YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Families Together in NYS 2014 Annual Conference
Kickin' It Tour
YP! is Hiring - Youth Engagement Consultant
Amanda Haught Honored as Advocate of the Year at Legislative Awareness Day
YP!'s President Interviewed by the Buffalo News
Youth Group to Know: Rise Up on Long Island is Changing the System
Sage College Donates to RAMP
Help YP!'s Newest Board Member Win a Wheelchair Van
The Action Working Group Needs YOU!
NYC Summer Youth Employment
Job Opportunity: Mental Health Association of NYC
New Project Seeks to Increase Number of People with Disabilities who Vote
Disability Advocacy Through Media Training Course
Youth Voice Opportunity: 2014 New York State Safe Teen Driver Summit
National Federation of the Blind 2014 Scholarship Program
HSC Foundation's Advocates in Disability Award Program
Attention Youth Councils! Stand Up and Be Counted
2014 World of Children Youth Award
4th Annual International High School Essay Contest
Connect with YP!
Like Us on Facebook Instagram Pinterest Follow Us on Twitter 
Spread Hope With US!
Stay up to date with YP! Update your contact information.
Browse Our Boards On:
  • Wellness
  • Leadership
  • Independent Living
  • Artivisim
  • Disability Pride
  • Peer Support & Hope

Time is Running Out!

Register for the Families Together in New York State 2014 Annual Conference

Building Strong Roots for Success: Through Family Support and Peer Leadership: Families Together in New York State 2014 Annual Conference April 6 & 7, 2014 The Marriott Hotel, Albany NY On April 6&7 Families Together in New York State will hold their annual Conference Building Strong Roots for Success Through Family Support and Peer Leadership.  This conference has a lot to offer including interactive and educational workshops, an empowering keynote address, networking, the family dance with a 90's theme, popular auction, great exhibitors and wonderful food!


YP! is proud to be a part of this important event. The Youth Track is planned and delivered by the YP! network. This track offers workshops that are selected and delivered for and by young people to help build self-help and advocacy skills. Over 100 youth and young adults are already registered. 


YP! also worked with FTNYS to plan The Partners' Track. This track is 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. 


Most notably at the conference YP! will host the Ninth Annual Youth Speak-Out.  This is an opportunity for young people to speak-out about what helps and what harms. Over 400 family members, youth, providers and government officials will all be present for this inspiring and moving Speak-Out.


Register today for outstanding event! Click here for more information.

YP! and OASAS Team Up to Host
The Kickin' It Tour

The New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and YOUTH POWER! have teamed up to host the Kickin' It Tour for young people ages 15-25 with experience in recovery programs.


Join us for entertainment, food and an opportunity to speak your mind.


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


 Kickin' It Tour  YP! in graffiti Lettering

Speak-Up! Speak-Out! 

Tell Us What Helps and What Harms Your Recovery.


April 16, 2014:   Manhattan

501 7th Ave. NY NY 10018, Download the Flyer


April 17, 2014:   Bronx

489-493 E. 153rd Street (VNSNY-FRIENDS) Download the Flyer


April 23, 2014: Albany

1450 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203 Download the Flyer


May 15, 2014:   Long Island

141 Garden Street, Westbury (Yes We Can Center) Download The Flyer


June 4, 2014:   Northern NY (Malone), TBD*

*Additional location information will be made available shortly.



These events are free but you must register. 

Complete the registration form and send it to


Funding for the Youth Forums was made possible by OASAS through a SAMHSA/CSAT Grant #1U79T1024268-01.  The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speaker and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
YP! is Hiring - Apply Today!
Youth Engagement Consultant 

YOUTH POWER! is currently seeking motivated applicants for:


Job Title: Youth Engagement ConsultantStatus: Full-time, hourly (35 hours per week), $14 per hour, full benefits package

Location: Albany, New York

PURPOSE: The Youth Engagement Consultant will coordinate activities for two YP! initiatives, NYS Success and Youth Employment.



  • Personal life experience in child serving systems (juvenile justice, behavioral/mental health, child welfare, and drug & alcohol, etc.).
  • Bachelor's Degree preferred. High school diploma or equivalent is required.


  • Excellent coordination and organization skills
  • Demonstrated understanding of system of care values
  • Paid or volunteer experience as a youth advocate preferred
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with diverse groups
  • Familiarity with the children's mental health system


New York State Success:

  • Ensures youth participation in all aspects of Upstate NY SOC Expansion including the advisory board, subcommittees and other work teams
  • Works with evaluators and other staff to ensure the youth perspective is effectively reflected in evaluation and quality assurance/improvement activities
  • Works with the Technical Assistant Coordinator to assure that training needs of youth are met so that they may be meaningful participants in the process
  • Provides systems advocacy by working with partners to fully integrate youth guided practices and partnerships
  • Works with the Social Marketer to identify marking strategies to effectively reach youth and identify best practices for engaging/involving youth at the community level
  • Supports the Learning Collaborative by providing training and consultation on youth engagement at the system and practice level and youth guided care
  • Serves as a member of the Innovation Funding Pool review committee to award and oversee application from communities participating in the Learning Collaborative

Youth Employment Initiative:

  • Coordinate Skill Building Workshops: develop a skill building workshop for youth, young adults and youth professionals to introduce resources that support career exploration, self-advocacy and post-secondary education planning.
  • Youth Webinars: Develop webinars for youth to address critical education/workforce topics. Develop materials as well as identify nationally recognized guest presenters if needed.
  • Adult Webinars:  Coordinate webinars for adult allies, youth service professionals and community partners and cover such topics as youth engagement, youth cultural competence and mentoring of Youth Peer Advocates.
  • Youth Self-Advocacy Trainings:  Coordinate Three hour training sessions provided to youth professionals and Youth Peer Advocates utilizing a career focused Youth Self Advocacy Training compiled of national resource material.

Applicants must send a resume and cover letter to the following:


Mail to:              
Stephanie Orlando
737 Madison Avenue, Albany NY 12208




Click here to learn more. 
Amanda Haught Honored as Advocate of the Year at
Families Together Legislative Awareness Day

Amanda Haught Every year YOUTH POWER! acknowledges passionate peer leaders in New York. This year, YP! is proud to honor  Amanda Haught with the Advocate of The Year Award. She was nominated by  Pauline Gordon, NYC Regional Youth Partner, who  "nominated Amanda for the Advocate of the Year award because she is always actively engaged in her community attending council and committee meetings, and public hearings to  advocate for children's rights."  


Indeed Amanda is very involved; she has been an active YOUTH POWER! member for the past three years. Despite her hectic schedule as a foster parent, part-time college student and full time employed advocate, Amanda manages to find time to engage in YP! activities. Amanda is an active member with the YP! Action Working Group and Citywide Oversight Committee Youth Advisory Council. 


In 2012, Amanda participated in the YP! Foster Care Round Table discussion. She shared her perspective as a foster parent to a four year old girl with an emotional challenge. Amanda is also a former foster youth who is passionate about helping other youth in foster care with disabilities.


Recently, Amanda was recognized by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office for her work as an advocate for families with youth struggling with disabilities. Amanda is an expert in helping families navigate the education system, and helping them to understand rights, practices, laws and policies pertaining to young people with disabilities. Amanda has a sibling with Down Syndrome and watching him struggle as a child in school motivated her to help others with disabilities.


Finally, Amanda stands out from her peers because of her passion for helping others and her humbleness. Amanda is always behind the scenes, assisting with planning a Youth Advisory Council event, advocating at City Council meetings, or at an IEP meeting advocating on behalf of a young person. Amanda truly gets fulfillment out of helping those in need which makes her an amazing advocate and friend. 

 YP!'S Board President interviewed by the Buffalo News

Caitlin Neumann was 15 years old when she attempted suicide.

"I was officially diagnosed with depression when I was about 15, and that stemmed from a personal experience dealing with trauma back when I was in high school," Neumann said. "I didn't see a point in anything. I was lethargic. I didn't want to leave my house, and everything just seemed pointless."


Three years later, she is one of two peer advocates on the child and adolescent psychiatric unit at BryLin Hospital. A freshman at Erie Community College, the 18-year-old is studying social work. Once lost in the thickets of depression, she is now an invaluable source of faith for those who struggle as she once did.


"I'm just there to offer a symbol of hope to them and their families," she said.

Depression is not as uncommon as social misconceptions may lead us to believe; though by its most blatant definition, it leaves no physical scars, it is detrimental to the quality of life for those living with it.


"Depression kind of lingers ... It's a constant battle for people to shake a lot of the time," said Neumann, a 2013 graduate of Kenmore West High School. "It isn't only being sad when something's wrong in your life, it's being sad when everything in your life is going right."

Continue reading the article at this link.


 Youth Group to Know: Rise Up on Long Island is Changing the Systmem

Desiree Moore, Long Island Regional Youth Partner

Rise Up started the New Year off by supporting young people with mental health needs who are hospitalized.  A desk full of markers, construction paper, and a head full of inspiration quotes the group begin their  "Stay Strong" card project. This idea originated  by the group having a friend who was in the hospital. The group wanted to support them but not make get well cards. Some of the members discussed how when they were  hospitalized they would have loved to received a card of encouragement from a peer. After making one card the group decided to make 20 more cards for other young people in hospitals across Long Island.  Rise Up enjoyed making these cards and will continue to make stay strong cards.


Rise Up is a youth lead group that envisions a community where youth have the skills and resources available to them to be able to advocate for themselves at school, treatment programs, and within all systems that are involved in their lives.  


If you are interested in joining Rise Up contact Nicole Giambalvo at  631-264-0762 or email Also check out Rise Up tumblr page

Rise Up Stands for: Respect Individuality Support Empowerment. 

Sage College of Albany Club Donates Holiday Stockings

Elijah Fagan-Solis, Mentoring Coordinator

Left to Right- Stacia Greene, Isaiah Westry, Ezla Alexander As schools and colleges were preparing to go on winter break, one group of students was preparing to give back to the community.


'FREE,' which stands for Fashion Really Embraces Everyone, a club at the Sage College of Albany, prepared and donated 15 holiday stockings packed with goodies ranging from snacks to socks for youth in the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP).  The donation was utilized as a parting gift to mentees as they entered winter recess from school.


Stacia Greene (President), Isaiah Westry (Vice President), and Ezla Alexander (Secretary) delivered the stockings to RAMP Mentoring Coordinator Elijah Fagan-Solis, and were warmly greeted, given an overview of the program, and a tour of the Albany mentoring location.  One mentee commented after receiving the stocking with his eyes all aglow "This is awesome! Thank you so much, and thank the club for this. They did a really great thing!"


YOUTH POWER! cannot express how much this support means to us, and more importantly, to the young people in RAMP. We give our most sincere thanks and appreciation for FREE's generosity and commitment to the community.

For more information about contributing to RAMP or becoming a community partner, please contact Elijah at (518) 432-0333 ext. 19 or

Help YP!'s Newest Board Member Win A Wheelchair Van 

Vote for Emily Ladau Help her win a wheel chair vain! Since graduating Adelphi University in 2013, Emily has been pursuing a career advocating for the disabled. Read more about what she's been up to and please VOTE daily for her to win an adapted van at: Thank you for your support in Emily's pursuit of independence.  
You can vote for Emily Ladau once per day. To vote, click here.

 The Action Working Group Needs YOU!

we want YOUthYP! is seeking determined, dedicated youth for the Action Workgroup. Together we work on advancing YP!'s Priority Agenda. Action's current project is a youth-run, youth-led campaign that is raising awareness about the lack of graduation options for young people with disabilities. 


Interested in Joining?

To join you must be a member, between the ages 12 and 28, and commit to at least one call a month. 


What You Get:

  • Plan and run advocacy campaigns
  • Learn about activism and advocacy
  • Learn about the disability rights and other social justice movements
  • Meet with state and local officials
  • Draft Action Alerts
  • Help contribute to the solution

Learn More:


Interested members should contact Melanie Hecker, Systems Advocate, at or 518-432-0333 ext. 31. Come join and make sure youth have a voice!

 Are you between the ages of 14 and 24?
Apply for NYC Summer Youth Employment 

NYC Summer Youth Employment Summer Jobs The application deadline is May 18 Application Deadline: April 25, 2014

Apply now for Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) jobs. SYEP provides New York City youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with paid summer employment for up to six weeks in July and August. Foster youth, homeless youth, and juvenile-justice-involved youth have a better chance of getting these jobs, but only if your applications are complete. So make sure you follow the instructions and turn in all the paperwork sooner rather than later. Participants work at entry-level jobs at museums, parks, camps, offices, stores, and more. Click here to download the flyer.

Job Opportunity: Youth Advocate for the Mental Health Association of NYC

Mental Health Association logo The Mental Health Association of New York City is seeking to fill two 17.5-hour-per-week Youth Advocate positions at the Family Resource Center (FRC) of Northern Bronx and at the FRC of Northern Manhattan. The Youth Advocate will be responsible for engaging youth and their families to help them identify their needs and achieve their goals. The Youth Advocate will be a young adult who has had emotional and/or behavioral challenges and experience receiving services from the children's mental health or other child-serving systems. He or she has completed or is currently completing a High School or a G.E.D program -- some college preferred. For more information and who to contact, click here

New Project Seeks to Increase the Number of People with Disabilities who Vote
New York Disability Vote Network
New York Disability Vote Network: A project of Center for Disability Rights. There are approximately 35 million voting age people with disabilities and only 15.6 million people with disabilities reported voting in the November 2012 elections. That means nearly 20 million people with disabilities did not vote. Let's change that. Join the NYDVN today. Our ultimate goal is to unify and solidify a large disability voting bloc in New York. With a large, passionate voting bloc, we can enact positive changes on a state level.

ROCHESTER, NY --- The C­enter for Disability Rights (CDR) is excited to announce the launch of the website for the New York Disability Vote Network (NYDVN), accessed at The ultimate goal of the 2-year project is to build, solidify, and unify a disability voting bloc in the state of New York.  


The NYDVN project is made possible with a grant from Adult Career and Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR). It was established in spring 2013 to implement and grow a database of at least 5,000 voters with disabilities residing in New York, as well as establish a coalition committed to NYDVN's mission. Current partners include over 25 organizations, namely independent living centers, advocacy groups, and other disability-specific associations.


"People with disabilities have to fight for their civil rights every day. Now New York will have a coordinated effort to ensure that the same people are also fighting for their rights in the voting booth as well," said Bruce Darling, CEO of CDR.


A database of voters with disabilities will be the first of its kind in New York State, and will serve as a vehicle for promoting a disability-friendly nonpartisan agenda. The NYDVN project is a unique collaborative effort to provide a political voice to an often overlooked population. Current areas of focus include health care, housing, transportation, and employment.


"I am grateful to live in a country where voting is recognized as a right. That's why I exercise my right to vote every election. I think this project is important because it will allow elected officials to easily see how many people are affected by issues concerning disabilities," said Kenyatta Dacosta, a community member.


Voting age individuals with disabilities and other interested parties are encouraged to join the network by filling out an online form that can be found on the website. Volunteers are also welcome.



The Center for Disability Rights, Inc. (CDR) is a non-profit service and advocacy organization devoted to the full integration, independence, and civil rights of people of all ages with all types of disabilities. With services in 11 counties in New York State and offices in Rochester, Corning, Geneva and Albany, CDR represents the concerns of thousands of people with disabilities.

For more information, please contact Jessica Thurber, Voter Rights Coordinator at CDR:

Jessica Thurber 

Voter Rights Coordinator 
Center for Disability Rights 
Phone: 443-529-0703 
Disability Advocacy Through Media Training Course 

Towson University This online course will introduce advocates to how to use traditional and online media advocacy techniques to build awareness of disability issues. It will cover the use of social media, videos, websites and blogs for disability advocacy. It includes e-lectures, self-teaching assignments, and all-online readings and other resources.


This course is a collaborative project between the  College of Fine Arts and Communication and the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, both at Towson University in Towson, Maryland, USA. For more information about the Hussman Center, visit its website here.


This course is meant to be used and shared. We encourage disability advocates from around the world to translate it into other languages. If you have comments or ideas about the course, feel free to contact the creator of it, Beth Haller,


The creator of the course:  
Beth Haller, Ph.D., is Professor of Journalism/New Media and the Graduate Director of the Communication Management master's program in the Department of Mass Communication & Communication Studies at Towson University in Maryland, where she has been a full-time faculty member since 1996. She is the author of Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media (Advocado Press, 2010). She is also the former co-editor of the Society for Disability Studies' scholarly journal, A  Disability Studies Quarterly(2003-2006). She is adjunct faculty for the City University of New York's Disability Studies master's program and for York University's Critical Disability Studies graduate program in Toronto.

Youth Voice Opportunity

2014 New York State Safe Teen Driver Summit

Motor Vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for young people. This is your chance to stand up and be heard for teen driver safety. The New York State Governors Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) is accepting applications for youth to attend the 2014 New York State Safe Teen Driver Summit on Friday May 2nd
through Saturday May 3rd. GTSC is calling for High School Sophomores and Juniors to participate in the first ever New York State Safe Teen Driver Summit. 
At this meeting students will be tasked with developing a comprehensive plan for engaging their peers about the issue of safe, undistracted, controlled and sober driving. This overnight event will focus on creating a teen developed, teen focused and teen executed campaign for the 2014-2015 school year. 
Accommodations include an overnight stay at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Water Park on Friday night and all meals during the event. The on premises water park is free for use anytime that students are not participating in workshops. 
Participants will be required to arrange their own transportation to and from the venue. Also, we are requiring a minimum of a two same gender students to one chaperone ratio to provide supervision of participants attending the event. 
Participants will:  
  • Receive information about the causes and factors related to young driver crashes.  
  • Learn about diverse traffic safety interventions for young people.  
  • Network with other traffic safety minded youth from the state.  
  • Participate in development of a coordinated traffic safety plan for 2014-2015 school year  
  • Hear from nationally recognized speakers on the critical issues facing young drivers.  

Who is eligible?  

  • Anyone in 10th or 11th grade who has an interest in traffic safety 
  • Limit of 4 per school or local organization  
  • Each school/organization will be responsible for an appropriate chaperone(s) who will be responsible for their attendees. 
5:00pm - May 2nd until 1:00pm May 3rd 2014 
89 Six Flags Drive, Queensbury, New York, 12804 
What's included?  
  • Overnight stay at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Water Park  
  • Admission to the water park  
  • Three meals, dinner on Friday as well as breakfast and lunch on Saturday  
What is NOT included?  
  • Travel expenses for attendees. Participants will be expected to get themselves to and from the event.  
  • Any incidental expenses.  
How do I register?  
  • Contact Chuck Conroy at GTSC by e-mail:  
  • Fill out the registration form on the GTSC Young Driver Toolkit Website
  • Deadline to apply is Friday April 11th, 2014
Click here to download the flyer.

 National Federation for the Blind

2014 Scholarship Program

NFB National Federation of the Blind Voice of the Nation's Blind

 For Blind High School Seniors through Grad School Students

$12,000 Scholarship

"The Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship" and

Scholarship for$10,000

2 Scholarships for $7,000 each

4 Scholarships for $5,000 each 

22 Scholarships for $3,000 each


PLUS other gifts to our 30 scholarship winners!




Click here to download the flyer.


Click here to download the scholarship submissions checklist.





Contest begins: November 1, 2013

Deadline: Midnight, Eastern Time, March 31, 2014


To apply:  During the five-month's open period, read the rules and the Submission Checklist, complete the official 2014 Scholarship Application Form (online or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete one interview by an NFB affiliate president. Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for more information.


Questions to: NFB Scholarship Program.  Chairperson Patti Chang, Esq.


Office: (410) 659 -9314, extension 2415 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Eastern Time Zone)

The HSC Foundation's Advocates in Disability Award Program is Seeking the Next Generation of Disability Advocates 

HSC logo The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) program, funded by The HSC Foundation and the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation, awards and encourages a young adult with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who is dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. The program also supports an innovative project developed by the recipient to serve and empower individuals with disabilities. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and receives up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for a project to benefit the disability community. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection. Applications must be received by 5:00 PM EST on April 11, 2014.

Attention Youth Councils!
Stand Up and Be Counted 

Calling all Youth Councils!  
The Employment & Training Administration's (ETA) Division of Youth Services is beginning an exciting technical assistance project to strengthen and support your work as youth leaders in your communities. The first step will be to identify Youth Councils in local communities across the country.  After that ETA is interested in highlighting Youth Councils and promoting your critical role as local partners and conveners that improve youth services and employment opportunities for disconnected youth.  We need your help in developing an accurate list of Youth Councils which will become an exciting new addition to the Service Locator website. Expect to be contacted by your regional office representative soon!  And THANKS! 

2014 World of Children Youth Award

World of Children Award World of Children Award is currently accepting Nominations for prestigious Youth Awards, which recognizes two young people under 21 who have significantly impacted the lives of children in need. The Awards come with a program grant and the opportunity to be honored in New York City at an annual Awards Ceremony. Click here for more information.



Do you know a young person who is doing great things to help other people or the planet? Nominate him/her for the 2014 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes! The Barron Prize celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our environment. Each year, ten to fifteen winners each receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education. Nomination deadline is April 15. For more information and to nominate, click here

4th Annual International High School Essay Contest 

International Bipolar Foundation

International Bipolar Foundation Logo First place winner will receive $500

Second place winner will receive $100


Choose one of the three themes:

  • How is mental health perceived and addressed in your community, both culturally and socially?
  • How can you support a friend or loved one who may be dealing with bipolar disorder?
  • How does media impact the stigma of bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses?

Essay Contest Rules:

  • Essay contest open to all high school students
  • 500 word limit, entries must be original work, in English, typed, 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced
  • 1st and 2nd place winners will be chosen by a panel of judges
  • Essays will become property of International Bipolar Foundation and will not be returned
  • Contestant agrees to allow International Bipolar Foundation to publicize essay

Please submit essay and registration form to:

International Bipolar Foundation

8895 Towne Centre Drive, Suite 105-360

San Diego, CA 92122 USA

Or to by 4/25/2014 and include your name, address, e-mail and telephone number.

To learn more, click here.
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!

Like Us on Facebook Instagram  PinterestFollow Us on Twitter