YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Save the Date!
The FTNYS Conference will take place Sunday, April 3rd and Monday, April 4th.
Meet Our New NYC Regional Youth Partner
Welcome Back Desiree Moore!
A message from your new NYC Regional Youth Partner:
Desiree Moore, NYC RYP
Hey YP! supporters and family! Most people know me from my previous role with YOUTH POWER! as the Long Island Regional Youth Partner. For those who don't know me, my name is Desiree Moore. I'm new to the New York City Region but quite familiar with the youth and young adult advocacy movement. As the former Long Island Regional Partner, I had the opportunity to work alongside passionate leaders.  Some of the projects we worked on included the "#YPHope campaign" which is spreading hope through story sharing and photography. We also developed youth councils and youth peer support in many different facilities, hosted and attended events that supported items on our cross system YP! Priority agenda, and much more.  

Last year I was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to work on an Anti-Bullying Campaign visiting different public schools on the west coast. Meeting with the students and teachers to bring light to bullying and prevention tools was very rewarding. As an east coast girl, my horizons were definitely broadened. The opportunity allowed my passion for advocacy to be refueled. I found myself on the road sharing all about different advocacy resources and encouraging young people to speak up and take action. 

Well, I'm back from life on the road and I'm officially your
New York City Regional Partner. I look forward to meeting NYC community leaders. My goal for NYC is to unify youth voice, youth involvement and peer support. I would like to help build and edify a strong group of regional team leaders and begin spreading YP!  presence throughout the boroughs. Our first project is the NYC YP! Annual Youth Forum in November. The forum is the place where young people's voices are valued and help us build our priority agenda. It's also a great place for young people to see that they're not alone. We are in need of fresh ideas and people who want their voice to be heard. If you are interested in becoming a member and learning more about YP!, or getting involved with our upcoming events, feel free to contact me or stop by my office which is at new youth communication office. See you soon. 

For more information on getting involved in the NYC region, contact Desiree Moore at or by phone at 347-880-2735.
Join YP! at the Upcoming 2015 Transition Age Youth Institute
Transition Age Youth Institute October 1&2, 2015

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 logo   NYS Coalition for Children's Mental Health Services YOUTH POWER! Logo
YP! Starts Gathering Input for Next Priority Agenda!
Calling All Youth
YOUTH POWER! is a strong advocate for "Nothing About Us, Without Us," but what exactly does that mean and what do regional forums have to do with it?

As the New York State network of young people who have been labeled and are seeking change, YP! envisions a world that embraces diversity, encourages resiliency, is strength-based and has the ability to adapt. Furthermore, we envision a community in which young people are inspired, empowered and supported to make informed choices. 
To support this vision, we host a series of regional forums to hear your stories and gather input on topics that affect YOUth because no one knows what it is like for us better than we do. This information is brought together to form our priority agenda, the guiding force of our work and advocacy efforts. Through our priority agenda, we take your voices to the highest levels. The 2013-2015 priority agenda was even brought to a meeting with President Obama by YP!'s Executive Director, Stephanie Orlando!

Still not convinced you should attend one of the upcoming forums?

Here's what youth who have attended this year have said was the most important thing they took away from coming to YP!'s regional forums:

"To speak up without freaking out"

"Being a part of a group project made it fun and inspiring"

"I'm not alone and I'm not the only person who wants to change the system"



If you are looking for a way to have your voice heard and be a part of the youth movement, then its time to Speak Up, and Speak out! Your voice matters and we are here to listen.


Upcoming Forums

come as you are... leave as a hero
Hudson River Region
Monday August 31st
"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, please contact Domonica Jeffress at or by phone at (518)322-2096 by August 26th, 2015

Spread HopeWestern Region
Wednesday, September 2nd
"How to Spread Hope While Going Through Your Own Experience"

If you are looking to learn ways on how to keep hope alive, please join us as we will have activities that will show us how to do just that!

Where: Arc of Steuban, 1 Arc Way, Bath, NY 14810

For the flyer and registration, please click here.

For more information, please contact Jessica Hollins at or by phone at (585)314-2452 by August 31st, 2015.

Forums are free to attend and food will be served!
Calling All Youth Advocates and Mentors in the Western Region!
WSTRN in block lettering and Western written under it The Western Region Peer Leader Support & Development (PLSD) group is recruiting new members!

PLSD is a mutual support group for young peer leaders and advocates from across nineteen counties of Western New York. 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.

This group will cover topics such as but not limited to:
  • Leadership Development
  • Group facilitation
  • How to deal with conflict when working with youth
  • Way's in which you can advocate
  • Cultural Competence
  • Understanding youth culture
  • Budgeting your group or group's project
  • System Advocacy
Calls are on the first Thursday of every month. (Subject to change)

To RSVP please contact Jessica Hollins at or by phone at 585-314-2452.

*For PLSD - the term Peer Leaders is defined as young people who have personal experience with disability or state systems such as Mental health, Addiction, Juvenile Justice and Foster Care and volunteer or are employed to empower and support other young people who share similar experiences.*
VOYA Knowledge Night:
Employment Safety
Youth and Families are invited to attend this free event!
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 or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext. 19 
Lots in Store for the Action Working Group
YOUTH POWER! Take Action! Change the System!
If you are a young person interested in making a difference in our state systems, the Action Workgroup is the place to be. 

Action is responsible for carrying out work based on the YOUTH POWER! priority agenda and is great for building advocacy skills and knowledge. Working with Action can also look good on a resume. Anyone who is a member of YP! can join and start building their skills!

The Action Workgroup's current main project is something we like to call Multiple Diploma Pathways. 
Currently, the only way to obtain a high school diploma is through the five Regent's exams. This method of testing does not always fit with student's learning styles, especially students with disabilities or students who speak English as a second language.  The Multiple Diploma Pathway Campaign aims to establish alternatives to the Regent's exams. Recently,  the Action workgroup gathered input on what young people would want by releasing a Multiple Diploma Pathway Survey. Now that we have the information, we can use it to help persuade people. We will choose legislators to reach out to and draft letters. All of this will help us toward our goal of having more than way to obtain a diploma.

If this sounds good to you, you can join Action yourself. Simply contact Melanie Hecker at or 518-432-0333 ext. 14.

Action is a great way to improve our state systems and learn skills at the same time. When more young people join Action, our voice becomes even stronger.

For more information on the Multiple Diploma Pathway Campaign, click here.
Grant Opportunity: HOME2
NYS Department of Labor logo

Help Obtaining Meaningful Employment and Education (HOME2) Program

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) is making funding available to secure the services of an eligible organization to provide intensive and individualized services to homeless young adults (age 18-24) residing in New York City (NYC) with the ultimate goal of employment leading to a self-sufficient lifestyle.

For more information on the grant, click here.
To view the Bidder's webinar recording, click here.
Proposals are due August 28th, 2015.
Interested in Having an Impact in a National Level Documentary on Youth's Mental Wellness?
Copeland Center for Wellness and Recover
The Copeland Center is developing a Youth Documentary to be used nationally for the advancement and expansion of wellness strategies. To enrich their message, they are conducting a survey which will be open until
August 31st, 2015.

For more information or ways to get involved, contact Letty Elenes at or visit
Calling All Mental Health Peers and Individuals with Experience in Addiction Recovery!
A project known as the New York Peer Network for Recovery and Resiliency (NYPNRR) has released a survey for anyone with lived experience.

The NYPNRR is a collaboration between adult mental health peers, peers in recovery from addiction, and families of youth with social, emotional and behavioral health challenges. They believe lived experience is an important part of supporting recovery, building resilient families and improving systems. 

The three partners that form NYPNRR are Families Together in New York State, the Mental Health Empowerment Project and the Medication-Assisted Recovery Services Project with support from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Human Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Together, they are reaching out to their respective communities to learn about each other's needs in order to:

(1) strengthen the voices of mental health peers, family members and youth and individuals in addiction recovery at the state and local level; and
(2) increase access to and quality of behavioral health systems, services, treatment and recovery supports so that they are empowering, self-directed, resiliency-oriented, culturally and linguistically appropriate and promote an enhanced life in the community for those with behavioral health concerns.

To complete the survey, click here.

If you have questions about the survey or about the NYPNRR, contact Brad Hansen at or call 518.432.0333 x28.
Building the Bridge to Better Lives: By Alex Frisina

Building Bridges Initiative logo
Recently, three members of the YP! Staff and Board were invited to attend the Building Bridges Initiative summer conference...

On August 4th we set out on our trip to Andover, Massachusetts with the hopes of coming home with more knowledge and understanding of this national movement.  Building Bridges is a national initiative working to identify and promote practice and policy that will create strong and closely coordinated partnerships and collaborations between families, youth, community - and residentially - based treatment and service providers, advocates and policy makers to ensure that comprehensive mental health services and supports are available to improve the lives of young people and their families.
YP! Staff and Board at Building Bridges Training
While at this event we had the opportunity to attend workshops to learn about what different facilities and community programs are practicing all over the country. We were also given the opportunity to network and connect with other like-minded professionals and attend affinity groups focused on Youth Engagement to offer our expertise and assist facilities that aim to become more youth guided. The most empowering portion of this event was having the chance to represent YOUTH POWER! while speaking on panels during workshops.
YP! Staff and Board There was a reoccurring emphasis of creating programs that encourage shorter time of hospitalization, better connections to the community, family involvement and most importantly youth voice. The question of how to become more youth guided echoed throughout the presentations; also bringing focus to the culture change that is needed once you realize how essential youth voice is to your program.  Besides being a well-run and enjoyable conference it was great to see the work that is being done nationwide to help create a better system focused on youth voice, while also putting it in prospective that there is a lot of work left to do and it is our time to step up and be leaders of the movement.

                For more information on Building Bridges Initiative or for helpful tips and toolkits head over to
NYS Success Webinar: Cultural Activation Prompts
New York State Success Logo of NYS with three hands and a heart shape
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 from 1:30PM-3:00PM:
Cultural Activation Prompts (CAPs): A tool to promote cultural activation
The Cultural Activation Prompts (CAPS) tool is a set of cues on information the consumer might benefit from communicating to a caregiver, including: what he/she would like to be called, what name they give to mental health challenges, their perceived causes, and consequences.   It also provides prompts on stresses, coping strategies and views on treatment. Research indicates better health outcomes are achieved with greater participation of care recipients in their health care encounters.  

Lenora Reid-Rose, MBA
Director, Cultural Competence & Diversity Initiatives, CCSI
Co-Director, Center of Excellence in Culturally Competent Mental Health Care, NKI

Jennifer Hernandez, MPA 
Center of Excellence in Culturally Competent Mental Health Care, NKI

Visit to view previously recorded webinars and other resources!
Upcoming Legislative Breakfast with NYS Senator Robert Ortt
Use Your Voice and Choice!

Join the Children's Mental Health Coalition of Western New York, INC. and their guest, NYS Senator Robert Ortt, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, for a Legislative breakfast.

This breakfast is open to family members, youth, peer family support providers, educators, service providers, community leaders, and anyone else interested in children and youth with mental health challenges and developmental disabilities.

Youth voice and choice!
Family voice and choice!
Everyone has a voice - here is an opportunity to USE it!

September 14, 2015 from 8:30am to 11am
Four Points by Sheraton - Niagara Falls
7001 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls, New York

To register, visit by September 8, 2015
ASAN Autistic Scholars Fellowship Program Now Accepting Applications!

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) announced the beginning of a new college scholarship program for autistic students, the Autistic Scholars Fellowship.

The ASAN Autistic Scholars Fellowship program, a new ASAN project to advance campus leadership, will provide 3 to 5 autistic students $5,000 tuition scholarships each to create systems change on their college campuses. Fellows will be required to establish or participate in a leadership role within an ASAN campus chapter or a disability rights student organization, work to promote Autistic culture and community, and take steps to improve disability accessibility and inclusion on their college campuses. Fellows are also expected to check in with ASAN on a monthly basis to receive support in achieving their advocacy projects. Applicants must be Autistic, be willing to publicly identify as such and should have a strong interest in disability rights advocacy and activism.

Scholarship applications can be found here. Completed applications for the January 2016 scholarship period are due on November 15. Application questions will ask students to describe the current problems for autistic and other disabled students on their college campuses and explain how their planned activities under the fellowship will enable them address these problems. ASAN staff will review completed applications and interview a select group of students starting in mid-November. Fellowship recipients are expected to be informed of their selection by mid-December.

ASAN will look for the following indicators when screening applicants for the scholarship:
  • Strong interest in civil rights advocacy and activism for autistic people and other people with disabilities. If students are not yet involved in disability rights, involvement in or support for other causes can demonstrate potential for leading disability rights efforts.
  • A background in and experience with the values of the neurodiversity movement
  • A commitment to building Autistic culture and community on their college campus or in their local community
  • Commitment to working with all autistic people in an inclusive and welcoming fashion

Questions about the fellowship program and the application process should be directed to Natalia Rivera Morales, Leadership Programs Coordinator for ASAN, at
Resource Highlight: 
Planning and Managing Health and Career Goals
Transition Quickguide Checklist
Take Charge of Planning and Managing Your Own Health and Career Goals 

Because the ability to manage one's health and wellness is critical to going to school, learning, and transitioning into employment, planning your health and career goals goes hand in hand. The first step to making your career dream a reality is taking care of your health. This checklist provides information and resources about health insurance coverage, self-care, health care transition, decision-making, and career planning and management. 

This information is for youth and young adults, including those with disabilities and chronic health conditions, from ages 12-30. With support from families, health care providers, workforce professionals, and others, young people can gain self-care and decision-making skills to take charge of planning and managing their own health and career goals. 

To download the checklist, 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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