YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews
Join Youth and Families at the 2017 FTNYS Annual Conference
Families Together in NYS Conference

Register for the 2017 Families Together in NYS Annual Conference

Every year, young people and families come together for a unique experience - a conference led by their peers! This conference offers several tracks, including the family track, leadership track, partners track, and the youth track run by YOUTH POWER!. 

Over 400 people come from across the state to expand their knowledge and connect with like-minded individuals, creating a support system that will last for years to come. For those who attended the event last year, this year will be kicked off once again with an opening performance by our incredibly talented Long Island Regional Youth Partner, Alex Frisina. Participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy a family-friendly Heroes of Hope dance party in the evening on Sunday. Conference registration is currently open. To view the preliminary program, click here.

For more information, visit: 
FACE Joins National Partnership Working To Strengthen Foster Youth Voice
FYA logo
With the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, YOUTH POWER! is joining forces with Foster Youth in Action (FYA) and FYA founding partner California Youth Connection for a unique learning exchange.

This partnership will work to strengthen foster youth voice in New York City and Los Angeles through various activities including:
  • FACE NYC will be collaborating with FYA to launch a foster youth-led child welfare policy campaign in NYC
  • A learning exchange where current foster youth organizers in LA and NYC will share organizing lessons and improve campaigns
  • A partnership with trauma-informed community building experts at San Francisco State University's Health Equity Institute to construct a formal model of foster youth-led organizing that reflects best practice of our partner network and promotes more effective, relevant, and healing centered approaches to engage the broad base of foster youth.
From all of our partners, we want to say thanks to the staff and Board at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for believing in the power of foster youth voice.
Raise the Age Signed Into Law!
Paige Pierce and others with Governor Andrew Cuomo
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are thrilled to share with you that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed ' Raise the  Age' legislation into law  on Monday. As a network, we've all been working so hard on this for the past 4 years as our top legislative priority. It feels so good to have such a positive outcome and we want to thank you all for everything you did, from thousands of phone calls and letters, hosting events across the state, and countless legislative visits, to make this a reality. 

Most important, were the impacted families and youth who courageously shared their stories in order to protect future families and youth from the tragedies and hardships that they endured. Families across the state are breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing that our children will now be treated like the minors that they are in the justice system. We know that they deserve the chance to develop and achieve their full potential. Thanks to these brave families, now they will be given that chance. As a network, we never back down from the tough fights because we advocate like our children's lives depend on it. Indeed they do. 

As we celebrate this monumental step forward that will result in thousands of youth going into Family Court, let us remember that there is still much work to be done: monitoring the implementation of this historic law and ensuring that the "justice" system lives up to its name will be a big part of our role in upcoming years. So let's take this time to celebrate, and as always, be prepared to roll up our sleeves and continue our important work. 

With Gratitude, 

Paige Pierce, CEO
Families Together in New York State
Looking for More Opportunities to Amplify Your Voice? Join a YP! Working Group!
Calling All Youth
Recruiting for the Action and Outreach Statewide Working Groups

The Action Working Group leads our advocacy and activism. We have a lot to say and this group makes sure our members are heard. Currently, in response to growing concerns regarding our rights in education, this group is working on an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Defense Campaign. This group meets 1-2 times per month via GoTo meeting where members can join through their phone, computer, or an app. For more information or to get involved, contact Melanie Hecker at

The Outreach Working Group creates ways to grow the YP! network and strengthen its voice. The printed member newsletter is developed by this group. Currently, this group is developing a series of videos in partnership with Youth FX to further promote YP! activities across the state. This group meets monthly through GoTo meeting where members can join through their phone, computer, or an app. For more information or to get involved, contact Brianna Valesey at 
Transition Age Youth Institute:
Call for Presentations Extended
Transition Age Youth Institute Banner
You're Invited to Submit a Proposal!
Call for Presentations
September 26-27, 2017   | The Saratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs, NY

The 2017 Transition Age Youth Institute offers professionals in the field of rehabilitation the opportunity to:
  • enhance knowledge through interactive discussions in critical areas such as CTE & employment, inclusion, life-enrichment, literacy and managed care;
  • reflect and deliberate on the challenges and rewards of innovative designs and youth service delivery models;
  • collaborate across all stakeholders; and
  • share, capture and take back experiences, strategies and informational tools that will successfully move transition services forward.

Topics of Interest
The Institute Collaborators seek presentations that address the following topics:
  • Emerging Trends and Practices with School Systems
  • Community Inclusion Strategies
  • Partnerships and Collaborations - Who With and How is it Being Done?
  • Developing Transition Plans & Practices
  • Peer Advocacy and Mentoring
  • WIOA and Youth Focused Opportunities
  • Transitioning Youth from School to Other Services
  • Respite for Youth
  • After-School Supports for Youth with Disabilities
Submit Your Proposal Today
Deadline for Submission:
Sunday, April 30, 2017

New This Year - Submit a Proposal Electronically! 
Multiple Options for Submitting!
Click the link above to learn more!

Logos_ NYSRA_ MHANYS_ LDA_ NYS Coalition for Children_s Behavioral Health_ YP__ FTNYS_ NYATEP
Our Own Icons! "Cripping" the Comic Con 2017
Our Own Icons_ _Cripping_ the Comic Con 2017 icon
Our Own Icons! "Cripping" the Comic Con 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017 
9:00 AM - 8:30 PM 
Syracuse University - Schine Student Center 

The 5th Annual "Cripping" the Comic Con is an INTERNATIONAL summit bringing together the DEPARTMENT OF ABILITY (U.K.) and the ACCESS AVENGERS (U.S.), two teams of superheroes with disabilities. Meet them and other distinguished guests at our live streamed panel, hosted by youth ambassadors from the U.K. and the U.S.!
  • Create your own CripCon mascot!
  • Design your own Access Avenger!
  • Live streamed rock concert with Calling Utopia!
  • Cosplay and light painting!
  • Welcome, Hydro Girl!



FILM SCREENING:   4.21.17 - Finding Dory ((

American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided for the entire symposium. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided during the morning plenary session and the evening concert. Request additional accommodations via online registration by  4/14/17. Free parking -- details on our website. (

This symposium is made possible by the Cocurricular Departmental Initiatives Program within the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience. Hosted by the Disability Cultural Center, with support from the Disability Student Union, the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee, the Slutzker Center for International Services, the Center on Human Policy, the Office of Student Activities, and the Office of Disability Services.

For more information, visit:
Follow us on Twitter @cripcon
Find us on Facebook: /crippingthecon

What's Great In Our State 2017
Partnering for Help and Hope!
What's Great in Our State 2017:
A Celebration of Children's Mental Health Awareness

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 | 2 to 4:30pm
Huxley Auditorium, New York State Museum
222 Madison Avenue in Albany

Join this event to:
  • Learn about and honor programs and people for their exceptional work with children
  • Enjoy artwork created by children receiving mental health services throughout New York State
  • Bring attention to the importance of children's mental health
This is a FREE event, refreshments will be served!
Please register at: Register.WGioS.2017
Call for Abstracts: LGBTQ Peoples of Color Mental Health Conference
In My Mind: LGBTQ Peoples of Color Mental Health Conference
"Navigating Mental Health: Concerns, Developments & Promises"
Oct 5 & 6, 2017
at The Stewart Hotel (formerly The Affinia)
371 Seventh Ave (at 31s Street), New York, NY 10001 
This year's conference focuses on mental health care: navigating concerns, acknowledging developments and looking to the future for LGBTQ peoples of color, through the collective strengths and wisdom of clinicians, consumers, academics and advocates to confront the issues affecting these communities.
The collective efforts of the organizations hosting this two-day conference encourages presenters to focus on how LGBTQ peoples of color navigate mental health care in the age of the new administration. Presentations will examine concerns with the new administration's funding cuts declarations, developments and progress to date, and what the future holds. At the end of the second day, they will continue their traditional "Community Speak Out" - an opportunity for conference participants to have their "say", express their thoughts on ways of addressing the mental health of LGBTQ people of color and the necessary next steps for improving this conference.
The Conference invites abstract submissions which examine, discuss and provide methodologies and techniques for healing, including resources, for LGBTQ peoples of color. For more information on the topics or to send a submission, click here.
You're Invited! Mid-Hudson Regional Planning Consortium

(Including: Children's Health, Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse Services, Medically Fragile service providers, Prevention, Child Welfare, Children's Education, Juvenile Justice and Children's Care Management)
You are cordially invited to...
The Mid-Hudson
Regional Planning Consortium (RPC)
Children and Families Subcommittee
Town Hall Event
Attendees will be given an opportunity to network   and learn about how to get involved
with a landmark process that will help shape the delivery of NYS health and behavioral health care
services for children, youth, and families, including children involved in the child welfare system.
This will also be an opportunity to identify issues and suggest solutions regarding how to improve services for children, youth and their families.
WHEN: Friday April, 28th from 10-12pm
WHERE: Four Winds Hospital-Conference Center-800 Cross River Road-Katonah, NY  10536
GPS Address:  750 Cross River Road
For those providing services in: Sullivan Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and/or Westchester Counties

They Work For Us: A Self-Advocates Guide to Getting Through to your Elected Officials
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Right now, many people are getting involved in political advocacy for the first time. People are going to town hall meetings and making phone calls to their members of Congress. They're writing letters and using social media to organize advocacy groups.
This new wave of political advocacy is incredible. And people with disabilities need to be a part of that. That's why the Autistic Self Advocacy Network announced a new series of plain language toolkits. These toolkits focus on the basics of civic engagement.
  • who our elected officials are, and
  • what strategies self-advocates can use to get our voices heard by the people we elect to represent us.
Some parts of the toolkit are available as short, stand-alone fact sheets, including "How to Call Your Elected Officials," "In-Person Meetings with Elected Officials," and "Sending Elected Officials Emails, Letters, and Faxes."
You can download the toolkit and fact sheets by clicking here .
NYSRA Call for Presentations Extended
NYSRA Summit 2017 Banner
DEADLINE EXTENDED:  April 28, 2017
Call for Presentations
September 27-28, 2017   |    The Saratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs, NY
The NYSRA Rehabilitation Summit offers professionals in the field of rehabilitation the opportunity to
  • enhance knowledge through discussions in critical areas; 
  • reflect and deliberate on the challenges and rewards of innovative designs and service delivery models; 
  • build strategic alliances and collaborations; and 
  • share, capture and take back to their agencies experiences and strategies and informational tools that have successfully moved agencies toward enhanced quality services.
Topics of Interest
The Summit 2017 Planning Committee seeks presentations that address the following topics:
  • Organizational Cultural Change Ideas
  • Emerging Trends and Practices for I/DD and Behavioral Health Managed Care Readiness
  • Understanding and Preparing for Value Based Payments / Medicaid Block Grants
  • Economic Development Success Stories
  • Partnerships and Collaborations - Who with and How is it Being Done?
  • Day Services / Supports for People with Complex Need
  • Electronic Health Records for Delivery and Tracking Services
  • Strategies for Finding New & Different Resources to Produce Outcomes
  • New Ideas to Support Employment Success for People with Disabilities
  • Utilizing and Tracking Data and Analytics for Successful Outcomes
  • Developing Transition Plans & Practices
  • Higher Scrutiny / CMS Regulations
  • CMS and Waiver Services Compliance
  • Ethics
  • Successfully Billing Under SEMP

Deadline for Submissions: Friday, April 28, 2017. 
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! 

Autism Acceptance Month
Child Abuse Prevention Month
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and Alcohol Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

 Mental Health Month
Foster Care Awareness Month
Global Youth Traffic Safety Month
National Mobility Awareness Month

Want to get more involved in YP!'s Advocacy efforts?
 You can submit advocacy tips, articles, and more on topics that affect YOU! Team up with monthly, weekly, and national day campaigns and email submissions to!

Did we miss a campaign or resource above? Let us know!

#NotSpecialNeeds: Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Throughout the month of March, we celebrated Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, with this year marking the 30th anniversary of doing so.  The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and New York State joined the rest of the country in raising awareness of the unique talents and contributions people with developmental disabilities bring to our communities.

To increase public awareness throughout the year, they have developed awareness and education initiatives including EmployAbility and WelcoME which focus on the abilities, contributions, accomplishments, and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities. An online collection of stories is also being featured this month of people with developmental disabilities doing great things in, with, and for their communities. These stories are available on the OPWDD website at .

Another campiagn working on changing language to change attitudes is the #NotSpecialNeeds campaign. This campaign shows how using the phrase "special needs" is counter-productive in a very creative way. Watch the video below to learn more or visit .

Join WNY Independent Living for the 2nd Disability Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday, July 22, 2017
Disability Pride Parade _ Festival Banner
Join WNY Independent Living for the 2nd Disability Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday July 22, 2017!
The parade will begin just behind City Hall at  10:30am, and wind through Downtown Buffalo to conclude at Coca Cola Field. The festival will begin at  11am at Coca Cola Field, and conclude at  3:00pm!
Admission is free and open to all persons with and without disabilities. WNY Independent Living, Inc. and our community partners expect over 1200+ participants and have many local agencies collaborating with this event in making this a success! There will be live entertainment by Buffalo City Limits, fun family activities, and free food!
To sign up to be in the Parade, to become a sponsor or vendor, or just for more information, please contact Heather Mattiuzzo at 716-836-0822 ext. 146 or email
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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