|Come Amplify Our Voices at YP!'s Regional Youth Forums
It's time to amplify youth voice and peer advocacy across the state! YP!'s Regional Teams have been hard at work getting ready for this year's Regional Youth Forums, and each forum is unique to each team. Registration is now open for Hudson River, Long Island, and Western youth forums. In each forum, we will be collecting quotes on what helps and what harms to amplify the voices of young people. See below for more information on the upcoming forums and stay tuned for details on other upcoming forums by visiting the event page on our website or
Long Island Regional Youth Forum
Date: August 18, 2016
Location: Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. 191 Bethpage-Sweet Hollow RD, Old Bethpage, NY 11804
YOUTH POWER! wants to amplify your voice in our efforts to change the system. We want your quotes on creative coping skills and what helps what harms in the system. Enjoy FREE food and drinks while learning about creative coping skills.
This event is for long island youth and young adults between the ages of 14 and 29 who have a disability or have received mental health, addiction, child welfare and/or justice services.
Please complete registration form and return to email@example.com NO LATER than August 16, 2016.
Click here for the flyer.
For more information, please contact Alex Frisina at AFrisina@youthpowerny.org or 631-245-5289
Western Regional Youth Forum
Date: August 25, 2016
Location: Baker Hall School, 777 Ridge Road, Buffalo, NY 14218
Do you have a disability or experience with services such as mental health, addiction, foster care or juvenile justice and are between the ages of 12-28? Then we want YOUR quotes on what helps and what harms so that we can bring what you have to say directly to those in power!
Please join us for this years forum that will focus on Trauma-Informed Care and Resiliency! All attendees must register!
Please complete the registration forms and send them in by August 19th, 2016.
For more information, please contact Azaria Wittekind at AWittekind@youthpowerny.org or 585-314-2452.
Upcoming Training on the How To's of Youth Guided Practice
The How To's of Youth Guided Practice
Rensselaer County | September 15, 2016, 10:30am-4pm
Join YOUTH POWER! as we take the real-life experience of our team, the young people and adult partners we work with, and information from national resources to give you the How To's of Youth Guided Practice. This free, five-hour interactive training is designed for individuals who are engaging, supporting, and/or guiding the work of youh to gain the tools they need to develop, improve, and sustain youth guided practices in their Systems of Care. Youth are also welcome to attend.
Topics Include: Defining Youth Guided Practice, Youth Involvement in Organizations, Youth Culture, How to Get Buy-in from Partners, Engaging Youth, Sustaining Youth Involvement, Making meetings Accessible to Youth, Assessing Your Readiness.
If you have any questions, please contact Brianna Valesey at BValesey@youthpowerny.org or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext. 31.
*Stay tuned for an upcoming western region multi-county training!*
Farewell, For Now,
from the Central RYP, Katie Rushlo
To the Youth Power! Network,
As many of you may know, on May 26th I was truly blessed, I welcomed my beautiful baby boy into this world, baby Kian. He was born 7 pounds, 12 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He has filled my heart with more love than I ever imagined I could hold. He is now 2 months old, 12 pounds and 25 inches long! He is growing so fast and he is so full of happiness.
It is very bittersweet to announce that I have decided to resign from my position as the Central Regional Youth Partner to stay home with baby Kian while he is still so young and enjoy this stage in both of our lives.
I cannot put into words what Youth Power! and this team means to me. I have never experienced a working team that has felt so much like family. I feel so honored to have had this opportunity getting to know so many amazing people, and doing work that most times never felt like "work" at all. Being able to do what you love and earn a living for it is a true blessing! I will miss this network of amazing young adults and wonderful adult allies and the work that we do. Although I will be staying home and will not be able to dedicate the same amount of time that I have been able to while working, I still plan to dedicate my heart and soul into doing what I can for the youth movement.
Being a part of YOUTH POWER! has changed my life, and has brought me so much pride; pride in myself, and pride in others that stand alongside us seeking change and making things happen.
I have been a leader in the child-welfare advocacy arena for over 10 years now, and this position has allowed me to really thrive in that area, both professionally and personally. It has also allowed me to help identify and build other leaders. Now, it is time for me to raise my own little leader! I promise to always support and believe in the YP! mission, to promote YP! in any way possible, and to raise my son to see the absolute beauty in diversity.
As I sit down to write this and reflect on the past 2 years, so much comes to mind when I think about what YOUTH POWER! actually means to me. I hold this experience so near and dear to my heart, and the passion that I have for this work will never change. So much about this position and where is has brought me and the people that it has allowed me to meet has really impacted my life in ways that I will be forever thankful for. This organization has meant so much more than just a "job" to me, it means acceptance, empowerment, encouragement, equality, diversity, voice, choice, love, and pride. It literally means Youth Power, power in the voices that we have based on our experiences.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is "there is healing in helping" and I can honestly say that I have experienced this myself. This journey will always be one of the most important parts of my personal recovery story. And for that, I thank you all.
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard" - A.A. Milne (Winne-the-Pooh)
Farewell, for now, my friends,
YP! Seeking Applicants for the Central Regional Youth Partner Position
The Regional Youth Partners are peer leaders that connect local youth groups, coordinate regional youth advocacy efforts and provide technical assistance on youth-guided practices and peer support.
Applicant must reside in one of the 20 counties in the region. Preferred locations are Syracuse and Utica.
STATUS: Full-time salary employee - $30,000+ commensurate on experience, plus benefits package
- Must have personal lived experience accessing children's mental health services and be willing to share this information publically. Additional experience with Disability, Foster Care, Addiction, or Juvenile Justice is beneficial.
- Bachelor's or Associates Degree preferred but not required
- Must have valid driver's license and reliable transportation
- Must be able to travel
- Independently motivated
- Excellent coordination and organization skills
- Experience with youth leadership and advocacy
- Experience with peer support preferred
- Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
- Demonstrated ability to engage with diverse groups
- Demonstrated ability to speak with small and large groups of people
- Experience with various software packages: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Go-To, Google applications
Applicants must send a resume with a formal cover letter in order to be considered. Emails and letters must indicate the title of the position that the applicant is seeking.
For the full posting and instructions on how to apply,
|Registration for the Transition Age Youth Institute is Now Open
Transition Age Youth Institute
September 22-23, 2016
The Saratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs, NY
Join NYSRA, MHANYS, LDA of NYS, NYS Coalition for Children's Behavioral Health, YOUTH POWER!, and Families Together for the 2016 Transition Age Youth Institute - Knowledge is Power: Living, Learning & Earning.
Topics for this year's event include:
Emerging Trends and Practices with School Systems
- Community Inclusion Strategies
- Partnerships and Collaborations - Who with and How is it Being Done?
- Developing Transition Plans & Practices
- Peer Advocacy and Mentoring
- WIOA and Youth Focused Opportunities
- Transitioning Youth from School to Other Services
- Respite for Youth
- After-School Supports for Youth with Disabilities
- And More!!
*Scholarships available for youth and family members to attend this conference free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.*
2016 New York Recovery Conference and Celebration
With National Recovery Month (September) rapidly approaching, planning for the New York State Recovery Celebration & Conference is well-underway. The conference presents an excellent opportunity to gather the recovery community from throughout New York State (and beyond!) to teach, to learn, to inspire, and to celebrate recovery from addiction to alcohol or other drugs. Your support of this important event will help to guarantee its success and ultimately benefit the millions of New York individuals and families in recovery.
This conference is aimed at individuals interested in furthering addiction recovery efforts in New York. Attendees will include a mix of individuals in recovery, family members, program administrators and directors, clinical staff, and other addiction recovery professionals from local, state and federal organizations.
CASAC re-credentialing hours are pending approval and scholarships are available for peers!
NYSED Seeking Public Comments for New Pathway for Students with Disabilities to Earn Local Diploma
The Local Diploma has had a lot of changes made to it since 2006. Once an option for anyone who wished to pursue one, changes were made so only students with disabilities could obtain a Local Diploma, and only if they appealed two Regent's exams through a complex appeals process. A decision this past June from the Board of Regents has the potential to make obtaining a Local Diploma easier.
While the Local Diploma will still only be available to students with disabilities, school superintendents can now make the decision to award a student a Local Diploma without students having to go through the appeals "safety net" option. Students will need a minimum score on the English and Math exams and the superintendent will need to review the student's case to see if their disability caused them to be unable to demonstrate mastery even with accommodations.
The student will need to have an IEP (504 Plans do not count), receive special education services, and will have to at least taken the Science, Global History, and US History exams even if they have not passed these exams. When the superintendent reviews the student's case, they will have to determine if the student has demonstrated enough knowledge and skill in these areas for graduation based on coursework. If the superintendent decides the student has met the standards to be awarded the Local Diploma under these circumstances, both the superintendent and principal will have to sign the Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma form, say on the form that they have determined the student has met the standards to graduate with the Local Diploma, and the student and parent both receive a copy which then must be sent to the State Education Department.
The New York State Special Education Taskforce has prepared an overview of the proposal and listed the benefits and concerns raised by stakeholders, along with potential safeguards to address specific concerns.This overview can be accessed via
and includes tips for submitting comments.
Let your voice be heard!
Following these emergency regulations to create a new pathway for students with disabilities and before this regulation becomes permanent in September, NYSED must consider public comments submitted by August 22.
Please send your comments on or before the August 22, 2016 deadline to:
or mail to:
Angelica Infante-Green, Deputy Commissioner for Instructional Support, NYSED, 2M West
89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Calling All Youth/Young Adults with Foster Care Experience - Let's Change the FACE of Foster Care!
FACE is kicking off their statewide meetings and now is the perfect time to join and help lead their efforts!
Fostering Advocacy Change and Empowerment (FACE) is a foster youth-led and adult-supported project, working to change the face of foster care in New York. Comprised of some of this generation's most energetic and passionate youth advocates, FACE is an inviting, enthusiastic, familial, safe platform to be heard, to advocate, and stay empowered for every foster youth in New York State. FACE is a part of the YOUTH POWER! Network.
Members are youth/young adults with any experience in foster care (including juvenile justice) who are ready to:
- Be a part of YOUTH POWER! and the youth movement aiming to promote youth voice and provide and advocacy platform for system involved youth
- Attend regional meeting to discuss what matters most to you in care and foster care alumni
- Lead campaigns and advocacy effots
- Attend local, county, and statewide meeting representing youth voice
- Participate in fun meetings and training opportunities with other FACE members
For more information, contact FACE@youthpowerny.org
or find us on Facebook.com/Facenys
Help Plan YP! Statewide Events
Apply to the Special Events Working Group
YP! currently has three positions open on the Special Events (statewide) Working Group. "
Special Events" takes the lead in planning statewide YOUTH POWER! events, such as the Families Together in NYS annual conference youth track and the University of YOUTH POWER!. We are seeking
motivated YP! members ages 18-28 who have previously attended these events
to join the working group.
This group typically meets every other week on Monday at 6:30pm through the phone and an app called Go-To Meeting. Applicants must be willing to meet on this regular schedule and attend the events planned. Members who participate in the majority of planning calls will get an all expenses paid ticket to the University of YP! and the FTNYS annual conference.
The deadline to apply is Monday, September 14
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext. 31.
Save the Date and Call for Presentations: FLPN 10th Annual Youth and Family Conference
Finger Lakes Parent Network, Inc.
10th Annual Youth & Family Conference: A Year of Celebration
November 5, 2016 | Location TBA (Steuben County)
Call for Presenters!
Finger Lakes Parent Network, Inc. Youth Program is looking for workshop presenters for their 10th Annual Youth and Family Conference. Youth and families from Yates, Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, Tioga, Allegany, Seneca, Wayne, and Ontario County will be attending.
Youth Workshop Examples:
Mental Health; Coping Skills; I am Who I am (Acceptance, Self-esteem, LGBT, etc.); Pet Therapy; Survival Skills; Eating Disorders.
Youth Leadership Track:
Transitioning into Adulthood; Technology and Professionalism.
Parent Track Examples:
Healthy Approach to Sexual Relations and Education; Bullying - Ways to Identify, Support, and Approach the Bullied and the Bully; Emergency Planning for In-Home Crisis Situations.
Please submit all workshop proposals by August 21, 2016 to:
Cassandra Morse, Teen Services Coordinator
25 West Steuben Street, Bath, NY 14810
Recently Launched NYS Multiple Systems Navigator for Youth, Families, and Direct-care Workers
The New York State Council on Children and Families recently launched the NYS Multiple Systems Navigator website.
is a comprehensive disability information resource built for youth, parents, caregivers and direct-care workers - all of whom rely on support and services from multiple child and family serving
Some of the topics/resources found on this website include:
- Transitioning to adulthood
- Addressing challenging situations
- Family/Youth Support and Peer Advocacy
- Comprehensive mapping tool that provides program, service and family/peer support information
- Essential tips for navigating multiple human service systems
- Database of terms and acronyms used in health and human services
- Hotline information organized by category to speak to someone directly
- And More!
Does Your Agency Truly Support Your Peer Workers?
As the world of Youth Peer Advocates continues to grow and expand, on important consideration is determining if your agency truly supports your peer workers and their roles.
The SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions recently sent out an article with a variety of resources on peer specialists and what providers can and should do to not only grow their peer workforce, but ensure that their peer workers thrive in a strength-based recovery culture. While this article focuses on peer workers in general, it is also important to consider these items as it relates to Youth Peer Advocates and other young people in the peer workforce.
The main recommended steps include:
- Building a consensus about the value of peer services across your agency
- Finding ways to incorporate peer support activities or having peer workers lead trainings/programs
- Encourage peer workers to enhance their skills to align with core competencies
- Ensure that supervisors have a full understanding of their roles and look out for opportunities for peer workers to apply their skills in a variety of settings and services
To view the full article and resources,
NYSS Cultural and Linguistic Competence Webinar August 17 1:30PM - 3:00PM
Poverty is everybody's business in the community. It is challenging to have a healthy community without addressing the culture of poverty. The strategies and interventions employed to create an awareness and to reduce poverty are many and will have varied results. In this 1hr presentation participants will learn about the barriers individuals face when living in poverty, considerations about the nuances of the culture of poverty, how ones mental model and world view affect how they engage with families living in poverty.
This presentation will be delivered by Lenora Reid-Rose, MBA, Director of the Cultural Competence & Diversity Initiatives, Coordinate Care Services, Inc. & Nancy Shelton, MA, Senior Cultural Competence Consultant, Coordinated Care Services, Inc.
Thursday ~ August 17 2016 | 1:30PM - 3:00PM
Resources for Young Parents & Children Experiencing Homelessness
Young parents and their children make up a significant portion of families experiencing homelessness.
About 25 percent of youth served in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Runaway and Homeless Youth Transitional Living Programs are pregnant/parenting,
and about 27 percent of families in emergency shelters in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's
Family Options Study
were headed by someone under age 25.
Furthermore, approximately half of children in federally-funded emergency and transitional housing programs are under the age of six.
Parenting youth experiencing homelessness often need developmental supports for both themselves and their young children, as well as resources for economic self-sufficiency.
The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) developed a searchable list of resources to provide service providers and policy makers with information about ways to promote healthy development and well-being for this population.
|Get Involved with National Campaigns!
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!
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
LGBT and Disability Intersectionality by Melanie Hecker
With the mass shooting in Orlando, as well as smaller-scale hate crimes such as the rainbow flag burning at Albany's Damien Center, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights have come more into the public eye than they ever have before. The Stonewall Inn, the bar that kicked off the LGBT Rights Movement, has become a National Historic Landmark. Gay Pride Parades have been occurring all over the country both to honor the victims and promote LGBT acceptance. Even before the Orlando shooting, The United States Supreme Court ruled to allow same-sex marriage in all states.
The Disability Rights Movement is gaining similar traction. Services are moving from institutions to communities, buildings are required to be accessible and allow service animals, and education departments are putting in more supports to help children who learn differently to cite three major examples. This was all kicked off by a landmark law, The Americans with Disabilities Act, which celebrated its 26th anniversary just last month. With these two movements both being relativity new compared to other movements and gaining public attention at the same time, it is no surprise they would wind up intersecting.
On a personal level, disability and LGBT intersect when someone with a disability identifies as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Asexual. This is a very common occurrence, especially amongst people with autism who are more likely to be LGBT than the general population. Disability and LGBT intersect on a systematic level when people with disabilities and people who are LGBT experience some of the same challenges in services and public accommodation, as well as when systematic issues arise from challenges that come with having both identities. An example of the latter is the tendency for transgender people with disabilities to be denied transition treatments based on their disability alone. This is one of the many unique challenges that can come with being both disabled and LGBT.
The system and access barriers that apply to both the disability and LGBT communities are many. Both communities experience difficulty with restrooms not being designed with the communities needs in mind. Sex education classes are also not designed for either disabilities or LGBT in mind, often not applying to young people in these communities. In addition to these examples, discrimination occurs in the areas of employment, housing, education and law for both communities on a frequent basis. While the communities have so much in common, the problem remains that LGBT venues such as community centers where people can access many needed services and supports and nightclubs, where they can socialize with their communities are often not accessible to people with disabilities.
In addition to these systematic barriers, the LGBT and Disability communities both experience stigma. The stigma associated with both LGBT and disability have made people with both afraid of "coming out". People with invisible disabilities have a similar coming out process to people who are LGBT. Some start with just family or close friends, then the general public, some only come out to family or close friends, and some find it easier to come out to people they don't know as well than family or close friends. Sadly, some don't come out to their family at all for fear of being disowned. As this illustrates, coming out is difficult for both LGBT individuals and those with invisible disabilities. What makes this difficulty worse is that on internet video sites such as YouTube, both disabled and LGBT individuals frequently post "coming out' videos and the comment sections of these videos are often filled with hateful comments.
Those with visible disabilities and those with invisible disabilities who do "come out' face similar personal prejudice that LGBT individuals do. People ask rude questions, say it's unnatural, say that this should be kept private, that the person doesn't belong in a certain place, and make other rude remarks. People also avoid the individual or say they don't want to be friends. Once information about someone's sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability is out there the information can be very difficult to impossible to remove from public consciousness. All of this contributes to personal discrimination towards LGBT and disabled individuals.
All of this gives the movements reason to work together, and both movements are making an effort to work together. LGBT groups and communities are putting in supports for their disabled members. In addition, disability groups have supports available for people who are LGBT and look out for their needs and well-being, such as conference name tags having pronoun preferences on them.
o address the growing needs of people with both disabilities and an LGBT identity, the White House held a forum on Disability and LGBT intersectionality issues. To hear the hearing and the new initiatives it discusses, go to
Former YouthComm Writer Delivers Impassioned Commencement Speech; Receives Invite from First Lady Michelle Obama
You may have heard that a student speaker at the City College of New York (CCNY) commencement so wowed Michelle Obama that she received an invitation to the White House.
That student is former Youth Communication teen writer Orubba Almansouri, CCNY 2016 salutatorian. She gave
a rousing speech
to the graduates.
Yet, she almost didn't get to go to college.
As a teen writer for YCteen magazine in 2009, Orubba wrote "
University of Kitchen
," a story about her struggle to pursue an education to break free from the "girls don't go to college" tradition in her Yemeni family.
Orubba loved school and longed to attend college, but the decision was ultimately up to her father. He had already been criticized by family and peers for sending his daughters to high school.
In her story, Orubba wrote "There is always a question mark over my future. Even though my father put me in school, sometimes he still thinks the way other men in my family do. When I'm feeling hopeful, I think my dad will let me go to college.
"Sometimes, though, I feel that everything I do is for no reason and that I will never be able to go to college or even finish high school."
Writing that story as a teen helped Orubba make the strongest possible case to her father for continuing her education. Thankfully, he encouraged her.
Seven years after publishing that story, Orubba expressed her gratitude for her father in her commencement speech. "I experienced the support from a man who has made it possible and accepted to engage in debates and arguments with his outspoken daughter...He stood up for me. He did not lock me up. He did not shut me off."
In her speech, Orubba emphasized her fight to pursue her education, an effort that many of her CCNY classmates could relate to. With the support of her family, she broke a "tribal tradition," and paved the road for a dozen other girls in her extended family to get their high school diplomas.
"A simple conversation has the power to change the mind," she said to a cheering crowd.
After the commencement ceremony, Orubba was invited by the First Lady to speak at the United State of Women Summit at the White House, on the "Let Girls Learn" Panel.
Orubba's "University of Kitchen" story will be featured in Real As Me, Youth Communication's forthcoming girls' empowerment curriculum. She'll begin a master's in near eastern studies at New York University in the fall and after that pursue her PhD at the University of Michigan.
|NCWD/Youth and ODEP Issue YouthACT Online Dialogue Outcome Report
In May, NCWD/Youth's Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) hosted a national online dialogue in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). This dialog gathered ideas from youth and young adults with disabilities about what would help them become successful adults.
Participants shared ideas, comments, and votes about strengthening supports and services in education, employment, healthcare, self-advocacy, community engagement, and everyday life. This event attracted many participants eager to share their perspectives. Its findings can help inform how policymakers and youth service professionals respond to the needs of young people with disabilities today.
Research Study on Autism Childhood Interventions (Online Survey)
Call for participants: Childhood Behavioral Interventions:
A Comparative of the Experiences of Autistic Adults and the Opinion of Caregivers.
This study seeks the perspectives of autistic adults (18+) and parents of autistic children on strategies for improving early childhood interventions and social, emotional, and academic supports for autistic individuals. The findings from this survey may suggest that future interventions should consider the input of autistic adults jointly with the developmental goals of caregiver's. This study investigates the association between sociodemographic factors of developmental disabilities interventions and public health concerns of autistic adults in the United States.
To learn more or participate in this study, please click here.
This research has been approved by the Human Research Review Committee (HRRC) at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and has also been designed by autistic adults. If you have any questions regarding this research, please email email@example.com
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!.