and also help us develop solutions." 

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

Apply for a Pat Figueroa Scholarship

Logo of the NYS Independent Living Council

The Patricio "Pat" Figueroa, Jr. Sponsorship

Sponsorships for Young Adults with Disabilities to Attend Leadership Trainings


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 looking to conduct outreach to young adults with disabilities (age 18-28) with demonstrated leadership potential. Specifically, State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) 2011-13 objective # 5 will support young leaders by providing The Patricio "Pat" Figueroa, Jr. Sponsorship for young adults with disabilities to attend and participate in independent living related conferences and/or national disability and leadership trainings during each year of the State Plan. 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.


The council member 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. Refer to the following link for an application form, Application form.


NOTE: This information is also available on the NYSILC website.

The Thousand Dollar Tax Increase on Students

National Youth Association
A logo of the National Youth Association

Today's college graduates in America carry more than 1 trillion dollars in debt - more than all the credit card debt in the country. The burden of loans keeps students from buying homes, saving for retirement, and engaging in consumption that will keep our economy on the road to recovery.

On July 1, the interest rate on federal student loans is set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%. This means that if Congress does not act soon, millions of college students will see their student loan payments increase needlessly. This change would saddle more than 7 million students with an average of $1,000 each in additional debt for each year that Congress doesn't act. That's basically a $1,000 annual tax hike for more than 7 million students across America just for going to school.
What's even more unfair is that right now big banks can borrow money from the government at an interest rate of .75% percent, while students are paying nine times as much! But, that's all about to change. According to a new bill by Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Bank on Students Loans Fairness Act lets students take advantage of the same low interest rates offered to banks at .75% and that's it. It's that simple. If you have a college loan, this bill would avoid the annual $1,000 increase on college students and actually cut student loan payments by an average of $250 a year. 
It's time to address the crushing student debt problem. Go to for more information.

We're counting on you to help us spread the word and make this bill a reality!
New York City Youth Led Mayoral Debate
Resilience Advocacy Project
Logo of the Resilience Advocacy Project

On May 29, the Resilience Advocacy Project, in partnership with Generation Citizen, will host a citywide youth-led mayoral debate. The debate is being organized by young people and the event itself will be moderated by and for youth. On a unique new website - - young New Yorkers can submit, vote on, and share questions for the candidates on a variety of critical issues like stop and frisk and education. Sign on to be a mobilization partner for the event using the flyer to get at least 10 young people to use the website to submit a question or vote in May. OR spread the word about the website to as many young people and organizations as you can through e-mail and on social media using the outreach guide that we'll be sending around. The first 15 mobilization partners to sign on will receive 2 youth tickets and 1 adult ticket for the event on May 29th. Email Elisa Kaplan ( to become a mobilization partner.


Find Youth Voice NYC on Facebook

Youth Justice Board
June 21 - July 12
The Youth Justice Board is an after-school program that brings the voices of teens into the policymaking process in New York City. YJB is looking for people ages 14 - 18 for a 10-month program that lets you learn firsthand how important decisions are made at the city level. Members receive a stipend for their participation in the program. 
Application materials are available online at For more information about the program, or to request hard copies of application materials, please contact Linda Baird at (646) 386-5925, or via email at 
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