YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Come Amplify Our Voices at YP!'s Regional Youth Forums
Amplify your voice in the YOUTH POWER_ Regional Youth Forums. _Silhouettes of a young man and woman with microphones_

It's time to amplify youth voice and peer advocacy across the state! YP!'s Regional Teams have been hard at work getting ready for this year's Regional Youth Forums, and each forum is unique to each team. Registration is now open for Hudson River, Long Island, and Western youth forums. In each forum, we will be collecting quotes on what helps and what harms to amplify the voices of young people. See below for more information on the upcoming forums and stay tuned for details on other upcoming forums by visiting the event page on our website or clicking here.

Hudson River Regional Youth Forum

Date: August 6, 2016
Time: 10AM-2PM
Location: Crandall Public Library - Holden Room, 251 Glen St., Glens Falls, NY 12801 

"Focus on Wellness"
Youth and young adults aged 14-27 who have experience in a child serving system (such as mental health services, foster care placement, substance use services, etc.) or who have a disability are invited to explore with us what it means to be well. 

We will have activities, exercises and discussions, to help you relax, have fun, meet other youth and explore what wellness means to you!  You will also have an opportunity to Amplify YOUR Voice by sharing quotes about what has helped and what has harmed in your system experience.  Please RSVP to  Domonica Jeffress via fax or email at 518-434-6478 or

Please call Domonica Jeffress at  518-322-2096 with any questions or comments.
Long Island Logo
Long Island Regional Youth Forum

Date: August 18, 2016
Time: 12:30-3:30PM
Location: Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. 191 Bethpage-Sweet Hollow RD, Old Bethpage, NY 11804 

YOUTH POWER! wants to amplify your voice in our efforts to change the system. We want your quotes on creative coping skills and what helps what harms in the system.  Enjoy FREE food and drinks while learning about creative coping skills.
This event is for long island youth and young adults between the ages of 14 and 29 who have a disability or have received mental health, addiction, child welfare and/or justice services.  Please complete registration form and return to NO LATER than 08/12/16
Click here for the flyer.

For more information, please contact Alex Frisina at or 631-245-5289.
WSTRN in block lettering and Western written under it
Western Regional Youth Forum
Date: August 25, 2016
Time: 1-4PM
Location: Baker Hall School, 777 Ridge Road, Buffalo, NY 14218

Do you hav e a disability or experience with services such as mental health, addiction, foster care or juvenile justice and are between the ages of 12-28? Then 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 years forum that will focus on Trauma-Informed Care and Resiliency! All attendees must register! Please complete the registration forms and send them in by August 19th, 2016.

For more information, please contact Azaria Wittekind at or 585-314-2452. 
Upcoming Trainings on the How To's of Youth Guided Practice
YOUTH POWER_ and NYSS logos_ Multi-County Trainings

The How To's of Youth Guided Practice

Join YOUTH POWER! as we take the real-life experience of our team, the young people and adult partners we work with, and information from national resources to give you the How To's of Youth Guided Practice. These free, five-hour interactive trainings are designed for adult allies, partners, and young leaders to gain the tools they need to develop, improve, and sustain youth guided practices in their Systems of Care.

Topics Include: Defining Youth Guided Practice, Youth Involvement in Organizations, Youth Culture, How to Get Buy-in from Partners, Engaging Youth, Sustaining Youth Involvement, Making meetings Accessible to Youth, Assessing Your Readiness.

Upcoming Trainings - Registration Required
Central Region | Franklin County, August 3, 2016
Hudson River Region | Orange County, August 10, 2016
Hudson River Region | Rensselaer County, September 15, 2016

For more information or to register, please visit
SWAT Youth Council's Wellness Retreat is Approaching!
SWAT logo
SWAT (Spreading Wellness Around Town)
is dedicated to building individual and community wellness. Through seasonal wellness retreats, youth are exposed to new, healthy experiences in a safe and welcoming environment. Within this environment, they talk openly about opportunities to bring wellness into their lives and ways to release the judgments and beliefs that may limit them.

We can all be stigma busters! It's not about illness but about the way we choose to live our lives and take care of ourselves, and most importantly knowing that we all matter and deserve wellness.    

Summer Youth Wellness Retreat
July 20th, 2016 | 9:30AM - 3:30PM
Ages 14-24

The summer event will include...
  • Wellness Discussion
    • What does wellness mean to you? (Mind, body, spirit)
    • How can you improve your own wellness planning?
  • Physical Activity (ie; Yoga, Karate)
  • Lunch
  • Mindful Nature Walk
  • Team Building
    • Creating a project together
    • Outdoor activities
RSVP Required!

Questions? Contact Bianca Logan at or by phone at 585-753-2638
Exciting Opportunities Ahead for the Hudson River RYP, Domonica Jeffress
Domonica Jeffress
It is with sadness, but also excitement for the future, that I announce that I will be leaving my position as the Hudson River Regional Youth Partner at YOUTH POWER! in August. I am leaving so that I can start my graduate education in the fall. Although I will be leaving my full time RYP position, I will remain with YP! as the lead for our Fostering Advocacy, Change, and Empowerment, FACE, initiative.

I have learned so much from the YP! team and all of you partners. I am grateful for the skills that I have learned, and been able to share with youth and young adults throughout the region. Some of my best memories have been with the youth I have the opportunity to engage with. I have been continuously impressed and inspired by the drive and passion they have for not only their own life, but the lives of their peers. I have also been able to share so many amazing moments and memories with fellow staff, partners and allies. I have been surrounded by so much knowledge, passion, experience and lessons that I look forward to carrying with me along this journey. I thank you for your commitment to seeing youth voice, advocacy and youth guided practice become a norm in any and all service systems.

YP! has a history of hiring strong, dedicated young people with a wealth of knowledge and experiences as RYP's so I am sure that the person behind me will ensure that I am never missed. Please welcome them as you did me, and continue the strong relationships we have worked so hard to build in this region. As I said, I will still be with FACE and I expect to always be in this field one way or another, so this isn't goodbye, but see you later.

Domonica Jeffress
YP! Seeking Applicants for the Hudson River Regional Youth Partner Position
Regional Youth Partner Logo

The Regional Youth Partners are peer leaders that connect local youth groups, coordinate regional youth advocacy efforts and provide technical assistance on youth-guided practices and peer support.

LOCATION: Applicant must reside in one of the 16 counties in the region. Preferred location Albany.

STATUS: Full-time salary employee - $30,000+ commensurate on experience, plus benefits package

  • Must have personal lived experience accessing children's mental health services and be willing to share this information publically. Additional experience with Disability, Foster Care, Addiction, or Juvenile Justice is beneficial.
  • Experience as a Youth Peer Advocate preferred
  • Bachelor's or Associates Degree preferred but not required
  • Must have valid driver's license and reliable transportation
  • Must be able to travel

  • Independently motivated
  • Excellent coordination and organization skills
  • Experience with youth leadership and advocacy
  • Experience with peer support preferred
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with diverse groups
  • Demonstrated ability to speak with small and large groups of people
  • Experience with various software packages: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Go-To, Google applications
APPLICATION PROCESS:  Applicants must send a resume with a formal cover letter in order to be considered. Emails and letters must indicate the title of the position that the applicant is seeking.

For the full posting and instructions on how to apply, click here.
Western Region Shout Out: Erin Herman and Caitlin Neumann Awarded the Dare to Dream America Grant

YP! would like to acknowledge Erin Herman and Caitlin Neumann for winning the Dare to Dream America grant in the Buffalo area! YP!'s Western Regional Youth Partner, Azaria Wittekind, interviewed Caitlin and Erin about their plans  for the grant and their experience with writing a grant for the first time! When asked how they heard about the grant, Caitlin and Erin acknowledged YOUTH POWER!, following Youth M.O.V.E. National and paying attention to list serves. 

C Photo of Caitlin Neumann aitlin and Erin envisioned bringing cross systems, cross disabilities, and the general community together around mental health. They would like to promote mental health awareness, stomp out stigma, and educate the public about the resources available to them in the Buffalo area. Caitlin expressed, "This will be a great way to demonstrate how rich Buffalo's resources are because we never have to struggle alone."
One of the first questions I asked, never having written a grant myself was, was it hard? Caitlin and Erin reassured me that it was not all that difficult! Erin and Caitlin firstly teamed up and leaned on each other for support. They also had a support team consisting of people who have applied for grants themselves. The process was very step by step; reading the application, filling it out, making sure you follow the guidelines, and sending it in. Then comes the wait.
photo of Erin Herman
Requirements vary depending on the grant that you apply for. This particular grant also requires Erin and Caitlin to be involved with Youth M.O.V.E. National for calls and to stay in touch. They are also required to keep financial documentation and meet deadlines. The Dare to Dream America grant was specific to mental health and young people but there are tons of grants out there waiting for you for various systems and projects!
There are some Do's and Don'ts to grant writing. Do stay organized, be articulate, have a support system and always have your primary passion in mind.  Don't take on more than you can handle and don't do it alone.
They are still in the development stage and getting over the initial excitement of winning the grant, but they are hitting the ground running! They plan to hold the event next May for mental health awareness month. They envision having an educational, but fun, event equipped with a speak out, self-care stations, mental health screenings, and an information tent with resources available in the community.
Photo of Erin and Caitlin together
Caitlin and Erin run a few youth groups including the Erie County MHA Teen Peer Support Group held twice a month. They also run support groups at Erie County Medical Center and Brylin Hospitals, and run a resident advisory council at Baker Victory Services. Caitlin does individual peer mentoring at Stanley G. Falk and they often both make themselves available to peers in need. They also serve on youth councils and hold spots on the YOUTH POWER! Board of Directors. When they are able to put their super hero capes down they utilize their own de-stressors.  Caitlin proclaims to be a new Pokémon Go fanatic who also enjoys photography and the arts. Erin considers herself an avid nerd and enjoys playing Magic: The Gathering with friends and peers.
A final word of advice from Caitlin would be, "Be confident in yourself and know that there are a lot of organizations out there to support your vision, and make sure you always keep your vision in mind for authentic youth guided advocacy."

Stay tuned as we see their hard work come to life! We look forward to seeing the event next year!

For more information on the Dare to Dream America grant, please visit
Calling All Youth/Young Adults with Experience in Foster Care
FACE logo
FACE is recruiting new members!

Fostering Advocacy Change and Empowerment (FACE)  is a foster youth-led and adult-supported project, working to change the face of foster care in New York. Comprised of some of this generation's most energetic and passionate youth advocates, FACE is an inviting, enthusiastic, familial, safe platform to be heard, to advocate, and stay empowered for every foster youth in New York State. FACE is a part of the YOUTH POWER! Network.
Members are youth/young adults with any experience in foster care (including juvenile justice) who are ready to:
  • Be a part of YOUTH POWER! and the youth movement aiming to promote youth voice and provide and advocacy platform for system involved youth
  • Attend regional meeting to discuss what matters most to you in care and foster care alumni
  • Lead campaigns and advocacy effots
  • Attend local, county, and statewide meeting representing youth voice
  • Participate in fun meetings and training opportunities with other FACE members
For more information, contact or find us on
Members Only Alert: Special Events Workgroup Accepting Applications
Members Only Alert

The Special Events Workgroup takes the lead in planning our YOUTH POWER! major events, such as the Families Together in NYS annual conference youth track and our University of YOUTH POWER!.  We are seeking motivated YP! members ages 18-28 who have previously attended these events to join the Special Events Workgroup.
This group typically meets every other week on Monday at 6:30pm and runs throughout the year, with additional meetings scheduled as we get closer to events. Events being planned by this group are 2-4 days in length and occur on dates during the week and on the weekend. Applicants must be able to commit to the time frame and duration of this group, in addition to attending the events.

The deadline to apply is Monday, August 8th, 2016.

Questions? Contact us at
or by phone at 518-432-0333 ext. 31.
#CripTheVote Twitter Chat: Disability, Violence & Public Policy on July 24th

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat
Disability, Violence & Public Policy
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hosted by Andrew Pulrang, Gregg Beratan, and Alice Wong, #CripTheVote Twitter chats explored various policy issues important to people with disabilities this year. For their eighth Twitter chat, they discuss the relationships between disability, violence, and public policy.  You can find the questions for this chat by clicking here

In the upcoming chat, violence can encompass the following (and is not limited to):
  • Hate speech
  • Bullying, harassment, abuse (emotional, physical, verbal, social)
  • Microagressions, non-physical violence
  • Physical harm, injuries, pain, and death
  • Forced treatment, restraint, isolation
  • Deprivation and the withholding of services, access, and equipment
  • Institutional and policy-related violence on disabled people
By no means do they consider themselves experts on violence, but this is an opportunity for us as a community to highlight the issues and stories that matter to us.

This Twitter chat will be archived in Storify for anyone who would like to see it in chronological order at a later date.

This chat may be triggering so please practice self-care. Feel free to take breaks during the chat and ask for help and support if you are distressed.

For more information, click here.
2016 Bi-County Empowerment Conference: My Recovery, My Rights, My Responsibility

The 2016 Bi-County Empowerment Conference Steering Committee is excited and proud to share this year's program!  2016's theme, My Recovery, My Rights, My Responsibility focuses on empowering ourselves to take control of our own wellness, despite current challenges or past traumas. 
Register at 
Our Time Is Now poster. My Recovery, My Rights, My Responsibility

"My Recovery"
              • Spoken Word Poetry & the Deconstruction of Self with Steven Licardi
              • Building a Healthy Recovery: A View from Both Sides of the Couch with Terri Muuss
" My Rights"
              • Transitions to Freedom with Lonnie Mathis
              • The Right to Recovery - Positively Yes!  with Dave Hinchliffe
"My Responsibility"
              • Self Advocacy: I'm Driving This Bus! with Dwayne Mayes
              • Using Crisis as an Opportunity mini-panel moderated by Melissa Wettengel
More about the program to come. This conference will also feature YP!'s Long Island Regional Youth Partner, Alex Frisina.
* Scholarships still available for those having lived experience with mental health challenges for whom the $40 registration fee may be difficult.  Staff members transporting multiple service recipients also may also have registration fee waived. Contact for information about journal ads or community tables.
Join the Long Island RYP in Celebrating the ADA
Celebrating the ADA banner. Saturday, july 23, 2016. 26 years of the americans with disabilities act

Join YOUTH POWER! in attendance at SILO's celebration for 26 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Saturday July 23rd from 11 am - 3 pm. 

This FREE event taking place at 755 Waverly Avenue, Holtsville NY 11742, will include Mini Golf, A Dunk Tank, Guest Speakers, Live Music and MORE so don't miss out. RSVP at  if you would like to attend.

For more information
Call: 631-880-7929
#GetWokeADA26: Call for Stories from Disabled People of Color
_GetWokeADA Call for Stories_ Disabled People of Color by Ramp Your Voice_ and Disability Visbility Project _wonder woman style figure with rainbow wristbands using a wheelchair_

Last year was a milestone anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act when it turned 25. Just like that, another year has passed and it's time for re-examination of disability rights in America from the perspective of disabled people of color (POC).

Vilissa Thompson, LMSW , of  Ramp Your Voice!  and Alice Wong of the  Disability Visibility Project  are looking to survey disabled people of color for an upcoming article to be published on July 26, 2016, the 26th anniversary of the ADA.
The survey will ask disabled POC:
  • Their reflections on disability rights and the ADA,
  • The unfinished work of the ADA (specifically for disabled people w/ multiple intersectional identities),
  • Why talking about racism and ableism matters in the disability community,
  • How disability organizations and leaders can respectfully and meaningfully collaborate with disabled POC.
Deadline to Participate: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
For more information or to participate, click here.
Upcoming Webinar: Promoting Nutrition Education in Diverse Populations
Banner with center text stating _you are here_ with different lines leading out to different social determinants

Promoting Nutrition Education in Diverse Populations
New Date: July 20th from 12-1PM

Presenter: Psyche Williams-Forson, PhD
Differences in dietary intake, dietary behaviors, and dietary patterns in different segments of the population result in poorer dietary quality and inferior health outcomes for certain groups and an unequal burden in terms of disease incidence, morbidity, mortality, survival, and overall adverse health conditions for minorities as compared to whites. This webinar will address the social, cultural, and economic factors that have an influence on people's food habits and choices and identify culturally sensitive strategies to improve nutrition among diverse populations.

To register, click here.
Equity and Inclusion in Leadership: National Networking Call for People of Color
Star Center Logo
Equity and Inclusion in Leadership Networking Call
Friday, July 22, 2016 | 1:00-2:30PM

This month the STAR Center launches their bi-monthly national networking call for people of color who are interested in increasing the number of people in organizational leadership roles who are African-American, Native American/American Indian/Alaskan Native, Latino/Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islanders. 

Despite the growing numbers and all the available resources focused on racial equity, the level of participation by people of color in policy related and non-profit organizational roles remains devastatingly low. The hope is that this opportunity for people of color to network and support each other's leadership efforts across the country and in the target states/regions will make a measurable and remarkable difference towards eliminating the disparities currently experienced across the country.

For more information or to register, click 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.
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! 

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
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
national minority mental health awareness month
Mental illness affects one in five adults and one in 10 children in America, according to the  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Furthermore, mental illness is a leading cause of disability, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, and racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. are even less likely to get help, according to the  National Alliance on Mental Illness.

During National Minority Mental Health Month, help raise awareness in your organization or community. Encourage your family, friends, loved ones and clients to learn more about improving mental health and illness.

For more information, click here.
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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