YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Join Us for the Fourth Annual Foster Care and Mental Health Awareness Celebration May 24,2016.
purple and green awareness ribbons
For the fourth consecutive year, on May 24, 2016, we are hosting our  Foster Care and Children's Mental Health Awareness Celebration Luncheon . This event is geared towards celebrating the success, resilience and recovery of young people and their families that have been in the two systems. We aim to spread hope and continue to drive the notion that change does happen and our young people do thrive. 

Date: May 24th, 2016 11am-2pm
Location: Empire State Plaza, Meeting Rooms 2-4

Join us for lunch, youth and family speakers, inspiring entertainment, informational exhibitors, and more!
This event is free, however, donations are encouraged.

#UYP16 Scholarship Application Deadline Extended
Deadline Extended graphic with image of previous year_s students
The deadline for applying for scholarships for the 2016 University of YOUTH POWER! has been extended to Thursday, May 19, 2016.

This year, we have scholarships for NYS Success, OASAS, and FACE (Fostering Advocacy Change and Empowerment).

To learn more about the available scholarships or to apply, please visit
The Countdown Begins! #UYP16 is Around the Corner and Young Leaders Do Not Want to Miss This!
alex receiving his certificate at UYP15
By Alex Frisina

Last year was the first time I attended the University of YOUTH POWER! hosted at the College of Saint Rose in Albany. Being in my position, I took part in the planning process and heard a lot about the event but still was unsure what to expect. I was eager and nervous as I headed to this four day, three night event built around the college experience and both system and peer advocacy training. 

Being the Long Island Regional Youth Partner with YOUTH POWER! I am often reminded of the growth taking place within the Youth Peer movement, but on the other hand working regionally sometimes makes it hard to remember there are others doing similar work and facing similar struggles. Arriving at University of YOUTH POWER! and seeing so many other young people eager to learn, network and sharing the same passion as I was an unexplainable feeling. Many times in life we feel alone, UYP was a great reminder that others think like me and share the same hopes for making changes to the system. After getting more comfortable in the setting and having the chance to meet other young people from across the state it was time to begin classes, with the choice of majoring in either Systems Advocacy or Peer Advocacy. Every class I took, I felt I left with a better understanding and with ideas on how I could be better within my position; I wasn't just learning facts I was being taught how to apply the knowledge into everyday life. 

The classes took focus and attention to detail but I think there was a great balance of learning and fun during UYP, with a Karaoke Night, Paint and Sip (non-alcoholic beverages) and downtime to network and really connect with others in attendance. To my surprise the food on campus was very good, there were always multiple options and I never left the dining hall feeling unsatisfied. 

I enjoyed everything at this event, but I think the part that stuck out to me most was the Leaders' Dinner, having the chance to sit with policy makers over dinner and discuss changes we would like to see was very empowering. Beyond that is was great to have an open discussion and realize no matter the person's position we have common ground and are all working towards a system that creates the best outcomes. I was honored to be a part of UYP 2015 and am counting down the days till UYP 2016. 

Check out the great opportunities and activities available at this year's University of YOUTH POWER! by visiting and get ready to AMPLIFY OUR VOICES!
Resilience Unleashed: Supporting Youth Guided Practice
CTAC logo

Join YOUTH POWER! for an upcoming webinar hosted by the Community Technical Assistance Center on Supporting Youth Guided Practice.

The value of meaningful youth involvement for youth struggling with mental health challenges has become more evident over the past few years. Youth guided practice provides supports and services that promote the development of knowledge, skills, confidence, self-efficacy, and pride. Supporting involvement by peers not only develops the resiliency of the individual but provides the youth voice to the community and larger system of care. Recognizing the pivotal role organizations play in the success of implementing and supporting youth guided practice, this webinar will discuss strategies for engaging, supporting and sustaining youth partners in organizations.

Target Audience: Behavioral Health Providers; Agency Directors, Managers, Supervisors

CDOS Now Available to all Students!
YP Youth Policy Update
YP! is excited to announce progress in a priority agenda issue.  
Since it's introduction the New York State Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential, (CDOS), was only available to students with disabilities. Recently, regulations were revised to expand the opportunity to earn the CDOS Commencement Credential to all students, not just students with disabilities.  It has been the position of YP! that by only offering the CDOS credential to students with disabilities, anyone with the diploma was forced to disclose a disability to an employer.  Now that the credential will be available to all students this is no longer a concern.  "It is great to see that the Board of Regents has listened to many disability advocates on this issue." said Stephanie Orlando, YP! Executive Director. "Now we just have to make sure employers know about the credential and find it meaningful."

This credential is not a diploma but rather a certificate to show one is ready for the workforce, and can be obtained with a diploma or on its own. It involves doing vocational training including 216 hours of Career Technical Education or work-based learning and making an employability profile that shows the student's skills. The other way a student can obtain a CDOS Credential is through obtaining another career credential such as the National Work Readiness Credential. When this option was only available to students with disabilities, it could single students out and immediately disclose a disability to an employer. Now any student who would like to pursue a CODS Credential can, meaning that even non-disabled students can receive one.

In addition to this change, at the March Board of Regents meeting, the Board approved a new graduation pathway for all students. Beginning in June 2016, a student may graduate with a regular high school diploma if the student completes the credit requirements; meets the requirements to earn the CDOS; and passes four Regents assessments, one in each of the four discipline areas of math, English, science, and social studies. 

Youth Policy Update: Possible Ban on Shock Devices
YP Youth Policy Update
By Melanie Hecker

There are some facilities that use painful and unethical methods to get their students or residents to do what they want. One example of this is the use of electric shock devices. The Judge Rotenberg Center, a residential school in Massachusetts, is currently the only school using large amounts of painful electric shock on their students to modify behavior. The United Nations has recognized this as torture. People who survived the Judge Rotenberg Center report that the school can shock students over petty things and uses the shock to instill fear in their students. An example of this is Andre McCollins, who was shocked 31 times, tied on a restraint board, for not taking off his jacket. The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has proposed a rule that could put a stop to this torture in many cases.

The proposed rule would ban the use of shock devices for certain behaviors nationwide. These include self-harming behaviors and behaviors that may harm others. One thing to remember is that this new rule would not shut down the Judge Rotenberg Center and they still would be able to use other torture methods such as depriving students of food. Not only that, but shocks would still be acceptable on behaviors that do not involve self-harm or aggression toward others.

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing banning the devices in these instances because they pose a very big threat to public health and this threat cannot be fixed by altering the devices. The ban will not ban the devices altogether but will ban them in the cases of self-harming behavior and aggressive behavior toward others.

This possible ban is a very big advancement for our Priority Agenda. It is a large accomplishment that can be made even better by making this ban a reality.

The FDA is accepting comments on why it is important to ban these shock devices. The more people tell the FDA this ban is important, the more likely they are to put it in place. If you would like to comment, please follow these steps:
1. Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at
2. Enter the docket number FDA-2016-N-1111
3. Follow the instructions to submit a comment.
4. You may also submit written public comment by mail to:
The Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852.

For more information on the possible ban, see the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's Statement  by clicking here.

View the FDA's press announcement  by clicking here.

View the article on the Federal Register  by clicking here.
Want To Make A Difference? Join the Action Workgroup!
YP! Now Recruiting. Join the Effort
If you would like to opportunity to help improve our state systems for everyone and build valuable advocacy skills at the same time, the Action Workgroup is the place for you!  The Action Workgroup is the team that puts the
YOUTH POWER! Priority Agenda into action.

We develop campaigns based on important issues in the Priority Agenda to improve the system for all youth. Joining the Action Workgroup means not only changing the system for the better but also helping build a resume, learning about the issues that matter most, and developing skills you can use throughout your work.

The Action Workgroup meets in the evening over conference call. Any YOUTH POWER! member from anywhere in the state can join.
The next call is scheduled for Thursday 5/19 at 7:00 PM.

If you are interested in joining the Action Workgroup, please contact Melanie Hecker, Systems Advocate, at or 
518-432-0333 ext 14. 
NYS Supports Foster Youth Attending College

The Foster Youth College Success Initiative (FYCSI) 
is a new program specifically for foster youth who are either already in college or about to enter college designed to provide them with the necessary supports and financial assistance to help them achieve academic success and meet college expenses.
  • Eligible students who are applying for or making their college selection to enter their freshman year of college in New York State should immediately contact the College Opportunity Program offices to get more information.
  • Eligible students include any student that was in foster care at any time after their 13th birthday. They are eligible to receive funding provided the student attends a public or private college or university in New York State that operates an Opportunity Program and participates in FYCSI.
  • Students interested in services or determining their eligibility should do the following:
    • CUNY Students or Applicants: Contact Shirley DePena, Director of Youth Matters or (646) 477-8570
    • SUNY Students or Applicants: Contact the EOP offices at the campus you are attending or have applied to for Fall 2016. (If you applied to multiple programs, please contact each campus directly.) Click here for a list of SUNY contacts by campus.
    • Private Colleges and Universities Students or Applicants:Contact the HEOP offices at the campus you are attending or have applied to for Fall 2016. (If you applied to multiple programs, please contact each campus directly.) Click here for a list of participating private colleges and contact information.
 For additional information or questions relating to the statewide policy that establishes the FYCSI, please contact: Jessica Maxwell, (212)381-1194 or
YAC-COC Presents...
Youth Night: Recovery is Ongoing
nyc YP_ logo The Citywide Oversight Committee Youth Advisory Council invites you to embark in this fun and exciting journey of reducing Mental Health stigma on conversation at a time.

Youth Night: Recovery is Ongoing
Friday, June 24, 2016
Youth Communications, 242 West 38 Street
Trains to 42nd Street-Time Square: A,C,E,N,Q,R,1,2,3,7

Join for a panel discussion, a viewing of "No Different Than You", resources, networking and refreshments!

RSVP by June 10th, 2016 to Tiara Springer-Love at 347-308-3877 or
YouthACT Transition Truths National Online Dialogue
Calling All Youth with Disabilities and Allies: Share Your Ideas on Transition!
YouthACT Transition Truths National Online Dialogue
May 19 - May 22, 2016
Are you a young person with a disability or a youth ally of the disability community? There is an important conversation going on about what youth with disabilities (ages 13-25) need to become successful adults, and they need to hear from you! The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth invite you to participate in the YouthACT Transition Truths National Online Dialogue . Join to share your ideas on the strategies and supports that can help youth and young adults with disabilities and their peers become successful adults.

The  YouthACT Transition Truths National Online Dialogue  will take place from Thursday, May 19 until Sunday, May 22 . Please join this important conversation and spread the word to others who may be interested.  Register for the dialogue today!  Youth will receive a reminder and further information before the dialogue. 
#REVUP: National Disability Voter Registration Week Webinar
REV UP! logo


National Disability Voter Registration Week
Organizing & Training Webinar
May 24, 2016 | 3pm  ET

National Disability Voter Registration Week
July 11-15, 2016

The REV UP Campaign is coordinating a National Disability Voter Registration Week to increase the political power of people with disabilities while also engaging candidates and the media to recognize the disability community.

To help prepare for National Disability Voter Registration Week, the REV UP Campaign will host an organizing webinar on Tuesday, May 24th at 3pm ET.
 The purpose of the webinar is aid organizers across the country to hold their own voter registration events - both physically and online - to increase the number of people with disabilities who are registered to vote and ultimately the number of people with disabilities who cast their ballots on election day this November and in future elections.
The webinar with be live captioned. Please submit all accommodation requests when you complete the online registration form.

The REV UP Campaign aims to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues.
REV UP  stands for  R egister!  E ducate!  V ote!  U se your  P ower!

For more information about the REV UP Campaign and resources to start organizing in your state please visit

RAMP in Action - Youth Spotlight
Photo of MJ in his CDTA uniform
By Elijah Fagan-Solis

Over the past seven years, YOUTH POWER!'s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program has served close to 200 youth from all over Albany County. Being a career-focused mentoring program with STEM components, many of those youth when asked 'what do you want to be when they grow up' respond with popular career choices such as a doctor, lawyer, architect, marine biologist, fashion designer, video game designer/tester, a professional athlete, or a member of the armed services. But I will never forget the one and only youth who strongly and proudly professed that he would become a Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA) Bus Operator and wanted nothing more than that.

Meet MJ. I first met MJ back in 2013 when he was referred to the program. It was then that he whisked me into his vision of driving a CDTA bus for a living. He would drive all the routes he and his mother would travel during the week, assisting passengers to get to where they needed to go, communicating with the regulars, and making friends in the neighborhoods he would service. What was more impressive is that this future friendly neighborhood bus operator knew a majority of the bus routes throughout the Capital District by heart; which bus routes went where, how you would need to transfer to another bus line, and sometimes how often the buses would come. I even had asked once if MJ had the opportunity of working his way up to run the organization if he would, and he said no. He wanted to be behind the wheel. I could tell that MJ was set on what he wanted for his future while I and some of the college-aged mentors were unsure of our own!

Over the years, MJ has been a shining example of peer mentoring, an important aspect of the RAMP mentoring model. On numerous occasions, he has helped other youth in the program determine and plan the best bus routes to take to get where they needed to go throughout the area. Two of my most memorable milestones for MJ were the time when his mom allowed him to ride the bus independently to arrive at our weekly meeting, to which he entered the meeting to a standing ovation. The other is when he helped his friend Anthony do the same. MJ had even met and assisted his mentor Blaise on a bus prior to Blaise volunteering with the program and being matched! Throughout the years, MJ has never wavered on his dream; he has researched the job requirements and has developed numerous relationships with drivers on his most frequented routes. I recall mentioning that with his knowledge, he could become a travel trainer and get his foot in the door with the organization while working on getting his license and driving experience.

MJ has always been very motivated and takes initiative when it comes to the CDTA. For example, one Fourth of July weekend he helped provide tours on one of the bus lines and made a few dollars that he wasn't expecting. Even though I had mentioned it, MJ, without further direction, came to a weekly meeting one day and announced during peer support that he had been hired to assist others on the bus, much like what he did on July fourth and much like travel trainers do! MJ had done it; he reached a milestone in his journey and now has his foot in the door with the organization his wishes to be a part of for the working years of his life. I have never been prouder. 

MJ still holds his position and the photo above in his uniform was taken recently. I am thrilled that I personally have had the opportunity to witness all that this young man has accomplished before the age of 16, and am excited to see him accomplish his next milestone. MJ - a living, breathing example that career-focused mentoring works.

Learn more about the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program by visiting

Due to being underfunded by our most recent grant, RAMP is in need of financial contributions. Help reinvent a youth's future by supporting us!
To learn more about how you can support this program, click here.
Trauma-Informed Care: A Six-Part Webinar Series
CTAC logo

The Community Technical Assistance Center of New York will be hosting a six-part webinar series on Trauma-Informed Care.

Read below for the upcoming webinars and descriptions.
Trauma-Informed Care 101
Date: May 25, 2016; 12-1PM
There is growing awareness that trauma is pervasive and that the impact of trauma is often deep and life- shaping. This impact extends to a client's understanding of, and interactions with, their own health care needs. Violence and trauma are often at the center of a client's medical concerns, mental health challenges, and substance use. This webinar will offer an introduction to trauma and trauma-informed care (TIC) by presenting participants with a brief background on the effects of trauma and violence on the brain and development. Participants will also gain knowledge of the five core principles of TIC: safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment and build an understanding that these principles need to be present for both the recipient of services as well as the staff.

Creating a Trauma Informed Environment: Promoting Physical & Emotional Safety
Date: June 22, 2016; 12-1PM
When considering the implementation of a trauma-informed care (TIC) approach to service delivery, we frequently focus on the interactions of service providers to service recipients. However, the physical environment mediating these interactions can be of high, if not equal, import. This visually interactive webinar will guide participants through a virtual service delivery facility in order to contrast and compare current practices with TIC aligned alternatives. Participants will be asked to critique their own current environments and brainstorm small and large changes they can make to better align their current practice space with a TIC approach.

Trauma Informed Collaboration
Date: July 27, 2016; 12-1PM
Trauma-informed care (TIC) is frequently presented as having five guiding principles: safety, trust, choice, empowerment, and collaboration. With the understanding that few service providers are trained in collaborative approaches, this webinar will seek to build participant knowledge around strategies for increasing collaboration in their work. The principles and practices explored in this webinar will be relevant for all workplace interactions and relationships, including staff to staff, staff to client, and staff to community partners.

Trauma-Informed Supervision
Date: August 24, 2016; 12-1PM
The principles of trauma-informed care (TIC) posit that human service organizations must be trauma-informed not just for service recipients, but for the providers as well. Through the use of video case studies, this engaging webinar will explore with participants what it means to offer supervision that aligns with a TIC approach. Participants will be asked to think critically about what can change not only in the example videos, but in their own work as supervisors and supervisees. They will be invited to create an action plan for change towards TIC in supervision practices.

Building a Resilient Workforce
Date: September 21, 2016; 12-1PM
Resiliency, sometimes discussed as the ability to "bounce back", is a skill that can be learned and practiced. When discussing resiliency, attention is typically placed on the resiliency of service recipients. However, high turnover and low job satisfaction ratings are indicators that more could be done to aid in the resiliency of service providers. This interactive webinar will allow participants to have honest discussions around what makes this work so challenging, what evidence-based practices exist to assist in building resiliency, and what it takes to make these changes for oneself.

Creating a Path for Resiliency
Date: October 26, 2016; 12-1PM
Resiliency is frequently discussed as a trait that one either has, or does not have. However, resiliency could more accurately be described as a skill that can be learned, practiced, and built upon. This webinar will provide participants with information from some of the research on resiliency while also giving participants concrete practices that will build on the resiliency factors of their service recipients.

Visit for more information, recorded webinars and details on upcoming events.
If you have any questions, get in touch at
NYSILC Seeking Candidates to Serve as Council Members for 2017
NYSILC is in the process of seeking candidates to serve as potential volunteer council members appointed by the New York State Regents to three-year terms. The council is looking to fill at least three vacancies and terms that will expire at the end of this year.

The New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC) is  an independent, non-profit, state council that is required by federal law.  Our primary responsibility is to work as state partners to develop, monitor and evaluate New York's three-year Statewide Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). The Council's mission is to promote the Independent Living philosophy through the network of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and statewide partnerships. We also strongly support research, education, employment, community organization, advocacy, and systems reform around disability issues.
NYSILC seeks interested and qualified candidates. Priority will be given to New Yorkers with disabilities, including individuals of diverse ethnicities/cultures, ages, and gender/identification, who are geographically distributed across the State. The council currently does not have a member from the North Country. Current appointment vacancies include a CIL representative, advocate, and organization serving individuals with disabilities.

Interested candidates should complete application form in its entirety. This includes a copy of your resume plus two references with contact information. This information should be sent electronically to ensure equal access during the review process to  by the end of business on Thursday, June 30, 2016.
The recommendation and appointment process will proceed over the next few months. If you have any questions about the application, process, or duties of council members, contact the NYSILC office at (518) 427-1060, or

For more information about NYSILC, visit the council website at . 
DDPC State Plan Public Review Survey

The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC) has worked over the last year to draft our next 5-year State Plan. Based on data and input from over 1,000 diverse New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, family members, staff, service providers, and others, they have developed our proposed 2017- 2021 NYS DDPC State Plan.

They are now asking the public to review our recommended plan and provide final comments via the below survey links. We would greatly appreciate your input.

The survey should take about 5-10 minutes of your time and will be open until May 31, 2016.

Thank you for your participation and please feel free to circulate the survey to others.

English Survey Link:
Spanish Survey Link:
Simplified Chinese Survey Link:
Traditional Chinese Survey Link:
 2016 NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
AAPD logo

2016 NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship


The 2016 application is now open!

Thanks to a generous contribution from NBCUniversal, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is proud offer eight (8) NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarships in 2016.

The NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship is available to 2nd year associate students; undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and graduate students with disabilities who are pursuing communications or media-related degrees. Each recipient will receive $5,625 for tuition and fees at their college or university.

This scholarship has been named in honor of Tony Coelho, a former United States Representative from California and the primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Deadline: July 1, 2016 | 5pm ET

For more information please visit the AAPD website.
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! 

Mental Health Awareness Month
Foster Care Month
National Mobility Awareness Month
National Arthritis and Osteoporosis Awareness Month

LGBT Pride Month
PTSD 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 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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