YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
CALLING ALL YOUNG PEOPLE: Attend Families Together's Legislative Awareness Day
YP! Bringing Youth Voice to OMH
There Is Still Time! Submit Your Work for YP!'s For-Member By-Member Newsletter
ATTENTION NYC YOUTH! Join the Citywide Oversight Committee Youth Advisory Council
Calling Young Adults in the Western Region: Join YP!'s Peer Leader Support and Development Group
Staff Changes at YP!: New Systems Advocate Announced
FTNYS 2014 Annual Conference - Registration is NOW OPEN!
January is National Mentoring Month
Give the Gift of Time: Make 2014 Your Year of Service
Celebrating Disability History Awareness: January Recognized as National Braille Literacy Month
Peer Conference Specialist Conference Planning Committee Seeking Workshop Proposals
St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center to Stay Open
NYC Agrees to Improve Wheelchair Accessibility of Yellow Taxis
Interested in Disaster Preparedness? Apply for FEMA's Youth Preparedness Council
Suicide Prevention Mini Grant Webinar
Young Adult Transition Resource: Individualized Learning Plan
2014 Autistic Campus Inclusion Summer Leadership Applications Available
2014 Summer Youth in Development Internship Program
Job Opportunity: Finance Assistant: North Country Center for Independence

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Spread Hope With US!
Families Together's Annual Legislative Awareness Day is 11 days away. There is still time to register. Learn how to attend below!
Attend Families Together's Legislative Awareness Day

we want YOUthCome to Albany on February 11 for Families Together's Legislative Awareness Day. You still have time to register


Connect with the YP! Network

By attending, you will be able to meet other young people from your region and across the state as well as connect with your Regional Youth Partner and other YP! staff.


Families Together Will Provide Buses

Listed below are the contact numbers for bus captains for buses coming to the FTNYS 2014 Legislative Awareness Day. Please use these numbers and the flyer for contacting the bus captains. If you plan to take a bus, please contact the Regional Youth Partner for your region as well. If you need assistance with bus information please contact Chris Walter-Ellis at 518.432.0333 x 10 or [email protected]


Long Island: Bus Captain: Eileen Kadletz at 631.264.5438, Ext. 103 and YP! RYP: Desiree Moore: 631-245-5289 or [email protected]
North Country: Bus Captain: Cathie Wooledge at 315.376.8696 and YP! RYP: Colleen Deitrich: 315-679-1476 or [email protected]

Central Region: Bob Ireland at 315.404.7085 and YP! RYP: Colleen Deitrich: 315-679-1476 or [email protected]

Finger Lakes Region: Bus Captain: Jeannine Struble at 800.934.4244 and YP! RYP: Jessica Hollins: 585-314-2452 or [email protected] or YP! RYP: Colleen Deitrich: 315-679-1476 or [email protected]

Western Region:  Bus Captain: Derric McElheney at 716.904.2593 or Ginger Oyer at 716.790.0022 and YP! RYP: Jessica Hollins: 585-314-2452 or [email protected]


Your voice is important and YP! encourages members to speak with their legislators. 

If you interested in scheduling a meeting and need assistance with scheduling, please contact Brad Hansen, Families Together Public Policy Coordinator at 518.432.0333 x 28 or [email protected]. To find your representative in the Assembly, click here. To find your representative in the Senate, click here and enter your information at the top left of the page.


For general inquiries about Families Together's Legislative Awareness Day, please contacTracie Killar at 518.432.03333 x 24 or [email protected]    

To learn more about Legislative Awareness Day, visit Families Together in New York State.

YP! Bringing Youth Voice to OMH

Kieran McGovern, Stephanie Orlando, Colleen Deitrich, Caitlin Neumann, Commissioner Sullivan, Carrie Holmes and Debra Paradiso lined up and posing together.
YP! Members with Commissioner Sullivan

On January 14th, 2014, several members of YOUTH POWER! spent the day at the Office of Mental Health (OMH) central office in downtown Albany. Caitlin Neumann (President of the YP! Board), Debra Paradiso (Vice President), Kieran McGovern (Treasurer), Carrie Holmes (Hudson River RYP), Colleen Deitrich (Central RYP), and Stephanie Orlando (Executive Director) met with several key staff in order to discuss what YP! is working on and to advocate for items in our Priority Agenda. In the morning, they met with Jayne Van Bramer, Senior Associate Commissioner of Child and Adult State Operations to discuss the plan for Regional Centers of Excellence (RCE) implementation.  Immediately after they met with the new Commissioner of OMH, Dr. Ann Sullivan. Throughout the afternoon, YP! met with the Transitional Age Youth Committee, senior staff of the Children's Division and participated in a mixer with all of the locally based staff in the Children's Division.


While YP! visited in order to teach OMH about what YP! stood for and to bring youth voice to the forefront of attention, those who spent the day found that they had some great things to learn and experience as well.


Kieran McGovern: "It was an extremely productive day. We not only branched out to build a stronger relationship with key people at OMH, including the Commissioner; but it was also a teaching AND learning experience for us as leaders. We got some very useful information, and also delivered the insight we gather from members throughout the state. Best of all, Commissioner Sullivan seemed genuinely grateful to get that insight.

It'll be interesting to see how the OMH's new alternatives will play out. YP! is going to stay on top of it, and ensure that ALL of our voices are heard. We have quite a few endeavors on which we will continue to make progress. We say, "nothing about us without us." It's being heard, and that's exciting."


Colleen Deitrich: "Being at the central OMH building in Albany was a little intimidating at first. Being from Syracuse, I was used to the smaller Central Field Office. Meeting with Ann Sullivan, the new Commissioner, also made me a bit nervous. How would she receive us and YOUTH POWER!? It was amazing how at-ease I felt around Commissioner Sullivan as soon as we met. She was not only receptive to our ideas about youth involvement in OMH, but she was relaxed and open to all of us. The meeting itself was empowering, sitting at the round table with not only the Commissioner, but with others from the OMH Senior Staff. I felt like an equal and someone that these people took seriously the entire time. I thought to myself, "You know you're an effective advocate when you feel this...sitting in OMH Headquarters but still feeling like you're important to these people and that your input and work is valuable."


Carrie Holmes: "Visiting with OMH's new commissioner was awe-inspiring. Her passion and drive to see our generation be the leaders of today, not tomorrow, gave me hope for the transformation that is among us. I have no doubt that she will accomplish great things during her administration. I look forward to the partnership."


Stephanie Orlando: "I am always excited to bring a crew to 44 Holland.  I practically grew up in the building and I know how eager the OMH staff are to hear youth perspectives.  For me the most rewarding part was watching our team ask important questions, plant great ideas and build upon our partnership with OMH.  A lot of work has to be done to make the RCEs truly excellent and through community partnerships OMH will be more likely to make excellence a reality."


Caitlin Neumann: "One of the most gratifying experiences is when you meet with people you've never met to collaborate on a specific topic, and everybody is on the same page. That's how I felt when meeting with Commissioner Anne Sullivan, Jayne Van Bramer, OMH Senior Staff and several others in Albany in January. As an advocate for youth involvement, it's a great feeling of accomplishment when you feel heard and understood; like your views are valued and considered insightful. Everybody in that room was considered an equal; YOUTH POWER asked valid questions and brought attention to specific topics we thought needed discussion, and in return we were asked questions about our mission and our ideas regarding the mental health system. We have a great partnership with OMH currently and I believe that our partnership will grow stronger in the future." 



There Is Still Time! Submit Your Work for YP!'s

 For-Member By-Member Newsletter

Members Only: Call for Submissions: For-Member-By-Member Newsletter


Join the Citywide Oversight Committee 
Youth Advisory Council

COC YAC Flyer  

Click here to download more information.

Calling Young Adults in the Western Region:

Join YP!'s Peer Leader Support and Development Group

WSTRN in block lettering and Western written under it

Peer Leader Support and Development (PLSD) Group


PLSD is a mutual support group for young peer leaders and advocates from across all 19 counties of the WESTERN REGION. Young leaders will get support from fellow youth advocates and learn from their experiences. The group will also include skill development opportunities. This support should enhance each member's ability to be an effective peer leader.



The group will cover topics such as:

  • Leadership development
  • Group facilitation
  • How to deal with conflict when working with a youth
  • Ways in which you can advocate
  • Respecting people's culture
  • Budgeting for your group or project  

For more information, please contact Jessica Hollins, Western Regional Youth Partner at [email protected] or 585-314-2452


This is a cross-systems and cross-disability group. Young peer leaders focused on Mental Health, Foster Care, Juvenile Justice, Substance Abuse, Developmental Disabilities and Independent Living for people with disabilities are welcome to join.

Staff Changes at YOUTH POWER!:
New Systems Advocate Announced

Brett holds sign at YP!'s August Rally against state funding going to JRCAfter working for YOUTH POWER! for over a year and learning a lot, I am leaving my position as YOUTH POWER!'s System Advocate. I am starting college full time in a few weeks and want to focus on that. I have enjoyed my time here and plan to stay connect to the network. I am at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) and planning to transfer to U-Albany, where I plan to study political science and climatology.


I chose to go to HVCC to avoid paying the high tuition costs of four year colleges. After having just finished my 1st semester I would recommend any one looking to start or go back to college check out their local community college. This makes it affordable to get my degree. I will not have to take out any loans at least until I transfer. They also don't require SAT scores.


I will be continuing my involvement with some of our groups including the action working group which I have been managing and the Hudson River regional team. So I will likely see or hear from any active group members then at the next meetings. Good luck to everyone, hope to see you around and on Action. 

Replacing Brett's Position will be: Melanie Hecker: 

Melanie Hecker, Youth Engagement ConsultantFor the past few months, I have worked as YOUTH POWER!'s Youth Engagement Consultant. I was responsible for helping to implement the System of Care philosophy in New York. However, change is a part of life, and as such I will now take on the role of the System Advocate. Because of this change I will now be the contact for the Action Workgroup. If you need to reach me about Action, you can email me at [email protected] or 432-0333 ext. 31 (email preferred). I look forward to serving YOUTH POWER! in my new capacity.




 FTNYS 2014 Annual Conference - Registration is NOW OPEN!

FTNYS Conference 2014

This year's theme: Building Strong Roots for Success Through Family Support and Peer Leadership sets the stage for interactive and educational workshops, an empowering keynote address, networking, the family dance and lots of fun.  Don't forget the popular auction, great exhibitors and wonderful food!


At this year's conference, we have something for everyone. We are excited to share:

The Family & Advocate Track This is a great track for parents, caregivers, educators, staff and advocates.  The Family & Advocate Track was developed based on what is important to you, the children and youth in your life, your family and your network.

The Leadership Track Created to address the needs of individuals who are in leadership roles and who work in the local, regional and statewide network.

The Partner Track Designed for adults and youth to unite together and connect with each other, address topics that are of interest to both adults and youth and make plans together to work to improve the system.

The Youth Track Planned and delivered by the YOUTH POWER! network, this track offers workshops that are selected and delivered for and by young people to help build self-help and advocacy skills. The Youth Track is created for young people ages 12-25. 

The Annual Conference gives attendees of all ages the chance to meet new people, find support, talk to others who understand and make lifelong friendships.

** Please Note: There will be no child care or programming for any children under the age of 12. Youth ages 12 and up who would like to attend the conference are invited to register for the Youth Track of the conference.


We are currently accepting Family and Youth Scholarship Applications!  Click below for more information and to begin your application submission.


 Youth & Family Member Scholarship Information


Call for Presentations- We are currently accepting workshop proposals that focus on our conference.

Theme: "Building Strong Roots for Success Through Family Support and Peer Leadership."  Click here for more information and to begin your proposal submission.

Exhibitor opportunities are available! 
Exhibitor Prospectus


Make your hotel reservation today at the Albany Marriott $104 (plus tax) per night - Standard Room


Call the hotel directly at 518-458-8444 or click here to make your hotel reservation. 
Group reservation code is FTC. Please make sure to mention the FTNYS conference to get the discounted group rate.

January is National Mentoring Month

Elijah Fagan-Solis, Mentoring Coordinator 

Mentor ChalkboardPresident Barack Obama kicked off 2014 by declaring the month of January National Mentoring Month through a presidential proclamation. This 13th annual public awareness campaign seeks to expand quality mentoring programs  to connect more young people with the mentors they need to reach success at school, at home, in their communities and in the workforce.


National Mentoring month celebrates the power and importance of mentoring relationships and those who dedicate their time, knowledge and personal experiences to enrich the lives of young people. Research has shown that quality mentoring relationships can serve a powerful role in providing tools for young people to make responsible decisions, stay engaged in school and avoid risky behaviors such as truancy, drug use and other negative activities regardless of race and backgrounds in rural, urban and suburban communities. 


Locally, the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) in Albany County serves young people between ages 11 and 17 who are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system and have a disability. 100% of youth in the program have stayed in school, and over 67% of them improved school attendance over the past four years. Mentoring works!


The impact of RAMP goes far beyond the numbers. Youth who have been labeled "at-risk" and once saw themselves as problems have shifted their self-perceptions to their potential through the program's emphasis on careers. Additionally, RAMP's structured approach to self-assessment and goal setting helps young people develop skills such as self-reliance, independence, and the ability to set goals which transition into adult life.  Youth in the program - as a result of group, peer and 1-to-1 mentoring - feel their social supports improve. These relationships lead to healthy and productive lifestyles, strengthening families and communities. 


The success that RAMP has achieved would not be possible without the support of community organizations from the public and private sectors. Community partners have assisted in providing the caring and dedicated mentors for the program, mentees, as well as provide support for youth and families including trainings, career exploration activities, guest speakers and funding to provide RAMP programming.  As a result, RAMP youth have learned that community support and involvement are crucial, and have recently participated in a service project in which Christmas cards were made and delivered to Equinox, Inc., a local youth shelter.


Mentoring has a profound impact on the youth involved as well as on the surrounding community.  As 2014 begins, we encourage all Americans to consider giving the gift of your time and experience to a young person through mentoring. If you would like to find out how you can get involved with RAMP, contact Mentoring Coordinator Elijah Fagan-Solis at 518-432-0333-19 or [email protected]


Click this link to view President Obama's proclamation!

Give the Gift of Time: Make 2014 Your Year of Service

Colleen Deitrich, Central Regional Youth Partner 

Each year, one of the most popular New Year's resolutions is to volunteer more. It's easy for everyday life to quickly get in the way of your desire to help others--so why not pick a way to be of service right now? has plenty of resources and ways to help you get started:

  • Take the worry out of choosing an organization to help: Concerned about the legitimacy of the group you're donating your time to?'s Public Service and Volunteerism page lists tons of approved organizations where you can get involved without having to worry that they could be fraudulent. There are also many Federal organizations  that offer volunteer opportunities, like the Peace Corps or Senior Corps.
  • Share your experiences and learn from others: Get ideas and inspiration from other volunteers by checking out United We Serve. Share your own project, and let others know of its progress. You can also match your own interests and location with specific current volunteer opportunities.
  • Get your kids involved: It's crucial that young people know the importance of giving back, in order to continue the cycle of volunteerism. The publication  Catch the Spirit provides ideas and information on how students can help make their communities a better place.

Before the new year quickly becomes the spring, take the first step to make volunteering a regular part of your life year-round. Need a specific start date as a kick-off? Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 20th) has been designated as the national MLK Day of Service. Choose how you can enjoy helping others the most, and start volunteering!

Celebrating Disability History Awareness:

January Recognized as National Braille Literacy Month

January is National Braille Literacy Month The American Federation of the Blind has made available a free Webinar entitled: "A Brief Overview of Unified English Braille" in honor of January - National Braille Month. 


January was chosen for this celebration because it is the birth month of Louis Braille, the inventor of the system of raised dots that made it possible for people who are blind to read and write for themselves with independence and freedom.  


Despite the decline in use of Braille due to technology options, over 150 million people continue to use Braille around the world today for a multitude of reasons. In fact, Microsoft has announced free access to Window Eyes, GW Micro's Screen Reading Software for people with vision impairments.  
Interested in learning about resources for people who are blind and their family members? Find out more through the New York State Commission for the Blind.
As we work toward a brighter future, young advocates need to be aware of the history of the disability rights movement. YOUTH POWER!'s 2013 - 2015 Priority Agenda supports legislation requiring that Disability History and Awareness be taught as part of the standard NYS curriculum. To learn more about YP!'s systems advocacy in this area, contact Melanie Hecker, Systems Advocate at [email protected] or 518-432-0333 x. 14.

Peer Conference Specialist Conference Planning Committee Seeking Workshop Proposals

Call for Proposals

New York City's

Eighth Annual Peer Specialist Conference

At New York University's Kimmel Center

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The Peer Specialist Conference Planning Committee is currently seeking workshop proposals for New York City's Eighth Annual Peer Specialist Conference, which will be held at New York University's Kimmel Center on Thursday, July 17, 2014.  


It is intended specifically for New York City peers working in the behavioral health sector who wish to enhance their skills, obtain new knowledge and information and stimulate critical dialogue and ideas about career development and the mental health field.   


The audience for this conference will be New York City working peers, i.e., Peer Specialists, Peer Wellness Coaches, Peer Bridgers and more!! We encourage submissions from working peers who can provide insight on the future development of the role of peers in the workplace. All workshops are 75 minutes.  


2014 Workshop Proposal Submission Form


Workshop Topics of Interest


We invite abstracts that reflect innovative national, state and local programs, practices, and initiatives that support the future development of the peer workforce.


  • Community Integration
  • Supporting Peers in the Work Place
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Health and Wellness
  • Creativity & Alternative Approaches
  • Recovery Centers
  • Parents with Psychiatric Disabilities
  • Youth Initiatives
  • Peer Advocacy & Mutual Support
  • Hospital Diversion Respite Centers
  • Human Rights Initiatives
  • New Employment Opportunities for Peers
  • Research and Developments in the Peer Workforce
  • Civic Engagement & Social/Political Activism
  • Suicide Prevention, Assessment & Interventions
  • Supervisory Roles
  • Leadership Development
  • Education & Credentialing
  • Cultural Competence
  • Health Care Reform
  • First Break: New Initiatives
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Enhancing Job Skills for Peer Providers in the workplace

Selection Criteria

Abstracts will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Consistency and relevance to the theme of the conference
  • Originality and innovation
  • Clarity in description of subject matter
  • Broad implications across peer workforce experience
  • Qualifications and experience on subject matter
  • Clear learning objectives

Submission Process

Abstracts must be submitted by e-mail, fax, or mail to:


The New York State Office of Mental Health
330 Fifth Ave., 9th floor
New York, N.Y. 10001
Attn: Carmelita Thompson

E-mail:  [email protected]



Workshop proposals must be e-mailed, faxed or postmarked no later than close of business on January 31, 2014


NOTE: Please use the 2014 Workshop Proposal Submission Form included above and fill it out completely, as missing information will delay consideration of your proposal. You will be notified about the acceptance of your proposal by letter in early March, 2014. 


Peer Specialist Conference Planning Committee: The New York State Office of Mental Health, Bureau of Recipient Affairs; The New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Consumer Affairs; FEGS Health and Human Services; The Empowerment Center; Baltic Street AEH, Inc.; New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Office of Behavioral Health; New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS); The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery; YOUTH POWER!; Bronx Psychiatric Center ACT Team; Howie the Harp Advocacy Center.


Seal of the State of New York

The following is a press release from the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo concerning the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor

For Immediate Release: December 19, 2013


State-of-the-art Children's Behavioral Health Center of Excellence for the North Country to open at the SLPC

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center (SLPC) in Ogdensburg will remain open to provide adults and children's services to the local communities. Under a revised plan from the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the State will also expand community services including establishing a specialized, state-of-the-art Children's Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (CBHCE) for the North Country at the SLPC.


"Today's announcement is further proof of government working to meet the needs of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "This plan was developed in response to significant input from stakeholders in the community, and maintains the operation of essential beds and programs while also providing new or expanded services where they are needed most. I commend the many families, community advocates and mental health professionals who came together, brought the facts to the table, and worked with the state on this issue in order to best meet the needs of the North Country."  

Under the revised plan by OMH, the SLPC will maintain 68 beds in the facility, including maintaining 28 children and adolescent beds. The SLPC will continue the operation of essential programs including the children's clinic and day treatment program, the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act program, the OASAS Alcohol Treatment Center, Northwoods Residential and State community programs located off campus.


The original plan called for the elimination of all 65 adult beds and 28 children and adolescent beds.  

In addition to maintaining 68 beds at the facility, 50 community residential beds will be established. A reduction of one adult ward will achieve $3 million in savings which will be reinvested in the CBHCE, which will include:

  • 28 beds in the facility
  • Increased clinic capacity and access in targeted communities,
  • An expanded Day Treatment program which would increase the number of existing classrooms,
  • A new Mobile Integration Team to respond to calls from schools, families, and pediatric services to provide assessment, consultation, first line treatment, and linkages to services,
  • Expanded tele-psychiatry to improve access in rural settings and provide comprehensive assessments to facilitate connection to the most appropriate level of care (such as forensic/violence assessments, juvenile sex offender evaluation, psychological assessment for educational services), and
  • Evidenced-based treatment services at all sites including dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and multi-systemic therapy along with state of the art family based interventions to improve outcomes and increase youth's resiliency.

New adult community-based services and programs made possible by the reinvestment also include:

  • Expanded Mobile Crisis and Support capacity with first episode psychosis and peer support capacity to provide assessment, consultation, first line treatment, and linkages to services. In addition, this team will provide case management like services to individuals struggling to maintain community tenure,
  • Increased clinic capacity and access in targeted counties,
  • A new community mental health forensic program to develop and manage pretrial release plans for seriously mentally ill persons entering jails in the North Country,
  • Expand tele-psychiatry to improve access in rural settings, and
  • Expand community access to the 24 bed Northwoods residential program for community hospitals to use as step-down units.

No further implementation of the Regional Centers of Excellence plan will take place until OMH, in consultation with the community and mental health advocates, evaluate the effectiveness of the expanded community services on the need for inpatient beds.


More Information here

NYC Agrees to Improve Wheelchair Accessibility of Yellow Taxis 

Photo by Spindell Media Relations, LLC On December 6, 2013 a historic settlement agreement was announced at a press conference in Lower Manhattan between the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), United Spinal Association, and other disability organizations that would make 50 percent of yellow taxis in Manhattan wheelchair accessible no later than 2020.


"This will open incredible new opportunities for people with disabilities to have low cost, on demand transportation options in the Big Apple. New York City will also be a great destination for aging and disabled tourists, who will have confidence that they can move about the City easily and without additional burden due to their disabilities. What a great day to be a New Yorker. Thank you Jim Weisman, the Taxis for All Campaign and the Board of United Spinal Association for taking on, and winning, this fight," said Paul J. Tobin, United Spinal president & CEO.


"MTA is spending over 500 million per year on Access-A-Ride. Medicaid, the New York State Department of Social Services and the Health Department spend 200 million a year just in the Five Boroughs on taking people in wheelchairs to the doctor in privately operate ambulettes. The average cost of Access-A-Ride is 66 dollars. When have you paid 66 dollars for a cab ride? This [agreement] will completely change the equation not only for people with disabilities but for taxpayers," explained Jim Weisman, United Spinal's general counsel, who has been involved in New York City's accessible transportation fight since the late 70s.


As part of the agreement, the TLC plans to publish a rule by the end of this year. When adopted, the rule will provide that starting in two years or possibly sooner they will begin phasing in accessible hybrid taxis as existing vehicles retire. According to TLC Chairman David Yassky, one out of every 2 new taxis to hit the streets once the phasing begins will be wheelchair accessible-up until the point when the entire fleet is at least 50 percent accessible.


David Yassky (center), joined by Paul J. Tobin (left) and Jim Weisman (right). Photo by Spindell Media Relations, LLC.


"Today we join together as New Yorkers and people who care about the future of the City and the health of the City's taxi industry and its ability to serve all New Yorkers. We join together to finally right a flaw in the taxi system; a flaw of decades and decades that has been a blot on the system that we are otherwise enormously proud of. But the failure to afford meaningful access to people in wheelchairs has been a counterpoint to that pride," added Yassky.


The agreement is the culmination of years and years of hard work by disability advocates. United Spinal believes access to public transportation is essential for people with disabilities to live actively and participate fully in our society. The demand for accessible taxis will continue to increase as baby boomers age, desire to remain active, and live longer than any generation that preceded them.


Successful accessible taxi services exist in more than 100 U.S. communities, including large cities such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, and Portland. In New York City, however, very few accessible taxis are presently in operation, out of a fleet of more than 13,000 yellow cabs. These conditions have prevented many aging and disabled New Yorkers from fully participating in the communities in which they live.


To read more about this story, click here

Interested in Disaster Preparedness?

Apply for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Youth Preparedness Council Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.FEMA Logo The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking applicants for its Youth Preparedness Council.


The Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for youth leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council and participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit. Additionally, the youth leaders have the opportunity to complete a self-selected youth preparedness project and to share their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions and questions regarding youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and national youth preparedness organizations. Once selected, members serve on the Council for one year, with the option to extend for an additional year, if formally requested by FEMA. 


Council activities and projects center around five key areas of engagement: Programs, Partnerships, Events, Public Speaking/Outreach and Publishing. Members represent the youth perspective on emergency preparedness and share information with their communities. They also meet with FEMA on a regular basis to provide ongoing input on strategies, initiatives and projects throughout the duration of their term. 


Any individual between the ages of 12 and 17 who is engaged in individual and community preparedness or who has experienced a disaster that has motivated him or her to make a positive difference in his or her community, may apply to serve on the Youth Preparedness Council. Individuals who applied last year are highly encouraged to apply again. Adults working with youth and/or community preparedness are encouraged to share the application with youth who might be interested in applying.  


Youth interested in applying to the Council must submit a completed application form and two  letters of recommendation. Specific information about completing and submitting the application and attachments can be found in the application instructions. All applications and supporting materials must be received no later thanFebruary 24, 2014, 11:59 p.m. EST in order to be eligible. New Youth Preparedness Council members will be announced in May 2014.  


For more information about the Youth Preparedness Council and to access the application materials, please visit their site.

Learning Opportunity:

Suicide Prevention Mini Grant Webinar 

Suicide Prevention Logo 2014 NYS Office of Mental Health Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Association in NYS Mini Grants proposals.


This webinar will cover protocols involved for submitting an RFP proposal and detailed information including the timeline.

Date: Friday, January 31, 2014 
Time: 3:00 pm, 
Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)   

Meeting Number: 649 349 527  
Meeting Password: Daniela81 

Click here to start or join the online meeting 


Audio conference information:


1. Provide your number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call one of the following numbers:  
2. Follow the instructions that you hear on the phone.   


Cisco Unified Meeting Place meeting ID: 649 349 527  
Cisco Unified Meeting Place profile number for meeting host: 19071808 

Young Adult Transition Resource:

Individualized Learning Plan "Kick Start Your ILP" Toolkit

Kick Start Your ILP A new toolkit aimed at high school students and called "Kick Start Your ILP" has been released by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). An individualized learning plan (ILP) is both a document and a process that students, including students with disabilities, use to define and explore their career goals and post-secondary plans throughout high school in order to shape their decisions about courses and activities. "Kick Start Your ILP" includes an explanation of ILPs, a year by year checklist of steps to follow, and tips to pull it all together.

 2014 Autistic Campus Inclusion Summer Leadership Applications Available 

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Autistic Self Advocacy Network logo The Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Summer Leadership Academy, a project of the Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) made possible with the support of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, prepares Autistic students to create systems change on their college campuses. Participants acquire valuable skills in community organizing, policy formation, and grassroots & campus-based activism.  Alumni receive support and technical assistance in implementing their advocacy goals following the training.  


The 2014 ACI summer leadership academy will take place in Washington, D.C. between June 8 and June 14.  Applicants must identify as Autistic and be current college students with at least one year remaining before graduation.  Travel and lodging are fully covered by ASAN.


Applications are due by February 22nd, 2014. Please direct any inquiries about the training or the application process to ASAN's Leadership Programs Coordinator, Natalia Rivera Morales, at [email protected] 

 2014 Summer Youth in Development Internship Program

U.S. International Council on Disabilities 

USICD logo

Youth in Development (YiD) Internship program


The summer 2014 Youth in Development (YiD) internship program is now

open for applications from November 11, 2013, through January 29, 2014


The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) launched the YiD internship program in 2013. The YiD program focuses on youth with disabilities  from across the U.S. who are interested in international development and foreign affairs careers. The project follows from a vision, core to USICD's mission, to increase disability inclusion in U.S. foreign affairs by supporting future generations of Americans with disabilities to invest their skills and talents in this field. 


The summer 2014 YiD internship program will bring a group of talented graduate students, recent graduates, and rising college juniors and seniors with disabilities to Washington, DC, for nine weeks. This will include a one-week training and orientation program followed by an eight-week internship at an international organization in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. USICD will cover the cost of fully-accessible housing during the YiD progam, reimburse travel expenses to and from DC, and provide a limited stipend. It is anticipated that the program will run from May 25 to July 25, 2014. These dates may be subject to change.  


To  learn more about the YiD program, eligibility criteria, and the application process, please visit This website answers Frequently Asked Questions for applicants. You can also  download a printable handout about the YiD internship program.


Please disseminate this email among students and recent graduates who may be interested. If you are an international organization in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area interested in hosting a YiD intern, please communicate with[email protected].


Application deadline for the summer 2014 YiD program is January 29, 2014.


In addition to coordinating the YiD program, USICD is leads the campaign for U.S. ratification of the "Disability Treaty"--the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  Campus and student leaders at are a key source of energy in mobilizing others to take action. If you want to connect with campus/student leaders at other colleges/universities in support of CRPD ratification, please communicate with [email protected]. Learn more about the CRPD at Campus and student leaders also can organize themselves via Facebook at 

Job Opportunity: Finance Assistant

North Country Center for Independence

North Country Center for Independence Logo

JOB SUMMARY: North Country Center for Independence (NCCI) is seeking a Finance Assistant who will be in training for eventual promotion to Finance Director. The position is part time (20 hours) and will be managed by the center's Finance Director. The Finance Assistant will assist the Finance Director with controlling fiscal resources and conducting day-to-day financial management, as well as long-term financial analysis and planning.  


JOB DUTIES:           
  • Assists in preparation of grant applications and budgets for fiscal management, including development of Agency Budget.
  • Develops grant use plans and revises them as needed.
  • Accountable for general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, vouchers and payroll on Center's computerized accounting system.
  • Provides sound, unbiased advice to Executive Director on financial management of the Center.
  • Prepare and participate in analysis of financial reports. 
  • Completes federal and state tax forms. 
  • Collect and summarize data for financial audits.
  • Research and report on continual development of Agency financial policies as time and opportunity allows and as requested by the Executive Director.
  • Develops supply and inventory procedures that ensure proper internal control without placing undue burden on staff.
  • Effectively explains and maintains internal controls and procedures.* Participates in NCCI staff meetings and other activities. 
  • Actively cooperates with NCCI staff to achieve the Center's mission as directed by the Executive Director. 
QuickBooks, Excel Windows XP, MS Office XP, e-mail and Internet,
  • BS Degree in accounting and 3 years work experience preferred or combination of education and experience that demonstrates ability to perform job duties.
  • Computer and general ledger experience.
  • Ability to work independently, organizational ability and clear, effective communication skills.
  • Experience with nonprofit accounting a plus.
  • Personal experience with a disability a plus.
  • Must respect the rights of individuals with disabilities and the independent living philosophy.
Submit resume, cover letter, and three professional references by February 4th, 2014 to: 
Robert Poulin, Executive Director       
North Country Center for Independence
80 Sharron Avenue Plattsburgh, NY 12901
NCCI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
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