YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
New YP! Original Videos Now Available!
 The Power of Peers and the Do's and Don'ts of Youth Guided Practice. 

Through the SAMHSA-funded NYS Success project, YOUTH POWER! partnered with Youth Fx to create two new videos: The Power of Peers and the Do's and Don'ts of Youth-Guided Practice. These videos amplified the voices of youth across the state and explored the importance of youth peer support, as well as tips on how to strengthen youth-adult partnerships to foster youth guided practices. Thank you to all who participated and assisted in the development of these videos and stay tuned in 2017 for more!

The Power of Peers
The Power of Peers
What is youth peer support and why is it important? These young leaders explore their experiences in giving and/or receiving support, the impact it had, and advice for those looking to incorporate youth peer support into their work or lives.

The Do's and Don'ts of Youth Guided Practice
The Do's and Don'ts of Youth Guided Practice
Explore the Do's and Don'ts of youth guided practice with tips created by young people across New York State.

Subscribe to our channel on YouTube by visiting

ATTENTION MEMBERS: Want to help create YP! original videos this year? Join the Outreach working group! Contact Brianna Valesey at or 518-432-0333 ext. 31 for more information.
Get Ready for Legislative Awareness Day & Youth Rally on February 14, 2017
Legislative Awareness Day Save the Date

Join hundreds of family members, youth, advocates and  leaders from across the state for the 2017 Families Together in New York State Legislative Awareness Day and Luncheon on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at the Convention Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York. 

All are invited invited to meet with legislators, network with other families, and share your valuable voice, experience and ideas!

Lunch is provided- this is a free event.
To register, please click here.

Some ways you can be prepared for Legislative Awareness Day:
  • Find out who your local legislators are by visiting OpenStates ( and searching your zip code
  • Prepare some talking points for meeting with your legislator
  • Make a sign to bring with you for the Youth Rally. Youth Rally topics include:
    • Foster Care
    • Education/Multiple Pathways to Diploma
    • Family & Youth Peer Advocate Supports
To view the Families Together in NYS Policy Priorities for 2017, click here.

To view the YOUTH POWER! 2016 Priority Agenda, click here
(2017 YP! Priority Agenda coming soon)

For more information, contact Brad Hansen at 518-432-0333 ext 28 or
#UYP17 Call for Professors and Activity Leaders Now Open
UYP 2017 logo
June 24-27, 2017, YOUTH POWER! will host the fourth annual University of YOUTH POWER! (UYP). UYP is the premiere youth peer leadership conference modeled after a college experience. This conference provides Youth Peer Advocates and change agents the opportunity to build skills and expand their professional network. Young people ages 18 to 30 can register for this for-youth-by-youth social justice conference with a major of Peer Advocacy or Systems Advocacy.
Individuals are not limited to one proposal. We encourage you to consider proposals that address the specific needs of each major or provide advanced and beginner courses to fit the diverse needs of students. Proposals can also include creative and engaging activities for all students to participate in. 
Proposals are due by Monday, February 6, 2017.

To view the full call for professors, click here.

Questions? Contact or 518-432-0333 ext. 31.
Call for Presentations for FTNYS Annual Conferece
FTNYS 2017 Annual Conference Banner
Call for Presentations

The Families Together in New York State Annual Conference is attended by families of children and youth with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, services providers, educators, policymakers, advocates, and youth. They are currently accepting workshop proposals for the 2017 Conference - Building Strong Roots for Success: Growing a Movement.

Presentations must be strength-based, innovative, informational, interactive, offer effective strategies to empower participants, include a peer or family member (a youth with social, emotional and/or behavioral challenge or a family member of a child with social, emotional and/or behavioral challenge). Presentations are 75 minutes long and should include 15 minutes for questions and answers. Printed handouts (for 50 people) must be included with your presentation.

This conference has four tracks: 
  • The family and advocate track for parents, caregivers, educators, staff and advocates; 
  • the leadership track for individuals who are in leadership roles and who work in the local, regional and statewide network; 
  • the partners track for youth and adults together and learn in a collaborative and interactive environment; 
  • and the youth track which is delivered by young people ages 12-25 to help build self-help and advocacy skills.
For the full call for presentations, visit

Deadline to submit your proposal is on January 20, 2017.
Please click this link to submit your proposal.
YP! is Hiring for NEW Positions!

YP! is currently seeking qualified applicants for the following positions:

JOB TITLE: ACHIEVE - Youth Peer Services and Training Manager
STATUS: Full-time, non-exempt salary
LOCATION: Best candidate in New York State

PURPOSE: To engage in the leadership team of the system of care expansion and ensure youth-guided practice in all aspects of NYS Youth and Families ACHIEVE (Advancing Care through Health Integration and Evidence-based Effort) 


JOB TITLE: VOYA Engagement Coordinator
STATUS: Hourly, Part-Time
LOCATION: Rennselear County/Albany, Madison Ave. Office 

PURPOSE: The VOYA Engagement Coordinator is responsible for the day-to-day coordination of the Renneselar County Youth Advisory Council, Voices of Youth Advisors (VOYA). All VOYA activities must be coordinated through a youth-guided approach.

A New York City Foster Care Youth Organizer position will be added soon!


Seeking Voices of Young People in Foster Care for SPARC Driver's License Policy Survey
SPARC logo
The State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) is working on a campaign to increase access to driver's licenses and state IDs for young people in foster care. Before they begin to develop their policy strategy they want to hear from young people in foster care to better inform their work.

To complete the survey, visit
Youth Communication's Ninteenth Annual Awards for Youth in Foster Care
represent_ the voice of youth in care logo
Youth Communication's 19th Annual Awards for Youth in Foster Care
New York City youth only
5 Grand Prizes of $1,000 each
10 Additional Prizes: $500 - $700 

Youth Communication sponsors this award to promote a more positive image of New York City foster youth among agency staff, youth workers, and the general public. Fifteen young people will be awarded prize money at a ceremony in spring, 2017. Five grand prize winners will receive $1,000 each, and 10 additional winners will receive prizes of $500 to $700 each. The prize money can be spent however the winner likes, although it is recommended that it be spent on education-related activities.

Applicants must write two essays. The first must be fewer than 1,000 words. The second must be fewer than 500 words. If your essays are too long it will count against you. To view the essay topics and other information, click here.

To Apply:
  • Complete form in the document here
  • Get an adult to nominate you and write your letter of recommendation
  • Write both essays
  • Mail packet to:
    Virginia Vitzthum
    Represent-Awards for Youth in Foster Care
    242 W. 38th St., 6th fl.
    New York, NY 10018

 Deadline: March 3, 2017


Questions? Call Virginia Vitzthum at 212-279-0708, ext. 112

Juvenile Justice Strategy Group Seeking New Members for Youth Advisory Council
Annie E. Casey Foundation Logo
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Justice Strategy Group (JJSG) is seeking new members of its Youth Advisory Council. Council members will support and contribute to a national juvenile justice reform movement. The ideal candidates are young adults ages 18 to 25 who are interested in strengthening their leadership and advocacy skills as emerging leaders in juvenile justice reform. In addition, they will have lived experience in the juvenile justice system themselves - either currently or formerly (e.g., probation, detention, commitment, residential placement, incarceration and/or aftercare/parole) - and be eager to work in partnership with JJSG to inform and strengthen reform efforts with state and local juvenile justice systems.

Council members' work includes contributing to the development of a guide on youth engagement for state and local juvenile justice systems. Council members also will give input on publications and other material, participate on panels and deliver presentations and conduct field research related to probation, detention, residential facilities and dispositional decision-making reform, among other roles and responsibilities.

In addition to the criteria referenced above, ideal candidates should have problem-solving and critical thinking skills and a willingness to listen and learn. Strong writing and public speaking skills, political awareness, interpersonal skills and knowledge of JDAI or the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group's work are a plus.

Members of the Youth Advisory Council are compensated for their time and expected to commit an average of four hours per month toward the Council's work and professional development opportunities. In addition, council members are expected to attend in-person meetings in Baltimore a minimum of three times per year, which are each scheduled for two full days on a Friday and Saturday, and participate in conferences, such as the 2017 JDAI National Inter-Site Conference. Travel costs are covered by the Foundation.

Council members serve for a two-year term and may be considered for reappointment. To apply, candidates must submit the application form, which requires a personal statement and letters of recommendation, by Friday, January 20, 2017 at 11:59pm ET.

A limited number of candidates will be selected for an interview during the review process. If a candidate is selected for an interview, he or she will be contacted directly. Candidates who are interviewed will be notified of a final decision by the end of February 2017. The full complement of the Council is twelve members who will represent the diverse populations within the juvenile justice system.

Please contact either of the following individuals with any questions about the Youth Advisory Council: Corryne Deliberto, the executive director of Community Law in Action, at or 410-706-3875 or Toni Lemons, JJSG program associate, at or 410-547-3657.

To view online, click here.
Join Senator Todd Kaminsky and Education Officials for a Forum on Diploma Options for Students
Join senator todd kaminsky and education officials for a forum on diploma options for students icon
Senator Todd Kaminsky invites you to join him to continue the fight to give every young person the opportunity to earn a recognizable New York State high school diploma. Key education officials from Albany will be on hand for this one-of-a-kind meeting. 

The education forum will be held on February 7th at 7 p.m. at the South Side High School Auditorium (140 Shepherd Street in Rockville Centre).

Panelists will include:
  • NYS Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa
  • NYS Regent Roger Tilles
  • Christopher Suriano, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Special Education, New York State Education Department
  • Assemblyman Brian Curran
  • Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer - Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Students with Special Needs
Please contact Senator Kaminsky's office with any questions via
Webinar: Meet the Multiple Systems Navigator
Image of a boy on a man's back, both smiling. Writing underneath states Helpful health, education, human service and disability information on one user-friendly website
Meet the Multiple Systems Navigator
Thursday, January 26
th at 11:00 a.m.

Learn how to use the NYS Multiple Systems Navigator to access helpful health, education and human service information on one user-friendly website. While the Multiple Systems Navigator is built for youth, parents, family members and caregivers that rely on supports from multiple child, family and disabilities serving systems, it is a useful tool for professionals that assist others in finding health, education, human service and disability programs/services and resources. A primary goal of the Multiple Systems Navigator is to reduce frustration when gathering information from multiple sources.

To register, click here.

Positive Youth Development 101 Training Now Available Online
Act for Youth logo
Positive Youth Development 101 is a six-course series based on a training curriculum by Jutta Dotterweich. Currently four of the six courses are available online.
The series was created by Jutta Dotterweich and Karen Schantz of the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence together with members of the Cornell University Social Media Lab.
The courses may be taken in any order. Each course can be completed in about 30 minutes.

FEDCAP Youth Training Network Program
NYC Dept of Youth and Community development, youth training network, and fedcap logos
FEDCAP is offering FREE Occupational Training leading to certification and job placement in a choice of (1) Home Care (2) Food Services and (3) Information Technology; HSE preparation classes; career-based mentorship; and comprehensive support/case management services (i.e., Legal Advisement, Housing Referrals, etc.) to young adults, ages 16 thru 24, who are not working and not in school.

Located in the Bronx, their Youth Training Network Program (YTNP) is designed to assist young adults with developing life skills, character building, career readiness and accomplishing their life goals. They focus on empowerment through personal and professional advancement. At YTNP, we provide occupational training (Health Care, Food Services, and Information Technology) to out-of-school youth/young adults, ages 16 to 24. They also provide one-year of comprehensive case management/support services to young adults in at-risk conditions (such as homelessness, foster care, low-income, juvenile justice experience) followed by one-year of aftercare services to ensure that young people are fully supported.

For more information, contact: 
Eric Fernandez, Career/Job Development Specialist
Tel: 917-477-2895
Eagles and Mentors - Reflections on I Am a Mentor Day
Elijah leading students on a campus tour at UYP
by Elijah Fagan-Solis
Over the summer I had the opportunity to visit a zoo in Athens, Georgia.  It housed an alligator, deer, otters, and a bear among other wildlife, but my favorite was the bald eagle.  I never had the opportunity to view one up close, and I almost didn't as there was a case of vandalism a week before where an owl had escaped.  But this eagle named Honovi couldn't escape if he tried; he was housed in an open enclosed environment as he had an injury to a joint in one of his wings and no longer could fly or soar.  As I stood in awe of this symbol of the American dream, I thought about how majestic of an animal he was, and the circumstances that led to his life being dramatically changed.  Was this real life?

I thought about Honovi today, January 12th, on National I Am a Mentor Day, a day for volunteer mentors to celebrate their role and reflect on the ways mentees have enhanced their world.  I thought about how some youth face circumstances and situations that lead to their life dramatically changing, such as making a mistake that lands them in front of a judge.  I thought about how Honovi wasn't born with the instinct to fly and hunt but had to learn these skills by observing his parents as an eaglet in a process called imprinting. Likewise, young people today are observing everything around them and developing patterns, skills, and ideas on how to grow into young adults and survive in a cut-throat world.  It is easy to see the importance of our young people needing good role models with so many influences surrounding them.  I understand more than ever that my role as a mentor, in real life, is far more important than I ever realized; what an honor and great responsibility it is to have young eagle eyes watching you.

A fact about eagles I have used before with mentees is how they know when a storm is approaching before it breaks.  Eagles will fly to a higher location and wait for the winds to come, set their wings, and let the winds lift them above the storm.  Although the Eagle doesn't escape the storm, it uses the storm to lift it higher.  While young people, as well us all, are bound to make mistakes or have challenging circumstances enter our lives, it is important for us to learn from them and rise above them so that we can continue to soar towards our dreams and goals.  You wouldn't believe how many times my mentees have reminded me of this message when I needed it the most!

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve as a mentor to people I have intentionally placed under my wings, and those who have nestled under unknowingly.  While there are times where less fortunate circumstances are the topic of a meeting, what a shared opportunity it provides to teach and learn, and even share about our own similar experiences, which not only helps them but also helps us as a mentor.  Remember, it is not the circumstances of life that weigh us down; it is how we handle them.

If you are ready to make the important decision to soar as a mentor or would like to learn more about National Mentoring Month, you can find additional resources online by visiting
Spreading Hope Through Random Acts of Kindness #RAKWeek2017
Random Acts of Kindness Week Gif
by Alex Frisina
As YOUTH POWER! moves into a new year and many things have changed both in the world and within YOUTH POWER! one thing remains the same, our goal of spreading hope. There are many ways to achieve this goal from sharing our stories to offering educational opportunities and more. Sometimes when I think of spreading hope I tend to over think it! One of the most simple ways to spread hope is being kind to others. Just as we have our story, other people have a story that has helped mold them into the person they are. This is why when dealing with people we should always take into account that we don't know what they may be going through.

I believe kindness is always a great tool for spreading hope. February 12-18, 2017 is Random Act of Kindness Week. This week-long celebration of kindness works to inspire people to come together and change the world one random act of kindness at a time. These random acts can be something as simple as helping someone carry their groceries or complimenting a stranger. Sometimes we forget the most simple things can change your day. For more ideas on how you can take part in Random Act of Kindness week visit and use the hashtag #RAKWeek2017.

With that said don't feel the need to wait till the 12th to be kind, this can be an everyday mindset for the new year! There is no feeling more empowering than being able to put a smile on someone's face, remember "Everything that is done in the world is done by hope" - Martin Luther
Updated Way to Search for New York State Mental Health Programs!

OMH logoFamiliar with the Office of Mental Health "Find a Program" portal? This resource has been updated!

This program directory makes it easier to find mental health programs in your community or nearby communities through three search options. This search enables you to find programs based on county, region, whether the program is recipient run, and more. This tool was recently moved to a new platform and has a new link. It is requested that individuals and organizations who have the old portal link in existing materials (such as websites, bookmarks, or documents) update their materials with the new link.

The portal can be accessed via:

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on how this resource can continue to improve, contact
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!

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

National Mentoring Month
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Black History Month
Teen Dating Violence 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
Youth Coordinator Position Available with OnTrackNY in Syracuse
OnTrackNY logo
Note: This position will be based in Syracuse, NY, with frequent travel to New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) in New York City. Work location will be 620 Madison Street, Syracuse, New York 13210 (New York State Office of Mental Health office on the Hutchings Psychiatric Center campus).

The Youth Coordinator for the OnTrackNY SAMHSA Healthy Transitions program will provide support for the development, implementation and evaluation of activities related to a grant recently awarded to New York State. This grant is funded as part of President Obama's "Now is the Time" Plan to reduce gun violence through ensuring quality coverage of mental health treatment, with a focus on young people.
The funds are being used to expand New York State's OnTrackNY program which focuses on delivering training and implementation support to agencies providing specialized early intervention services for adolescents and young adults experiencing a newly emerging psychotic disorder.
An ideal candidate must have firsthand experience with receiving mental health treatment services and should be comfortable with using that experience to enhance his/her work within the program.
To view the full posting, click here.
FYA Lead Organizer Position Available
FYA logo
Foster Youth in Action (FYA) is seeking a Lead Organizer to coordinate all efforts related to FYA's national committee Leaders United.

POSITION TITLE: Leaders United Lead Organizer
FYA PROJECT: FYA's Leaders United 
REPORTS TO: Director of Programs, FYA
COMPENSATION & HOURS: Part-Time, $18-23/hour for up to 16 hours per week
LOCATION: FYA's Office is located in Berkeley, CA but candidates based in other locations will be considered. Some travel is required. 

Leaders United works to identify & amplify national priority issues across FYA's Network, raise up local action, and lead FYA's annual Leaders for Change Conference in Washington, DC. LU Members also receive leadership & professional development training throughout the year. 

The Lead Organizer will:
  • Coordinate bi-monthly Leaders United Leadership and Planning Meetings; including preparing agendas, identifying leadership trainers, & supporting co-facilitation with LU Members and Alumni
  • Provide on-going support and community building opportunities for Leaders United Members and Alumni; including LU Member Outreach, Social Media Engagement, and connecting Leaders United to resources through FYA's online learning community
  • Provide logistical and planning support for national Leaders for Change Conference, and other youth convenings as directed
  • In partnership with FYA Director of Programs and other FYA Staff & Trainers, co-facilitate youth leadership trainings and capacity building services as requested by partners
 To view the full posting, 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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