YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews;
Time to meet the new Western Regional Youth Partner!
Alex Carpenter_ western regional youth partner staff photo
Greetings Friends, my name is Alex for those of you who have not met me yet. I attended college at Jamestown Community College of Olean where I live, and spent most of my younger years working in kitchens at restaurants. Eventually I was blessed with an opportunity to become a Youth Peer Advocate (YPA) for a small agency in Western NY, and not long after was introduced to YOUTH POWER! of Families Together in NYS and became involved in the Youth Peer Services Advisory Council. Working as a YPA, I knew that the clinical field I had been going to college for was not the right path for me yet, but I couldn't figure out where I really wanted to be... until I came here! It is my hope that I can help youth and young adults feel heard and valued and the Western Region feel more connected with the rest of NYS. I am so proud to be a part of YOUTH POWER!/Families Together in NYS and cannot wait to work with all my colleagues more and get to know you all better. Everyone here has already been so kind and welcoming, and I really can see us as a little family :)
-Alex Carpenter
NYISA logo
The New York Institute for Self-Advocacy (NYISA) is an initiative designed to train  people with developmental disabilities to advocate for themselves and their peers in  community, systematic, and policy settings. Those who participate in the institute then  go on to train their peers in self-advocacy as part of the Emerging Leaders Network.

This year's institute takes place August 3-6, 2019 in Troy at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Young adults (21+) with intellectual/developmental disabilities are encouraged to  apply HERE

This year's application is now OPEN ENROLLMENT. Apply NOW here!

Find out more about the  institute and the Project Advisory Group for this initiative at
Level Two In-Person YPA Training
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We are excited to announce that registration for the Level Two In-person YPA Training is available in the following location:

- New York, NY: August 19-20th


Level Two In-Person Training is step 4 in the process of becoming a Professionally Credentialed Youth Peer Advocate. 

In order to participate in the YPA in-person training 
applicants must:
    • Hold a YPA Provisional Credential
    • Complete Level Two of the YPA online training
    • Be providing services that fall within the role of a YPA
For more information and to register visit:  YOUTHPOWERNY.org/ypa-training/

Questions? Contact us at YPACredential@YOUTHPOWERNY.org
LGBTQ+ Facts and Resources
In honor of Pride month, Families Together in New York State and YOUTH POWER! teamed up to answer questions submitted by youth, parents and allies from our network. 

Click the picture to hear our staff Zack and Imari answer some of them in the #FreeToBe network's first-ever 'podcast.' In addition to the video, please see a blog post complete with important facts and useful resources. Thank you to everyone who sent us questions! 

lgbtq pride month rainbow behind pride month q_a with imari wilson and zack kilmer

Sign up for the YP! YPA Listserv!

YOUTH POWER! of Families Together in NYS would like to invite you to sign up for the:  YPA LISTSERV

Sign up for the YPA Listserv to  stay up to date on all things pertaining to Youth Peer Advocates, including: 
  • upcoming trainings
  • credentialing updates
  • resources
  • supervisor supports, and
  • professional development opportunities
Coffee & Chat - Syracuse
Coffee and chat_ august 9th at 5pm. Cafe Kubal 3501 James St. Syracuse_ NY 13206. join us for an engaging discussion on what hurts and what helps when it comes to the services and supports you want and need to succeed_ Open to young adults 18-29 years old. For more information email cdelvacchio_youthpowerny.org.
Join us for an engaging discussion  on what hurts and what helps when it comes to the services and supports you want and need to succeed! 
Open to young adults (18-29 year old)

August 9th, 5pm
Cafe Kubal
3501 James St. Syracuse, NY 13206 

For more information, email: cdelvecchio@YOUTHPOWERNY.org
CFTSS Webinar Recording
Families Together in New York State hosted a webinar on Wednesday, June 19th to help educate families and youth about the CFTS Services. Click the image to view a recording of that webinar !
Mayor of Troy Announces the Release of  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan 
Transition plan serves as  road-map for development and implementation of changes to increase access to city facilities, programs, and activities.
The plan was developed in collaboration and communication with people with disabilities in the Troy community.

Mayor Madden: development of Troy's first transition plan is critical to city's efforts to expand accessibility for all members of our community TROY, NY. Mayor Patrick Madden today  announced the release of the City of Troy's first-ever Americans with  Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan, part
ADA logo with white background and black bold textof the administration's efforts to promote inclusion and accessibility for all people in the Collar City. The release of the transition plan comes on the 29th anniversary of the ADA being signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26th, 1990.

Mayor Madden said, "The development of Troy's first transition plan is critical to our city's efforts to expand accessibility for all members of our community. The feedback and expertise from members of Troy's disability community remain essential to this ongoing process. With the first phase of this important process complete, we look forward to continued collaboration on how best to implement positive changes and initiatives which advance the objectives of the Americans with Disabilities Act in our community."  

Conducted in collaboration and communication with people with disabilities in the Troy community, the process included a department-level inventory and review of existing policies and practices which served as a road-map for the development and implementation of the transition plan. In 2018, the city announced the formation of an ADA Review Group to assist in the City's ongoing self-evaluation process. The self-evaluation process helps determine the accessibility of public facilities and identify barriers which limit access or participation of individuals with disabilities from City programs or activities. The review group included local disability advocates, former elected officials, and individuals with disabilities from the Troy community.

Members of the City of Troy's ADA Review Group included:
Denise Figueroa -  Executive Director, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley
Sandy VanEck -  Director of Innovation and Design, Arc of Rensselaer County
Robert Doherty - F ormer Troy City Council-member, District 4
Cliff Perez -  Systems Advocate, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley
John Salka -  ADA Coordinator, City of Troy
Feedback gathered at various city-owned facilities was compiled in the transition plan, including recommendations to change or expand accessibility for a variety of city services and locations. Information compiled in the transition plan will help the city plan for future improvements to accessibility.  The city's ADA transition plan will continuously be updated to ensure compliance with changes or updates.

The plan also identifies additional locations for review and evaluation, and outlines ongoing projects, including website compliance, technology upgrades to broaden program accessibility, and completion of a citywide sidewalk assessment. 

A public hearing will be held for the purpose of soliciting public comment regarding the ADA Transition Plan.  A date and time for the hearing will be announced at a future date. Written comments will be accepted prior to the hearing. Any written comments about, or suggestions/additions to, the transition plan may be directed to the ADA Coordinator:
John J. Salka
ADA Coordinator
Office of the Mayor
433 River Street
Troy, New York 12180
(518) 279-7131

For more information, or to view the city's draft ADA transition plan, please visit  troyny.gov/ADA . View the plan in PDF format  here
Youth Advisory Panel Opening: Special Education 
The Y outh Advisory Panel was established to advise the Office of Special Education on proposed policies related to the education of students with disabilities. Panel members engage in facilitated discussions with NYSED staff on policy issues relating to the education of students with disabilities.  In addition to commenting on and providing their recommendations regarding proposed policies, panel members share their concerns and recommendations for future policy consideration. Their participation serves to advise NYSED from a first-hand perspective on ways to improve the quality of special education services and student outcomes. Participation on the panel also provides students with the opportunity to sharpen their self-advocacy and leadership skills and network with other youth.
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The Youth Advisory Panel consists of 10 to 15 youth either:
  • currently attending high school or having exited high school within the past two years (former student nominees are not required to have graduated with a Regents or local diploma).  
  • Members have been identified as students with disabilities and are receiving or have received special education services pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  
  • Members are appointed for a two-year term.
Nominations for membership are accepted on an ongoing basis and kept on file for any available openings. A youth may be nominated by a parent, teacher, employer, or other adult familiar with the individual. Youth who are 18 years of age or older may nominate themselves.

Completed nomination forms should be mailed to:
New York State Education Department
Office of Special Education
89 Washington Avenue, Room 309 EB
Albany, New York 12234
Attention: Youth Advisory Panel

Nomination forms can be downloaded here.
Forms may also be faxed to (518) 473-5387 or emailed to  speced@nysed.gov.

For more information, click here .

Rethinking Regents?!
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"Taking "the Regents," one of the oldest academic exam systems in the country, has been a rite of passage for high school students in New York for generations.

That may soon change as the state Board of Regents considers scrapping the high school Regents exam requirement as part of an effort to improve the state's graduation rates and better define the significance of a New York high school diploma.

This fall, a commission convened by state Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa will meet to examine - among other questions - "to what degree requiring passage of Regents exams improves student achievement, graduation rates and college readiness," Rosa announced at the Board of Regents' July meeting.

Rethinking the tests builds on the Board of Regents recent effort to create more avenues for students to graduate aside from take the exams. While graduation rates have inched up in recent years, gaps in achievement persist for students of color, students with disabilities, English language learners, and low-income students, Rosa noted.

"Simply put, the system is not working for everyone, and too many students - particularly our most vulnerable students - are leaving high school without a diploma," she wrote in a February column for an online site accessible to New York State School Boards Association.

New York's Regents exam is especially rigorous, requiring most students to pass five Regents subject tests to receive a high school diploma.
By contrast, Massachusetts requires three exit exams and New Jersey requires two.

Calling Student Leaders on Campus!
MHA's Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council (CMHIC) Applications Now Open!

Mental Health America (MHA) is excited to open applications for the third cohort of the Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council (CMHIC). CMHIC is dedicated to finding student leaders who have created programs that fill gaps in traditional mental health supports and services on their campuses.
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By bringing together college students from across the country, MHA has connected a network of young people who know they must build upon increases in mental health awareness and help-seeking among their peers to create environments and programs that are truly responsive to their wants and needs. Through the contributions of their previous cohorts, they have documented pressing ideas and new programs and created guides for those looking to create similar programs on their campuses.

This year, they are excited to expand CMHIC with more opportunities for sharing and engagement for members. Over the 2019-2020 academic year, this year's selected students will:
  • Connect with other campus leaders on a monthly basis to share ideas and get feedback and support
  • Receive one on one mentoring for their programmatic and professional growth
  • Vlog for MHA's social media to give other students insight into the day-to-day work of a campus mental health advocate
  • Share their ideas in our annual CMHIC report
  • Attend and present at MHA's 2020 conference in June 2020 in Washington, DC with a scholarship from MHA
At MHA, they believe deeply in voices of lived experience and the power of supporting individuals most impacted by problems to develop solutions. If you or a student you know is doing exceptional work on campus, complete or share the CMHIC application today!

Youth Empowerment & Leadership Part-time Position Open in Erie County
family help center_ building stronger families together_ rainbow house with three people standing inside it
YEL (Youth Empowerment & Leadership) Part-Time Group Facilitator Needed:  

Youth Empowerment and Leadership (YEL) is a youth-led leadership program for teens and young adults, ages 13-22, from Erie County who are or have been involved in the Children's System of Care. YEL participants help to plan and run YEL meetings, provide peer support, and learn new leadership skills.
We are looking for an engaging and creative YEL Group Facilitator with a desire to empower, teach, and challenge youth. YEL Group Facilitators are responsible for assisting the YEL Coordinators in developing and planning meeting agendas, transporting youth, and facilitating meetings and events.
The YEL Group Facilitator should have an understanding of behavioral and mental health needs of youth within the Children's System of Care and be able to provide effective communication and leadership.
Minimum qualifications:
High school diploma and experience with the Erie County Children's System of Care. 
Must have valid driver's license and an acceptable driving record.
Part-time:10-20 hours per week -- EVENINGS A MUST
Please visit here for more information or call 716-822-0919 for questions. 
NYS Mentoring Program
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The NYS Mentoring Program creates supportive mentor relationships for young people in elementary, middle and high schools. This one year program takes place in a school based, on-to-one setting, where mentors are positive role models, guiding students with respect, structure, compassion and list skills. 

Youth can succeed despite overwhelming personal, economic and structural obstacles. They often do so with the support of a caring mentor in their lives. Mentoring outcomes include greater participation in school, improved attendance, higher graduation and college admissions rates, and better overall performance. 

  1. Visit the Council on Children and Families website and use the interactive map to select the county you would like to mentor in.  Contact information for the Mentoring Coordinator for your selected county is presented on the map. Please feel free to contact the Mentoring Coordinator for your county with any questions about the program.
  2. After your application has been received, an appointment will be made for you to interview with a New York State Mentoring Program Director.
  3. After your interview and screening process are complete, you will sign up to be trained as a Mentor. During the Mentoring training, you will learn about your role as a Mentor to help prevent children at risk of dropping out of school.
  4. A New York State Mentoring Program Director will match you with a Mentee at a nearby school and contact you about a start date. 
If you have questions about The New York State Mentoring Program, please call or email OCFS at 844-337-6304 or NYSMentoringProgram@ocfs.ny.org. 

LGBT Network: Project LEAD
project lead flyer_ august 12th and august 15th 10-3pm. lgbt network long island city.
Project L.E.A.D Monday, August 12th, August 15th 10-3PM 
LGBT Network, 37-18 Northern Blvd, Suite 107, Long Island City, NY 11001

For Youth LEADers, who want to enhance their skills as advocates and create change in their schools and communities. 
  • Learn the skills to LEAD the charge through advocacy in your schools and community.
  • Explore many different social justice issues and how to combat them with LGBT, Advocacy 101, and more!
  • Learn to put your skills to the test by starting a GSA Club, becoming an ally, and participating in the Q-Center LEAD youth Advisory Board.
LGBT Network - 718-514-2155
Recovery Fine Arts Festival needs YOUR Submissions
black background_ white silhouette with a sign that says we want youth_ in black text_ you in youth is highlighted red
Open to all Recovery Artists to submit one original form of art in the following five categories:
  • Poetry
  • Drawing (graphite, pen & ink, colored pencil)
  • Painting (oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor)
  • Photography
  • Mixed Media
Now accepting submissions to be received by August 15, 2019
Artwork will be on display at the Empire State Concourse from September 9th-20th.
For more information, please contact Debbie at  dbrosen@for-ny.org

Resources, Resources, Resources!
Families Together in New York State has recently launched new pages on their website to better support families and youth. Check them out!

OASAS-improving lives logo

New Reimbursement Rates for Peer Services
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved State Plan Amendment (SPA) 16-0004 which allows for a 50% rate enhancement for Part 822 Outpatient Program  Peer Advocate Services.  Pending the NYS Department of Budget approval, the new enhanced rate will be available on September 1, 2019.
Click the image to read more about these changes.


Children and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS) Provider Guidance: Health Record Documentation: NYS  Office of Mental Health (OMH) recently released a guidance document that reviews requirements and operational considerations related to a CFTSS Health Record, most notably, treatment planning. View the announcement  here. Access the guidance document  here


Reminder: Medicaid Behavioral Health Services Carved into Medicaid Managed Care For Individuals Under 21 Starting July 1, 2019: NYS recently sent out a reminder about several changes in benefit management resulting from the NYS Medicaid Children's System Transformation. View the changes along with other Managed Care Updates  here


NYS Trauma-Informed Network website launch: NYS  Office of Mental Health (OMH) in collaboration with  Coordinated Care Services Inc. (CCSI) recently launched the NYS Trauma-Informed Network. The site is designed for both individuals and organizations to connect around trauma-responsive practices, change efforts, and to share vetted resources and events/trainings. Learn more by visiting their website  here.
Sober Living Through Fitness - Rochester 
ROCovery Fitness is a supportive community of physically active individuals brought together by sober living, committed to creating an environment of healing and recovery. Members, friends and families are empowered to discover their inner strength and confidence through adventure, fun and camaraderie. ROCovery Fitness, Inc. exists because of a community need to provide sober experiences 
and connections to other individuals working on recovery from drug and alcohol
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The organization is made up of members who have personal experience with recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, have a sense of passion and service to give back to the community and are driven to make a difference to help combat current community trends.  Research indicates the benefit of incorporating peer led, wellness initiatives into the recovery model of care as indicated by the Phoenix Multisport Program, located in Denver Colorado.  ROCovery Fitness is implementing this concept in New York State. 

ROCovery Fitness aides and provides opportunities for those in recovery to both reach their goals and surpass their expectations. To foster an environment where individuals do not have to watch people running past them, wondering what it would mean to be a part of mainstream life, rather they can live a life within the mainstream of running, cycling, climbing, being and living freely in society.
Their programming is also open to the families and loved ones that have been impacted by addiction and the recovery journey. All too often, families go down very difficult roads as a result of their loved ones' addiction. ROCovery is a place of belonging, connectedness. We are a place of safety and recovery. We encourage all individuals to get busy living!

To learn more about ROCovery Fitness, click here
To become a member click here.
To see upcoming events, click here.
NYS Recovery Conference -  October 20-22
NYS Recovery Conference October 20-22 Albany NY_ Marriott Hotel_ 189 Wolf Rd. Register now_ pay later. 175 prior to June 30th_ 250 after.
FOR-NY's annual Recovery Conference brings together the best of the best, providing unique educational and networking opportunities for the Recovery Community. Celebrate Recovery with people in recovery, friends and family members and our allies in addiction prevention, treatment and recovery support services!

Please note that the Pre-Recovery Conference, co-sponsored by OASAS, FOR-NY and YVM-NY, takes place from 12-5 p.m. on Sunday. Participation is FREE but registration is REQUIRED. You must register separately for the Pre-Conference through  THIS LINK.

Friends of Recovery-New York (FOR-NY) is excited to announce that OASAS Commissioner, Arlene González-Sánchez, has once again approved funding to 
provide scholarships for peers statewide to attend the New York Recovery Conference October 20-22, 2019 at the Albany Marriott, Albany, NY.
Friends of Recovery-NY (FOR-NY) will coordinate the application/approval process and payment of  40 peer scholarships across the state (30 statewide and 10 in the Albany-area).
Deadline to apply is July 30th.
Find more information and selection criteria click here!
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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 Families Together in NYS.
Families Together in New York State hosts YOUTH POWER!, a statewide network led for and by youth and young adults. YOUTH POWER! is a 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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