YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

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OMH/OASAS Needs YOUth Voice: By Melanie Hecker
OMH and OASAS Logo


Melanie Hecker, Systems Advocate On July 14, 2015, many people gathered in the headquarters of the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and this meeting is one of many all across the state. The issue at hand is a possible merger of the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Many different types of people were at the meeting, and many had important things to say about if merging the two state agencies would better serve the public, including youth and families.


Directors of addiction and mental health clinics shared stories of their agencies and direct service providers gave input based on experience with their clients. Even YOUTH POWER! spoke to give some youth perspective to the meeting. A common theme in people's comments was that consumers are often stretched in different directions when involved in both systems, having two different service plans and two different sets of doctors. A merger of the two agencies could streamline services considering this dilemma.


What was also brought up was how intertwined mental health and addiction recovery are, and how often they occur together.  Some even say that addiction is itself a mental health challenge, and thus the two agencies belong together.


There was a very big sense of care as everyone at the meeting was there because they want what's best for mental health and addiction involved people. No matter what the state agency structure or bureaucracy is like, what matters most is the people, and taking care of the needs of those with addictions and mental health challenges. Hearing everyone's perspective, no matter what is was, gave you the sense that everyone is looking out for the good of the public, and that's exactly what a merger would be for: public gain.


While the Albany meeting was great, what these meetings need is more youth voice. When young people come to these meetings, they can provide input and perspective that no one else can.   YOU have the power to make a difference by attending your region's meeting and stating how you really feel about these two state agencies coming together.  Below is a list of remaining times and locations.



Molloy College, Suffolk Center

August 18th 3:00 - 5:00 pm; 5:30 - 7:30 pm

7180 Republic Airport

Farmingdale, NY


Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

August 20th 3:00 - 5:00 pm; 5:30 - 7:30 pm

The Mason O. Damon Auditorium, 1 Lafayette Square

Buffalo, NY



Click here for more information or to register.

Register for YP!'s Regional Forums!
Looking for an opportunity to provide input on the issues and topics that affect you?
YP! has upcoming regional forums and we are looking for YOUth to provide input!

free yourself to be yourself

On Monday August 10th from 12-3pm, the central region will be hosting their forum "Free Yourself to Be Yourself."

Join us in celebrating disability pride and bring awareness back to the community to reduce stigma and bullying.

Where: CNY Works, Syracuse, NY 13203.

If you have any questions, please contact Katie Rushlo at [email protected] or by phone at (315)679-1476.

come as you are... leave as a hero
Hudson River
On Monday August 31st from 5-7pm, the Hudson River region will be hosting their forum "Come as you are... leave as a hero."
Join YP! for a superhero-themed talk about the issues and topics that affect you. This guided discussion to help determine what we need to advocate and educate more on.

Where: Albany Public Library, Howe Branch, Large meeting room, 105 Schuyler St., Albany, NY 12202.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Domonica Jeffress at [email protected] or by phone at (518)322-2096 by August 26th, 2015. 

Forums are free to attend and food will be served!
Stay Connected After UYP15!
UYP15 Leaders Dinner Group Photo
Our Dearest University of YOUTH POWER! Students,

While we look back on our time at #UYP15 and remember all we have learned and the friends we made along the way, we figured.. why does it have to end here?!

In honor of all that was accomplished, YP! has started a UYP15 Facebook group where graduates can come together and share photos, memories, and stay connected! In this group you will find albums full of staff photos from the event so feel free to tag yourself, save the photos, or comment with your favorite part about what you experienced at that event!

You can join the group by using the link below, or by messaging us on the YP! Facebook with a request to be added to the group!
UYP15 Students Hope Photo

If you have any questions, please contact Brianna Valesey at [email protected] or by phone at 518-416-4013.
VOYA Knowledge Night:
Employment Safety

Youth and Families are invited to attend this free event!

VOYA logo



Monday, August 24, 2015

4:00 to 7:00 pm

CEO Third Floor Conference Room

2331 Fifth Avenue, Troy, NY 12180



The NorthEast New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH) is a non-profit membership organization of workers, unions, community-based organizations, and health and safety professionals.  We use training, education, and advocacy to improve health and safety conditions for ALL workers throughout the Capital District.  


This training will equip young workers to look at their workplace, to identify potential hazards, and to know what prevention measures can be taken.  Additionally, we will inform young workers that they have the same legal rights to a safe and healthy workplace as do adults, and class attendees will be told how to exercise those rights. 

Participants will receive a certificate at the end of the training. Food will be served. 



To register for the training, please visit


If you have any questions, please contact Elijah Fagan-Solis, Mentoring Coordinator, at [email protected] or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext. 19 

2015 Youth Development Day

Youth Development Day Flyer Join Youth in Progress for the 3D Me: Youth Development Day! 


Youth in care ages 14-21 are encouraged to attend and will have the opportunity to explore three dimensions of self: Self-Expression, Self-Identity, and Personal Independence.


Workshops will be facilitated by FosterClub All-Stars (youth in care). Lunch will be served.


When: August 25th, 2015, 9 A.M. - 3 P.M.

Where: Albany Marriott, 189 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205


Deadline for registration is August 12th, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact Erika Leveillee at (518)320-3743 or [email protected]



Click here for the flyer.

Click here to register for the event. 

Crossover Youth Webinar
Georgetown University Logo
On August 6, 2015, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy will present the "CYPM Implementation Data Webinar." This webinar will highlight outcomes of the first cohort of sites to implement the Crossover Youth Practice Model. 

The presentation will provide an overview of the Crossover Youth Practice Model and will highlight improvements in jurisdictions on a series of outcomes, including use of diversion, education, mental health, substance use, permanency planning, prosocial connections and activities, recidivism and case closures.

Register for and learn more about the "CYPM Implementation Data Webinar."


Juvenile Diversion Certificate Program Opportunity

Applications are being accepted for the Juvenile Diversion Certificate Program, which will be held from December 15-18, 2015 at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC.  


The Juvenile Diversion Certificate Program presents an excellent opportunity for individuals and teams of prosecutors, probation staff, law enforcement officials, policymakers and other local leaders committed to strengthening their diversion efforts to obtain in-depth training, education, and guidance on juvenile diversion policies, practices, and programs from national experts, while also networking and learning across jurisdictions. 

The program is offered in partnership with the 
Juvenile Law Center and the National League of Cities.

We will also host a free webinar on August 12, 2015, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, that will provide an overview of the certificate program. This webinar is part of a five-part series offered through the 
Center for Coordinated Assistance to States.

Learn more about the Juvenile Diversion Certificate Program including how to apply, tuition, and available subsidies. 

Register for and learn more about the free webinar.


2015 Camp Get-A-Way
Camp Getaway logo

Camp Get-A-Way is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the mission of strengthening and supporting families of children having an emotional, behavioral, or mental illness.  The concept for the camp was developed by parents living in the WNY area.

The founding vision of Camp Get-A-Way is clear and simple:

  • Offer whole family opportunities for recreational and skill building activities while living with a child with an emotional, behavioral, or mental illness disability.
  • Offer families the chance to rediscover the joy of being a family without worry of discrimination or the stigma of being associated with mental health issues.
  • Allow parents to connect with and support other parents faced with the same challenges.
  • A celebration of yesterday, today, and tomorrow!
New Dates for 2015
Session 1 August 14-17
Session 2 August 19-22
Session 3 August 24-27

For more information, visit or contact Wendy DeRouen at (585)350-9482 or [email protected]
MHEP is Hiring!

Peer Support Mentor Positions Available

The Mental Health Empowerment Project, Inc. (MHEP) is a self-help and peer support agency organized in 1988 to develop and strengthen self-help and mutual support activities throughout the United States. MHEP currently has two Peer Support Mentor positions open. These are full time positions which offer competitive salaries and excellent benefits. 

To be considered for one of these positions:
A candidate will have direct, personal experience using mental health services, be comfortable talking about that experience and be confident modeling principles of recovery and wellness.

Responsibilities of this position include:
  • Working with people in both one-to-one and group settings, facilitating peer support groups, events and activities
  • Helping people establish creative community connections and assisting them to develop natural supports;
  • Establishing connections to community based activities that enhance wellness, recovery and social engagement.
  • Providing individualized peer-to-peer outreach and support in their homes and other settings to people who may find it difficult to reach out and connect to their communities.
  • Engaging people in one on one recovery planning, using tools such as Wellness Recovery Action Planning and Intentional Peer Support; Assisting people to choose, record and achieve wellness goals;
  • Offering individualized advocacy and support services to help a person learn about and protect their rights and interests.
  • Organizing and coordinating wellness/recovery events and activities.
The ideal candidate:
  • Will be an active team member, offering support and assistance to ongoing projects;
  • Will be able to work independently on projects, meeting deadlines, and taking initiative;
  • Will have basic computer skills; competence in Microsoft Office required;
  • Will demonstrate knowledge of job duties through follow-up and accurate record keeping is also important;
  • A clean, NYS Driver's License and reliable transportation is also required.
To express interest in this position, please email, fax or send resume, cover letter and salary
requirements to: Pam Maxim, Administrative Director, MHEP, 3 Atrium Drive, Suite 205,
Albany NY 12205 Fax #: 518/434-3823, Email: [email protected]

Resumes receivedwithout cover letters will not be reviewed. Resumes must be received by fax, email or mail by August 7, 2015
No phone calls, please.
Come to the Empowerment Exchange Open House
Open House
On Tuesday, July 28th from 12pm-4pm, the Empowerment Exchange is hosting an open house at 2136 Burdett Ave, Troy NY.

Join EE to network and learn what is happening in 2015 and share your ideas and dreams!

Light refreshments and fun all through the house...Inside and Out!

For more information or to RSVP, call Ray at (518)235-2173
Resource Highlight: Act for Youth
Act for Youth Logo
Looking For More Resources?

ACT (Assets Coming Together) for Youth Center of Excellence connects research to practice in the areas of positive youth development and adolescent sexual health. With generous support from theNew York State Department of Health, the Center of Excellence (COE) provides:
Check out for more!


Attention Youth 14-21 in Foster Care!
If you are a youth in foster care ages 14-21, OCFS needs YOUR input!

New York State is scheduled for a federal Child and Family Services Review in 2016. In preparation for the review, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is conducting a Statewide Assessment of child welfare services. It is important that the experiences and opinions of youth in care become part of the Statewide Assessment. The results of the surveys will be used to identify areas where the foster care system needs improvement, as well as to identify the strengths of the current foster care system.

The survey is anonymous and takes around 15 minutes to complete. If you are interested in finding out the results of the survey, there is an opportunity to provide your email address at the end of the survey.

To complete the survey, please visit 

If you have any questions, please contact Joanne Trinkle at (518)474-9441 or [email protected] 

This survey will be open until the end of September, but youth are encouraged to complete it as soon as possible.
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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