YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Regional Centers of Excellence Teams Lack Youth Involvement
YP! Statewide Leadership Forum by Jahmel Saltus
Sky Burke: Young Self-Advocate and Author Attends YLF
Drummer and Motivational Speaker Mike Veny Lights Up YLF
Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Public Awareness Campaigns in September
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Transition Age Youth Institute Next Week
Civil Rights, Your Rights, Youth Rights
First Report Released by the Justice Center
OMH Announces OnTrack NY
Healthy Young American's Video Contest
Health Reform Implementation
Share Your Health Care Discrimination Stories
Youth Communication Writing Contest
Resolution Seeks Federal Youth Voice
OASAS Youth Service Award
Campaign Finance Board Releases NYC Online Voter Guide
Job Opening: Youth Peer Support in Erie County

Save These Dates

February 11, 2014
Families Together 
Legislative Lunch
with YP! Activites

April 6 & 7, 2014
Families Together 
Annual Conference with 
YP! Track

OMH Regional Centers Of Excellence Teams 

Lack Youth Involvement

Recently, the New York State Office of Mental Health announced the members of the Regional Centers of Excellence (RCE) Teams.  Unfortunately, only two of the five regional teams have youth representatives.  RCE Teams have up to 15 members and three co-chairs appointed by the Commissioner "who represent a wide variety of stakeholder interests in the mental health system and other areas critical to the success of this initiative."  At YP! we feel strongly that young people's perspectives are critical to the success of the initiative and we need to be included in all phases of the RCE plan. "Nothing about us without us! Each team should have had a representative from youth and adult peer advocacy networks as well as family support." Said Caitlin Neumann, President of the YOUTH POWER! Board of Directors.


The RCE teams will be meeting three times by December to assess the needs of each region and make recommendations. "We are extremely disappointed that the Commissioner did not include young people in every regional team.  This is a big step backward in OMH's efforts to include youth in service design and oversight. We are growing concerned that young people and their families will not have adequate opportunity to advise OMH during this immense transformation process," said Stephanie Orlando, Executive Director of YOUTH POWER!.


Although, we continue to stand in support of the Office of Mental Health's deinstitutionalization efforts, youth and families must be included in enhancing community services, training the workforce, and the development of the Regional Centers of Excellence.


We urge our members to take advantage of the opportunity to submit comments to the RCE teams in writing. Tell them what mental health services you need in your community. Educate them on the need for Youth Peer Advocates.


To read more about the RCE teams visit


To submit comments visit

YP!'s 2013 Statewide Leadership Forum

by Jahmel Saltus

Hope, Justice, Pride! I recently partook in the annual YOUTH POWER! Statewide Leadership Forum, and it was an empowering event. I am an intern at YOUTH POWER! NYC through an organization called Families On the Move. I found out about this forum through working with Pauline Gordon, the YOUTH POWER! NYC Regional Youth Partner. I was presented with this opportunity because networking, leadership, and awareness are very important things for a young adult, like myself to be exposed to. Also because I am an intern for a youth advocacy organization it is imperative to have knowledge of child services, cultural competency, etc.

This forum was an agenda based event; each day we participated in multiple engaging activities and workshops. The first day of the forum, all participants congregated shortly after arrival to Albany. The first activity we engaged in was an ice-breaker. It allowed us to become comfortable with each other and get a feel of how the rest of the forum was going play out. Later that day, Pauline, my fellow intern and I presented a workshop on cultural competency. This subject matter is important to be aware of for personal growth but most importantly, peer advocacy. When one is advocating with youth, identifying with similar experiences and conditions can provide support. Following our presentation we all partook in a writing activity that instructed us to talk about a traumatic life event. I was soon humbled and intrigued by the disclosed experiences other forum participants spoke of. The activity not only created closer relationships among us but provided awareness of the many perils disabilities and abuse accompany.

By day two of the forum, I had become friends with many of the participants. Because of the engaging workshops we were all brought together and completed fun tasks. Throughout the day we were greeted with youth justice representatives and activists, many of whom provided information to further spread the word to peers in our community. The main event of the night was the leadership dinner, in which all of us split up into respective groups that each individual identified with. My choice was with substance abuse, because I felt that many of my peers suffer from a sort of substance abuse, whether it be alcohol or prescription. As I ate with one of the representatives we discussed possible campaigns her organization could use to get awareness to students in high school. Upon other things, we enjoyed our meal and took group photos to savor such a delightful experience.

After the dinner we all bonded once again later that night over music and food. Which further showed me that this forum was based on cohesiveness between peers. As the next day arrived, we all met up in the morning to discuss public speaking and leadership. These workshops were very concrete and animated, as a way of engaging us on these important subjects. Public speaking can help us in many situations, spanning from school to youth advocacy events. More importantly leadership was discussed, because without it none of this would be possible. And in order to stand up for what we believe in we must "lead the way". Sadly, as the forum came to a close we reminisced on our past experiences and how they allowed us to grow into whom we are now. I saw tears of joy from many of the participants as we were presented with forum certificates for all the hard work we've done.

The experiences I have taken from this YOUTH POWER! Statewide Leadership Forum will last for a lifetime. It not only gave me awareness of the importance of peer advocacy but broadened my respect for those in child services and with disabilities. Now I and the many others who participated can provide support for our communities because the skills we attributed from this event.  
Jahmel Saltus is a member of the New York City Regional Team and has completed an internship with the New York City Regional Youth Partner.

Sky Burke: Young Self-Advocate and Author Attends YLF

Sky Burke, of Long Island, was this year's youngest Statewide Youth Leadership Forum attendee. At 12 years old, she has been active in her special education planning meetings for a few years already, ensuring that her voice is heard. She is so passionate about making sure that all young people's voices are heard that she wrote a book called "I am Just Me: My Life with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia."


Sky is also an emerging leader in advocating for access to assistive technology.  To learn more about Sky, follow the links below.   


"Like" Sky Burke on Facebook

To order Sky's book on Amazon, click here.

Drummer and Motivational Speaker Mike Veny Lights Up YLF

Mike Veny using a drum This year's Statewide Youth Leadership forum had a educational entertainer/motivational speaker, Mike Veny. He has years of experience in his field nationwide, and was happy to come and share his breadth of knowledge, as well as learn from YP! Members.


One of the most memorable moments of the Forum was the initial icebreaker. Mike led everyone in a YP! drum circle, where every individual got to not only introduce themselves  by name, but also to add a piece of percussion that was uniquely their own to what became a raucous, not-so-harmonic crescendo that was OUR own! And quite entertaining!


"In just a few hours, many of the new attendees went from being shy strangers, to a bonded group of friends," said Mike, who led other workshops during the forum, "THAT WAS COOL!"


Mike's other workshops focused mainly on self-expression, positive thinking, and effective communication, particularly the discussion he led before the Leaders Dinner, where members, as always, got to address their concerns for youth in New York State systems, directly with the officials.

"(A lot) of what Mike said really helped me base my strategies for how I was going to say things," said a member from Rochester in regards to the leader's dinner, "otherwise I wouldn't have handled it as well."


When asked how the YLF differed from similar events Mike had performed at, he offered, "what I felt was unique about this event was the fact that the leadership, which consisted of youth, was completely invested in every aspect of the event." This statement affected me personally, having been involved with every forum in some capacity, and now seeing two of my fellow YP! Board members, the industrious Aaron Baier, and dedicated Chrissy Felix, age off the YP! board. However, Caitlin Neumann and Debra Paradiso have already gotten off to running starts as the board's new President and Vice President, respectively.


"YOUTH POWER is the future of change in our society." Said Mike. " In my opinion, this will reach far beyond advocacy and changing legislation. This is about breaking down stigma and opening doors for people. I'm honored to be a part of the YOUTH POWER! team." And we are likewise just as prideful to have an ally like Mike Veny as we work toward that future!


"Like" Mike Veny on Facebook

SPEAK UP! SPEAK OUT! Tell the U.S. Senate to Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities December 4th last year was a devastating day when the disability treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), lost by a mere five votes (Need a refresher? Read a Washington Post article here or watch Jon Stewart recount it here). This summer President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Senator McCain, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and the community have all expressed their desire to see the treaty ratified. When U.S. Senators return to their offices in DC, we are going to make sure that they know the treaty is important to the disability community and its allies and it is time to move it forward.


We can and we will get the treaty ratified in 2013 but we need you NOW. Join the petition below to add your voice to the conversation - we will make sure that Senators see your support when it is delivered to them in September!

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (@civilrightsorg) is launching their Twitter campaign for the treaty TODAY in line with the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington (#MOW2013). Please follow them and Tweet/ReTweet - below are some suggestions! Note: Make sure you use both the #CRPD or #DisabilitiesTreaty hashtag WITH #MOW2013 to get the most folks seeing your Tweet!

Sample Tweets
ˇ People w disabilities deserve #DisabilitiesTreaty 4 more access, independence & respect worldwide! RT if you support #CRPD #MOW2013

ˇ Tell @SenBobCorker and @SenatorMenendez we need #DisabilitiesTreaty 4 more access, independence & respect worldwide! #CRPD #MOW2013

ˇ If you support equal rights & access for 1 billion people w disabilities around the world, tell the Senate to ratify #DisabilitiesTreaty #CRPD #MOW2013

ˇ I join @civilrightsorg @usicd in supporting #DisabilitiesTreaty to uphold the dream of equality for all people #MarchonWashington #MOW2013

Stay tuned next week for the results of this week's alert and a call for a hearing on the disability treaty. Thank you all for your strong support and lead on! 
For more information contact: 
Eileen Magan, M.Ed.
Disability Rights Program Coordinator
United States International Council on Disabilities
1012 14th St. NW, Suite 105
Washington, DC 20005
Office: (202) 347-0102
Mobile: (443) 760-2667
Fax: (202) 347-0351
[email protected] 

Public Awareness Campaigns in September

In September, we recognize Attendance Awareness Month in New York State as well as National Suicide Prevention Month and National Recovery Month.


September: Celebrate Attendance Awareness Month! Attendance Awareness Month


Governor Cuomo Proclaims September 2013 "School Attendance Awareness Month."


"Did you know that missing just 10% of the school year in the early grades can leave many students struggling throughout elementary school? Or that by 6th grade, missing that much school is strongly linked to course failure and even eventually dropping out of high school?  That's just 18 days - or two to three days per month. Every school day counts, and everyone can make a difference: educators, afterschool programs, mayors, businesses and parents."


To view Governor Cuomo's proclamation, click here.


Learn more about Student Attendance Awareness Month and activities throughout the country.  

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Suicide Awareness Month

In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day and Suicide Prevention Month, we thank those who work in a community and take action every day. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 3000 people on average commit suicide daily. Suicide rates are at an all time high for Veterans. In addition, for every person who commits suicide, 20 or more others attempt to end their lives.

About one million people die by suicide each year (WHO). World Suicide Prevention Day, which first started in 2003, is recognized annually on Sept. 10. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to:  


  1. Raise awareness that suicide is preventable
  2. Improve education about suicide
  3. Spread information about suicide awareness
  4. Decrease stigmatization regarding suicide
For youth-specific suicide prevention information, contact Pat Breaux, Youth Prevention Specialist:
Pat Breux, RN, BSN 518.402.1156 [email protected] 


To learn more about suicide prevention in New York State, click here.
For the National Suicide Prevention Line, click here
National Recovery Month National Recovery Month
Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.
To learn more about National Recovery Month, click here.
To learn about the national organization Young People in Recovery, click here for its website or here for its Facebook.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Colleen Deitrich

One young person consoling another young person Some facts for you: Suicide takes the lives of 30,000 people each year in America. It is the third-leading cause of death in young people ages 18-24, the top-leading preventable cause. While there are three females attempting suicide for every male, there are four males who complete suicide for every female. Women and girls are less likely to use firearms and knives to attempt suicide, and more likely to take pills or jump off of a high point. The current leading cause of suicidal thoughts and actions is depression.


Whatever the cause, the facts, and the statistics, suicide is always a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Knowing the triggers, signs, and ways to prevent it are the best ways to combat suicide. It is also important to recognize suicidal thoughts in yourself before you act on them, and to make sure you have access to the resources you need for help and recovery.


While signs can vary greatly from person to person, these are some of the most common signs of suicidal thoughts:

  • Lack of sleep
  • A lack of interest in things/activities once loved
  • A recent death, traumatic event, or sudden change in a person's life
  • A pre-occupation with death or the afterlife
  • Giving away highly valued personal items
  • A sudden, steep drop in grades or social activities

If someone you love is expressing these signs, but you don't know for sure if they are thinking of killing themselves, it is always better to assume that they are and to get quick help. Suicide is serious, so even a passing mention of self-harm in any way should be acted upon. Do not take it as a joke, even if the other person seems to be sarcastic.


The first thing to do if someone you know is expressing thoughts of suicide is to communicate with them. Let them know that they are a part of your personal life and that they mean a lot to you. Tell them that you will help them in any way they need, even if it means staying up all night to be with them. Above all: listen, listen, listen!


Often, someone who is suicidal needs more help than just your comfort and support. There are many free and local resources available to help anyone in need of assistance. There are hotlines, peer support specialists, online chat rooms, and other resources always ready for you. No case is ever too complicated or out-of-control for these places to handle. They are trained and there to help in any situation, so do not hesitate to contact them if you fear the worst is about to happen.


Here are some suicide prevention and crisis resources:

  • I'm Alive:  an online chat site where you can instant message with a peer support person)
  • 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Hotline)
  • 1-877-968-8454 (Youthline, a youth-centric hotline run by teens)
  • A guide to local suicide crisis counselors and hotlines in New York State
Transition Age Youth Institute One Week Away 

Transition Aged Youth InstituteThe Transition Age Youth Institute will bring professionals from across the state together to share strategies, resources and success stories to ensure all transitioning youth receive the support they need with the respect and dignity they deserve. YOUTH POWER! is one of the five co-sponsors of the event. The invited keynote speaker is John King, Commissioner of the New York State Education Department and President of the University of the State of New York.


Click here for the Conference Brochure.

Civil Rights, Your Rights, Youth Rights

YP! Board Member Kieran McGovern YOUTH POWER! (YP!) is a major part of the nationwide movement for the rights of youth and young adults. We are all about youth-driven services, equality for young people in all systems, and peer-to-peer support. The youth movement is one of the newest mass-initiatives of America's Civil Rights era, which began in the 20th century, and has included women's rights, the fight for racial equality, the Lesbian-Gay-Bi-and-Transsexual (LGBT) movement, among many others.


YP! shares many values in common with all of these movements, but is perhaps most-closely aligned with the Disability Rights (or Independent Living) movement. Many of the concepts, from trainings and workshops to the attitudes and chants we embrace at rallies and actions, are directly from the Disability movement (like "nothing about us without us!"). Many of YP!'s staff, board and membership have disabilities.


It is important to be mindful that a disability is not a defect or a condition that puts you beneath non-disabled people. Equally important is the recognition that a disability is not necessarily physical nor visible to the naked-eye. I use a wheelchair, personally - my disability is plainly visible. But psychiatric or emotional disabilities, cognitive or developmental disabilities, blindness, deafness, and learning disabilities, all exist. Chronic-persistent ailments like HIV, Cancer and even diabetes can be considered and covered as disabilities by law. Even drug and alcohol abuse.


A disability, by law, can be summed up as a condition physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these, that significantly impairs someone from performing one or more activities of daily living. Disability, just like being young, is only a part of who a person is, and is never a reason why someone should be ignored, oppressed or disrespected in general.


All of the state youth-serving systems that YP! works with to bring about changes, are systems that directly administer disability services. Whether or not those services work is up to the experts - us; the young people, the people with disabilities.


There's not enough paper here to even quickly go over the tremendous advocates of today and yesterday (such as Justin Dart and Ed Roberts), the important laws (like the ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973), dates, quotes and the history of disability rights in the US. I strongly recommend Googling it, reading books, or simply going to your local Independent Living Center, and asking what kind of work they do for people with disabilities.


"As a cross-disability and cross-systems advocacy network, YOUTH POWER! supports the initiatives of state and federal disability movements." Says Aaron Baier, Past President of the YP! Board of Directors. Aaron, like much of YP!'s membership, identifies as a person with a disability. However, the message of YP! is that, although our disabilities make us unique, our ABILITIES as young leaders are far more important.


New York State is considered a national leader in disability rights and services. Like in all Civil Rights pushes, there is so much work to be done. YP! is here, as a member of the disability movement, and our job is to keep the State of New York as a leader in the future.


Kieran McGovern is Treasurer of the YOUTH POWER! Board of Directors and leader of the Outreach Working Group.  

First Report Released by the Justice Center

NYS Justice Center The NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs has released its first progress report since commencing operation on June 30 of this year.


Excerpt from the Report:

"...The Justice Center has established the definitions of abuse and neglect in broad terms, including both actual harm and the risk of harm, and maintains the Vulnerable Persons Central Register Hotline (VPCR). The VPCR is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by 70 highly-trained call center representatives who were selected from a pool of more than one thousand applicants.

Reports to the VPCR Hotline come from many sources, including individuals with special needs who are receiving services, "mandated reporters" who comprise custodians, other health care professionals and law enforcement, as well as families and the general public. Anyone who witnesses or suspects the abuse or neglect of a person with special needs should make a report to the Justice Center VPCR Hotline by calling 1-855-373-2122..."


To read the full report, click here.

NYS OMH Announces OnTrackNY  

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), in collaboration with The Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia Psychiatry, The New York State Psychiatric Institute, and The Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, is pleased to announce the availability of OnTrackNY.


OnTrackNY is an innovative, evidence-based team approach to providing recovery-oriented treatment to young people who have recently begun experiencing psychotic symptoms. These symptoms may include unusual thoughts and beliefs, disorganized thinking, or hallucinations such as hearing or seeing things that others don't.OnTrackNY helps young adults aged 16 to 30 with newly-emerged psychotic disorders achieve their goals for school, work, and relationships.


"Schizophrenia usually emerges in young adulthood and puts the young adults it strikes at huge risk of going off track. OnTrackNY is all about helping young people stay in school or stay employed while learning how to manage their illness.  By intervening early, we'll help people to take control of their health and to maintain wellness.  Schizophrenia can emerge within any family, which is why OnTrackNY teams will be open to all New Yorkers with emerging psychosis suggesting schizophrenia. Our goal is to help these New Yorkers get back on track, reduce suffering, and have productive, fulfilling lives." said Kristin M. Woodlock, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health.


OnTrackNY will follow principles of care which include shared decision making, youth friendly and welcoming environments, and flexible and accessible recovery oriented services. The program will serve young adults with psychoses suggesting early schizophrenia, within one year of the onset of their psychotic symptoms, regardless of treatment received during that time.


Four partner agencies in the downstate region have been awarded funds for staff, training, and technical assistance. These partner agencies were identified in collaboration with County mental health departments. They are:

  • Kings County Hospital Center
  • Mental Health Association of Westchester
  • North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital
  • The Washington Heights Community Service Center at The New York State Psychiatric Institute

OMH has invited Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Center for Practice Innovation at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, to direct the implementation and further develop its provision statewide.  Dr. Dixon is the principal investigator of the RAISE (Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode) Connection Program, which is focused on helping people with recent-onset psychosis get their lives back on track. RAISE is an initiative of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the RAISE Connection Program is jointly funded by NIMH and OMH.


"OnTrackNY builds on the successful RAISE initiatives in New York State which showed that early intervention services helps people young people who have just started to experience psychosis stay in school and work. We are excited to be able to enable more New Yorkers in need to access this innovative program." said Dr. Lisa Dixon, Director of the Center for Practice Innovation at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.


Measuring success of OnTrackNY will include measures of recovery, including staying in or returning to school or employment, improved control of mental illness, and, at a system level, reducing the duration of untreated psychosis.


OnTrackNY treatment teams will consist of a team leader, a recovery coach, a supported employment/education specialist, an outreach and enrollment specialist, a psychiatrist and nurse. Each OnTrackNY treatment team will serve up to 30 individuals and provide a range of treatment including: relapse prevention, illness management, medication management, integrated substance use treatment, case management, family intervention and support, as well as supported employment and education.


Services will be provided in individual and group formats according to consumer preferences and employs outreach strategies with a high value on engaging and retaining consumers and families over time.

Interested or know someone who might benefit from OnTrackNY?


Click here to learn more or contact Sapna Mendon at [email protected]


For the official OMH press releases, click here.

Healthy Young American Video Contest

In an effort to enroll the maximum number of uninsured young Americans into individual health plans in the upcoming open enrollment period, multiple mediums and methods of reaching the uninsured population are necessary. the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Young Invincibles are co-sponsoring the ``Healthy Young America'' Video Contest with two primary goals: 

* Directly reaching the uninsured population through video views and votes
* The production of high-quality videos that can be further promoted to the target population

The August 22 FEDERAL REGISTER contains full background, eligibility, themes, and submission requirements. The contest is open through September 23. 

Health Reform Implementation

Logo of the NYS Health Exchange

When the Affordable Care Act was announced, the term Exchange was used to describe the place where consumers would shop for affordable insurance coverage options.  In an attempt to better describe their purpose, the federal government transitioned to referring to Exchanges as Marketplaces.  Readers will note that Exchange and Marketplace both still appear in the news and are interchangeable.


New York State announces a new name for its Health Benefits Exchange, New York State of Health, along with participating health and dental plans.  The Exchange will begin enrollment on October 1st for coverage effective January 1st:


This press release from Indian Health Services (IHS) explores the impact of the Affordable Care Act on American Indian and Alaska Native people, including that they will have access to special enrollment periods outside the yearly open enrollment period and can continue to get services from tribal health programs, urban Indian health programs, or IHS if they enroll in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace.

Share Your Health Care Discrimination Stories

The Trevor Project: Saving Young Lives Help us tell the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) why robust nondiscrimination protections are so necessary to ensure LGBTQ people have equal access to health care!

No one can tell your story better than you can, so today we are asking you to share your health care discrimination experiences with us. We will collect your stories and submit them to HHS to be part of the official record considered as they move forward in deciding how best to implement these important nondiscrimination provisions.

If you would like to submit your own comment to HHS, you can do so by filling out the form here. Note, none of the identifying fields are required, and you may submit an anonymous comment.

Please note that sharing your story with us does not constitute a legal action of any kind. 
For more information click here.
To learn more about the Trevor Project, click here.

Youth Communication Sponsors Writing Contest

Youth Communication

Writing Topic: What's the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you? Enter the contest by writing about the advice, the person who gave it to you, why it was useful at the point in your life you heard it, and how it has helped you since. 


In order to be eligible, youth must be 21 or under and may only enter the essay contest if they live in a group home, juvenile detention center, or with a foster family; or if you used to be in foster care. 
For more information about the contest, click here.
To learn more about Youth Communication, click here
Deadline: November 22, 2013
Congressional Resolution Seeks Federal Youth Council
Campaign For A Presidential Youth Council The movement to increase the voice of young people in federal policy got a significant boost today with the announcement of a congressional bill to create a Presidential Youth Council. Representative John B. Larson (D-Conn.) announced that he plans to re-introduce a House resolution (H.J.Res 115) to create the council, which would advise the president on the perspectives of young people, offer suggestions on how to make federally-funded youth policies more effective and make recommendations on long-term national issues. Its members would be ages 16 to 24. 
"The perspectives of our youth should be an essential part of shaping policy that directly impacts them," said Larson, who made the announcement at a Forum on Youth Engagement in Hartford, Connecticut.
Click here for the Campaign's Facebook page.

Commissioner's Youth Service Award

New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Over the years, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services has recognized individuals who have displayed an extraordinary commitment to prevention, treatment and recovery services. This year, Commissioner González-Sánchez will carry on this tradition by acknowledging the efforts of young people who have contributed to the field of addiction.  Attached please find a call for nominations, and nomination form for the 2013 Commissioner's Youth Service Award.


For more information, click here 

Campaign Finance Board Releases NYC Online Voter Guide

NYC Votes: New York City Campaign Finance Board The NYC Campaign Finance Board has released the Citywide online voter guide, which includes both a candidate's written biography and responses to key questions, and a two-minute video message.  The guide is a great way for voters to get basic information about candidates and hear directly from them. CFB online guide here.

Youth Peer Support Position in Erie County

Youth Peer Support Position with Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc.


Mental Health Association (MHA) of Erie County, Inc. is seeking a peer youth advocate for a part-time position working at BryLin Hospital on the child and adolescent unit 2-4 hours per week.


This is a back-up position to the youth peer advocate presently working at BryLin Hospital. MHA has a Memo of Understanding with BryLin to provide family and youth peer support. The peer youth position has potential for growth in hours as other opportunities unfold within the community.


Job description:

  • Provide peer support on the child and adolescent unit to youth, providing a message of hope, strength and recovery through shared insight and experience
  • Facilitate group discussion on the unit as well as activities to engage youth 
  • Share knowledge of community supports for youth (family advocate will work with incoming youth regarding knowledge of support in all counties, but specifically the Western Region of New York State)
  • Attend monthly meetings with BryLin staff to provide the youth voice 

Qualifications for this position:

  • High school diploma/GED
  • Experience in the children's system of care
  • Looking for a peer youth who has been hospitalized (hospitalization does not have to be at BryLin)
  • Candidate has good communication skills
  • Responsible for transportation to and from BryLin 

Interested candidates should contact Jenny Laney, Director/Child and Family Support Program at (716) 886-1242  ext. 313  or by e-mail at [email protected]

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