UYP18 Agenda

*Classes/activities subject to change.

Day 1: Saturday 6/23/18

12:00-1:30pm Registration and Lunch
Centennial Hall, 930 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12203

1:30pm-3:00pm Orientation

3:30-5:00pm Classes:

Systems Advocacy:

Systems Advocacy 101
Professors: Amanda Davidson, Youth Engagement Specialist , YOUTH POWER!; Brad Hansen, Public Policy Coordinator, Families Together in New York State
Description: Drawing from real world examples from the Raise the Age NY campaign, this course will introduce the concept of systems advocacy and lead a discussion on topics such as what systems advocacy is, the function of government agencies, the three branches of government. This course will also explore what it means to be a systems advocate, ways to take action, what being an effective advocate could like, and identifying potential systems advocacy topics to pursue in your community.

Civic Participation
 Julie Ferrar
Description: In this class, students will learn how to engage with their government and elected representatives. Learning from representatives of Americans Disabled Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT), this section goes over skills like how to effectively protest, best practices for communicating with elected representatives, and how to create a plan of action to accomplish advocacy goals.

Peer Advocacy:

Peer Advocacy 101
Professors: Bianca Logan, Youth Peer Services and Training Manager, YOUTH POWER!; Azaria Wittekind, Youth Peer Services Training and Credentialing Coordinator, YOUTH POWER!
Description: Youth Peer Services are expanding in New York State and there are many opportunities on the horizon. At the foundation, what does it mean to be a Youth Peer Advocate? What skills and abilities do you need to do the job well? What is the history that led to the current design of Youth Peer Services? How are we shaping the things to come? This class explores Youth Peer Advocacy from the roots to the newly growing branches in a basic overview.

Creating Inclusive Spaces and Communities
Professors: Melanie Hecker; Brennan Williams, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!; Joseph Munisteri, YOUTH POWER! Council
Description: This class teaches students the importance that all areas of a young person’s life be accessible and inclusive. This includes any and all communities that young people are a part of, including hobby and interest communities, religious and cultural communities, the LGBTQ community, and more. In this panel discussion, you as a student will receive insight from community leaders on how to make diverse communities and spaces accessible and inclusive, discuss strategies, resources, and mindsets for full community inclusion, discuss what is needed, what works, and what does not work for bringing inclusivity to community spaces and events.

5:00-6:00pm Dinner

6:15-7:00pm Selfie Hunt

Learn more about the campus and YP! leaders through this scavenger hunt!

6:15-8:15pm Student Fair

Network with your peers, gather resources, win prizes, and more! 

8:15-9:00pm FREE TIME

9:00pm-11:00pm Activities:

Paint and Sip
This interactive activity engages students in leisure skills of art with provided mocktails. Art focuses on a creative process of self-expression, and building of mastery and positive experiences while building it into a leisure activity give individuals a sense of purpose, freedom of choice and expression, and empowerment.


Advocacy Film Screening & Discussion
Join the YP! team for a screening and discussion on advocacy films.


Day 2: Sunday 6/24/18

8:00-9:15am Breakfast

9:30-10:45am Classes:

Systems Advocacy: 

Advocacy Made Easy: What, Why, and How
Jenn O’Conner
Description: This interactive session will de-mystify advocacy and give you simple ways to get involved. We will cover the landscape of both NYS government and Congress- who to talk to and how to do it effectively. We will discuss: how to craft a message, how to handle a policymaker meeting, how to engage on social media, and how to always be ready to take action. Participants will leave feeling more confident and having some concrete next steps for their own advocacy- whether personal or professional.

Public Speaking
Professor: Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator, YOUTH POWER!
Description: This class will go over the basics of how to be a good and effective public speaker, and how to use that skill for advocacy purposes. Fun activities include speaking in front of the class.

Peer Advocacy:

Woosah 101 For Youth Peer Advocates
Professor: BrendaCleo Smith, Youth Programs Coordinator, NAMI- NYC Metro
Description: In this class, students will learn about the importance of proper self-care practices as a Youth Advocate, and how to implement a self-care routine. Students will walk away from the course with a better understanding of how to assess if they have too much on their plates, and how to balance work and home life. They will also have the opportunity to create their own self-care toolbox and practice deep breathing exercises.

Trauma-Informed Approaches to Peer Support- Empowerment, Voice, and Choice
 Crystal Collins; Stephanie Belveg
Description: This class will provide the basics, a definition of trauma, an introduction to Trauma-Informed Care, and the value of trauma-informed approaches to peer support.

11:00-12:15 Electives:

Self-Awareness, Perspective and Boundaries: How to Promote a Safe and Inclusive Environment
Professors: Amanda Smith; Kari Sovas
Description: In the “Self-Awareness, Perspective and Boundaries: How to Promote a Safe and Inclusive Environment” course, students will be explore how to identify and cope with personal triggers, ways self-awareness can help protect yourself and those who serve from escalated crisises, to unnecessary physical interventions, and ways supervisors can assess staff before and after a crisis. You will review appropriate boundaries between people receiving services and the staff providing services.

Youth Voice in Suicide Prevention: Strategic Sharing & Navigating Disclosure
Professors: Brianna Valesey, Director, YOUTH POWER!; Pat Breux, RN, BSN
 Sharing your story to inspire hope and impact change is powerful. Join the Suicide Prevention Center of New York and YOUTH POWER! as we explore the ins and outs of strategic sharing in suicide prevention; navigating the emotional impact that comes with disclosure; and how to support young people to use their lived experience to impact change and inspire hope through a variety of suicide prevention initiatives and opportunities across the state.

Harnessing Hip-Hop
Alex Frisina, Long Island Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!
Description: Bring your creativity and leave with a better understanding of how art and specifically hip-hop can be utilized as a coping skill and tool to build natural supports.

 Brennan Williams, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!
Description: You have materials and information that you want to share with young people. That’s great! You have the info and you have an audience, but do you have the tools needed to get your message across in a fun, engaging, and memorable way? This workshop will teach participants the tools needed to be authentic, personable, and aware of their audience while remaining professional when holding workshops or speaking with young people. Participants will laugh, share stories, and learn how to add a flair of their personalities into their work.

12:30- 1:30pm Lunch

2:00- 3:15pm Classes:

Systems Advocacy:

Strategic Sharing
 Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator, YOUTH POWER!
Description: This class will teach students how to use their personal experiences and stories as a tool to enhance their advocacy. They will learn things like red, yellow, and green light statements, escape hatches, etc.

Values Exchange
 Beth Mangiaracina; Sarah Felman; Karla Gutierrez
Description: This highly interactive class provides a forum to explore personal values about controversial issues. The process offers students the opportunity to identify, examine, and express their own views and to hear and examine the opposing views of others. Some of the values examined are: forced psychiatric treatment, climate change, and gender identity. Instructions for how to use this person-centered activity within other groups will be distributed at the end of the class.

Peer Advocacy:

Mindfulness: Not Just For Monks, But For YOUth!
Professor: Amanda Park, Chair, YOUTH POWER!
Description: Students will learn the power of mindful communication and how that can be used to facilitate more meaningful discussions. Both within their work lives and outside of it. This class will have at least one activity where students will break off into pairs and interact with one another.

Brave Spaces: Redefining Difficult Conversations
Professor: Mica Gonzalez, Central Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!
Description: The current political climate and recent events has brought language once confined to social justice circles to the mainstream, particularly via social media. However, not everyone is equipped to talk about these and other complex subjects as a number of factors can complicate productive conversations about power and privilege. In this class, you will learn how to have effective conversations that is considerate and inclusive to all communities. Adapted from a new radical framework- join us in this interactive class and learn how to work better amongst your peers or other youth you may interact with, understand varying view points and learn how to flourish even in times of disagreement. All are welcomed and encouraged to attend!

3:30-4:45pm Electives:

Intersecting Identities of LGBTQ+ Communities
 Mica Gonzalez, Central Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!
Description: Many LGBTQ+ individuals are involved in the various systems we work in. It is important to understand the intersecting identities of the LGBTQ+ community. Join us to learn more about how to navigate resources, understand intersecting identities, deconstruct barriers that LGBTQ+ people face and more! This class will allow students to understand why it is important to acknowledge the intersecting identities of LGBTQ+ people. With the consideration to LGBTQ+ people that are also systems involved, the participants will be able to engage in discussion and walk away with tips and resources to help further address barriers that LGBTQ+ people face.

Disability History
Professor: Elijah Fagan-Solis, Statewide Emerging Leadership Manager, YOUTH POWER!
Description: In this class, we will do a broad overview of disability civil rights history in the United States and the landmark pieces of legislation that are crucial to disability civil rights to this day. Participants will learn everything from the institutions for people with disabilities built in the 1800’s to the famous Capital Crawl protest of 1990. We will also discuss Section 504, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and IDEA, which are some of the most crucial laws that affect people with disabilities today.

Check Your Privilege!
Professor: Denzel ‘DJ’ Wilkerson, NYC Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!
Description: Privilege is not limited to one specific group of people. Whether it be interactions at our place of work or in our personal lives, privilege is ever prominent and it is our own responsibility to keep that in mind. In this course, we will be reviewing what privilege means, what it looks like, and how to use it to as way to assist and/or empower others who do not share some of those advantages especially in direct care. This is cultural competence in America.

Conflict Resolution
Professors: Allison Davenport; Stefanie Pivar
Conflict resolution strategies are inavailable to the Youth Peer Advocate (YPA) in the workforce. These strategies are important to the work as YPA does with children/youth and families, as well as within team, department, and agency settings. The ability to reduce conflicts and develop communication strategies during conflicts is an essential tool for youth and family members to have. This workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to explore and develop conflict resolution techniques. Focus will be aimed at how Youth Peer Advocates can assist in any way that they can.

5:00-6:30pm Dinner

6:30-8:30pm YP! Network Leadership Council Open Meeting

Join the YP! Network Leadership Council for an open meeting.

9:00-11:00pm Activities:

Artivism and Light Painting
Coming soon!


Game Night
Group games and activities.

Day 3: Monday 6/25/18

8:00am-9:15am Breakfast

9:30-10:45am Electives:

Effective Communication
Professors: Alison Davenport; Stefanie Pivar
In this class, the Youth Peer Advocates role provides an important opportunity for youth and families to gain the necessary skills to design and open a safe space for family members and youth to engage with each other. True communication is the best route to a happy and thriving family environment. This workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to discover how to effectively communicate with each other and family members. Focus will be aimed at key skills needed for effective communication.

Reaching the “Hard to Reach”
Professor: Courtney Ramirez, Executive Director, NYC Administrative Children’s Service/Office of Family Engagement and Youth Advocacy
Although there are a lot of resources allocated to working with young people, too many youth are unaware of what’s available. Connecting information about programs and services to those that need it can be a challenge because we literally speak a different language. This class will be an opportunity to hear from peer mentors about how they communicate with their younger age peers through e-mail, social media, and credible messengers. Participants will learn tips for developing youth friendly flyers, become familiar with key catch phrases, and draft and critique their own sample materials. Project templates and timelines will also be shared.

Youth Rights
Professor: Elena Marton
Description: This course will provide an overview of youth rights, from the right to an education, reasonable accommodations, confidentiality with respect to mental health and other health care, LGBT rights, the rights of youth in foster care, the right to vote! Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, this course will help identify how and where to get more information when needed and how to speak up for oneself. Discussion also will focus on effectively communicating ideas and experiences to influence policies. Come ready to share and ask questions!

Get the Answers You Need!
Professors: All Regional Youth Partners
Description: Learn tips and trick to aid you in group facilitation and gain skills to enhance the feedback you receive from youth and young adults. While gaining knowledge you will also be giving useful insight to YOUTH POWER!’s Priority Agenda.

11:00am-12:15pm Classes:

Systems Advocacy:

Technology as a Tool for Advocacy!
Professor: Mica Gonzalez, Central Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!
Description: Social Media influences a lot in our society today. What if you could use your ability to navigate Social Media as a tool to help access resources, advocate for yourself and others as well to create change? Join the Central Regional Youth Partner from YOUTH POWER! in this interactive class to learn how to safely utilize social media so you can be a leader in your community!

Ingredients for a Successful Movement: Learning from the Civil Rights Movement
Professor: Jessica Pidgeon, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
Description: In this course, you will learn about the different “ingredients” to a successful mass movement. We will examine questions about what makes some movements more successful than others, and what actions and activities can help change occur. This class will be taught through the lens of the Civil Rights Movement in America in the 1950’s and the 1960’s. Students will be exposed to video footage of the movement and be able to discuss in groups how the “ingredients” to a successful movement can apply to systems advocacy work they are most interested in.

Peer Advocacy:

Peer Staff as Role Models
Professor: Abaigeal Duke, Advocacy Specialist, Office of Mental Health – NYC Field Office
Description: In this class, you will discuss the unique benefits with young people when they work with those who have lived experience and share self-care techniques.

Addressing Stigma and Discrimination in the Workforce
Professors: Allison Davenport; Stefanie Pivar 
Description: One of the barriers to successfully being a Youth Peer Advocate (YPA) in the workforce is encountering stigma and discrimination in the workforce. How can a YPA advocate for themselves while enacting change in the workplace? This class will explore the definition of stigma and discrimination, as well as give participants the opportunity to explore strategies and solutions at the individual and agency level.

12:30-1:30pm Lunch

1:45-3:00pm Electives:

Political Involvement: Voting Isn’t Your Only Option!
Professor: Jessica Pidgeon, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
Description: In this course, you will learn about three different categories of political participation and involvement that you can participate in to make systems change. Each category discussed, will include several different activities, beyond just voting, that allow you (and others) to share your opinions, concerns, and policy suggestions with policymakers at the community, local, state, and national level. The course will include a discussion of individual experiences of the professor and students, and will conclude with a group activity to get students thinking about and planning different ways to be politically and civically involved.

Manage Care Transition
Professor: Heather Lane
 This class will give a general overview of the transition, timeline of key events, and an overview of the role of Youth Peer Advocates and the expansion efforts underway for the Youth Peer Advocate workforce via the YPA credentialing process. Students will have an opportunity to provide their input on supports needed for Youth Peer Support providers and Youth Peer Advocates in our new environment.

Leading an Effective Team
Professor: Cassandra Morse
 As the Youth Movement continues to grow it is extremely important to have an effective team that can continue making changes and/or reach goals. Through Leading an Effective Team, students will be able to identify their own values and have a better understanding of how personal values can influence and impact a team. Participants will learn a strength-based approach to conflict resolution within a team by using the needs and strengths of the group. Students will also have the opportunity to identify strengths of their team and how to use those strengths to create a dedicated team. The workshop will provide specific tools that can be used to help lead an effective team and a time of self-reflection to strengthen your abilities as a leader.

Patricia Zuber-Wilson, Licensed Zumba Instructor
Boost your health and wellness with Zumba! Zumba is all about the joy of moving to music and based on the principle that a workout should be fun and easy to do. Zumba, like many fitness programs, can relieve stress, help fight depression and anxiety symptoms, and increase your confidence and health. Zumba is also a friendly, non-competitive class that helps build a sense of community. This class is accessible and can be adapted based on individual needs.

3:00-3:45pm Dress for Leaders’ Dinner

3:45-5:00pm Dinner Prep– Preparation for Leaders’ Dinner

5:30pm-8:00pm YP!’s 11th Annual Leaders’ Dinner

Every year our Leaders’ Dinner provides an opportunity for young people and state leaders to speak candidly about real life issues that youth face while in state systems.  It is intimidating for young people to speak frankly with government leaders and this dinner gives youth the chance to communicate in a relaxed setting.  We create an atmosphere of sharing and partnership that is comfortable for both youth and adults. This year, we are celebrating the 11th Annual Leaders’ Dinner.

 9:00pm-11:00pm Karaoke Pajama Dance Party

 Day 4: Tuesday 6/26/18

8:00am-9:15am Breakfast

9:30am-12:00pm Personal Leadership Planning/Closing Activities

12:00-12:45pm Lunch

Class Networking: Pictures, Signing of books

1:00-2:30pm Graduation Ceremony

Elected Class Speakers

2:30-3:30pm Resident Students Check out, Centennial Hall