YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

October 2015 Issue One (of Two)
In this eNews
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! 

ADHD Awareness Month -  #ADHDAwareness
Bullying Prevention Month -  #YoureNotAlone

National Family Caregivers 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 !
YP! Self-Advocacy and Disability Disclosure Videos on YouTube

Through YP!'s  E3 initiative with the NYS Department of Labor, YP! teamed up with YouthFX to create videos for youth, by youth, on Self-Advocacy and Disability Disclosure. These videos, now available on YouTube, give insight into the youth perspective on topics that affect work, school, and everyday life. 

Celebrate Disability Employment Awareness Month by watching and sharing these for-youth-by-youth videos.


Filmed during #UYP15, the Self-Advocacy video interviewed peer leaders and discussed what self-advocacy means to them and how they advocate for themselves in school, work, and their daily lives. 

Disability Disclosure
Disability Disclosure

Based off of the NCWD's 411 on Disability Disclosure guide, the Disability Disclosure video introduces you to the process of disclosure at work and how youth and young adults can determine whether or not disclosure is the choice for them. 

For more videos on youth culture and the youth perspective, subscribe to the YP! channel on YouTube here

To learn about Youth FX, visit
Join us for YOUTH POWER! Value Your Voice Forum
Collage of YP! events and photos
We need YOU because your voice truly matters.

Be a part of the movement! Come learn about YOUTH POWER! and network with young people who are passionate about creating a change in various child serving system such as (Foster Care, Mental Health, Special Education, Juvenile Justice, etc.). We will be asking for input on the YP! Priority Agenda, have guest speakers and more!  

When: October 28th, 2015 from 5:00-8:00pm
Where: Westhampton Family Service League Office, 
     40 Main Street, Westhampton NY 11978

Please RSVP by October 26th via email, phone, or fax.

To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact Alexander Frisina
Phone: 631-245-5289
Fax: 631-264-0762
FLPN 9th Annual Youth & Family Conference

The Finger Lakes Parent Network, Inc. Youth Program presents the 9th Annual Youth & Family Conference!
November 7, 2015
Avoca Baptist Church
1 Church Street, Avoca, NY 14809

The FLPN Youth Program is youth-led and designed to empower and engage in healthy choices. This annual conference connects family and youth with Parent workshops, Youth workshops, a Teen Facilitator track, and an all new Youth Leadership Track. An engaging experience that connects individuals with resources and works to give back to the community, this conference is one you don't want to miss!

Please register by October 23rd, 2015. For registration, medical release and/or additional information please contact Cassandra Morse at
Finger Lakes Parent Network, Inc.
25 West Steuban Street, Bath, NY 14810
Office: 607-776-2164   Cell: 607-654-9074
Email:    Fax: 607-776-4327

Childcare may be available (limited space)
The $3.00 registration fee is waived if you are a member of Finger Lakes Parent Network, Inc.
Youth must be accompanied by their Teen Facilitator or other responsible adult
YP! Seeking Input for #UYP16
Take Action! Help make University of YOUTH POWER! The Experience of a Lifetime! #UYP16 University of YOUTH POWER!  is a for-youth-by-youth social justice conference for young people ages 18 to 30 that is modeled after a college experience. Students are able to major in either peer or systems advocacy, attend our Annual YP! Leaders' Dinner and more! To prepare for #UYP16, we are looking for YOUR input in order to make the event more engaging, address the needs of young leaders, and foster collaboration and partnerships with adult partners and organizations. 

To take the survey online, please visit by Friday, November 20th.

For more information on UYP, click here.

If you have any questions, or would like to request paper version of the survey, please contact Brianna Valesey at or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext.31.
NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Seeking Input for State Plan

The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) is creating their next state plan which outlines their direction and goals for the next five years. As part of this process they are seeking the valuable input of those most impacted by their work, including but not limited to; individuals with disabilities, family members, caregivers, staff, and others.
The DDPC is seeking information about barriers, unmet areas of need, and good practices in the following four key areas; 1.) Daily life, 2.) Community and social living, 3.) Health, safety and security, and 4.) Citizenship and advocacy. They will also have a targeted focus on un and underserved communities.

Your input would be greatly appreciated in the following survey. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes. They would appreciate receiving responses to the survey by October 16, 2015. Please also forward to others as you see fit.
*If you prefer a paper version of this survey or need assistance with filling it out, please send a note with your name and mailing address to: or call us at  1-800-395-3372.

Do you need this survey in another language?
This survey can be provided in different languages upon request. Please send all requests for translation, including contact information and language preferred, to: .
Thousands #UnitetoFaceAddiction in D.C.
Unite To Face Addiction Logo
Addiction impacts one in every three households in America.

October 4, 2015 was a history-making day in the effort to face addiction. Tens of thousands of people showed up and 700 partners joined together for the first-ever rally and concert on the National Mall. There were incredible performances from Joe Walsh, Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow and many others, and the Surgeon General announced the country's first ever report on addiction. This was the beginning of changing the conversation from problems to solutions for addiction in America.
No one should ever have to overcome addiction alone. No longer can we sit on the sidelines and let others worry about changing the system. Facing Addiction is our movement. -

Articles in the News:
Keep the conversation going. Share how you #UnitetoFaceAddiction and visit for more information.
Special Domestic Violence Month Youth Policy Update
YP Youth Policy Update
Pet and Women's Safety Act
By Melanie Hecker

Domestic violence is a widespread problem that cannot be ignored. It hurts and sometimes even kills spouses or partners, children, and even companion animals all over the country and the world. When researching domestic violence, studies have shown that there is a connection between domestic violence and animal abuse. Indeed, one of the forms of domestic violence is the abuser threatening, harming, or killing the victim's pet. Many victims are afraid to leave their abusers or go into shelters because they are afraid of what would happen to their pet. Right now, domestic violence shelters aren't equipped to handle pets. This is where the Pet and Women Safety Act, or PAWS act, comes in.

This federal bill, supported by animal and domestic violence advocates alike, makes it a criminal act to intentionally target a domestic partner's pet. It also provides funding and technical assistance to shelters so that they have the resources to help survivors house their pets, and adds veterinary care to the list of costs that victims can recover. In addition, under this bill pets will be included in laws regarding stalking and protection order violations.

For more info on the PAWS act, go to the ASPCA blog here

For resources on domestic violence prevention, visit the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence here.

To get involved with Domestic Violence awareness month, visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence here or the Domestic Violence Awareness Project.

Editorial: Is the Term Recovery Offensive? 
Brianna holding the Hope Board in front of the YP! mural of fists with the YOUTH POWER! wristband
By Brianna Valesey

The other day, someone asked me if I was offended by the term Recovery. That the term itself implied that there was something inherently wrong with me that I needed recover from, rather than promoting the acceptance that everyone is different. This question caught me off guard. Before this, I never truly considered whether or not I should be offended by the term recovery. Through being a part of YOUTH POWER!, I have come to an understanding that not everyone views recovery the same way. However, when talking about behavioral health, recovery is a very important concept.

If you look up recovery, you will find countless definitions which make it all the more difficult to have an understanding of what recovery is. Up until 2010, even the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) had separate definitions for recovery from mental disorders and substance use disorders. Since then, they have created a working definition of recovery;

Recovery is "a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential."

While this definition helps us to understand the concept of recovery, it is important to note that when you step outside the world of behavioral health, the answer to "are you offended by the term recovery" is going to change.

In my personal experience, most of my life I have spent closed off and hiding in the darkness. Pushing my demons deep inside me where I thought nobody could see them, and putting on a mask that said, "Everything is okay, I am fine." My past is riddled with experiences that I am slowly coming to terms with as the traumatic experiences that triggered my mental health disorders, along with the coping strategies  I used that were in no way a healthy choice, but the only way I felt I could manage what was going on deep beneath the surface.

By making a conscious choice to address how I was coping  and finding the supports I needed - a combination of hope, turning to my peers, educating myself, and finding healthier ways to cope - I have found my recovery. There will be days that are harder than others, and days where I feel as though I am on top of the world. With every moment I must acknowledge that it is okay to not be okay, and on the other side, that I am allowed to feel okay without it disregarding my experiences. Recovery is real and it is a process that takes time.

But that opinion is specific to my experiences and primary involvement in behavioral health. In YP! there are people that don't identify with the word recovery because they feel it means they are broken and need to be fixed or cured. This is especially true for people with autism and other disabilities. Everyone is different and it is important to embrace diversity and let people use language they identify with. 

So to answer that question, no, I personally am not offended by the term recovery. I am my recovery and it is through my recovery that I have been given ownership of my life again.

What do you think? Is the term recovery offensive? When and how do you think the term should be used?
Join the conversation here on Tumblr and follow us at

For resources on Recovery and September's Recovery Month campaign, visit
Adirondack Assistive Technology Expo
Don't miss out on this year's Adirondack Assistive Technology Expo!

October 26 & 27 at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY

Participants will enjoy an inspiring and informative keynote session with J ohn Robinson, managing partner and CEO of Our Ability.
25 additional breakout sessions are scheduled over the two-day conference,
addressing AT topics that range from introductory to innovative, for individuals across the lifespan.
Participants may choose to return to the Wild Center Monday night for a relaxing evening of food, drinks, and professional networking, with entertainment provided by Flame the Band, an internationally recognized musical group, whose roots are in the Fulton County NYSARC.
Registration includes breakfast, lunch and snack both days, conference materials, eligibility for door prize giveaways, and certificates of completion.   Continuing educational units are awarded by Clarkson University (up to 1.0 CEUs).
Visit our website at for a list of breakout sessions, information on speakers and sponsors, and to register.

This year's event is brought to you by
Clarkson University Department of Occupational Therapy
Adirondack Regional Technology Center
Our Ability, Inc.
Monroe Wheelchair
Prentke Romich Company - PRC
Vis-Ability Inc.
with additional support from
Crick Software
Free Trauma Stewardship: Strengthening Our Capacity to Help Others

The New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs is hosting a free one-day training on Monday, November 2, 2015, 8:30am - 3:30pm.
"Trauma Stewardship: Strengthening Our Capacity to Help Others"  will be presented by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky, MSW. Founder and Director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide for Caring for Self While Caring for Others.
The training will focus on the cumulative impact of daily exposure to the suffering and trauma of the individuals we work with and the toll it can take on our personal and professional lives. Laura will offer a compelling mix of personal insight and cutting edge research to help us gain a deeper understanding of vicarious trauma/compassion fatigue and tools to help us regain our strength, focus and purpose.
Deadline: Wednesday, October 28th
Location: Empire State Plaza, Meeting Room 6, Albany, NY
Please plan to arrive early to sign-in. Refreshments will be available at 7:30.

Any questions may be directed to the New York State Justice Center at
Casey Family Programs' Fatherhood Summit 

Fatherhood Summit
November 4, 2015
9:00am - 4:00pm

The day will provide staff working directly with fathers with a unique opportunity to gain practical knowledge that can be used in the field. It will allow time for networking and sharing lessons learned.

Plenary Speaker is James Rodriquez, Chief Executive Officer and President of Fathers & Families Coalition of America, Inc., a national and international agency committed to delivering services, education, training, and advocacy to make a difference in the fatherhood field.

*Due to limited available space, pre-registration is required.

For the flyer, click here.
To register, click here.
Best Buy Foundation: Youth Technology Program
Best Buy Logo
Best Buy seeks nonprofit partners to create hands-on learning opportunities for underserved teens to engage them in experimenting and interacting with the latest technologies to build 21st-century skills.  

The overall goal is to provide youth with access to new technologies and help them become interested and fluent in digital learning while developing skills to help better prepare them for future education and career success. 
Programs can encompass audio production (including music mixing & recording); coding/3D printing; computer Maintenance and Repair; digital photography/graphic design; filmmaking & videography; Maker Faires/hack-a-thons; mobile & game app development; programming; robotics; and web site design. 

Maximum award: $200,000. 
Eligibility: 501(c)(3) out-of-school programs with a fundamental commitment to youth ages 13-18, operating within 25 miles of a Best Buy store or other Best Buy center of operations. 
Deadline: November 1, 2015. 

For more information, click here.
Students Invited to Apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
Image with medallions for the prudential spirit of community awards
Created by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program honors middle and high school students in the United States who volunteer in communities at home or abroad. 

Local honorees are selected by school principals, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H groups, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs, and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. Several students in each state and the District of Columbia will be named runners-up, with one middle level and one high school student named a state honoree.  State honorees will receive a $1,000 award, a silver medallion, and all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in May for special recognition events. 

Maximum award: $5,000 award plus $5,000 grant for charitable organization of student's choice. 
Eligibility: Students in grades 5-12 who have volunteered in the past year. In Washington, a national committee will select America's top youth volunteers from among the state honorees. National honorees will receive a $5,000 award, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their nominating school or organization, and a $5,000 grant from the Prudential Foundation for a charitable organization of their choice. 
Deadline: November 3, 2015. 

For more information or to apply, click here.
American Association on Health and Disability 2015-2016 Scholarship
American Association on Health and Disability Logo
The mission of the American Association on Health and Disability is to contribute to national, state, and local efforts to promote health and wellness in people with disabilities and identify effective intervention strategies that reduce health disparities among people with disabilities. AAHD accomplishes its mission through research, education, and advocacy at the national, state, and community levels. Established in 2009, the AAHD Scholarship Program supports students with disabilities who are pursuing higher education. Preference is given to students who plan to pursue undergraduate/graduate studies in the fields of public health, health promotion, and disability studies. Royalties from the DHJO and private donations fund the AAHD Scholarship Program. 

Maximum award: $1,000. 
Eligibility: Must be enrolled full time as an undergraduate (freshman or older) or part or full time in graduate school, and have a documented disability. 
Deadline: November 15, 2015.

For more information or to apply, click here.
Job Posting: Mental Health First Aid Project Coordinator
The Mental Health Association in NYS, Inc.
Job Description

Project Summary
The Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS) will be conducting a project titled: PROJECT AWARE-C - Capitol Region. This project will train individuals working with transition-aged youth (16 - 24) in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). The goal of the project is to significantly increase the awareness, care, and support that transition-aged youth receive for behavioral health issues in the four counties of the Albany, New York Capitol Region catchment area. This is a three year project.
Summary of the Position
Reports to MHFA Project Director.  Will oversee day-to-day activities of the project and oversee team activities in the absence of the Project Director. Will also participate and contribute to a project culture that is culturally competent, client-centered, outcome-oriented and dedicated to continuous quality improvement.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities
  •   Work closely with MHFA Project Director in meeting the programmatic needs of project.
  •   Responsible for overseeing project calendar, scheduling trainings and trainers, and alerting Project Director of conflicts. Working with Project Director to keep project on track.
  •   Liaison to all organizations, instructors, and the evaluator participating in project.
  •   Ensure logistical details of all trainings are attended to and completed.
  •   Provide MHFA trainings (training to become a Certified MHFA instructor will be provided). 
  •   Responsible for communication and outreach with project participants. 
  •   Assist in writing and editing reports about project as needed.
  •   Oversee team activities in the absence of the Project Director.
  •   Other duties as assigned.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
  •   Ability to:
a.         learn a curriculum and deliver training;
b.        create, compose, and edit written materials;
c.         adapt and use technology effectively; and
d.        meet tight deadlines.
  •   Strong interpersonal and communication skills (written and verbal) and ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in diverse communities.
  •   Knowledge of principles of recovery and cultural competency.
  •   Possess professional demeanor and commitment to high quality of service.
  •   Strong organizing, coordinating, and computer skills needed.
Education and/or Experience
Minimum education:  BA in social service or relevant field; MA preferred. Previous project coordination experience required. Experience working with transition age youth or special needs populations; preferably individuals who are receiving or who have received mental health services. Administrative, management, and training experience.
MHANYS is committed to workforce diversity. EEO.  Send cover letter and resume to
Job Posting: Youth Partner in Coram, NY

Company : Pederson-Krag Center
Location: Coram, NY
Program: Family Support Services Program
Schedule : Full time Position:  37.5 hours weekly/ Flexible schedule required

Contact Information: Michelle Narvaez Program Director: email:
  • A Family Support Services Youth Partner's primary role is to engage youth with their Pederson-Krag Center program as well as with the larger mental health system in Suffolk County.  The primary goal of the Youth Partner is to encourage and support youth (ages 13 and older) as they engage with the mental health, juvenile justice, foster care, and educational systems. 
  • A Youth Partner supports, encourages, and partners with youth at an individual level to increase their involvement with a voice in their mental health program (service plan meetings, psychiatric appointments etc.), educational program (CSE meetings) and other systems of care.
  • A Youth Partner attends division incident review meetings and family bonds meetings and works in collaboration with the family bonds program including annual retreat.
  • A Youth Partner serves as the peer coordinator and peer co-facilitator of WAVE and conducts the outreach and engagement of youth involved in Pederson Krag Center's programs with WAVE  and is a liaison to outside programs/agencies and parents of youth regarding youth membership in WAVE and transportation of youth as needed
Requirements: * High School Diploma required. Must have the personal experience of receiving children's mental health, juvenile justice, or foster care services in the past 15 years. Youth partner position ages out at 29 years old due to the unique nature of the peer mentoring role. 
  • Clean driving record, Pass criminal background check and child abuse registry clearance.
  • Full time Position:  37.5 hours weekly/ Flexible schedule required  to meet the program needs
  • Contact information: Michelle Narvaez  Program Director: email:
3600 New York 112                            
Coram, NY 11727                               
Ph: (631) 920-8302
Fx: (631)-920-8462

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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