YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Time is Ticking Down for the #FTNYSLegislativeDay. Register today!
A Free Event!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016  12:30 - 3:30pm
Registration and Scheduled Legislator Visits 10am-12pm

Are you a young person or a family member of a child or youth facing:
  • Mental health challenges?
  • Addiction? 
  • Developmental challenges? 
  • Behavioral issues in schools? 
  • The adult or juvenile justice system? 
  • The child welfare system? 
No matter what door you enter, you are not alone.

YP_s Board President speaking at the 2015 Legislative Lunch on the need for more peer advocates.
YP's Board President speaking at the 2015 Legislative Lunch on the need for more peer advocates.
Join hundre ds  of family members, youth, advocates and state leaders from across the state for the Families Together in New York State Legislative Awareness Day and Luncheon, a free event, on  Tuesday, February 9, 2016  at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany, New York.  All are invited to meet with legislators, network with other families & youth, and share your valuable voice, experience and ideas!

Every year, Families Together in New York State partners with their growing network of families to reflect on our lived experiences to learn about the needs in the community, what issues are important to us, and what policy changes would have a positive impact in our lives and the lives of future families. Then they create a set of policy priorities and advocate together as the family voice in Albany.  

Information to Prepare you for the 2016 Legislative Awareness

Need help scheduling a meeting with your Legislator?
For assistance with setting up or joining an already scheduled 
legislative  visit on February 9, 2016  contact Brad Hansen at 

For more information, contact Brad Hansen at 
Join Disability Leaders Across the Country for President Obama's Final State of the Union
President Obama Previews His Last State of the Union Address
President Obama Previews His Last State of the Union Address

This Tuesday, January 12, 2016 President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union Address.

During the State of the Union (SOTU), the President will lay out the ways that we can come together to improve our country for generations to come. One of the main topics that will be addressed is Social Progress and Equality.

Tune in at 9pm to watch the President's address at and join the disability community social media conversations by using the hashtags: #SOTU and #SOTU4PWD (SOTU for people with disabilities).

This night is a great opportunity to make your voice heard and to be a part of a large scale conversation with disability leaders across the country 

You can also check out the President's record on social progress for the disability community by clicking here.

Visit for more information or to RSVP.

Then, stay tuned on Wednesday afternoon, January 13th for Governor Cuomo's State of the State and Budget Address.
#UYP16: Save the Date & Call for Professors 
University of YOUTH POWER_ call for professors banner

UYP16: Amplify Our Voices
June 11-14, 2016

*Call for Professors and Activity Leaders*

We are seeking presentations on topics ranging from public speaking and building a professional network to understanding young people's rights and artivism. 
(please see the professor form for a full list of topics)

To apply, please fill out the professor form and submit it by  February 12th, 2016.
For more information on UYP, visit
Registration is Now Open for the FTNYS Conference
Building strong roots for success_ Embracing Change Together. Sunday_ April 3 - Monday April 4_ 2016. Visit for more information

This year's theme, Building Strong Roots for Success:  Embracing Change Together sets the stage for interactive and educational workshops, an empowering keynote address, networking, the family dance and lots of fun.  Don't forget the great exhibitors and wonderful food!

This year's conference has something for everyone! FTNYS is excited to present:

The Family & Advocate Track: 
This is a great track for parents, caregivers, educators, staff and peer advocates. The Family & Advocate Track was developed based on what is important to you, the children and youth in your life, your family and your network.

The Leadership Track:  Created to address the needs of individuals who are in leadership roles and who work in the local, regional and statewide network.
The Partner Track:  Designed for adults and youth to unite and address topics that are of interest to both adults and youth to make plans to work to improve the system and to connect with each other

The Youth Track:  Planned and delivered by the YOUTH POWER! network, this track offers workshops that are selected and delivered for and by young people to help build self-help and advocacy skills. The Youth Track is created for young people ages 12 - 25. 

The Annual Conference gives attendees of all ages the chance to meet new people, find support, talk to others who understand and make lifelong friendships.

Please Note:There will be no child care or programming for children under the age of 12.
Youth ages 12 and up who would like to attend the conference are invited to register for the Youth Track of the conference.

Currently accepting Family and Youth Scholarship Applications! Click below for more information and to begin your application submission.

Call for Presentations

For more information, visit
National Mentoring Month 2016: 
In Real Life
Alex and Christina with the Albany Devil Dog Mascot and In Real Life written across the bottom.
By Elijah Fagan-Solis

In celebration of National Mentoring Month 2016, YOUTH POWER's Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program in Albany, NY wanted to share a personal, 'in real life' story that shows the power of mentoring in youth's lives. The story highlights interview questions asked separately by Mentoring Coordinator Elijah Fagan Solis, with mentor Christina Narkon and mentee Alexander Hamm on their mentoring relationship.  Christina, who recently moved out of the area, is a young professional who formerly worked with the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee. Her mentee, Alexander, is now a senior attending night school within the Albany City School District.
How did you both get involved in RAMP? 
AH - Daphnne (Brown, Families Together in New York State's Director of Family Involvement and Outreach) introduced me to RAMP when I was 13 years old.  She gave me the opportunity to get extra work done for school.
CN - I got involved in RAMP during my undergraduate career. I had been working in an elementary school and I was helping to run a youth ministry program, so a friend (who was a mentor at the time) suggested I look into RAMP!
Alexander, with RAMP being career focused, what career are you interested in?
AH - I'm interested in going to a law school and focus on criminal law.  I also have thought about being a veterinarian.
Do you two remember the first time you met? 
AH - I remember when I first met Christina she was really big on teaching me manners. 
CN - I will never forget the first time I met Alexander! I was brand new to the program, and as soon as I walked in he briefly paused from chatting with everyone to point at me and declare that I would be his mentor.
How has your relationship changed since that first day?
AH - Since we first met, our relationship has grown to be stronger.  I feel as if I could ask Christina for advice if I need it. 
CN - My relationship with Alexander has surely grown over the past few years. We first bonded over his search for a job. We built his resume together and I went with him to apply at various establishments. Now, I visit him at his place (or places!) of work. We discuss more in-depth issues now, as well. Just last month, I showed Alexander how to register to vote and we discussed politics, our civic duties, and various things that showed up on the Albany City ballot this past November. It is so interesting watching Alex grow from a student at Albany High to an adult who has intelligent and informed opinions about his community and how it can be better run.
What do you talk about or do when you are together? 
AH - When we are together we talk about how I can better myself and better ways for me to budget my money.  Last time we were together we talked about Republicans and Democrats and voting; I am now a registered voter.
CN - We talk about tons of things! We discuss everything from current events, to social media etiquette, to Alexander's short-term and long-term goals in regards to his education, career, finances, and more
What goals have you been able to accomplish together as mentor and mentee?
AH -  One goal me and her have worked on together would be treating people with respect and having manners.  She told me being rude wouldn't get me far with job opportunities and other things in life.  With school, she told me I could argue with as many teachers as I want but it's not going to change the fact that I have to graduate at the end of the year.  Christina also helped me with dressing for an interview, and even brought me to places so I could apply for jobs. Her tips with interview clothing and manners helped me to get the job I have today...

Shatter the Myths During the 2016 National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week
National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) is quickly approaching, January 25-31, 2016

NDAFW links students with scientists and other experts to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the internet, TV, movies, music, or from friends. 

Ways to get involved:
Events: Locally planned and hosted school and community events focus on providing teens the scientific facts about drugs and alcohol.

  Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day: Registration Now Open! During this annual live online chat held between high school students and NIDA scientists, students from around the country ask the questions they most want answers to about drugs, alcohol, and drug abuse, including drug and alcohol effects, how to help friends or family that are abusing drugs, and what causes addiction. Our expert scientists give them the facts.

  Partnerships: NIDA and NIAAA works with leading organizations, media outlets, and other Government agencies to spread the word about NDAFW and SHATTER THE MYTHS.

For more information, click here.

Have you started planning? Consider taking part in the "I want to SHATTER THE MYTHS because..." activity during your event.
  1. Print out pledge cards (PDF, 1 page).
  2. Answer why you want to shatter the myths about drug abuse and addiction.
  3. Take pictures.
  4. Share pictures with NIDA (@NIDAnews & @NIAAAnews) using the hashtag#NDAFW.
Don't forget to  register your NDAFW 2016 event today,  order free educational materials by  January 15, and  participate in the  January 26 National Drug & Alcohol Chat Day.
Blood Donation Awareness Month
By Melanie Hecker

If you had the chance to do something to save someone's life, would you do it?

Most people would wholeheartedly say yes. That is why many people are deciding to be blood donors. When you donate blood, you help make sure people get what they need to continue living.

Why is blood donation so important?  One in seven people who enter a hospital are going to need donor blood. Some examples of people who might need blood include cancer patients, accident and trauma victims, transplant and surgery patients, mothers giving birth, newborn babies, and a lot more. Some bone marrow transplant patients may even need blood from 100 different people! Today's medical practices are designed around blood donation, but blood can only last about 42 days for red cells before they become unusable.

In order to give blood, you must be 17. However, 16 year olds can give blood with parent or guardian permission. You also must be at least 110 pounds and in good health. The individual clinics may also have additional requirements.  It is good to look at your clinic's requirements before donating. Donating blood is a four-step process. First, the blood donation site will register you. Then they will ask about your health history and give you a mini-physical including but not limited to your temperature, blood pressure and pulse. This is to make sure you are healthy enough to give blood. 

The donation itself lasts less than 10 minutes. After donating, you are given sugary food and drinks such as cookies and juice in order to raise your blood sugar. The whole process lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes. Blood donation is always done with a clean, never before used needle and the information you give is always kept confidential.  Usually one pint of blood is donated.

Remember to always speak with your doctor if you have a medical condition or take medication before donating. Even if you cannot donate blood yourself, you can still volunteer at a blood drive or help raise money.

For more info on blood donation, please visit and
Get Involved with National Campaigns!
Photo of megaphone with different social media symbols coming out
Social media is a great tool to bring awareness in our advocacy efforts.

Together, we can amplify our voices!

Click on the campaigns below for more information on how you can team up to Speak Up and Speak Out! 


Black History 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 or resource above? Let us know
ASAN Campus Inclusion Leadership Academy
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is now accepting applications for the 2016 Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Leadership Academy! 

The ACI summer leadership training prepares Autistic students to create systems change on their college campuses.  View and download the application here .

Accepted applicants will travel to Washington, DC and participate in advocacy training at Gallaudet University from May 28 to June 4, 2016. Participants will acquire valuable skills in community organizing, policy formation, and activism. Travel and lodging are fully covered by ASAN.

Applicants must identify as Autistic and be current college students with at least one year remaining before graduation. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network will cover travel and lodging costs for all ACI students. We especially encourage students of color, LGBT students, students with intellectual disabilities, AAC users, and students from other or multiply marginalized communities to apply.

To apply, please submit a completed application by February 21, 2016 to Natalia Rivera Morales at with the subject line "2016 ACI Application."

If you need assistance or accommodations at any stage, please contact Natalia Rivera Morales at
AAPD Summer Internship Program: Deadline for Applications Approaching!
Applications for the 2016  AAPD Summer Internship Program are due this Friday, January 15th. 

AAPD's Summer Internship Program  places college students, graduate students, law students, and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in paid 10-week summer internships in Congressional offices, federal agencies, non-profits, and for-profit organizations in the Washington, DC area. Each intern is matched with a mentor who will assist them their career goals. AAPD provides the interns with a stipend, transportation to and from Washington, DC, and fully-accessible housing.

Please send all documents to
Spread Hope with Project UROK!
Project UROK logo
No matter what you're going through, you are not alone.

Project UROK is a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 by Jenny Jaffe. Their mission is to create funny, meaningful videos for teenagers struggling with mental health issues, made by people who have been there before. 

In doing so, they provide not only practical assistance, but also a sense of belonging, a sense of comfort, and a sense of hope.

The content on Project UROK will have a lot of variety including: comedy sketches, testimonials, informational videos, a podcast, scripted and unscripted webseries. 

To learn more, visit
#ICanDoSomething Teen Dating Violence and Prevention Month Challenge
_ICanDoSomething and NYS Logo on Film Clapboard
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. 

This year, the  New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV)  is looking for students ages 14-18 throughout New York State to create an original video, one minute or less in length, that shows one or more values of a healthy relationship. 

Videos must be submitted by January 31, 2016.

The top 12 finalists will be chosen to compete through public voting, and the winners will be given some awesome prizes!

To enter or learn more about the #ICanDoSomething Video Challenge, visit
#NoMoreWalls - Keep Clear Sidewalks and Streets this Winter!

Snow Wall by Disability Rights New York
Snow Wall by Disability Rights New York
Help DRNY raise awareness of the importance of clear sidewalks and streets for those who have disabilities by sharing DRNY's video #NoMoreWalls 

Please also find the video on DRNY's webpage and on facebook (like and share!)
Inspired Speaker Series Project Seeking Volunteers and Supporters
WRise Consulting is a woman-owned consulting business focused on solving difficult issues with strategic solutions. At WRise, their mission is to unlock potential and inspire growth and that is exactly what they are working to do with their Inspired Speaker Series project. 

WRise is currently bringing an inspirational message of hope to young women in a residential setting in Albany, NY once a month. Their speakers are women who have overcome adversities in their life and have been able to find happiness and success. Each presentation lasts no more than an hour and is structured as follows:
  • 10 introduction of speaker and series
  • 15-20 minute presentation of lived experience
  • 20 minute presentation of coping strategies, skills, advice as relevant to the particular speaker
  • 10-15 minute Q&A
WRise is always looking for appropriate volunteers with lived experience and empowering skills, such as spoken word artists, film makers, musicians, yoga instructors, runners, who would like to come in and present. They are also looking for supporters to provide materials for presentations, such as journals, art supplies, etc.
If you are interested in supporting this effort in any way, please contact Cortney Lovell at
New System of Care Approach Online Curriculum
The Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health (TA Center) is pleased to announce a new free online curriculum designed to help communities, states, tribes, and territories, implement, improve, sustain, and expand Systems of Care for children, youth, and young adults with behavioral health challenges. 

This curriculum includes information and resources developed to support the widespread expansion of the system of care approach. It will help individuals understand the What, Why, and How of System of Care Expansion. The curriculum includes guides for strategic planning, implementing expansion strategies, financing, and performance and outcome measurement, as well as worksheets and tools for self-assessment and outcome measurement. 

Upon completion of each module, you can also receive continuing education credits from the National Association of Social Workers and/ or the National Board of Certified Counselors.

There is currently 5 online modules with plans to expand to 7. The new modules will be on trauma-informed systems and roles people can play in developing Systems of Care.  

Behavioral Health Leadership Development Program Now Recruiting
Are you new to management in the behavioral health field?
Do you aspire to become a leader in substance use prevention, mental health promotion,
mental illness or addictions treatment, or recovery support services?
The 2016 Behavioral Health  Leadership Development Program , a part of Project LIFT (Leadership Initiatives for Tomorrow), is now recruiting professionals in both the public and private sectors  who wish to enhance their leadership skills by:
  • Understanding the opportunities brought about by health care reform and parity
  • Embracing innovation to effect change
  • Helping to motivate and retain the behavioral health workforce
"The program was very challenging, but it was eye-opening and engaging. What I enjoyed most about the program was the opportunity to meet with other young mental health professionals nationwide. Also, one of the things I learned was the importance of supporting quality leadership and employment within the mental health field. Recruitment and retention of professionals in the behavioral health field is an issue and I appreciate the training and tools Project LIFT provided us with to help us succeed in this challenging field of work. "
-Pauline Gordon, YP! Member

There is no cost to you, but they do ask for your commitment of time and interest.
Click  here for the application materials and other related information.
Completed applications are due January 27, 2016.
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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