YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Now Available on YouTube!
Want to learn more about Self-Advocacy and Disability Disclosure? 

Check out our new videos on YouTube here

Get Involved with National Campaigns!
Click here for more information on this month's campaigns, and what's coming up next month!
YP! Seeking Input for #UYP16
Take Action! Help make University of YOUTH POWER! The Experience of a Lifetime! #UYP16University of YOUTH POWER! is a for-youth-by-youth social justice conference for young people ages 18 to 30 that is modeled after a college experience. Students are able to major in either peer or systems advocacy, attend our Annual YP! Leaders' Dinner and more! To prepare for #UYP16, we are looking for YOUR input in order to make the event more engaging, address the needs of young leaders, and foster collaboration and partnerships with adult partners and organizations. 

To take the survey online, please visit by Monday, September 21st.

For more information on UYP, click here.

If you have any questions, or would like to request paper version of the survey, please contact Brianna Valesey at or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext.31.
Registration Extended for the 2015 Transition Age Youth Institute
Transition Age Youth Institute Logo
Join YP! at the Upcoming 2015 TAY Institute!
New Deadline: September 17th

The 2015 Transition Age Youth Institute offers professionals and peers working with school age youth the opportunity to:
ENHANCE knowledge through interactive discussions in critical areas such as CTE & employment, inclusion, life-enrichment, literacy and manage care;
REFLECT AND DELIBERATE on the challenges and rewards of innovative designs and youth service delivery models;
COLLABORATE across all interested stakeholders;
SHARE, CAPTURE AND TAKE BACK experience strategies, and informational tools that will successfully move transition services forward.

For more information or to register, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Katelyn Connally at or by phone at 518-449-2976

NYSRA, MHANYS, LDA, NYS Coalition for Children's Mental Health Services, YP!
Get Ready for the Kick Off, NYC!

Are you located in the NYC region and looking for ways to get involved?...

...Join your local Regional Team or Youth Advisory Council!

Regional Team
Join the NYC Regional Team Kick off Meeting September 17th at 6pm at Youth Communication New Location. Come check out the new space and meet the New NYC Regional Youth Partner Desiree Moore. New members are welcome and YP! Veterans are always welcomed.The Regional Team is for young leaders who are passionate about YOUTH POWER!  And their Priorities on a regional level.
Youth Advisory Council
The Youth Advisory Council are looking for passionate people who are looking to be active in their community and can work on concerns and projects concerning the five borough. The youth advisory council is a group of young professional who have experience in one  or multi  child serving system such as Foster Care, addiction, juvenile justice, special education  but are ambassador not to only share their experiences but those who they work with and meet along the way. If you are interested please contact Desiree Moore in filling out an application to apply to become a YAC member. 

 For more information, or if you have any questions, contact Desiree Moore at or by phone at 347-880-2735

Speak Out! Attend Your Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Transformation Forum! 

The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will be hosting seven Transformation Panel public forums.

Do you have something to say to the State Office for Developmental Disabilities? If so, attend your region's OPWDD transformation forum!

Questions Include:
  • How can self-direction help you take control of your supports and services?
  • What do you think would help more people find and keep jobs in the community?
  • How can OPWDD better plan to meet your residential support needs in the community, now and into the future?
  • What ideas do you have for reforming the existing system so it will be sustainable and flexible enough to help meet people's needs into the future?

Possible Talking Points: Housing and residential services; finding and keeping jobs; flexibility in services; community based services; autism services; services for intellectual disabilities; work and school accommodations.

Your views will inform the Transformation Panel Recommendations, the Residential Registration List Report, and the development of the Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Services (5.07). For more information on the Transformation Panel Public Forums, or to register, click here.

Transforming Together Public Forum Schedule

Thursday, September 17
Long Island
12 noon - 2 pm
Upsky Long Island Hotel, 110 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge, NY

New York City
5 pm - 7 pm
UJA-Federation of New York, 130 East 59th St, NY, NY

Thursday, September 24
12 noon - 2 pm
The New York State Fairgrounds Art and Home Center, Martha Eddy Room, 581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse

5 pm - 7 pm
Guardian Angels Church Hall, 2061 E. Henrietta Road, Henrietta

Friday, September 25
11 am - 1 pm
Burchfield Penney Art Center, Auditorium, 1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo

Tuesday, September 29
5 pm - 7 pm
Empire State Plaza, Meeting Room 6, Albany

Wednesday, September 30
12 noon - 2 pm
Westside Ballroom, 253 New York Road, Plattsburgh

You can also submit your thoughts or concerns in writing if you are unable to attend:

NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities
Neil Mitchell, Special Assistant to the Commissioner
44 Holland Ave., 3rd Floor
Albany, NY 12203
Or by email:

For general information about the Public Forums, please contact: 
1-866-946-9733 or
ACTION ALERT: Upcoming OMH/OASAS Public Hearing
Are you involved with mental health services, substance abuse services, or a combination of both?
If so, YOUR feedback is needed to help guide OMH and OASAS!

On October 6th, from 2-4pm, The Office of Mental Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services will be having a joint public hearing across the state. Both agencies will receive input for the development of their respective statewide plans and ongoing planning initiatives. The hearing is hosted by OASAS and OMH, and will be held via videoconference among nine locations: Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Ogdensburg, Manhattan, Staten Island, and West Brentwood.

Involved but unsure of what you could say? 
Contact your local Regional Youth Partner to find out how you can Speak Up and Speak Out!

Registration for any of the public hearing sites listed above is available at Given the number of individuals expected to want to testify, OASAS and OMH request that all input be received in writing. Individuals interested in presenting oral testimony should check the appropriate box using the online registration system. Should time constraints not allow all who want to present oral testimony to do so, OASAS and OMH will review their submitted comments in detail.
Please note that space is limited at some hearing sites. Pre-registration is encouraged, however attendance will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to these capacity constraints, organizations are respectfully asked to send one individual per organization to attend the hearing.
If you require any special accommodations to participate in the hearing, or have questions about the format, please contact Janise Carmichael at or 518-486-3293. 

To connect with the RYP in your region, click here.
Help Guide the NYS Independent Living Council State Plan
The New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC) is an independent, federally mandated state council with the primary responsibility to jointly develop the three-year Statewide Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). To help accomplish this responsibility, the council engages in a statewide needs assessment in advance of the SPIL to identify emerging needs and priorities. 

If you are an individual with a disability, please take the time to fill out the survey to provide input and help guide the statewide plan. The survey should take less than 15 minutes to complete.

Please reply no later than September 30th, 2015. If you have any questions about the survey, contact Brad Williams at NYSILC, 518-427-1060 or
VOYA Knowledge Night Talks Safety: By Elijah Fagan-Solis
A RAMP youth and presenter Matt London of NENYCOSH at Employment Safety Training
Every year in the United States, about 179,000 workers under age 18 get hurt at work.  Close to 60,000 young workers are sent to the Emergency Room for job related injuries.  That comes out to be that every nine minutes one teen worker gets seriously hurt on the job.  On average, 37 teens die on the job.  Young workers are two times more likely to be injured at work than adult workers.

On August 24, Rensselaer County's Youth Advisory Council Voices of Youth Advisors (VOYA) teamed up with the Northeast New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH) to host a basic skill training in workplace safety and health in which these statistics and other knowledge was presented as part of their Knowledge Night series.  Participants learned about ways young workers can get hurt on the job, ways to reduce or control workplace hazards, what to do if you see something at work that can hurt you or make you sick, as well as legal rights and responsibilities young people have at work.

Many commented on how informative the training was as well as how fun and interactive the activities were including a contest to eliminate or reduce or control hazards in workplace scenarios, acting out workplace hazard skits, and placing a Band-Aid on the presenter every nine minutes to signify the rate at which young workers are injured on the job.  One participant from the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) was so excited with the information on the legal rights of workers, he took extra copies to share with his co-workers at his place of employment, vowing to fight for a safer work environment.  All participants received a certificate for completing the training.

VOYA hosts Knowledge Nights as a form of outreach to educate council members as well as youth and families in the community on a certain topic or service/resource that is available to them.   All topics are suggested by VOYA members and are open to youth and family members in Rensselaer County and surrounding communities. 

If you are interested in becoming a member of VOYA, or information about the next Knowledge Night, please contact us at or by calling 518-432-0333 ext. 34.
Companions and Confidence: The Journey to Getting a Guide Dog 
By: Melanie Hecker, Blaise Bryant, and Aaron Baier

Photo of puppies being trained as guide dogs
September is Guide Dog Month. Many individuals all over the country have gained more independence thanks to service animals. Service animals can be trained to help mobility-impaired people, sense when a person is about to have a seizure, calm people with anxiety disorders, and more. One of the more well-known types of service animals is the Guide Dog. Training for these dogs begins as a puppy, and individuals with disabilities are able to obtain a guide dog at no cost to them due to organizations relying on donations. Deciding whether a guide dog is right for you is an important decision and the journey has many components.

Whether it's the decision to get one..

"One of the first things I figured out when considering getting a guide dog is it's not in any way an impulse decision; it's one that you know it's time. That time can be a scary event, leading to a heightened sense of insecurity and lower confidence when walking with a cane. I know this because that's what I experienced.
 It was roughly two years ago, I was a senior at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY; walking to my internship at WAMC/Northeast Public Radio which is the local National Public Radio station. While walking along Quail Street, crossing Washington Avenue, one of the busiest streets in Albany, the harsh reality of a car making a left turn in front of me, nearly hitting me, was the single-most scariest moment of my life. When my then Orientation and Mobility Instructor, and now good friend Samantha grabbed my shoulders pulling me back, I knew right then and there I needed to make a change. At the time, I was still dealing with my fear of large dogs, which plagued me from when I was a kid, because the barking and jumping on me was frightening.
    During that day of near-disaster, I was a mess beyond words. I clearly remember sitting in the WAMC newsroom, sometimes shaking because the fear of the unknown...what did I need to do to move on from this being the million-dollar question. When talking with my dad that evening, he mentioned a guide dog. I let it sink in for a few seconds...saying to him: 'You know're right!'"
    -Blaise Bryant

Or knowing what to do after your guide dog retires...
"There is so much more to the training process and the time spent building a good working relationship with Maxie, that it is hard to fully encompass everything.  I will say, however, that she gave me exactly what I was looking for - freedom and independence.  Maxie traveled across the United States with me, to conferences and vacations, to work and to dinner. From June 2005 until September 2013, Maxie worked her tail off and even made some of her own friends, including the crew at YOUTH POWER!  Maxie, over her normal 8 year working career, earned a happy retirement.  Guide Dog handlers, like myself, often get to choose - do they want to keep the dog after retirement or give it up for adoption?  I chose to keep Maxie, and she lives with me, my wife, Maria, and her retired guide dog, Dakota, at our home.  The two dogs are now approaching 12 years old.  We know that the next phase will be hard to deal with, but personally, I'm happier going through that process with Maxie, who spent her life giving me a life. 
    The big question I have now is, will I get another dog?  Truly, I have not decided.  Perhaps the biggest piece of what Maxie gave me was confidence.  That alone can take you a long way.  My confidence in myself has led me back to using a white cane and I navigate and orient myself pretty well.  There are advantages to both canes and guide dogs.  It is personal preference and what you are comfortable with and what does the most for you.  Me, I'm just going to stick with a cane for now, but I will wait to see what curve in life I face next, perhaps I will get a new companion to help guide me through it."
-Aaron Baier

Having a guide dog is gaining a support, a friend, and confidence as you transition through life.

To read Blaise and Aaron's full stories on their journey to gaining their four-legged companions, click here

You can also visit to learn more.
Come Celebrate Disability Awareness Month with your Central RYP at Syracuse University
Disability Cultural Center Logo

Are you located in the Central Region and looking to get more involved?

The Disability Cultural Center at Syracuse University will be hosting a series of events in celebration of Disability Awareness Month. All events are open to the public.

October 2nd
4th Annual DCC Open House (ASL interpretation provided; inclusive snacks on-site!), 11am-1pm, 105/106/108 Hoople

The critically acclaimed Pixar film, 
INSIDE OUT, will be screened (
with open captions) on the QUAD, courtesy of the ORANGE AFTER DARK team, in collaboration with the DCC - late night details forthcoming! (ASL interpretation provided; inclusive snacks on-site!)

October 16th
A place at the Table: Celebrating the ADA at 25, and Continuing the Conversation re: Food Justice and Disability Rights, 11:30am-1pm, Hoople 106 (ASL interpretation provided; inclusive lunch on-site!)

October 21st
Interfaith Dialogue (with time for mindful meditation) on Disability Culture, Faith, and Secularism,(ASL interpretation and inclusive dinner provided!), 6:30-8:30pm, Noble Room, Hendricks Chapel

Please note that there are three events in this series, hosted by Hendricks and the DCC. White privilege is the theme on 9/16; Sanctuary and "Safer" Spaces is the theme on 11/18. All dinners/mindfulness time/dialogues will be co-facilitated by staff, students, and chaplains.

In celebration of the ADA at 25, Invitation to Dance will be screened on 12/1, hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences, working in collaboration with Honors, the DCC, and others.

The 4th Annual "Cripping" the Comic Con will be held on April 1st, 2016, with "irony" as the theme, and a major focus on Deaf Cultural Pride.  

If you have any questions, please contact Diane Wiener at or 315-443-4486. 

You can also contact Katie Rushlo, Central Regional Youth Partner, at or 315-679-1476 for more information about these events and how to get more involved in the central region!
FTNYS Rallies for Raise the Age/ #ReleaseMarquis Campaigns

Photo of the Marquis Dixon Rally
Near a national day of action recognizing the one year anniversary of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson at the hands of the Ferguson Police, activists and members of various faith and community organizations rallied outside Albany County District Attorney David Soares' downtown Albany office to launch the Release Marquis Coalition in support of Marquis Dixon, a 16-year-old who was sentenced to nine years in an adult, maximum security prison for stealing a pair of sneakers, and to call for indictments for the three Albany Police Officers involved in the death of Donald "Dontay" Ivy over four months ago. 

To read more, Click here.

#ReleaseMarquis #JusticeforDontay
Get Involved with National Campaigns!
Photo of megaphone with different social media symbols coming out
Social media is a great tool to bring awareness in our advocacy efforts.
Together, we can amplify our voices!

Click on the campaigns below for more information on how you can team up to Speak Up and Speak Out! 

Self-Improvement Month
Self-Awareness Month


Want to get more involved in YP!'s Advocacy efforts?
 You can submit advocacy tips, articles, and more on topics that affect YOU! Team up with monthly, weekly, and national day campaigns and email submissions to!

Did we miss a campaign or resource above? Let us know
Trauma Informed Care Webinar featuring YP!
The elimination of restraint and seclusion is a priority of YOUTH POWER! because its a priority to youth. 

When a young person has already gone through a traumatic experience restraining and seclusion only adds to the trauma and takes away feelings of trust and support that are needed for recovery and resilience. 

On June 10th, The Office of Mental Health hosted a webinar to help show how important trauma informed care is for service providers and direct care workers to understand. On this webinar, you will hear the effects of restraint and seclusion on young people from diverse standpoints, including a presentation by YP! Executive Director Stephanie Orlando and a personal experience from YP! Hudson River Regional Youth Partner Domonica Jeffress. 

To view the webinar, along with the PowerPoint used for the presentations, click here.

To learn more about comfort rooms discussed in the webinar, click here.
Webcast/Live Event: Building a Trauma-Informed Nation
Building A Trauma-informed nation, moving the conversation into action
September 29-30, 2015
The United States is experiencing a public health crisis: trauma, violence and toxic stress. In response, efforts to create trauma-informed change are growing across the nation. Learn how communities are responding and develop your own strategy to amplify change through four "Catalyst Sessions":  
Presentations will highlight effective collaborations, promising practices and programs at the state and local levels, as well as first-person experiences, including workforce systems and worker issues. Learn from successful programs, policies and approaches being implemented across the country about how you can use these models, tools and resources in your work, organization or community. Following presentations, interactive sessions will facilitate participant discussions and strategic action planning in their local areas or agencies.

There are three ways you can participate:
  1. Via webcast through an "Amplifier Site" which is a gathering of others interested in this issue 
  2. Individually via webcast at your computer (Please note that webcast participation is limited, so please register soon!)
  3. At the live event in Washington, D.C
Click here to register or learn more.
Webinar: Housing Options for People with Disabilities in NYS

Please join Parent to Parent of NYS, Tanja Peters/ Housing Coordinator as she presents a webinar on Housing Options for people with Disabilities in NYS. 

This webinar is designed to give individuals with disabilities and their families a general understanding of what types of housing options are available in NYS and it will explain the differences between certified housing options and non-certified housing options. Ways to purchase a home are also discussed. Please be advised that only the first 100 participants who log on will be able to attend. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

WEBINAR- Housing Options for People with Disabilities in NYS
September 22, 2015
Start Time: 6:00PM | End Time: 7:00PM
Contact: Tina Beauparlant Phone: (518) 381-4350 
Event Cost: FREE
Please register for Housing Options for People with Disabilities in NYS onSep 22, 2015 6:00 PM EDT at:
New Mobile App Helps Find Housing
HUD Resource Website
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) new Resource Locator app for smartphones and electronic tablets can help you get answers to your housing-related questions and find resources! 

The resource locator offers real-time information to connect with building managers, public housing authority representatives, and property management companies.

This app is available through Apple iTunes, Google Play Marketplace, and you can also check it out on your browser at!
Survey: International Peer-Led Peer Involvement in Early Intervention 
Leland Standford Junior University Logo
Have you worked or volunteered on an early intervention in psychosis program or project as a peer?

Interested in sharing your experiences and perceptions of challenges and needs?

In consultation with early intervention peer staff & peer leaders, researchers at Stanford have developed a survey concerning peers' and young people's experiences, challenges, and perceived priorities in early intervention in psychosis (EIP) programs, nationally and internationally. We invite participation from peers with any experience of EIP-related work (including planning, policy, peer support, evaluation and/or research).

The online survey includes both open-ended and close-ended questions and should take about 30 minutes to complete. 

For more information, Contact Nev Jones, PhD, at 
or (773) 639-8360.

ANYSYB 2015 Annual Youth Development Conference
Association of NYS Youth Bureaus Logo

The Association of New York State Youth Bureaus (ANYSYB) announced its annual youth development training, October 20-21 at the Conference & Event Center, Niagara Falls, NY.
Youth development experts from across the state and country will come together to share ideas, learn best practices, and exchange knowledge on issues pertaining to youth development, prevention services, healthy living and high risk youth.

Throughout the training, time has also been allocated for networking so that you can learn from your colleagues across the State as well as from their partners at the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.

For more information, or to register, click here
The views and opinions expressed in third party messages and external links included in this eNews are those of the organization or individual mentioned. They do not necessarily reflect the official positions of YOUTH POWER!.
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!

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