YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Seeking Applications for AMPLIFY-NY's Pilot Regional Youth Leadership Forum
AMPLIFY NY logo. Red fist outlined in black holding a microphone with a speaker on either side facing outward. Underneath, the text reads AMPLIFY NY with a silhouette of new york as the hyphen
AMPLIFY-NY's Pilot Regional Youth Leadership Forum
October 7-10, 2017 | Albany, NY

YOUTH POWER!'s AMPLIFY-NY Initiative is hosting our pilot Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) for young people with disabilities to speak up, build skills, and prepare to take on leadership roles. This peer-run forum brings opportunities to YOUth and gives the next generation of leaders the tools and support they need for success.

The pilot YLF is a safe, youth friendly environment with plenty of fun activities to complement the wealth of knowledge being learned!  This 4-day, 3-night forum is FREE to attend and includes panel presentations, hands-on activities to practice leadership skills, and supported leadership activities. Future leaders do not want to miss this opportunity to build leadership skills, and become empowered with self-confidence and self-determination.

Ten young people will be selected to attend the Pilot Youth Leadership Forum. Those who reside in the following counties are encouraged to apply: Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington, Westchester.

Applications to attend are due by September 15, 2017.
For more information and to apply,  click here.

**Opportunity for Parents/Caregivers to attend the Foundations for Leadership workshop series on October 7 & 10. For more information, visit or contact the email below for the application. ***

Questions? Contact  
Final Chance! Deadline Today to Provide Valuable Feedback for CRPA-Y with Chance to win an iPad
Attn: Youth Peer Leaders and Advocates
We need your help!

Give input into Certified Recovery Peer Advocacy for Youth.

Chance to win an IPAD!

Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of NYS (ASAP) and the New York Certification Board (NYCB) is partnering with YOUTH POWER!, and WRise Consulting to develop, pilot, and implement addiction-specific youth specialty that builds on the Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA) certification. 
This project is funded by a grant from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) with the goal to develop a career path for those interested in becoming CRPAs specializing in serving young people affected by youthful substance use. We are developing this new Certified Recovery Peer Advocate- Youth (CRPA-Y) with the guidance of many experts in the fields of peer recovery, youth, and addiction.
Youth Peer Leaders and Advocates are invited to provide valuable feedback into this process by completing a survey that should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

In appreciation for your time and input, when you complete the survey, you will receive:
  1.  1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) from the New York Certification Board, which may be applied toward renewal of your peer certification (if applicable)
  2.  Entry into a raffle drawing for a chance to win an Apple IPAD
Deadline of September 11, 2017 
Register Today! Regional Youth Forums Taking Place Across the State
Central Logo Rising Above the Stigma: Central Regional Youth Forum
Join us September 23rd, 2017 from 11:30AM-3:00PM at The CanTeen (6046 Rt. 31, Cicero NY 13039) to discuss stigma! Youth ages 12-29 who reside in the Central Region are welcome to join!  Lunch will be provided!

Stigma affects us all! We all have stigmas associated with ourselves and sometimes we even have stigmas about other people. This is a safe place for youth to come and enjoy themselves while learning more about stigma and how to combat it. Youth will have the opportunity to network with other young people, provide feedback on current issues, learn how to advocate, enjoy activities and more! Youth will walk away with realistic action steps and attainable ideas from this event.  Hurry! Registration closes September 19 th To register,   click here .

WSTRN in block lettering and Western written under it
Healthy Relationships and Wellness: Western Regional Youth Forums
Do you have a disability or experience with services such as mental health, addiction, foster care, or juvenile justice and are between the ages of 12-28? We want your quotes on what helps and what harms so that we can bring what you have to say directly to those in power!

Please join us for this year's forums that will focus on healthy relationships and wellness!

Oct 9, 2017, in Buffalo NY  from 1-4pm at Meals on Wheels on James E Casey Drive. Register for Buffalo here:

Nov 4, 2017,  in Bath NY from 1-4pm at the Steuben Arc on Arc Way
Register for Bath here:
For more information, contact Azaria Wittekind at or 585-314-2452.

 For the flyers, or to stay up to date on when a forum will be hosted near you, visit
Rensselaer County Art for Activism Event Coming Up September 13!
Art for Activism
September 13, 2017 | 5-7:30pm
Do you want to learn how to amplify your voice using art? Join VOYA for an informational, artistic learning experience about how through the destruction of something old, there is the potential for the creation of something NEW, something YOU!

This event is designed for young people ages 14-25 who have experience with behavioral health challenges. To register for Art for Activism, please go to or contact Amanda Davidson at or 518-729-8284.

Location: The Troy Public Library Main Branch Art Gallery, 100 2nd Street, Troy NY 12180.
Click here for the flyer
Free To Be Meeting September 13! Join Our Statewide LGBTQ+ Group
chalkboard background with Free to be on top underlined with a rainbow. text reads september 13 from 630 to 730pm via goto app. For call in information contact freetobe at
Free to Be is an initiative of YOUTH POWER! created to provide a peer network for LGBTQ+ young adults that is all-inclusive. Whether one identifies as asexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, queer, or any other identity, this is a safe place for resources and support.

Connect with other young adults statewide, learn about resources in your area, and learn more about LGBTQ+ leaders throughout the state!

The next meeting is September 13th from 6:30pm-7:30pm. This group meets via GoTo Meeting which allows you to join by phone, computer, or an app!

What are we looking for?
We need YOU(th), agencies, and providers to:
  • Share and learn about LGBTQ resources!
  • Offer input - what do you need from an LGBTQ network?
  • Help us understand various perspectives through your experiences
  • Find/provide peer support throughout NYS while connecting young adults with LGBTQ leaders and resources
  • Help spread the word!
Who is invited to join? Youth, young adults, and agencies are encouraged to join our meetings. This is to ensure that youth and young adults' voices are heard and that agencies can offer their resources and listen to our feedback. As we move forward, there will be separate meetings dedicated to the attendance of only youth and young adults.

Contact for more details or to join.
Welcoming Zack Kilmer, YP!'s NYISA Coordinator
Zack Kilmer holding a red and black hope board, standing below the words Speak Up! Speak Out!
Hey everyone! My name is Zack Kilmer and I was recently brought on board here at YOUTH POWER!. I will be the New York Institute for Self-Advocacy (NYISA) Coordinator. A little bit about myself: I'm an autistic LGBTQ+ young adult who has had a passion for activism and civics since I was a child. Raised by a single mother and brought up in special education programs, I know the struggles young people face and want to change the system to better suit our needs. I am very excited and honored to be working with YOUTH POWER! to achieve that goal. Before joining YP!, I graduated from SUNY Brockport with a bachelor's degree in English & Political Science. Shortly after, I worked on the New York 19th District 2016 Congressional Election in support of Zephyr Teachout.

The New York Institute for Self-Advocacy is a new YP! initiatives that will educate young adults with developmental disabilities ages 21 and up on how to not only be self-advocates, but how to teach their peers as well. This includes training in being an active citizen, awareness of government activity, information on personal rights, public policy, legal literacy, and much more. The first year of the institute will be focused on the topic of employment. We are currently forming a Project Advisory Group for NYISA which will be crucial for setting up and guiding the path of this new chapter of YP!'s story. If you are interested in taking part in the institute or the advisory board, please contact me! I can be reached at 518-708-3808, or at I look forward to working with the YP! members and am very excited to be a part of the team. 
Congratulations to Stephanie Orlando on Being Selected for the Leila Salmon Advocacy Award!
Stephanie Orlando speaking at the podium in front of the YOUTH POWER! banner The Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS)  recently announced the award winners for their annual awards dinner to be hosted on October 18, 2017 at the Albany Marriot. Executive Director Stephanie Orlando was selected to receive the Leila Salmon Advocacy Award. 

This award is given out to recognize an advocate whose dedication and leadership has made an impact on the availability, accessibility, and/or delivery of mental health services nationally on behalf of NYS. Congratulations Stephanie!

Join us in celebrating this achievement. Registration is available at 
Youth Focus Group to Discuss Juvenile Justice System - September 21
youth movement logo
Youth Focus Group
September 21, 2017 | 5-6:30pm

If you are a youth who has experienced the Juvenile Justice System, please join us for this focus group. The group will be facilitated by Alyssa Lopez and Edwin Alverez, Youth Advocates from the Families Child Advocacy Network.

Youth Movement is a youth-led collaboration empowering young people to have a voice in the systems that impact their lives.

Please come and share your expertise on this important issue. 
Location: Family Help Center, 60 Dingens Street, Buffalo NY 14602

Food will be provided!!

RSVP to Hillary Worthington at 716-822-0919 x273
Conference Corner:
Opportunities and Updates

Upcoming Conferences and Updates

NYS Suicide Prevention Conference Banner

The  New York State Suicide Prevention Conference will be held in Albany, NY on September 18-19, 2017. Hosted by the Office of Mental Health, this conference is a great way to learn what's being done across the country to prevent suicides and get an update on New York's 1,700 Too Many prevention plan. Participants who attend both full days are also eligible to earn social work and licensed mental health counselor CEUs.  For more information or to register, visit

ASAP Conference Banner
This conference, taking place September 17-20 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, is designed for persons interested in effective substance use disorder and problem gambling prevention, treatment and recovery services. ASAP conference attendees are a mix of program administrators and directors, clinical staff and other professionals from local, state and federal organizations. For more information, click here.

Transition Age Youth Institute Banner

The countdown to #NYTAY2017 is here! Make sure you've registered for the  Transition Age Youth Institute on September 26-27, 2017, in Saratoga, NY. The Saratoga Hilton is sold out for the evening of the conference. Rooms are still available at the overflow hotel, The Courtyard Marriott (a short distance up the road from the Hilton). For more information or to register, click here .

NYSRA Summit Banner
Following the 2017 Transition Age Youth Institute in Saratoga, NY is another great opportunity: The New York State Rehabilitation Summit. This conference takes place September 27-28, 2017. Stay up to date on announcements for SUMMIT 2017 by following @NYSRehab on social media. For more information or to register, click here.

In My Mind Conference Logo
2017 In My Mind: A LGBTQ Peoples of Color Mental Health Conference -  Thursday, Oct 5 & Friday, Oct 6.  This two-day conference will focus on how LGBTQ peoples of color navigate mental health care by examining concerns with the new administration, developments and progress to date, and what the future holds.  For information and registration, visit: .

MHANYS Conference Banner
Registration is open for the Mental Health Association in New York State's Annual Awards Dinner & Conference taking place October 18-19 in Albany, NY. This year they have brought together a diverse and talented group of speakers that will discuss the current federal and state trends regarding the behavioral health delivery system in addition to an esteemed panel highlighting the integration of mental health in the educational system. For more information or to register, visit  #YPInsider: Executive Director, Stephanie Orlando, will be receiving the Leila Salmon Advocacy Award at this event! 
OPWDD To Host Public Hearing. Deadline for Speaker Registration September 15
OPWDD Banner
PLEASE NOTE:  The date for the Public Hearing for the Development of the OPWDD Statewide Comprehensive Plan has been changed to September 25, 2017.  The time remains the same, from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.  The deadline for speaker registration has been extended to Friday, September 15, 2017.  Room assignments have been updated and two View-Only locations have been added.  Details of the public hearing are in the updated announcement below.

The New York State
Office for People With Developmental Disabilities
Announces a Public Hearing for the Development of the Statewide Comprehensive Plan
September 25, 2017:   3pm - 7pm
This hearing will be held at nine locations throughout the state (see locations below) and will be conducted as a live video-conference with Acting Commissioner Kerry A. Delaney. The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will accept your comments, feedback and testimony at the hearing.
OPWDD intends to use the ideas, suggestions, and comments received through the public hearing to further refine our 5.07 Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Services for 2018-2022. OPWDD urges self-advocates, parents and other family members of people with developmental disabilities, non-profit providers, professionals, advocates, and other interested parties to participate.
Consistent with OPWDD's Mission and Vision Statement, the Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Services is our 5-year plan to transform our service delivery system. The Plan aims to create a system of services and supports that is even more person-centered, outcome driven, measurable and sustainable.
Topics on which we are seeking input include:
  • Managed care gives people more options to create a plan that is right for them. Care Coordination Organizations will help people make Life Plans that include both their OPWDD services and the health, behavioral health and other services they receive, like medication management, in one place. What can we do to help give people more choices?
  • How can we help people learn about People First Care Coordination? What are the best ways to ask people for their feedback?
  • How can we encourage communities to learn more about, welcome and include people with developmental disabilities?
  • OPWDD's transformation plan is driven by the ideas of our stakeholders, including the Transformation Panel and individuals and families across the state. What is one change we could make that would have the biggest positive impact on the people we serve?
  • OPWDD has a plan to increase housing and make it easier for people to access. How can we help people with developmental disabilities learn about residential services and choose where they want to live?
Speakers will be asked to register prior to the hearing, limit their comments to three (3) minutes, and to bring three (3) copies of their testimony with them to the hearing. The deadline for registration is close of business on Friday, September 15 . Opportunities to testify or present will be granted on a first come, first served basis, as time permits.
Written testimony may also be submitted by mail to:
Attn: Chris Nemeth
44 Holland Avenue, 3rd Floor
Albany, NY 12229
or by e-mail to:
To register to speak, obtain more information or directions to the hearing location, or to arrange for a special accommodation, please click here for the video conference locations and contact information.
For general information about the Public Hearing, please contact
OPWDD's Communications Office:
Phone: (518) 474-6601    Fax: (518) 473-1271   
Deadline Approaching to Submit Nominations for the 2017 Rock Star Awards - September 15
Youth Move National Logo

Youth MOVE National's  RockStar Awards is back for 2017! The RockStar Awards recognizes individuals and organizations who make an outstanding contribution toward improving the lives of youth and improving youth-serving systems-such as the mental health system, juvenile justice, education, or child welfare. The categories open for nominations are:
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity
    Honors individuals who have successfully implemented a systems-change approach within the past two years to improve outcomes for those impacted by health disparities. One individual or a team of up to two individuals will receive a $3,000 unrestricted cash prize!
  • Dr. Gary M. Blau Professional of the Year
    Recognizes an individual with outstanding and continued service to a systems profession through active support of youth voice as evidenced by efforts to ensure youth voice is fully integrated into the work.
  • Tricialouise Gurley-Millard Youth Advocate of the Year
    Recognizes an outstanding and continued performance as a youth or young adult advocate between the ages of 14 and 29 with lived experience in one or more youth-serving systems.
  • Organization of the Year
    Recognizes an organization with outstanding and continued development of youth-guided programs and practices.
  • Marlene Matarese Advocate for Youth of the Year
    Recognizes an individual with outstanding and continued support and facilitation of youth and young adult voice as evidenced by involvement in youth-led projects and trainings as well as advocating for positive systems change.
  • Youth MOVE National Chapter of the Year
    Outstanding and continued performance as a nationally recognized chapter of Youth MOVE National in good standing for at least one (1) year with a commitment to authentic representation of youth voice in a manner consistent and relative to youth culture and issues.
The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, September 15.  Learn more about the eligibility requirements and nominate an individual or organization by  clicking here .
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.nationalcampaigns
Together, we can amplify our voices!

Below are the awareness campaigns for September. Team up to Speak Up and Speak Out! 

Kinship Care Month
National Guide Dog Month
Recovery Month
Suicide Prevention 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
September is National Recovery Month
national recovery month banner
Every September, SAMHSA sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. The  annual theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities.

Each year, Recovery Month creates a toolkit to help individuals and organizations increase awareness of the power of recovery. The kit provides tips and resources for planning Recovery Month events and distributing information in communities across the nation. Visit  for more details.
Check Out Chautauqua County's Suicide Prevention Week Featuring Events September 18-23
The community alliance for suicide prevention logo
Starting September 18th, there will be numerous events for families, youth, and the community to enjoy and help spread suicide awareness throughout the Chautauqua Region.  All events are open to the public and free of charge.  Please note, some events may require registration ahead of time.  Click here for the schedule of events.
The planning committee is excited to announce that Kevin Hines is returning to Chautauqua County to speak at two locations on September 21st. 

Kevin Hines is a brain/mental health advocate, award-winning global speaker, bestselling author and documentary filmmaker who reaches audiences with his story of an unlikely survival and his strong will to live. Two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (19 years of age), he attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He is one of only thirty-four to survive the fall, and the only one to regain full physical mobility. He is the only Golden Gate Bridge jump survivor who is actively spreading the message of living mentally healthy. The fall would break his body, but not his spirit. Today, Kevin dedicates his life to saving lives by spreading the message of hope and sharing his art of living mentally well. He is one of the most respected and admired voices of lived experience. Kevin's story is a remarkable testament to the strength of the human spirit and a reminder for us to love the life we have. To learn more about Kevin, visit
For more information, please contact Victoria Patti at 716-753-4519 or Please follow the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention Facebook event page for an updated calendar of events.
Shout Out to the Rochester Mental Health Association and the Villa of Hope Youth Mentor Program!
MHA Rochester Logo
Shout out to the Rochester Mental Health Association and the Villa of Hope Youth Mentor Program! They have teamed up and are having the first ever Youth Peer Advocate led Support group in Monroe County starting on September 18th at Penfield High School! 

Teen Support Group
P.E.A.C.E. - Peers Encouraging A Caring Environment

If you're a teen between the ages of 13-18, PEACE is for you. The encourage open and honest sharing of thoughts, emotions, and dreams among meets. To oversee the meeting and ensure a caring and safe environment, there will be at least two facillitators at every PEACE group. The facilitators are not therapists and will not offer therapeutic advice.

For the flyer, click here.
Accomable Aims to be Accessible Version of Airbnb
via disabilityscoop by Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle/TNS

SAN FRANCISCO - When Alex Ghenis moved into his Berkeley apartment, he spent thousands of dollars remodeling to accommodate his wheelchair, adding a roll-in shower, accessible shower fixtures, and hardwood floors in the living room and bedroom. In the bedroom, he set up a Hoyer Lift for transferring between his wheelchair and the bed. The landlord installed an automatic door opener at the building entrance.

"Here I am with all these resources," said Ghenis, 29, who has used a wheelchair since a spinal-cord injury 13 years ago. "When I travel, it would be great to stay in an apartment that is just as accessible - and to open up my place for other people."

That's the goal of Accomable, an Airbnb-style marketplace for short-term rentals for people with disabilities. Ghenis has listed his place on Accomable to rent to other wheelchair users when he's out of town. In turn, he'll also use the site to seek out places to stay in other cities.

"It looks like a fantastic resource," said Ghenis, who travels for his work as a policy and research specialist at the World Institute on Disability. "It would be good for my pocketbook if someone rents (my place) when I'm out and about."

Accomable CEO and co-founder Srin Madipalli, 31, who uses a wheelchair because of spinal muscular atrophy, was a corporate lawyer in London with a travel bug. In 2010, he took off on a six-month trek around Europe, Africa and Asia. While he loved seeing the world, finding a place to stay was often an ordeal.

"I was constantly turning up to hotels and finding out they weren't accessible, even if they had said they were," he said.

During the next few years he got an MBA at Oxford, learned coding and started a travel blog, Disability Horizons, with a friend. Feedback from blog readers made him realize how many people with disabilities had trouble finding suitable lodgings while traveling. That was the impetus for founding Accomable two years ago.

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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