YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

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Registration Now Open for #UYP17

Registration Now Open for #UYP17!

Join the Class of 2017 on June 24-27, 2017 for the premiere youth peer leadership conference modeled after a college experience. Young people ages 18 to 30 can register with a major of Peer Advocacy or Systems Advocacy. Professors are from a variety of fields of work including disability rights, mental health, addiction, foster care, juvenile justice, education, independent living, and more! New this year - Electives! Once students select a major, they will also be able to select which elective courses they would like to attend.

This year, we celebrate the 10th Annual Leaders' Dinner! Students will have the opportunity to meet with government leaders and discuss what successes and challenges they have identified in systems serving youth and young adults. 

Young people do not want to miss this one of a kind professional development opportunity. For more information, the agenda, or to register, please visit

Questions? Contact or 518-432-0333 ext 31.
Spreading Hope: Mental Health & Foster Care Awareness Month 2017 YP! Webinar
purple and green awareness ribbons
Spreading Hope: Mental Health & Foster Care Awareness Month 2017 
May 25, 2017 | 12:00 PM

Join the team of five Regional Youth Partners of YOUTH POWER! in spreading hope, acceptance, and awareness of youth and young adults who experience mental health challenges and/or have experience in Foster Care. Regional Youth Partners will share their stories and the things that helped aid their resiliency and recovery. 

The presenters will end the webinar with ways to get involved in YP!'s work such as Regional Teams and FACE (Fostering Advocacy Change and Empowerment).

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

To register, click here
YP! Now Hiring: NYISA Coordinator
YOUTH POWER_ now hiring banner
NYISA Coordinator

LOCATION: Best candidate in New York State - Telecommute or Albany Office

PURPOSE: To establish and coordinate the New York Institute for Self-Advocacy and Emerging Leaders Network for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities ages 21 and above.

  • As someone who coordinates a self-advocacy network, the coordinator must reflect the self-advocacy community they represent. We are seeking individuals who identify as part of the disability community and as having an intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Bachelor's preferred. Minimum high school diploma or equivalent is required.
  • At least three years of experience in a non-profit organization
  • Demonstrates ability to engage with diverse groups
  • Is experienced and demonstrates ability to speak with small and large groups of people
  • Highly organized and able to manage a workload with multiple deadlines
  • Able to travel in New York State
  • Advanced skills with software packages: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Go-To, and Google applications
  • Public policy/systems advocacy experience is preferred
  • Team leadership and facilitation skills
Join the AMPLIFY-NY Planning Group
Black and red square border with a white background. A black star shaped graphic outlined in red sits above text with an image of a young person holding a sign that says We Want YOUth. Text below reads join the amplify-ny planning group.

Do you have experience or an interest in planning events?  

Are you interested in designing fun/engaging activities for your peers?

Are you able to commit 1-2 hours a month?  
YOUTH POWER! is seeking YOUth to be members of a peer-run statewide planning group for AMPLIFY-NY!  

YOUTH POWER! will be hosting regional youth leadership forums and supported leadership activities across New York State for young people with developmental and other disabilities through our AMPLIFY-NY initiative.  Leading the way in planning these forums is a peer-run statewide planning group. Youth and young adults with developmental and other disabilities ages 14-24 are invited to join this group to help design and plan these forums, starting with the pilot forum in the Capital District. 

These forums will give young people the opportunity 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. This group will meet 1-2 times per month through GoTo Meeting which allows you to join by phone, computer, or an app. Young people who are interested in joining this group can apply by visiting:

This is a great opportunity to gain work experience and grow your resume. Young people must be able to commit to the group for at least one year. 
Members of the planning group ages 18+ will also have the opportunity to be selected for a scholarship to attend the University of YOUTH POWER!, the premiere for-youth-by-youth social justice conference modeled after the college experience.  For more information about AMPLIFY-NY visit

Questions? contact  or 518-432-0333 ext 19.
Bianca Logan: Fostering YPA Growth as YP!'s ACHIEVE - Youth Peer Services and Training Manager
Bianca Logan holding a hope sign
Hello YP! Members! I am excited to share with you that I am the new Youth Peer Services and Training Manager with YOUTH POWER! I am working on the ACHIEVE grant. This grant is with Erie, Rensselaer and Westchester counties. I am looking forward to supporting the implementation of Youth Peer Advocates into the Wraparound model in each of these counties. The Goal is to show that Wraparound is effective for high-need youth and families. I am proud that Youth Peer Advocates are a part of this as it gives even more of an opportunity to demonstrate that Youth Peer Support is an important part of the recovery of young people in NYS. I will be supporting the YPA's through Training, Technical Assistance, and coaching. This is especially important to me as I have had my own experience in the mental health and special education systems. Finding my voice through those experiences has driven my passion to work professionally in the youth movement for 5 years and the prior 7 years as a volunteer. 

I come to this position with experience working directly with young people and also supporting young professionals in the community. I have also done training, workshops, and speaking events from local to National levels. I currently serve as a member of the Youth Peer Services Advisory Council working towards the development of a credentialing process, training, and implementation for Youth Peer Advocates in New York State. I am passionate about all things youth and determined to make sure youth voice is represented at all levels in the youth community and beyond.

I have experience serving on both the Families Together in NYS and YOUTHPOWER! board of directors. My experience with YOUTHPOWER! has shown me the power and strength of the peer movement. Being involved with YP! Has given me pride as a peer and hope that I can make it as a young professional. This pride has given me respect for the movement, its history, and its future.

One this that is very important to me is keeping the integrity of the peer movement as Youth Peer Services are formalized in NYS. I am so excited to be working with the ACHIEVE Team to implement Youth Peer Advocates into Wraparound in Erie, Rensselaer and Westchester counties over the next several years. I believe this will enhance the wraparound experience for young people. I know I was once a young person who fell through the gaps of the system and how hopeless that can feel as a young person and understanding as an adult what my family had to experience too. I am honored to be a part of the efforts to make that different for the young people experiencing our systems today.

I wholeheartedly believe that youth are our future and they deserve to feel empowered to play a role in shaping the next generation. This next generation IS inclusive of Peer professionals. Most of all it is my goal to encourage young people to have HOPE that the future can be a better place!

Bianca Logan
ACHIEVE - Youth Peer Services & Training Manager
Phone: 585-622-1221
Welcome the New NYC Regional Youth Partner, Peterson Rodriguez
Peterson Rodriguez standing in front of a graffiti style wall with solidarity fists and a YP! wristband around the wrist
Hello Leaders,

My name is Peterson Rodriguez and I am the new NYC Regional Youth Partner for YOUTH POWER! I'm excited to be a part of a network of like-minded peers, all with the same goals. I am a huge advocate and have been advocating in many different capacities for the last ten years. I have dedicated my time to advocate and work to support individuals in the mental health sector, child welfare, juvenile justice and LGBTQ+ community.

As a recipient or self identifier of all of those services and communities, I know the barriers youth have when trying to create change. I was labeled extensively throughout my life but never allowed it to deter me from my passion, advocacy. I went from a mute to a full fledged advocate. With advocacy, both peer to peer and systematic, I was able to change or be a part of a change in someone's life and circumstances. Though, more importantly, I was able to change my own circumstances which allowed me to continue that advocacy for others.

Being a part of YOUTH POWER! allows me the platform to continue advocacy with an organization that shares my same priorities. I can't wait to work together to change the things that affect us on a systematic level. I hope to continue to strengthen the field of Youth Peer Advocacy and build cross-systems support for young adults. Please join me in changing the way the world sees young adults. Let's amplify youth voice together through YOUTH POWER!

Peterson Rodriguez
Phone: 347-880-2735
Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day
May 22, 2017
Image of new york with the state seal next to it
The New York State Assembly Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day
Monday May 22, 2017
Albany, New York

The New York State Assembly's Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day (LDAD) will be held in Albany on Monday, May 22, 2017. Disabilities Awareness Day allows us to inform members of the Assembly and their staffs about important issues while striving to highlight the accomplishments of advocates and persons with disabilities. They  also make a tremendous effort to inform attendees about the latest services, programs and technology available.

LDAD consists of many exciting events, to which New York's disability community and advocates, members of the Assembly and honored guests are welcome. They will be hosting an exhibitor fair and two seminars on issues of interest to people with disabilities throughout the day. Also, a package of legislation that takes into the consideration the concerns of the disability community will be introduced on the floor of the assembly.

Please remember to bring a valid photo ID and leave yourself enough time to navigate the building security. If you have questions, please call the Task Force office at 518-455-4592.
Excelsior Scholarship: NY's First Tuition-Free Degree Program
Excelsior scholarship banner with a person in a backpack. text reads affording you a college education. excelsior scholarship. making public college tuition-free
The Excelsior Scholarship is New York State's first tuition-free degree program. It begins in Fall 2017 for students whose families make up to $100,000 annually. It applies to SUNY and CUNY schools. It is the first ever tuition-free program in the country.
  • Be a NYS resident
  • Plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY two or four year program
  • Take 30 credits per year
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Stay on track with estimated graduation (Associate's in two, Bachelor's in four years)
Important points:
  • Students with documented disabilities may take less than 30 credits per year and still receive assistance (much like TAP).
  • Students facing hardship may pause and restart at a later time or take fewer credits one semester than another.
  • It is possible to lose your scholarship if you do not maintain a passing GPA. Take advantage of any relevant accommodations if you have a documented disability.
  • Current students are eligible to receive assistance.
  • Scholarship only covers tuition - fees, room and board, transportation, textbooks, meal plans, etc. are not covered (though they may be with other financial aid).
  • Those attending for a second Associate's or Bachelor's degree or a Master's are ineligible.
  • You must remain in NYS for the number of years equal to awards you received. For example, if you receive an Associate's in two years, you must live in NYS for two years after graduation. If you are working during those years, it must be in NYS. Failure to meet these requirements will convert your award to a loan.
For more information, reach out to colleges you are interested in applying to or speak with your current academic advisor. You may also see the link below.
The application will be available starting June 7th. More information will be released between now and then.
ASAN Releases Plain-Language Medicaid Toolkit
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ASAN is proud to announce the release of their plain language toolkit, A Self-Advocate's Guide to Medicaid. Medicaid is the biggest health care program in the country. It's an important part of the United States health care system. But a lot of the information out there about Medicaid and attempts to change it can be difficult to understand and navigate. That's why they've partnered with the Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training Collaborative (ASERT) and the Special Hope Foundation to develop this plain-language toolkit.

This toolkit is the third in a series of accessible policy and advocacy resources that ASAN is releasing this year, following their ACA toolkit and their toolkit for getting through to your elected officials. These resources equip self-advocates to participate in important conversations about our lives and the services we rely on. A Self-Advocate's Guide to Medicaid explains in plain language:
  • Who can get Medicaid
  • What Medicaid pays for
  • What Medicaid waivers are
  • What Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) are
  • How Medicaid is funded, and
  • What would happen if the government makes changes to how Medicaid is funded
The toolkit is available in both Easy Read and Plain Text versions. The Easy Read version uses pictures along with text, and has more white space. Both are written in easy-to-understand language and are screenreader-friendly.

We hope that you'll use this toolkit to understand and participate in these important conversations over the next year. We encourage you to share it widely so that we can give as many self-advocates as possible the tools we need to tell lawmakers: Nothing about us without us!

Accessibility for All: Class Action Suit Against NYC Transit System
Image of subway staircase at 72 st _ central park wes SW  corner
By Melanie Hecker
In public transit systems, accessibility is extremely important. Many people with disabilities rely on it for work, school, appointments, and wherever they need to go in their lives. Unfortunately, the New York City subway system is considered the worst in the nation for accessibility. In New York City, 80% of subway stations are not accessible. This makes the system nearly unusable to people with mobility impairments. In addition, the city does not take good care of their elevators and they are often dirty or broken down. When they do break down, there is no notification system to alert people.  This is especially a problem outside of Manhattan.

The subway system's inaccessibility is considered a violation of the New York City Human Rights Law. Because of this, there is currently a class-action lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transit Authority. At the MTAs current rate of the elevator installation, it will take 100 years for every station to become accessible. The organizations putting this case forward believe this is far too slow. The state suit demands that elevators be installed at a faster rate, to achieve accessibility much sooner. There is also a federal suit to address the amount of breakdowns and lack of planning for closures.

Organizations involved include the following:
  • Disability Rights Advocates
  • Bronx Independent Living Services
  • Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled
  • Center for Independence of the Disabled New York
  • Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York
  • About Harlem Independent Living Center (HILC)
Accessible transportation for all is part of the YP! Priority Agenda. YP! Wishes to ensure all bus routes and rail lines meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards. In addition, YP! Wants to Increase transportation education programs that can be linked with human and social services. Young people can help by providing feedback to their local transit system and participating in transportation focus groups.

Live on Icon that reads disability pride. live on. disability awareness
As part of mental health month, YP! is highlighting a new suicide prevention campaign, Live On. "The Live On Movement is a disability-led project for people with disabilities to see how worthwhile life is. Life can be hard sometimes, and this is even more true for people living with disabilities. Young people with disabilities face bullying, youth and adults with disabilities can be forced into nursing facilities, and plenty of people and businesses still discriminate against us every day." Stephanie Woodward wrote. " Live On is an online campaign aimed at encouraging people with newly acquired disabilities, progressive disabilities, or young disabled people who might be more susceptible to bullying and suicidal ideation, to consider the value of their life as a disabled person."
Through a series of short videos, people with disabilities share their stories of struggling with and overcoming depression and suicidal thoughts.
The Live On Movement is one that YP! is proud to promote. Spread hope by sharing your story. Submit your video through
To view the full article by Stephanie Woodward, click here.

To learn more about Live On, visit
Event: Hope & Healing for Chautauqua

  A day of community presentations, speakers, and addictions resources for Chautauqua County. Lunch provided to those who registered by May 1, 2017. You can register by email at

Date and Time:
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Chautauqua Suites
215 West Lake Road
Mayville, NY 14757

#YPInsider Spolight: YP!'s Western Regional Youth Partner, Azaria Wittekind, will be attending the event.
Webinar: Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence in LGBTQ Communities
Webinar banner. text reads intimate partner and sexual violence in lgbtq communities. hosted by the national coalition of anti-violence programs
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs' (NCAVP) National Training and Technical Assistance Center invites you to our series of webinars on supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking and the unique barriers they face in accessing services. These webinars are to support mainstream victim service providers to provide equal access to LGBTQ survivors.
This first webinar will provide a basic overview of LGBTQ identities, language, terminology, and concepts. Additionally, the webinar will consist of a series of activities and discussions to become more familiar with LGBTQ communities and the ways that LGBTQ communities are uniquely impacted by violence. Upon completing this webinar, participants will be able to describe the language used by LGBTQ communities, clarify the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation, and have a basic understanding of the ways LGBTQ communities experience violence.
Join presenters Emily Waters and Lolan Sevilla from the New York City Anti-Violence Project, for Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence in LGBTQ Communities.
Register early as space is limited. Priority will be given to OVW grantees.
If you have any accessibility needs, please email Emily Waters at by May 15 th , 2017.
Share Your Voice and Be Heard; Apply to Join America's Promise Youth Leadership Team Today
Americas promise alliance banner with logo on the right side. Text reads _Making the promise of america real for every child.
Share Your Voice and Be Heard;
Apply to Join America's Promise Youth Leadership Team Today

Are you passionate about education or youth development? Do you work to inspire and motivate others? Looking to sharpen your leadership skills?

If so, you may be a great candidate for a leadership position at America's Promise!
America's Promise Alliance is looking for two young people, ages 16-22, to serve a two-year term on their Board of Directors or as a member of the Alliance Trustees. Members will attend annual meetings in Washington, act as a full voting member of the leadership body, and play a valuable role in shaping their strategic direction. Those selected will serve through Spring 2019.

Here's what a former youth board member had to say about the importance of youth leadership:
"Too many leaders, teachers, and politicians don't know what we actually go through, what we're actually up against, or what we need to succeed in life. They don't know what we're feeling or what our dreams are, that we may even be afraid to dream. I want more people in power to know what it's like to walk a mile in our shoes. Maybe then they would know what direction to take us in, how to help us find a different path in life."

Apply by June 6 by clicking here.
Seeking Nominations for the 2nd Annual Justice Center Code of Conduct Award
The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (Justice Center) is seeking nominations for its annual Code of Conduct Recognition Award: Dedication, Respect and Protection from Harm.  

This award, which will be presented in September 2017, honors staff who demonstrate a strong commitment to the Code of Conduct for Custodians of People with Special Needs. The Code provides a framework intended to assist staff to help people with special needs "live self-directed meaningful lives in their communities, free from abuse and neglect, and protected from harm." 

The deadline for receipt of nominations is Friday, July 14 2017.  Complete information on the award can be found  here .

Nomination forms are available in  English  and  Spanish  and can be submitted online. 

"The dedicated men and women who provide services to people with special needs have a profound impact on the quality of their lives," said William T. Gettman, Chair of the Justice Center Advisory Council.  "We encourage service recipients, families, provider agency personnel and the public to pay tribute to valued staff whose actions demonstrate a commitment to the core values articulated in the Code of Conduct by nominating them for this important award."

Four winners will be selected from across the state. All staff who sign the Code of Conduct are eligible. Staff can nominate themselves or may be nominated by a person receiving services, family member, guardian, co-worker, supervisor or member of the public.

Members of the Justice Center's advisory council will review nominations and select award winners who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Code of Conduct throughout the year. The 2017 Code of Conduct Recognition Award will be given at the Advisory Council's September meeting.
ICL Family Advocate and Peer Recovery and Permanency Specialist Job Opportunities
ICL logo
ICL is seeking applications for two positions: Family Advocate and Peer Recovery and Permanency Specialist.

For details, click the links below.
Get Involved with National Campaigns!
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Social media is a great tool to bring awareness in our advocacy efforts. nationalcampaigns
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! 

Foster Care Awareness Month
Mental Health Month
National Mobility 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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