YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
YP! Officers Re-Elected
YP_ Board Members Collage

It is with great pleasure that we announce that our officers have been re-elected on the YOUTH POWER! Board.

Caitlin Neumann, 
Debra Paradiso,
Vice President
Amanda Park, 
Marc Rosen, 

Our YP! Board members help take youth voice to the high levels of government. They create systems change, improve things for the next generation., and lead our network to amplify youth voice and peer advocacy.

"Troubled, disabled, at-risk, activists, advocates, leaders... we are YOUTH POWER!!, Grow and push the youth movement to change the world."
Aaron Baier, Former YP! President and current Board Mentor.

Interested in being a part of the YOUTH POWER! Board? Click here to learn more.
Register Now for the NYC Regional Youth Forum
Get Ready Get Ready Get Ready!  The New York City Regional Youth Forum is back.

Come meet the New Regional Youth Partner and Meet theYouth Coordinators and Youth Advocates in your community. Network with people who are passionate about creating change in various child serving systems such as Disabilities, Foster Care, Juvenile Justice, etc. just like you.  A fun night of discussion, music, food, networking and much more. Wear your favorite YP! Shirt
To register, click here.
December 4th 5pm-9pm
Williamsburg Charter High School
198 Varet Street, Brooklyn NY 11206
Trains: L.J.M

For more information, contact Desiree Moore at [email protected] or(347) 880-2735
Save the Date! #UYP16 Is On Its Way
UYP16 collage
June 11-14, 2016, YOUTH POWER! will host the third annual University of YOUTH POWER!

UYP is a for-youth-by-youth social justice conference that is modeled after a college experience.  Young people ages 18 to 30 may register with a major of Peer Advocacy or Systems Advocacy.  UYP will take place in Albany New York at the College of Saint Rose. This broad social justice event is focused on increasing skills of young leaders. 
(Registration for the event is not currently open and will be announced...stay tuned!)

For general questions regarding UYP, please contact us at [email protected]

*Call for Professors and Activity Leaders*
We are seeking presentations on topics ranging from public speaking and building a professional network to understanding young people's rights and artivism. 
(please see the professor form for a full list of topics)

To apply, please fill out the professor form and submit it by February 12th, 2016.
For more information on UYP, visit
DDPC Focus Group at YP! Headquarters
YOUTH POWER! and the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) have teamed up to host a focus group on Monday, November 16th starting at 5:00 pm at YP! headquarters in Albany.  The DDPC is seeking input from individuals with disabilities, family members, caregivers, staff and others on barriers, unmet areas of need and good practices in the following areas: Daily Life, Community and Social Living, Health Safety and Security, Citizenship and Advocacy.
Although this focus group is closed for participation, you can still have your voice heard!  To provide your input which will inform the next 5 years of the DDPC's work, complete the online survey by clicking here for English, and clicking here for Spanish
Call For Submissions: YP! Annual Newsletter
Members Only Alert

Call for Submissions
For-member-by-member newsletter
Theme: Peer Services and Support

Want your work featured in YOUTH POWER!'s Newsletter?

YP! is seeking member submissions of art and activism, poetry, short stories, graphic arts, signs and posters, inspirational quotes, and essays to be included in the 2015 newsletter.

Some questions to consider:
What does peer-to-peer look like?
What does "peer services" mean?
How does peer support look across disabilities and across systems?

Send your work by Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 to [email protected] or by fax to 518-434-6478, Attn: Brianna Valesey, Topic: 2015 Newsletter

If you have any questions, please contact Brianna Valesey at [email protected] or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext. 31
Assisting Individuals Through the Recovery Process: A Youth Perspective
image of hands together in a circl
Following a recent conference, YP! interviewed Brittany Demers from Cayuga County on her experience and learned what she is doing in her county's System of Care. 

1.   What got you involved in Cayuga County System of Care?
What got me into Cayuga County Systems of Care was my ability to communicate my thoughts and opinions in a positive way and my stubbornness in sticking to them
2.   You recently attended the Central NY Family Peer Advocate Conference. What made you interested to attend?
I heard about the Central NY Family Peer Advocacy Conference and was asked to speak there about my addiction. I wanted to attend to give parents a better understanding of a youth with addiction and ways they could better understand and help the youth. (Read the rest of Brittany's interview here...)

Do you have a young person in your county doing great work in Systems of Care that you would like to spotlight? Are you a young person who would like to showcase the work of yourself or a peer in your county? 
Send your interview nominations to Brianna Valesey at [email protected]. Please include the name, county, contact information, and a brief description of why they are being nominated.

To learn more about NYS Success, visit
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! 


 National Impaired Driving Prevention

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 [email protected]!

Did we miss a campaign or resource above? Let us know
Peer Support and Adoption
By: Alex Frisina 
image of alex frisina_ Long Island RYP
With November being National Adoption Awareness Month, I took time to stop and think about everything I have done this past year. When I took the position as Regional Youth Partner, I had hopes of connecting with other young people who had been adopted and may be struggling with similar issues I was. In no time, Eileen Kadletz and myself had started the Adoption Support Group. This is a group of youth and young adults who are adopted and interested in connecting to others once a month to socialize, learn and have a place to speak freely. Myself and two other peers who were also adopted decided to team up and facilitate this group, while at the same time, Eileen holds a support group with the parents.
                The first few meetings we simply met and did random activities and had different discussion topics. Although the group was going well it seemed we were really missing an opportunity. When I was first asked to facilitate I took it on as a "JOB", as if I had to be a superior and control everything; I quickly realized just from having conversations after meetings, that I had a lot I could learn from being more open and being a true PEER, not simply someone there leading the group. People enjoy coming to the group because it connects them with others who share a common life event, while also giving them time to speak freely in an environment without judgement.
                Recently we added another aspect to the Adoption Support Group, which was using the KEY Personal Workbook. KEY stands for Knowledge Empowers You; this workbook covers topics ranging from; relationships, making informed decision, sexuality, drugs and alcohol; while helping create clear personal goals in each section. We were lucky enough to be part of the KEY Evaluation group; we were some of the first individuals to use this edition of KEY, with our feedback they plan to make adjustments to create the best possible version. The workbook not only helps create a focus for each time we met but it helped us to come together as a group in hopes of making a better product for future groups. As we wrap up the KEY Workbook, I am very excited to see the growth of our group and my personal growth in connection to issues around adoption and being a Peer Advocate. 

What Adoption Means to Me infographic

The"What Adoption Means to Me" info-chart was created at the first ever Adoption Support group hosted by LIFT. In this meeting youth and young adults were first asked to list negative terms that come to mind when you think about adoption, this question was followed up with positive words that come to mind. From this activity the chart was created to give you a quick glimpse into ways adoption can be perceived. 

Interested in becoming a part of the Adoption Support Group? Click here for the flyer or contact Eileen Kadletz at [email protected] or by phone at 631-264-5438 ext. 103
Diabetes Awareness Month: Myths and Truths about Diabetes
By Melanie Hecker

Type one diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes, affects many children, youth and young adults all over the country and the world.  However, it is a condition that is very often misunderstood. Let's review some of the truths and myths surrounding this condition.
Type one diabetes is characterized by the body being unable to produce insulin. Insulin is what is needed to break down sugar and starch. This condition can be managed through use of insulin shots and other treatment, but will stick with a young person through their whole life. Type two diabetes is more common and usually occurs later in life. In this form of diabetes, the body does not use insulin properly. The pancreas, the organ responsible for making insulin, tries to respond by making more insulin but eventually cannot keep up.
There are misconceptions about diabetes that are not true. One is that diabetes is caused be eating too much sugar. It isn't that simple: there are a lot of factors that can contribute to someone having diabetes. It is also a myth that being overweight makes it certain you will develop diabetes. Some people think diabetics cannot have sweets at all: this is also not true.
What is true about diabetes is that it can be managed and treated. Treatment includes the previously-mentioned insulin shots as well as a meal plan, exercise, and visits to a diabetes specialist.

To see more myths and facts on diabetes, click here.

For more info on diabetes, you can visit the American Diabetes Association at
Niagara Town Hall Meeting on Bullying
To increase awareness about the impact of bullying, a town hall meeting will be hosted on bullying with no cost to attend!

Date: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Location:Independent Living of Niagara County, 
746 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, NY 14301

Time: 3:30pm - 5:30pm

RSVP: 716-284-4131 ext. 214 (Michelle)
National #NightofConversation to Face Addiction
The National Night of Conversation 11_19_15
The Dr. Oz show is teaming up with Facing Addiction( and Drugs Over Dinner ( to hold a National Night of Conversation on Thursday, November 19th.

On this night, they are asking folks to have a conversation about addiction with the people around their dinner tables. The Dr. Oz Show team developed a parental discussion guide to help with the conversation. It can be found at The guide was created with assistance from Facing Addiction, SAMHSA, NIDA, and the National Council on Behavioral Health.

Please post a picture of an empty dinner plate or the below graphic on social media starting today. The plate symbolizes support for this national turning point in our willingness to face addiction and indicates that this particular meal is not about the food. It's about the conversation.
Save the Date: Legislative Awareness Day
LAD Flyer
The Families Together in New York State 2016 Legislative Awareness Day and Luncheon

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
10:00am - 3:00pm
The Convention Center
Albany, NY

Join Youth M.O.V.E. National in Text Talk Act
text talk act image with cellphone

Every day is a day to talk about mental health. But do we?  Having candid dialogue about mental health isn't easy.  Just think about how you might bring the topic up in conversation... 

See, it's easier not to say anything!  Which is one reason Youth M.O.V.E. National is so excited to support a national dialogue for youth via text message on November 20!  They invite each of you to join their  Chapter Network and individuals across the country for a #mentalhealth conversation.  It's easy to join in!

Text, Talk, Act uses text messaging to facilitate a face-to-face conversation on mental health. Participants gather in small groups (3-4 people) with one cell phone per group. They text START to the number 89800 to receive a series of text messages that guides their group through a conversation on mental health: why it is important, how to care for it, and how to help a friend in need. The text messages include videos, social media interactions, polling questions and discussion questions.

Bring Text Talk Act to your youth group, community meeting, school classroom or elsewhere on November 20. And please, help spread the word!

Click here to learn more.
U.S. Treasury Launches myRA - A New Way to Save
myRA logo
The U.S. Treasury officially launched its myRA program, a new simple, safe, no-fee retirement savings option for the millions of Americans without access to a retirement savings plan at work. 
myRA makes saving simple, safe, and affordable for individuals to start saving, and is a good option for employers who do not offer a retirement savings plan to any portion of their staff, such as part-time, seasonal, or other employees.  With myRA, there are no costs to open an account, no fees, and no complicated investment options. Plus, people can choose how much to contribute - any amount that fits their budget - and they can access the money they put into their account if they need it. Also, at tax time, individuals can direct all or part of their federal tax refund to their myRA account.

To learn more or sign up for an account, visit
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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