YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews;
Meet the New Hudson River Regional Youth Partner!
Imari Wilson Staff Photo
Howdy all!
My name is Imari Wilson and I am ecstatic to join YOUTH POWER! as the Hudson River Regional Youth Partner. I originally went to SUNY Plattsburgh under a host of different majors before transferring back home to Albany, NY to HVCC and graduating with my associates in Broadcast Communications and a concentration in Radio Production. After college I, again, went through a few very different career paths (radio host, security, banking...). Even though the careers were very different I always looked for ways I could help people, as I have been doing all my life. So it felt like a missing link was discovered when I began working as a Youth Peer Advocate. I gained so much knowledge and understanding from my organization and the youth I worked with, all connections I value today. Being a Youth Peer Advocate also validated so much self-work I was already doing and provided new avenues for my success. 

As the Hudson River Regional Youth Partner I want to support youth and Youth Peer Advocates in being successful and building those valuable connections. My "heart-work" is to provide inclusivity for all, especially those who are frequently marginalized.  I am excited to soon meet and collaborate with you all! 
For more information on YOUTH POWER! staff, click here.
Youth Voice: Strategies for Moving Beyond Just a Seat at the Table
A group of friends at a table working on their laptops.
Join the CNY team to learn about authentic youth voice and collaboration. Those who attend will be able to learn why youth voice is so imperative to the work we do as well as strategies for utilizing the feedback you generate from young people.

Ideal for those working with young people or those who are having difficulties getting young people to participate in services.

When: December 12th, 9:30-3:30
Where: 187 Northern Concourse,  Syracuse, NY 13212

In order to register for the FREE event, please email: expressing your interest to attend!
FED save the date. transparent background previous FED pictures. 2.12.19 is the date of FED. Registration starts at 10am_ free lunch at 11_30_ program starts at 12. FTNYS logo in the center of the image.

WHEN: February 12, 2019
55 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207

As a family member or young person, have you wondered:

  • Why is it important to engage politically?
  • Does my story matter?
  • Can I make a difference?
  • How can I influence policy makers?
  • How can I become empowered?
  • How can I empower others?

If so, join us in Albany for Family Empowerment Day and make your voice heard!
  • Network with other families and young people with lived experience.
  • Hear powerful speakers and awardees.
  • Engage with legislators and government officials.
  • Learn about important policy issues and get involved!
  • Discover how you can make a difference in your community!

Click here to register - green button image

Last year, hundreds of families, youth and advocates from across the state gathered together in Albany to deliver a crucial message to our state leaders: put children first in this budget. Together, we prevented cuts to child welfare preventive services and prevented further delay of the children's behavioral health Medicaid expansion. This year, we return to Albany to remind our elected officials that budgets are a moral document and children are our future. Together, we will demand that the state budget reflects that. Put children first. No Cuts. No Delays. Children's Services today.

For more information on FED, click here.
For Albany Capital Center Parking Map,  click here!

If you have questions, please contact :
Brad Hansen: 518-432-0333 x 28 
Become a part of Amplify-NY today!
AMPLIFY-NY logo with speakers and red hand with red microphone.
YOUTH POWER! aims to AMPLIFY-NY with regional youth leadership forums and supported leadership activities for young people with disabilities to speak up, build skills, and prepare to take on leadership roles. 

This initiative brings the opportunities to YOUth and amplifies the YP! network to give the next generation of leaders the tools and support they need for success. Parents and caregivers also have the opportunity to attend a series of workshops to assist them in continuing to help set the stage for young people with disabilities to Lead On!

The youth leadership forums and parent/caregiver workshops are FREE to attend.
This initiative is funded from 2017-2021 through a grant with the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC).

AMPLIFY-NY Planning Group-  This statewide planning group leads the way in planning regional youth leadership forums. Youth and young adults with developmental and other disabilities ages 14-24 will help design and carry out these forums, beginning with the pilot forum in the Capital District. This group meets 1-2 times per month.

In order to participate in AMPLIFY-NY's Planning Group, please contact or 518-432-0333 ext. 19.

Any other questions contact -
Elijah Fagan-Solis @ 518-432-0333 ext. 19.


Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

A Youth Mental Health First Aid is also being hosted by Broome-Tioga County BOCES on:
Monday, December 10, beginning at 8 am
Broome-Tioga BOCES
435 Glenwood Rd, Binghamton, NY 13905

For more information or to register, contact:
Kerri Bullock, Director Professional Development & Resource Center
Phone: (607) 763-3300
FREE Youth Peer Advocacy Webinar! 
You are invited to a statewide webinar on Youth Peer Advocacy!
webinar logo with different types of electronics

The Regional Planning Consortiums (RPCs), in partnership with YOUTH POWER! is hosting an educational webinar opportunity on  Youth Peer Advocacy on:

Thursday,  December 20th 2018
From:  2:00pm to 3:00pm

To register click here.

This webinar will cover the following:

- Overview of YOUTH POWER!
- What is a Youth Peer Advocate?
- How can someone become a Certified Youth Peer Advocate?
- Overview of the technical assistance YOUTH POWER! provides to agencies that want to bring a Youth Peer Advocate onto their staff
- Resources available through YOUTH POWER! for Youth Peer Advocates
- Time for Q&A
YOUTH POWER_ in black text with red underline. YOUTH is stacked on top of POWER_

Please contact RPC Coordinator - Peter Griffiths with any questions at or by phone at 518-424-1014
FREE safeTALK Training

Most people with thoughts of suicide don't want to die, instead they are looking for a way to work through the pain in their lives.

Through their words and actions, they usually invite others to help them in making a choice for life. safeTALK teaches participants to recognize these invitations, engage with the person with thoughts of suicide, and connect them with resources to help them be safer from suicide. 

Thursday, December 13, 1 to 4 PM
This training is being offered at NO COST to participants.
Upcoming Webinar on Trauma-Informed Care
This FREE webinar will discuss how youth and young adult serving organizations can implement the principles of trauma informed care (TIC) into their organization and services.

Date / Time:  Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 1pm - 2pm

Examples and tools will be provided with an  emphasis on those developed by and with youth and young adults. In addition, ideas for TIC staff self-care will be shared.

Guest Speaker: Mandy Davis, director of Trauma Informed Oregon

Register for FREE here.

NOTE: At this time, Pathways RTC cannot offer CEUs for webinar attendance.
FREE Public Listening Sessions - Transportation
  NYS Announces Public Listening Sessions throughout the state to Study Accessible Ride Sharing Services for Customers with Disabilities. 
Registration Available 
here .
The New York State Transportation Network Company Accessibility Task Force announced that five  public listening sessions will be held across the state to examine the availability of accessible ride sharing services for people with disabilities. Through these listening sessions, the task force will a nalyze current service options , the  need and demand for accessible services , and  identify opportunities and barriers to increasing these options for customers with disabilities. Each session will begin with a brief presentation from the members of the task force. Following the presentation, interested parties will be invited to provide their feedback on ride sharing services for people with disabilities.
"The law authorizing transportation network companies has provided an alternative, safe transportation option to people across this state. This task force will help ensure that this vital ride sharing system is meeting the needs of every passenger, especially those who may need it most." said Betty DeFazio, Task Force Co-Chair and Chief Development Officer at  ARISE CNY. 
" The focus of this task force is making sure that all New Yorkers, no matter what their needs may be, have adequate access to reliable transportation," said Frank Krotschinsky, Task Force Co-Chair and Director of Suffolk County Office for People with Disabilities. 
For more on the law,  click here.
Public Listening Session Schedule:

December 11, 2018
Transparent image_ green care to the left_ to the right of the care_ is a blue train_ to the right of the train is a green bus_ to the right of the bus is a blue airplane.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Empire State Plaza Convention Center
Meeting Rooms 2-3
Albany, NY 12242
December 18, 2018
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Moose Lodge,  631 Pulaski Road
Greenlawn, NY 11740
Written Comments may be submitted to   by  Dec. 18th. 

T o register,  click here.

If you have any questions, please contact;
Lisa Koumjian -
James Plastiras -
Joe Morrissey -

Transgender Youth and Mental Health Webinar
Spread Hope graphic with a girl to the right holding the end of the word spread and a youth in the left bottom corner behind hope.

When: Monday, December 17 - 12:00 PM

Duration: 1 hour
Location: WebEx

Transgender youth face unique struggles that often go unnoticed or unattended. Available research indicates that transgender youth are at greater risk for numerous adverse mental health outcomes compared to cisgender youth, including depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts. As mental health providers, it is crucially important to be aware of these mental health concerns and associated risk and protective factors in order to successfully work with transgender youth.

The goals for this webinar regarding transgender youth and mental health are to:
  • Provide a brief overview of terminology related to the transgender community.
  • Describe mental health concerns faced by transgender youth and associated risk factors.
  • Identify protective factors contributing to resilience of transgender youth.
  • Discuss implications for mental health practice with transgender youth. 
This webinar is geared towards a service provider audience but ALL are welcome!
YP Graphic of 3 youth with their fists in the air. Black and white.
Ca ll to Action: 
Meet with your Local State Legislators!
As our campaign prepares for the 2019 Legislative and Budget Session, we are asking you to meet with your local State Senator and State Assembly-member from now and throughout December, to discuss our budget priority on ensuring that the statutory COLA (Cost-of-Living-Adjustment) is not taken out of the budget and for the Legislature to join us in our advocacy. 

(Due to the recent November elections, the composition of the legislature has changed. Please refer to an updated list of State Senators and Assembly members. Click here to find your Senator.  Click here to find your Assembly Member.)

A statutory COLA for human services providers with state agency contracts exists in the state budget, but is consistently taken out. Deferring the human services COLA means that human services contracts have not seen a salary increase in 8 of the last 10 years, totaling well over half a billion dollars in withheld salary adjustments. That is why we are asking the Legislature to join us in calling on Governor Cuomo to keep the statutory COLA in this year's state budget.

This winter is a perfect opportunity to meet with State Senators and Assembly members before they head of to Albany in the new year. You can find the one-pager (general info to be handed to legislator) and a fact sheet (more detailed information on COLA if they request it) on the campaign website for your meetings. 

If you need assistance scheduling the meetings or have any questions about the materials, please feel free to contact the campaign at
New Policy for Substance Use!
Cartoon - Bill _the bill_ sit on their stairs of the capitol with a little boy with orange hair.
On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, the President signed into law  H.R. 6. The "Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act" or the "SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act," which addresses the opioid crisis by reducing access to and the supply of opioids and by expanding access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

"We are thrilled that HR 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, has been signed into law by the President today. HR 6 will help millions of patients, families and communities impacted by addiction by expanding services across the full continuum of care - prevention, treatment, and recovery; as well as improving access to medication assisted treatment, ending patient brokering, and enhancing law enforcement efforts. This is a disease that has touched almost every American, and we are thankful that the President has signed this historic legislation into law."

- Jessica Hulsey Nickel, Founder and President
Addiction Policy Forum

Peer Support Specialist- WHO ARE THEY?!
Sharing valuable lived experience to help others in their recovery.  It takes a special kind of person to be a Peer Support Specialist.

Peer Support Specialists are trained and certified professionals who help others reach their goals in recovery from mental and substance use disorders. They're highly compassionate people with personal experience in recovery and are willing to share this experience to build trust, form relationships, and give hope to others. 

These individuals have overcome the same challenges as people who are currently in recovery. They know what the struggle is like. Because of their lived experience of recovery, they are better able to relate to, and understand, the thoughts and feelings of the people we serve. This helps them to build a one-to-one connection that is essential for recovery. 

According to research, recovery and healing occur best in the context of a supportive relationship. Peer Support Specialists provide this acceptance and validation. You rarely find such a level of understanding in any other professional relationship. This makes Peer Support Specialists a vital part of the mental health care system today. The OMH Peer Support Specialist program continues to have our full support and will always have representation at the highest level of my administration. 

To view the full edition of OMH News,  click here.

Peer Support Graphic - 8 people with their arms crossing on each others shoulders.
Soon to See 16 Year Olds Voting in DC!
Young people protesting the voting age.
Washington, DC took one step closer to becoming the first major city in the United States with a voting age of 16. The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety voted 3-0 yesterday to advance the bill to the full council. With 8 declared supporters on the 13 person council the bill looks likely to pass when the council takes it up later this month.  Not only will DC become the largest municipality in the nation to allow 16 year olds to vote, it will be the first where teens can vote for president.
NYRA members prompted the initial introduction of the bill in 2015 and have been campaigning for it ever since. Together with other advocates we testified at the hearing in June that saw over 70 supporters speak out in favor of lowering the voting age.  Our campaign to enfranchise young voters isn't limited to Washington, DC either.  Our chapter based in Fairfax, Virginia just secured some important endorsements for their campaign to lower the voting age to 16 statewide. 

The Fairfax County Democratic Party, Virginia Democracy Forward and Virginia Civic Engagement Table have all formally endorsed our campaign:  "16-and-17-year-olds are not allowed to vote even though many of them are politically active and knowledgeable", says Virginia Democracy Forward. "Virginia Democracy Forward-VADF is endorsing the Virginia Chapter of the National Youth Rights Association's goal to lower the Virginia voting age to 16."

The youth rights movement is still going strong after 20 years and we are seeing some historic victories. Local NYRA chapters are popping up all over the country to fight for a lower voting age, defend student rights, lower the drinking age and more. Be a part of the campaign against ageism, start your own NYRA chapter.

P. O. Box 5865
Takoma Park, MD 20913
United States
$1.8 Million for Wellness & Resilience!

New York State Education Department and State Office of Mental Health Awarded $1.8 Million for Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education Project

To read the full article, click here.
Loose green money signs floating on the floor_

The New York State Education Department and the State Office of Mental Health will be awarded $1.8 million to increase mental health support in schools, the agencies announced today in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week. The grant, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a 2018 Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) award and is intended to expand the capacity of states to detect and respond to mental health issues in school-aged youth.

"For our students to perform at the highest level, we have to educate the whole child including understanding mental health in relation to physical health," Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. "The Board of Regents and I applaud the implementation sites for their willingness to collaborate with the Department and for recognizing the important role that mental health plays in a child's education and for participating in this extraordinary project."

"Building on our recent commitment to promote a positive school climate and assist schools with implementing social and emotional learning benchmarks, this grant will allow us to bolster our efforts and provide students with a healthy learning environment to help them succeed," State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. "When we provide school staff with the tools to identify and address mental health issues, we are giving the students the ability to get support early on and ultimately have a better learning experience."

"Children learn best when they are prepared and ready for school. This includes having good social and emotional health and wellness," Commissioner Ann Marie Sullivan stated. "The Office of Mental Health is looking forward to deepening our existing partnership with the State Education Department and working together to bring evidence-based practices focused on wellness and resilience into more schools in New York State."

Mental Illness Awareness Week was Oct. 7-13, 2018. Each year, the first full week of October is dedicated to fight the stigma associated with mental illness, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care.

Support of Advocacy Leaders - CHAMP
Support our advocacy leaders by getting the word out the New York state Behavioral Health Ombudsman Program.

The New Ombudsman Program, called the Community Health Access to Addiction and Mental Healthcare Project (CHAMP), will help vulnerable New Yorkers access their benefits to insurance coverage for substance sue and mental health care. 

Specifically, CHAMP will educate individuals, families and health care providers to understand legal rights to their insurance, health them access treatment and services, and investigate and resolve complaints regarding any denials of health insurance coverage. 
The Ombudsman Program is designed to help consumers and providers with health insurance coverage access mental health and substance use services for individuals in need of care through the CHAMP Helpline (888-614-5400) and/or by email without the added stress of having to navigate complex insurance denials alone.

Poster describes access to mental health or addiction care. CHAMPS stands for Community Health Access to Addiction and Mental Health Project. You can know your insurance rights_ learn how to fight insurance denials for care_ challenge insurance barriers to insurance_ learn the most of your coverage and more_

Education - Keeping ALL Students Safe Act (Restraints and Seclusion)
Restraint and seclusion in our schools has a red x mark on it. Education - Keeping All Students Safe Act Introduced; Briefing Held

On November 14, Representatives Don Beyer, Robert Scott, and 34 other co-sponsors introduced the Keeping All Student Safe Act (H.R. 7124). These bills would prohibit physical restraint that is life-threatening or restricts breathing, mechanical restraint, chemical restraint, and seclusion in schools that receive federal funding.

Physical restraint would only be allowed when a student's behavior poses an imminent danger to self or others and less restrictive interventions would be ineffective. The bills require states to ensure schools have personnel trained to safely restrain students in those circumstances. Additionally, they prohibit individualized education programs or behavior intervention plans from including provisions allowing the use of restraint or seclusion. The Arc strongly supports this legislation and looks forward to working with sponsors in further refining the bill in the 116th Congress.

The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions, and Seclusion (APRAIS) sponsored a Congressional Briefing to mark the introduction of the bills. Speakers included Representative Don Beyer (D-VA); Annie Acosta, Director of Fiscal and Family Support Policy, The Arc; Denise Marshall, Executive Director, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates; Amanda Lowe, Senior Policy Analyst, National Disability Rights Network; Dr. Joe Ryan, Stanzione Distinguished Professor of special education, Clemson University; Kimberly Sanders, President, Ukeru Systems; and Alex Campbell, a student and self-advocate who was subjected to restraint and seclusion.

Learn more at
NYS Education Dept. Comments on the New Mental Health Education Law
Healthy Minds for a Healthy New York logo
On October 23rd 2018, the NYS Assembly Committee on Education held a hearing on health, mental health and physical education in schools. It served as a great opportunity for us to talk about the impact of the law in the mental health community as well as highlight the School Mental Health Training and Resource Center.  The members of the Committee and the other Assembly members in attendance were clearly supportive of the intent of the legislation.
The various stakeholders voiced both their opportunities and concerns about the law. MHANYS was appreciative that NYSUT, the School Boards Association and the New York State Council of School Superintendents, all voiced their support of the Resource Center. Commissioner Elia's comments about the law were also very well received. 

One of the most significant side effects of the law's passing was the strong collaborations developed between the State Department of Education and the New York State Office of Mental Health. A t the MHANYS Conference in early October, both Commissioner Elia and OMH Commissioner Sullivan spoke about the positive impact of the relationships developed between the two agencies in regard to several arenas including school based mental health programs, community schools and impact of the new law in regard to school climate.
While this legislation is still in its infancy, it appears very clear that there is a need that has been identified and the law will help address that need. The more resources we could put towards this initiative, the better chance that we will be able to greatly change school climate in regard to mental health.

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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