YOUTH POWER nothing about us without us YP!

In this eNews;
Teach Your Skills from Peer to Systems Advocacy at our BIGGEST event!
Black background - UNIVERSITY OF YOUTH POWER_ in all caps


  University of YOUTH POWER! is the premiere youth peer leadership conference modeled after a college experience. This conference provides Youth Peer Advocates and change agents the opportunity to build skills and expand their professional network. Young people ages 18 to 30 can register for this for-youth-by-youth social justice conference with a major of Peer Advocacy, Systems Advocacy or participate in the NEW Recovery Track with Youth Voices Matter. This conference will take place June 22-25 at the College of Saint Rose. 

Join us in amplifying the skills and professional networks of young leaders across the state! 
Submit a proposal today!

More information regarding the topics and proposal guidelines are available in the application below. Individuals are not limited to one proposal. We encourage you to consider proposals that address the specific needs of each major or provide advanced and beginner courses to fit the diverse needs of students. Proposals can also include creative and engaging activities for all students to participate in.

Download the application form  here!
Submissions are due by Tuesday, March 5th 2019

Send your COMPLETED Call for Professors form to:
Attn:  Amanda Davidson     Topic:  UYP Call for Professors
Fax:  518-434-6478
Mail:  737 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12208

It's Not Goodbye, It's See You Later. 
image of a sunset behind mountains with a quote that reads Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. By Mica Gonzalez
It is with great sadness that I announce that I will be taking another position outside of YOUTH POWER! This is a hard step for me. I reflect on my two years of being with YOUTH POWER! as some of the hardest things I have done but by far very rewarding.

In this line of work, you get used to talking about yourself a lot. You get into the habit of empowering others and sharing your story so that way others can learn and be inspired. I will admit that I didn't realize until I talked about it more that I am still in the throes of various systems. I went from a really young person navigating systems to a 28 year old adult doing the same things. I had to take the time and space to come to terms with that. I will admit it is/was not easy. However, I have learned more about myself and ultimately it has led to a better version of myself.

             I think nothing is more magical than when a young person hears what I am experiencing (or have experienced) and their eyes light up because for the first time in their life they have someone that can understand them. I got into this work because I wanted to change things for other people. I didn't want others to experience some of the things that I had and I wanted to make communities stronger, youth more empowered and just resilient people. I can say confidently that I have achieved that. I created deep meaningful relationships with agencies, partners and youth not only in the Central Region but all across the state. I consider myself lucky as I have even had some national opportunities to share my work and spread the word of YP!.

As I finish my reflection, I want to leave you with this. As you grow (not only through your journey but your age too) you begin to see things in different lights. Some for good, some for bad- but that is called maturity. No one ever teaches us when we are growing up that you are still going to outgrow things and that change is a necessary part of the way the world works. Nothing is meant to last forever (hate to break it to you). That pains me to say that, because I truly envisioned myself at YP! for eternity, but that's not reality. Part of being self-advocates is being true to yourself. It took me some time to be authentic with myself and admit that it was time for me to go. I want to empower you to look at things in your life the same. Challenge yourself, question things, be curious and wander aimlessly. Taking the step to jump off the ledge is one of the scariest parts. Doing this will help you ground yourself and remind you of the person that you truly are.

I wish you all the best in the future and I hope to keep myself involved in the world of YOUTH POWER! I really appreciate all of you and your willingness to work with me. I am eternally grateful. Remember "change is inevitable but growth is optional".

Lead on!
Mica Gonzalez, (former) Central Regional Youth Partner
Seeking Applicants for the Western Regional Youth Partner Position
black background. white post board image with youth holding it up_ says we want YOUth.
There is an opening in the YOUTH POWER! division of Families Together in NYS, Inc. Our current Western Regional Youth Partner, Carly DelVecchio, will be transitioning to the Central Regional Youth Partner(RYP) Position. We are seeking applicants for the Western RYP position. 

POSITION:  Western Regional Youth Partner - The Regional Youth Partners are peer leaders that connect local youth groups, coordinate regional youth advocacy efforts and provide technical assistance and training on youth empowerment, youth-guided practice, and youth peer services. The Regional Youth Partner position is a credentialed Youth Peer Advocate position, which promotes the lived experience perspective and youth-guided philosophy across all child-serving systems.

LOCATION: Applicant must reside in one of the 19 counties in the western region.
Preferred location Rochester or Buffalo.

STATUS: Full-time salary employee - High 30s with benefits package

  • Must have personal life experience accessing children's mental health services and be willing to share this information publicly. Additional experience with Disability, Foster Care, Addiction, or Juvenile Justice is beneficial.
  • Must have experience working/volunteering as a Youth Peer Advocate or comparable peer role.
  • Bachelor's or Associates Degree preferred but not required.
  • Must have valid driver's license, reliable transportation, and 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
View the FULL Job Posting  here!

APPLICATION PROCESS: Applicants  must send a resume with a formal cover letter in order to be considered. Letters must indicate the title of the position that the applicant is seeking.

Mail to: Families Together in NYS
Attn: WRYP
737 Madison Avenue, Albany NY 12208
Email to:
Subject: WRYP

Roleplay Game Day for Autism Acceptance Month!
Join us on a disability themed fantasy adventure_ Fight ableism with magic and swords_ Registration is required to be guaranteed a seat to play the game. Register today at bit.ly_YPGameDay Questions_ Contact Zack Kilmer_ NYISA Coordinator zkilmer_YOUTHPOWERNY.ORG or 518-708-3808
Join us on a disability themed fantasy adventure! 
Fight ableism with magic and swords! 

 Primarily youth (12+) with developmental or intellectual disabilities (But all are welcome to attend!) 
Free food and fun at a fantasy Roleplay Game Day hosted by YOUTH POWER! 
April 27th 2019 from 1:00-4:00 P.M. 
Albany Public Library - Large Auditorium 161 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12210 (1st Floor)

Registration is required to be guaranteed a seat to play the game. 

Register today at 

Questions? Contact Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator zkilmer@YOUTHPOWERNY.ORG or 518-708-3808
FREE Regional Advocacy Trainings

Calling All Self-Advocates! 

YP! is hosting FREE self-advocacy trainings throughout NYS. These trainings are designed for youth (14+) with intellectual/developmental disabilities, but all are welcome to attend! Learn about disability history, strategic sharing, and plan your future as a leader with the help of graduates of the New York Institute for Self-Advocacy! Light refreshments will be served. 

New York City - March 1st at 242 W 38th Street, New York NY, 10018
5:30-8:00 P.M. 

Long Island - March 2nd at YAI (555 Washington Ave, Brentwood NY, 11717) 4:30-7:00 P.M.

Central NY - March 26th at the Dunham Public Library (1027, 76 Main St, Whitesboro, NY 13492) 
5:30-8:00 P.M.

Register today! YOUTHPOWERNY.ORG/RatReg
Questions? Contact Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator 518-708-3808 or zkilmer@YOUTHPOWERNY.ORG
YPA Readiness Survey! We need YOU!
 Billable 2020_ Youth Peer Advocates_ Are you ready_ YOUTH POWER_ is seeking your feedback as we prepare for the integration of Youth Peer Advocates across New York State and services becoming billable in January 2020.      Your insights are valuable. In order for us to best support the needs of agencies_organizations_ we invite you to take this brief survey. Your input will help guide the development of tools_ guidance_ and support offered statewide.   www.surveymonkey.com_r_YPAReady
YOUTH POWER! is seeking your feedback as we prepare for the integration of Youth Peer Advocates across New York State and services becoming billable in January 2020. 
Your insights are valuable. In order for us to best support the needs of agencies/organizations,  we invite you to take this brief survey. Your input will help guide the development of tools, guidance, and support offered statewide. 

Youth working together on the same desk
FTNYS 2019 Conference - Registration now Live!
2019 annual conference save the date. may 5-6 2019. marriot hotel_ albany_ ny. registration coming soon with green tree to the right of text.

The Families Together in New York State Annual Conference is attended by families of children and youth with social, emotional and behavioral health challenges, service providers, educators, policymakers and advocates. 

 Building Strong Roots for Success: Integration for Family Wellness
As in previous years, Families Together in New York State encourages the empowerment of children and youth with social, emotional, behavioral health and other cross system challenges and their families by offering scholarships to the Annual Conference. Families and Youth exemplifying qualities as leaders and advocates in their communities are encouraged to apply.

Register for the conference  here!                                                         
1st Transgender Suicide Hotline up and running NOW
Trans Life Logo in purple text to the right of a purple T and a purple L. White background
" Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Our vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid."
US: 877-565-8860 -  Canada: 877-330 -6366

Not only does Trans Lifeline provide a hotline, they also provide MANY resources! Click here to view them.
More Money to Enhance your Leadership Abilities!
NYSILC - NYS Independent Living Council logo

Increased funding rates for Pat Figueroa Scholarship Announced!

Since 2012, the NYS Independent Living Council (NYSILC) has supported leadership opportunities for young adults with disabilities through the "Pat Figueroa Scholarship. 

With immense excitement, they are happy to announce that t his scholarship now awards young adults (ages 18-28) up to $1,000 to attend conferences, training seminars, and other events to enhance their leadership abilities. The funding is aimed to help defray the cost of travel, food, and other out of pocket expenses.

Award recipients are asked to provide ONLY two items: 
- documentation via a reimbursement form
- completion of a follow up survey summarizing their experience.

The council makes decisions on a first-come, first-served basis, while attempting to maximize resources. Decisions also stem from a cost and need basis of the applicant.

Click here to download the application! 
Send it to Brad Williams when completed!
If you have any questions, please contact Brad Williams at or (518) 427-1060.

Special Education Task Force Meeting Date
It is important to make sure that looking down the road does not get lost in the shuffle of the day to day planning for students with disabilities. Understanding what comes next is essential to ensure that steps are in place to prepare students to be able to advocate for themselves_ to be independent and to recognize and be able to access supports and services when needed. Presenters_ Lisa Knowles_ Director for Pupil Personnel Services_ Guilderland CSD Tara Moffett_ Esq._ Partner_ Girvin _ Ferlazzo_ P.C. Date_Time_ Thursday_ February 28_ 2019  Registration_ 9_30 am _ 10_00 am  Program_ 10_00 am _ 12_00 pm Location_ Clifton Park - Halfmoon Library 475 Moe Road Clifton Park_ NY 12065 http___bit.ly_1TePIae Registration_ Online at https___goo.gl_forms_QTZkwNir1K8S7z533
It is important to make sure that looking down the road does not get lost in the shuffle of the day to day planning for students with disabilities. Understanding what comes next is essential to ensure that steps are in place to prepare students to be able to advocate for themselves, to be independent and to recognize and be able to access supports and services when needed. 

Presenters: L isa Knowles, Director for Pupil Personnel Services, Guilderland CSD Tara Moffett, Esq., Partner, Girvin & Ferlazzo, P.C. 

Date/Time:  Thursday, February 28, 2019 
Registration:  9:30 am - 10:00 am  
Program: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm 

Location:  Clifton Park - Halfmoon Library 475 Moe Road Clifton Park, NY 12065 

Registration online  HERE.

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center
white background white black text. ADA American with disabilities Act logo.
Albany Region Residents - TRAC (Transit Research & Accessibility Center) is Up and Running!
Do you want to know what an accessible bus trip looks like? Would you like to provide feedback on bus access in the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) region? If so, sign up to watch our short and easy to understand "How To" videos that explain the accessibility requirements and features of public buses.

After watching the videos, you can choose to register to evaluate a bus trip using an app for your smartphone. To learn more about the TRAC, and how you can participate, email us at or call 732.449.3621.We would love to hear from you!

FREE Webinar with a New Topic!
Thursday, Feb. 21
1:30 - 3 p.m. EST

The AAKOMA Project:
Engaging African-American Youth and Youth of Color in Addressing Depression and Other Mental Health Needs

Alfiee Breland-Noble, PhD, MHSc, project director for AAKOMA (African American Knowledge Optimized for Mindfully Healthy Adolescents) will present this webinar, which is part of the Cultural and Linguistic Competence Learning Community.

Click here to register!
White backround. The AAKOMA project_ African American Knowledge Optimized for Mindfully-healthy adolescents. embrace_ encourage_ enlighten logo. to hearts on top of text_ one red in front of one white one.

Resources, Resources, Resources!
The word resources with books stacking below it in rainbow colors. book stacked looks like different levels
Wraparound for Older Youth and Young Adults

This new report prepared by the National Wraparound Initiative, National Wraparound Implementation Center, and the Pathways RTC looks at the ways that providers are adapting Wraparound when working with older youth and young adults. The report includes quotes from qualitative interviews with Wraparound providers.

Click here to view to resource.

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Youth Move Presents _things2consider. Community Youth Resource Mapping 
The TA Tidbit is an online publication of the TA Network highlighting resources developed or provided in response to requests from SAMHSA System of Care grantees on various topics. This edition focuses on community youth resource mapping  and was prepared by Youth MOVE National in partnership with the TA Network.

Community youth resource mapping is a process that identifies what resources and opportunities are available to youth in a community.

View the Mapping Document 
here !

HELP Celebrate What's Great in Our State 2019
white background with rocks stack ontop of one another. Great works are perfortmed not by strength but by perserversance. by samuel johson
Here's your opportunity to recognize someone who's doing outstanding work!

As part of the 2019 New York State What's Great in Our State (WGiOS) celebration on May 7, 2019, the planning committee for the Children's Mental Health Awareness Day event is seeking nominations to honor individuals, organizations, schools and communities within New York State that are making a difference in the field of children and youth mental wellness.

We plan to celebrate on Tuesday, May 7 in Albany (location to be determined), from 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM. The event program is under development and will feature workshops, awardee recognition luncheon, a keynote and other speakers, and offer an opportunity to celebrate those working hard to produce positive outcomes for children, youth, young adults and families.

This year, we are establishing six categories for this annual recognition. The 2019 theme is "Building Bridges for Change: Supporting the Mental Health of Children, Youth and Young Adults."

We are looking to recognize individuals, programs, organizations or schools whose work illustrates some of the following characteristics:
*          Improved services in their community.
*          Targeted underserved populations for outreach and services.
*          Utilized new or innovative strategies.
*          Been a great resource to the community.
*          Impacted the community's sense of Mental Wellness and resilience.
*          Has attempted to evaluate or measure the impact of their work.
*          Has established or worked with community partners as part of their work.

Click here to see the nomination form.

Returns are requested by February 25, 2019, by email to Kate Provencher at the New York State Office of Mental Health at

We will make our selection by March 25, 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact Kate. She will be glad to assist you.
Gloves for Sign Language Learners, SAY WHAT?!
Roy Allela looking at a screen with his ight hand in the air. People in the background in a public space.
Twenty-five-year-old Kenyan engineer and innovator, Roy Allela, has created a set of gloves that will ultimately allow better communication between those who are deaf and those who are hearing yet may not necessarily know sign language. The Sign-IO gloves in essence translate signed hand movements into audible speech. Allela's gloves feature sensors located on each finger that detect the positioning of each finger, including how much each finger will bend into a given position. The glove connects via Bluetooth to an Android phone which then will leverage use the text-to-speech function to provide translated speech to the hand gestures of a person signing. 

Read the FULL article here!
Black and white - NYSED Seal. The university of NYS_ the state education department.
New York State's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan emphasizes fostering equity in education for New York's students; expands measures for school support and accountability and student success; and requires school-level improvement plans for the lowest performing schools overall, as well as schools with the lowest performance for certain student populations.

This week, the NYS Education Department (NYSED) announced district and school accountability determinations as required by ESSA. State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia identified 106 school districts as Target Districts, 245 schools for Comprehensive Support and Improvement and 125 schools for Targeted Support and Improvement. 

In addition, NYSED identified 26 schools to be newly placed into receivership and 37 schools to be removed from receivership at the end of the 2018-19 school year, including two schools scheduled to close. This will leave 43 schools in receivership at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

 Read the full determinations  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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