YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Registration Coming Soon for University of YOUTH POWER! 2018
University of YOUTH POWER!
Class of 2018
The College of Saint Rose
June 23-26, 2018 | Albany, NY

On June 23-26, 2018, YOUTH POWER! will be hosting the fifth annual University of YOUTH POWER! (UYP), a for-youth-by-youth social justice conference that is modeled after a college experience. UYP is the premier youth peer leadership conference that 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 with a major of Peer Advocacy or Systems Advocacy. UYP will take place in Albany, New York, at The College of Saint Rose. Resident students use overnight accommodations in the apartment style dormitory, as well as meals on campus.

University of YOUTH POWER! includes professors from a variety of fields of work including: Disability Rights, Mental Health, Addiction, Foster Care, Juvenile Justice, Labor, Independent Living and more!

For more information, click here!
Questions? Contact
YOUTH POWER!'s AMPLIFY-NY Initiative is hosting a Western Region Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) for young people with disabilites to speak up, build skills, and prepare to take on leadership roles. The YLF will be held at the Adam's Mark Hotel and Event Center in Buffalo, New York on July 21st-24th, 2018.

What does this mean for you? It means that it is not too late to apply! If you or a youth you know is interested in applying, they you may do so! You can apply online by clicking here, or email and request an electronic/paper application and we will ensure to contact you.

For more information, contact Elijah Fagan-Solis at 518-432-0333 ext. 19 or
Welcoming Olivia Fried, YP!'s Social Marketing and Events Coordinator
Hello! My name is Olivia Fried and I am ecstatic to say that I am the new Social Marketing and Events Coordinator for YOUTH POWER!.

I am excited to be a part of the team and cannot wait to see what's in store.

I have been an advocate for YOUTH POWER! since I heard about the organization through my internship at Families Together in New York State in 2017. YOUTH POWER!'s message resonated with me during my internship and I couldn't wait for employment opportunities to arise after I had graduated SUNY Albany.

I have a passion for speaking out and standing up for what you believe in. Being diagnosed with a General Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in 2015, I have learned different strategies and tips to get me through this process.

I am looking forward to being on this journey with every member in YP! and cannot wait to see the changes you all make in our society.

Welcoming the New Western Regional Youth Partner, Carly Congilosi
Carly holding the hope board
Hello! My name is Carly Congilosi, and I am so excited to share that I have recently joined the YOUTH POWER! Team as the Western Regional Youth Partner. Prior to joining YOUTH POWER!, I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Houghton College in Allegany County. From there, I worked as a Youth Peer Advocate for the Mental Health Association of Erie County. This provided me with an incredible opportunity to develop my skills as an advocate and to become comfortable publically sharing my personal experiences in the mental health care system. (I also worked for a brief time at a daycare with infants...I love babies, but let's just say it was a little more challenging than I had anticipated!)

As the Western Regional Youth Partner, I am most looking forward to connecting with and learning from the youth with whom I'll be collaborating. If you facilitate or participate in a youth group in the Western Region, I want to talk to YOU! I am a big fan of coffee, so I'm anticipating that many of these connections will take place inside cozy coffee shops all around the Western Region! I am also interested in connecting with local middle- and high-schools to encourage mental health awareness along with advocacy and leadership skills within the student body. Working with YOUTH POWER! is an incredible opportunity and I can't wait to get started!
A few fun facts about me: I am from Buffalo, but I now live in Rochester with my cat (more on her later). My favorite form of travel is by train (shoutout to #amtrak!) If you want to make me happy, bring me coffee (preferably a mocha with whip). That one simple act of kindness will guarantee our friendship for life! I seriously love Celine Dion. Her music basically powered me through college. I don't even care that she isn't cool anymore. She's the bestselling female recording artist
of all time! (If you don't know who she is, I'm not sure we can be friends unless you make up for it by bringing me coffee... just kidding !) I have a cat named Josie. (Josie and the Pussycats... get it ?! ) Josie likes to sleep on my head. She's so fluffy and fat and cuddly! I seriously can't even! (I confess to sometimes using her as a pillow... #noshame). Lastly, I am a blogger. You can find my personal blog by visiting . I use it as a platform to talk about my own experiences with mental health challenges, to support others going through similar challenges, and to share more in depth about my faith journey. I'd be honored if you took a few minutes to check it out!  

I'd love to connect with you through Facebook*:
You can also contact me by sending me an email* ( or giving me a call*:
(585) 314-2452.
*I will respond to all messages between  10:00 AM - 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday . Messages received at alternate times will likely be returned during normal office hours.  If you are experiencing an emergency and need immediate help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( 1-800-273-8255 ) or call 911

Talk soon!
Carly J. Congilosi

YP! Hosts New York Institute for
Self-Advocacy Pilot
NYISA logo On the weekend of March 10th, 2018, YOUTH POWER! hosted the first New York Institute for Self-Advocacy (NYISA). Young adults with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities traveled from across New York State to the Capital Region, where they learned new things, met new people, and honed their self-advocacy skills. They learned everything from how to speak to their elected representatives to how to speak in front of a crowd. Learning about the rich history of the Disability Civil Rights movement, they got a hands-on course on civic activism from an activist who participated in the Capital Crawl of 1990. This was just one example of the expertise that they were able to absorb and use to benefit their lives and that of those around them.

As Institute graduates, they will now go on to the Emerging Leaders Network where they will use that they learned to teach other across New York State. At the Institute, they found solace together and realized they were not alone in their experiences. They take their new found knowledge and will make that group grow even larger. We here at YOUTH POWER! are so proud of the first Institute class and are excited to see them grow and thrive as self-advocates.

Here are some quotes from the graduates:

"I'm already a leader in my community and now as an advocate I feel I've become a stronger, better leader within this community." -Cerrone C.

"I learned a lot about this program. You guys were awesome presenting this program and getting to know you, I really appreciate it!" -Jack F.

"I wish we could stay for one week. I enjoyed it. I learned a lot." -Veronica C.

If you are interested in participating in future iterations of the Institute, or the advisory groups that guide the initiative, contact the NYISA Coordinator, Zack Kilmer, at or 518-708-3808.

The next Institute will take place in late Summer, with the exact date yet to be determined; an announcement will be made when the application is available.
Member Spotlight:
Melanie Hecker

YP! member and former staff, Melanie Hecker, was formally recognized in UAlbany's Student Press News on April 11th for overcoming obstacles to advocate for students with disabilities.

Check out the original article here .
The Yang Tan Institute on Disability and Employment (YTI) at Cornell University, with support from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) has established the Transit Research & Accessibility Center (TRAC). TRAC includes an online training program to educate stakeholders about accessibility and usability requirements of public fixed route buses, and equip individuals to evaluate the accessibility and usability of bus trips using the TRACbus app on their smartphone.

Data collected through  TRAC will help to facilitate meaningful conversations between riders and the transit authority to determine where riders with disabilities experience difficulties and successes using the Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA) bus system.
How Can You Help?
We are looking for people with and without disabilities to be TRAC evaluators. Evaluators will:
(1) Complete a short online training to learn about fixed route bus accessibility and how to use the TRACbus smartphone app,
(2) Take an assigned Albany region bus trip with another evaluator
(3) Use the app to rate their trip

Online training begins late summer, 2018 and evaluations will begin fall, 2018. All evaluators must complete the online training prior to evaluating an assigned CDTA bus trip. Interested? - Please contact Jennifer Perry at or 732.449.3621 and visit our FB page at 
Conference Corner:
Opportunities and Updates

Join over 400 representatives from family peer support providers, family advocates, and family members, youth and professionals from the children's behavioral health and other cross-system children's services at this statewide event and stay abreast of the many challenges and opportunities facing children, youth and families as health and behavioral health services continues to move toward an integrated system of care. We encourage New York State Family Peer Support Providers, Youth Peer Advocates, health plans, Performing Provider Systems, health homes, health care/hospital systems and other service providers to attend and receive timely and pertinent education & information on services, collaborations and practices in our children's health and behavioral health system. 


Conference Call for Presentations

  The 2018 NYS Suicide Prevention Conference: New Yorkers Advancing Suicide Prevention in Healthcare, Schools, & Communities will be held in Albany, September 20-21, 2018. The conference strives to showcase work being done across the state in a variety of settings, including community, schools, clinical, and academic. We encourage you and your organization to apply to present in a concurrent or poster session by responding to this Call for Presentations.

For further information regarding the conference, go to

Cortland County LGBTQ Youth Leadership Summit

The Cortland LGBTQ Center in collaboration with Cortland Junior Senior High is hosting our first annual   Cortland County LGBTQ Youth Leadership Summit . It is our hope to energize and provide our LGBTQ area youth and allies in grades 9-12 with the skills to be effective leaders in Cortland and surrounding counties.

The summit is Saturday, May 12th  from 10AM - 2PM at Cortland Junior Senior High 8 Valley View Dr. Cortland, NY 13045.
The Summit will kick off with keynote speaker, Vicki Wilkins, Professor at SUNY Cortland's Department of Recreation, Parks & Leisure Studies. Students will have the option to attend a self-advocacy discussion group focused on LGB relevant topics or trans and gender non-conforming relevant topics. Following discussion groups, students will break out and attend workshops to learn self-care techniques to use in their daily lives.

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Courtney Stafford at or at 607-756-8970, ext. 261.
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!

Below are the awareness campaigns for April and May. Team up to Speak Up and Speak Out! 

Autism Acceptance Month
Foster Care Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month
Stress 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
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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