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In this eNews
YP! to Work with ASAP & NYCB to Implement Addiction-Specific Youth CRPA Certifications
The New York Certification Board Logo
YOUTH POWER! is excited to announce that we will be working with the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State, Inc. (ASAP) and the New York Certification Board (NYCB) "to develop, pilot, and implement addiction-specific Youth Peer Services parenthtics that build upon the Certified Recovery Peer Advocates (CRPA) certifications."

The intent of this project is to develop a career path for those interested in becoming CRPAs specializing in serving youth and families affected by youth substance abuse. NYCB defines a CRPA as "a person who provides outreach, advocacy, mentoring and recovery support services to those seeking or sustaining recovery."

The project will include the development of two new certifications: CRPA-Youth and CRPA-Family and dedicated training curricula for both certifications. O ther recovery stakeholders involved in the development of the new certification and training programs include Families Together in NYS and NYU's Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 

Project activities will begin in September 2016 and the anticipated timeline and public launch of the certifications and training curricula is mid-2017.

For the full announcement and more information on the certifications, visit

For questions about the NYCB or New York CRPA Youth & Family Project, please email John Coppola at or visit the NYCB website for details.
Join Us for the Art+Activism Regional Youth Forum in NYC
ART+ Activism 
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 creativity and advocacy. This event is for New York City 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.

~ Food ~ YP! Photo Booth ~ Performances ~ Networking ~
November 4, 2016 |  5:00- 8:30pm  
489-493 East 153rd Bronx,NY

The How To's of Youth Guided Practice: Upcoming Western Region Training
YP! and NYSS Logos with Multi-County Trainings underneath
YOUTH POWER! is proud to offer The How To's of Youth Guided Practice! This five-hour interactive training is designed for individuals who would like to meaningfully engage young people in guiding policy and practice in their agency, community, and/or System of Care.

This free multi-county training will be hosted in Niagara County on October 21, 2016 from 10:30am to 4:30pm. Light refreshments will be provided with a 1-hour lunch "on your own". Check out the flyer for more information.  Individuals can register at

If you have any questions, please contact Brianna Valesey at  or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext. 31.

The How To's training will be taking place in Rensselaer County on Thursday, September 15th. For more information, visit
Knowledge Night: Work Incentives Benefits Advisement
VOYA logo
Rensselaer County's Youth Advisory Council, Voices of Youth Advisors (VOYA), is partnering with the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley (ILCHV) to host a Knowledge Night event in the month of October!

Christopher Walsh, Facilitated Enroller at the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, will share about the impact of working on Social Security Disability (SSDI), SSI and Medicaid/Medicare, as well as information about ABLE accounts, and other ways to maintain benefits while working.

Youth and families are invited to attend this FREE event, but because food will be served, RSVP is required. RSVP at the link below, or by contacting Elijah Fagan-Solis at 518-432-0333 ext. 19 or emailing

YP! to Explore the Role of Trauma at the 2016 TAY Institute
Transition Age Youth Institute 2016 banner
The Transition Age Youth (TAY) Institute is on its way! Join us on September 22-23 in Saratoga for presentations on topics such as improving population health outcomes for individuals with disabilities, strategies for working with youth with a unique set of barriers, family voices on transition experience in New York State, and much more!

YP!'s Assistant Director, Kristina Hebner-Akbar, will be leading a workshop alongside other youth representatives on " The Role of Trauma on Transition Age Youth. " In this interactive workshop, participants will discuss what causes trauma, how trauma impacts young people and their communities, and what helps heal trauma. Participants will also have an opportunity to hear from young people regarding how trauma has impacted their lives and the services they have received to reveal what helped and what was harmful to their recovery and resilience.

To view the workshops available at this conference or to register, please click here.

Questions? Contact Katelyn Connally at or by phone at 518-449-2976.
Alternatives 2016: YP! Joins Emerging Leaders and Organizations Across the Nation
alternatives conference banner
This year, Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center will be hosting the 30th national conference organized by and for mental health consumers/survivors on September 19-23, 2016, in San Diego, California. YP!'s Executive Director, Stephanie Orlando, Board President, Caitlin Neumann, and Youth Engagement Consultant, Brianna Valesey will be taking the west coast by storm as we work to Amplify Our Voices across the nation.

Following this year's theme of Looking Back, Looking Forward, emerging youth leaders and organizations across the nation will join together to speak on what youth-drive models and organizational practices they are currently using, and what they would like to see moving forward. Young adult leaders from MY LIFE of Pennsylvania, YOUTH POWER!, Youth M.O.V.E. National, and Youth Sound in Washington will speak to personal lived experiences, innovative practices that infuse resiliency and recovery into their organizational/programmatic practices and policies, and what youth leaders would like to see. Lorrin Gehring, Program Director for the Statewide Youth Sound in Washington will follow with a call to action - supporting the future by supporting youth.

To learn more about the youth panel speakers, including YP! Board President, Caitlin Neumann, visit  
Apply Today:  YP! Seeking Applications for Central RYP Position
Central Logo
YOUTH POWER! is currently seeking applications 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 engagement and peer support.

LOCATION: Applicant must reside in one of the 20 counties in the region. Preferred location is Syracuse.

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, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Go-To, Google applications
APPLICATION PROCESS: 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, click here.  
A Capital Trip: By MJ Smyth
RAMP logo
" Have you ever had a chance to go on an adventure to somewhere... different than what you're used to? That's a great feeling, isn't it? It was for me, anyway. "

Every year, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), which leads the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), holds an Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. for youth participants and coordinators. Ten  RAMP sites throughout the country, including our very own Albany site, came together to participate in activities, training, presentations of high tech projects, a tour of our Nation's Capital, a college tour, and explored careers.  This year, the meeting took place from  Wednesday, August 3  through  Friday, August 5

Making the trip from our state capital to the nation's, RAMP participant MJ Smyth recounted their journey. From a show of peer support  and connecting with other young people across the nation, to a personal epiphany on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and a standing ovation when presenting the game they created, this trip had it all.

"I am certainly blessed to have a program like R.A.M.P in my life, and if you ever get the chance to join up. I implore you to do so. You have no idea what you're missing. I'd like to recite a line one of the youth said during this trip "Say no to drugs and say yes to jumping!" Farewell." - MJ Smyth
Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) Alumni Continue Growth!
Photo of RAMP Alumni and Elijah Fagan-Solis at Graduation Ceremony
By Elijah Fagan-Solis

I have found that nothing quite picks me up in the midst of a long day the way a milkshake from Stewart's Shops does. I was recently proven wrong when I went to get my pick me up and was pleasantly surprised to see a former RAMP youth joyfully working hard cashing out customers and then come over to mix my chocolate peanut butter cup milkshake. It was great to see him thriving in employment and even being offered extra hours in my presence.The milkshake was delicious, too, by the way.

RAMP uses group, peer, and individualized mentoring to teach youth about job options, to set and reach goals, as well as successfully transition them to employment, post-secondary education, and independent living. Often times, various seeds are planted in mentoring relationships and we don't always get to see them grow; oh but what a joy and sense of accomplishment it is to see the seeds bloom - even if it just one flower.

What is even better is when you get to see numerous seeds bloom and see even more parts of the plants budding. While attending my niece's graduation, I heard the name of a former RAMP youth who was also graduating with aspirations to join our nation's military. I also connected with two other alumni over the summer who had graduated from Albany High; one is currently working multiple jobs, and the other is attending a local community college for theater as acting and singing were always his goal.

My favorite flower, because of how much resiliency it has shown, bloomed this summer. This youth faced issues with bullying, getting into fights in and out of school, truancy, and numerous suspensions. He made the decision with the help of his mentor to attend night school so that he could focus on his goal of graduating all while working multiple jobs. He made up all the work needed and was passing the classes he was taking, yet he faced adversity once again in the form of a History Regents Exam that kept him from graduation in June. With the encouragement of his mentors, sharing of resources, and studying, this youth persevered and recently graduated last month! He continues to thrive in employment and hopes to attend college in the spring.

While only a few alumni were mentioned, many are doing great things and success isn't limited only to alumni either. Current RAMP youth have also been thriving in employment, volunteer opportunities, camps, sports, and more. Even greater things are expected with the start of the school year upon us. What a beautiful aroma it is when you stop and smell the roses.

 To learn more about the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program, visit
Decision 2016: The Youth and Disability Vote
colorful fingerprint with Make your mark and Vote written around it
By Melanie Hecker

It is time once again to elect The President of the United States. In the past and present, both youth and disabled voters have not had fully accessible and inclusive voting opportunities. As a result, youth and disabled voter turnouts have historically been low. In 2014, the last Federal election, youth turnout was only 19.9% of youth aged 18-30, the lowest it has ever been for Federal elections. In 2012, 57.2% of people with disabilities did not vote, with 30% of them wanting to vote but not being able due to access barriers. During an election year, it is especially important to take action and amplify the youth and disability votes.  

Young people are one of the most important voting demographics. Youth make up 20% of the population eligible to vote, which means the youth vote has a lot of influence. Young people are also the most diverse voting group and most often affected by modern issues, such as the economic recession and environmental depletion. With social media, blogs, and other easily accessible sources providing information about the candidates, making an informed decision has become much easier for young people. Young people have great power in elections and the decisions made by our society can have a long-lasting impact on their lives.

The disability vote is another potentially powerful voting group. Sadly, a lack of accessible voting has made getting the vote out very difficult. In the last election, 72% of polling places were not accessible. Difficulties faced can include not being able to maneuver a wheelchair in the voting space, disrespect from poll workers, accessible machines being not set up or broken, no clear instructions on how to use the accessible machines, and lack of privacy. In 2000, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed to address these issues. HAVA requires polling places be accessible, use encouraging ballots, and allow people with disabilities to cast their votes privately. However, since inaccessible voting is still an issue today, it is important for us to step up and take action.

Youth and people with disabilities can help by providing feedback to polling places, participating in voting focus groups, and promoting knowledge of accessible voting methods. For disability campaigns, use the hashtags #CripTheVote, #RevUP, #VoteDisability, #DisabilityVote, and  #GOTVDisability on social media to amplify your voice as a part of the disability movement. You can also use the youth vote hashtag #YouthVote and #RockTheVote. Perhaps the biggest way someone can challenge inaccessible voting is by volunteering as a poll worker.  Often times, polls are inaccessible because individuals do not know how to use or set up the accessible machines. If you want to ensure yourself and/or others are able to access the polls, volunteer! Not only is this a great professional experience, but you have the opportunity to amplify our voices. See for more details.

Voter Resources:
Registration and Deadlines: Visit or your local Department of Motor Vehicles or Independent Living Center.
Amplifying the Disability Vote: visit or 
New York Disability Vote Network: visit
DRNY Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access:

For more reasons why young people need to vote, please visit 

Self Advocates Becoming Empowered. "Voter Resources". Self Advocates Becoming
Empowered. Web. 6.September 2016.
Texas Disability Project. Rev-Up Toolkit. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print
The Best Colleges. "9 Reasons We Need Young Voters More Than Ever." The Best
Colleges. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.
Amplify Our Voices through the Outreach Workgroup
Calling All Youth
Do you have a passion for art, social media, and/or journalism? Looking for more ways to get involved? The Outreach Workgoup is getting ready to kick off our annual member newsletter and we need YOU to help Amplify Our Voices!

Outreach has biweekly meetings you can join from a phone, computer, or app! Meetings will take place on either Wednesday or Tuesday evenings. To get involved, contact Brianna Valesey at or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext. 31 with the day(s) and time you are available.
Step into Action with this YP! Workgroup
Are you looking for a way to learn useful skills, build a resume, and make a difference all at the same time? If so, consider joining the Action Workgroup! This group puts YP!'s important priority items into action. 

Currently, Action has two projects: the Multiple Pathways to a High School Diploma Campaign, and the Sexual Health Campaign. For the Multiple Pathways to a High School Diploma campaign, we are taking on projects to encourage the New York State Board of Regent's to implement more than one way to earn a High School Diploma. For the Sexual Health Campaign, we are developing projects to increase sexual health and healthy relationship information for youth with disabilities and state system involvement.

The Action Workgroup meets over conference call every other week. If you are interested in joining, please contact Melanie Hecker at 518-432-0333 ext 14 or
Children's Mental Health Coalition's Western Region Legislative Event
Come share your concerns, insights, and triumphs in the mental health and/or developmental disabilities systems with your Western New York Legislators!. This year's legislative event will focus on supporting raise the age, quality education, peer support, and addressing stigma.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
6:00 - 8:45pm
Hillside Conference Center, 1 Mustard Street, Rochester, NY 14609

For more information or to register, please visit Register by September 28, 2016.
LIFT 13th Annual Legislative Breakfast
Long Island Families Together Logo
Save the Date!
Long Island Families Together (LIFT) 13th Annual Legislative Breakfast
Friday, October 14, 2016 | 9:00-11:30am

Location: Melville Marriot, 1350 Old Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747

Attendees at this event will include families and youth, elected officials from all levels of government, and provider agencies. You will have an opportunity to hear the stories of parents who have children with mental health and other challenges, who found their families in need of intervention and support. This event will also have youth speakers who will share their stories and experiences

For more information, contact Eileen Kadletz at or by phone at 631-264-5438 ext. 103.
Registration Now Open for 46th Annual Youth Development Training Conference
46th Annual Youth Development Training Coverence Save the Date flyer
Registration is now open for the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus (ANYSYB) 2016 Annual Youth Development Training Conference.
October 25-26 | Lake Placid, NY.

Youth development experts from across the state and country will convene to share ideas, learn best practices, and exchange knowledge on issues pertaining to youth development, prevention services, healthy living, and high risk youth. Participants will have the opportunity to network with their colleagues across the state was well as the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.

To view the full conference brochure, click here.
F or more information or to register, please visit .

#YPInsider Spotlight
YP!'s Executive Director, Stephanie Orlando, and Systems Advocate, Melanie Hecker will be presenting a workshop on "Supporting Youth in Becoming Peer Advocates and Change Agents."  With a number of growing opportunities for young people to become employed as peer advocates and government advisors, especially for youth with disabilities, mental health challenges, addiction, and foster care experience, this workshop will explore the ways to connect youth to these opportunities and support them in their advocacy efforts.
ASAN 2017 Autistic Scholars Fellowship
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is accepting applications for the 2017 Autistic Scholars Fellowship, a scholarship which provides 4 to 6 autistic students with a $5,000 tuition scholarship to promote autistic leadership and create systemic 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.

Completed applications for the January 2017 scholarship period are due on Sunday, October 30thApplicants will be asked to describe the current problems for autistic and other disabled students on their college campuses and to explain how their planned activities under the fellowship will enable them to 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-January.

For more information or to apply, click here.

Questions? Contact Reid Caplan, Leadership Programs Coordinator for ASAN, at
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! 



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
Join the Voices for Recovery for the 2016 Recovery Month
recovery month banner
Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness of behavioral health conditions. This celebration promotes the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover from mental and/or substance use disorders.

The 2016 Recovery Month theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!" highlights the importance of families, communities, and individuals sharing stories of recovery to encourage others to make a personal connection with the recovery movement. Recovery Month continues to celebrate and support communities, families, and individuals through outreach efforts, materials, and cross-promotion.

The Recovery Month website ( provides printable materials, web, television, audio, and social media resources to help communities encourage individuals to seek treatment and recovery services. 
For the full recovery month toolkit, click here.
Save the Date: 2016 Teen Institute Conference
Prevention Network Logo
The Heart of New York Teen Institute (T.I.) is a leadership program that begins with this annual four day leadership conference. The mission of T.I. is to empower teens with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to lead an alcohol, tobacco, and other drug free life; develop and strengthen leadership skills; educate and lead peers to reduce the frequency of substance abuse and other unhealthy behaviors; advocate for positive change within their schools and communities; and promote health decision making.

This conference will take place November 10th-13th at Camp Long Point. For more information, visit

If you have any questions, contact Nicole Rookey, Program Coordinator, at or by phone at 315-471-1359.
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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