UYP17 Agenda

*Classes/activities subject to change.

Day 1: Saturday 6/24/17

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
Professor: 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.

Legislative Advocacy 101 – Organizing a Campaign & Leading Others into their Purpose
Fabienne Pierre, Policy & Advocacy Assistant, The Children’s Aid Society
Description: In a time when youth activism is beginning to rise, this course will seek to help youth feel empowered to lead strategic advocacy campaigns while leading others into their purpose. Students will learn the basics of our New York State government, coaching skills and the importance of effective messaging and crafting their story. Students will have the opportunity to work in teams, share their stories, and empower each other as they learn how to strategically advocate for their community.

Peer Advocacy:

Peer Advocacy 101
Details To Be Announced!

Cultural Competency: Addressing the Needs of LGBTQ+ Youth
Professor: Brennan Williams, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!; Liam Harrington
Description: This class explores terminology associated with the LGBTQ+ community and engages students in a discussion around issues that affect LGBTQ+ youth. Why are these issues important? What help can you offer? Come find out! We will discuss ways anyone can safely provide support and guidance. The class concludes with tips for being an ally and an interactive activity that challenges students to recognize their own privileges. Be ready to laugh, think, and have your assumptions challenged!

5:00-6:00pm Dinner

6:15-7:00pm Selfie Hunt

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

7:15-8:45pm Open Board Meeting and AMPLIFY-NY Input Session

Join the YP! Board for an open meeting and input session on the new AMPLIFY-NY initiative. This initiative bring the opportunities to YOUth and amplifies the YP! network with regional youth leadership forums and supported leadership activities for young people with disabilities ages 14-24. These forums will be 5 days, 4 nights and provide the next generation of leaders the tools and support they need for success. For more information on AMPLIFY-NY, visit

9:00pm-11:00pm Activities:

Paint and Sip
BriAnne Wilson, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Play Therapist, and Reiki Practitioner
Description: 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.

Movie Night
Join the YP! team for a screening and discussion on advocacy films.

Day 2: Sunday 6/25/17

8:00-9:15am Breakfast

9:30-10:45am Classes:

Systems Advocacy: 

Welcome to Systems Advocacy: How can we engage you?
Aaron Baier, Consumer & Systems Advocacy Coordinator, Access to Independence of Cortland County, Inc.
Description: Did you have any trouble finding the place?  Come on in and we’ll work together to make this class inclusive and accessible for all.  It is important in any movement to ensure that your meetings are accessible by everyone.  It is just as important that everyone feels safe and able to contribute in a meaningful way.  That is why we are ALL here!

Utilizing Tactics and Tools for Systems Advocacy
Professor: Melanie Hecker, Systems Advocate, YOUTH POWER!
Description: There are a wide variety of tactics and tools used in the field of Systems Advocacy. In this class, we will learn about the various tactics used in Systems Advocacy work. We will examine the pros and cons of major Systems Advocacy tactics and go over tips and guidelines for using these tactics. You will also have an opportunity to practice tactic selection and execution for Systems Advocacy campaigns.   We will end with an overview of the Campaign Chart and other useful Systems Advocacy tools.

Peer Advocacy:

Woosah 101 For Youth Peer Advocates
Professor: BrendaCleo Smith, Youth Peer Advocate, Mental Health Association of NYC
Description: In this class, students will be able to create their own self-care toolbox, practice in teams how to ask for help and delegate tasks at home and work. Students will also practice deep breathing exercises.

Trauma Informed Care
To Be Announced!
Description: The purpose of the trauma informed care course is three fold. First is to define trauma and show the significant impact it can play across a person’s life. Second is to understand what being trauma informed is, how it can help interactions with everyone and how to adopt it your own life. Finally what people can do to bring it back to their various situations and help spread its message. This course will explore what it means to practice trauma-informed care and ways to get involved.

11:00-12:15 Electives:

Be Your Own Best Advocate!
Professor: Pauline Gordon, Youth and Family Specialist, NYC Administrative Children’s Services/ Office of Family Engagement and Youth Advocacy
Description: In the “Be Your Own Best Advocate” course, students will gain the tools and confidence to take on responsibility for their actions and be advocate for themselves. In the summer of 2016, NYC Youth Leadership Council for Children’s (YLC) Services, a group of current and former youth in foster care (foster care and/or juvenile justice) developed a Bill of Responsibilities, in response to OCFS’ Bill of Rights for Youth in Care. Students in this class will better understand their responsibility in their successful transition into adulthood and work on a personal action plan. In addition, students will hear personal stories from their peers and learn how they can be their own best advocate!

Disability and Civil Rights History 101
Details To Be Announced!

From a Spark to a Flame: Advice from a Pioneer of the Youth Peer Movement
Stephanie Orlando, Executive Director, YOUTH POWER!
What does it take to gain the momentum needed to create change? Once you find your spark, how do you ignite the fire that builds your career? In this class, students will be able to join a dialogue and learn tips for young professionals from Stephanie Orlando, the Executive Director of YOUTH POWER!. From beginning her work as a youth peer advocate and later becoming one of the founders of YP!, to becoming a supervisor and a presidential appointee to the National Council of Disability, Ms. Orlando’s experience provides unique insight into the ins and outs of the movement. In this class, the next generation of young leaders will learn valuable tools and advice to build their resumes and their careers.

Creativity is the Movement
Alex Frisina, Long Island Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!
Description: Creativity is The Movement takes students through the history of Artivism within Civil Rights movements. We will explain how art can play a key role in spreading your goals and message. We will then utilize the YP! Priority Agenda to select topic’s we are passionate about and create our own art highlighting the message we want to share.

12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch

2:00- 3:15pm Classes:

Systems Advocacy:

Understanding Medicaid for Effective Systems Advocacy
Brian Lombrowski, Program Analyst, Services for the Underserved
Description: Medicaid is the health insurance program that serves the poorest 20% of New Yorkers as well the primary insurance that individuals with disabilities use.  It also pays for some of the services that peer leaders care most about such as youth peer support.  There are currently efforts underway to make significant changes to the Medicaid program both within the Federal Government and in the State Government.  This course will give a basic overview of what Medicaid is and how proposed changes may affect you and the young people that you serve, and how you can be an effective advocate.

Foster Care Organizing – Getting at the Roots & Ivy!
Anna Gennari, Director of Programs, Foster Youth In Action
Description: There are many ways that we can address problems in foster care. Some of these problems are big and some are small, but all of the problems have root causes. When trying to determine your campaign issue, it’s important to dig deep to determine what is really the reason for or cause of the problem. This activity helps members identify these root causes within foster care and other systems.

Peer Advocacy:

Welcome to Peer Advocacy: How can we engage you?
Professor: Aaron Baier, Consumer & Systems Advocacy Coordinator, Access to Independence of Cortland County, Inc.
Description: Did you have any trouble finding the place?  Come on in and we’ll work together to make this class inclusive and accessible for all.  It is important in any peer group to ensure that your meetings are accessible by everyone.  It is just as important that everyone feels safe and able to contribute in a meaningful way.  That is why we are ALL here!


Transforming Pain into Power: How Writing From Trauma Can Conquer Your Trauma
Professor: Marc Rosen, Treasurer, YOUTH POWER!
Description: Writing has long been considered an important and powerful therapeutic tool, with journaling and memoir typically being the most popular formats. Writing from trauma is a method of directly confronting past traumas and post-traumatic stress that works especially well for some young people, especially since it allows them to face their traumas on their own terms. This workshop will provide you with a guide to what writing from trauma is, an example of how a writing from trauma session would be conducted, and opportunities to learn more about the process.

3:30-4:45pm Electives:

Reaching the “Hard to Reach”
Courtney Ramirez, Executive Director, NYS Administrative Children’s Services/Office of Family Engagement and Youth Advocacy; Jamar Daniels, Jermaine Hill-Cross, and Nigel Reid, Peer Mentors, ACS Youth Leadership Council
Description: 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.

Nerd Culture: Cosplay, Artivism & Peer Support Through Shared Interests and Hobbies
Professors: Joseph Munisteri, Nancy Amaro, Kate Foil, and Marc Rosen
Description: Panelists will discuss how their hobbies led them to meet and discuss various skills such as networking, event planning, peer support, and coping mechanisms. This class will teach students about a different and unique approach to peer support and activism.

Motivational Interviewing
Professor: Kristina Hebner-Akbar
Description: Ever felt like your conversation was leading you nowhere? Have you struggled to make a connection with no result? Hard conversations and change can be difficult to navigate. Motivational Interviewing is a tool used by advocates to assist with self-actualization, realization, and motivation to make the changes needed both personally and systemically. In this interactive workshop, you will learn basic skills to use Motivational Interviewing to impact change.

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.

5:00-6:30pm Dinner

6:30-8:30pm Student Fair

9:00-11:00pm Activities:

Kat Jenkins
Using old (or new) books of the person’s choosing, we will alter books in order to describe, invoke, and disassemble thoughts and feelings. The alterations will be done both collaboratively and personally, and students will be encouraged to use various art techniques and supplies in order to display emotions and thoughts.

Game Night
Group games and activities.

Day 3: Monday 6/26/17

8:00am-9:15am BreakfastEvents and Athletics Center

9:30-10:45am Electives:

Leadership Development: Growing the Leader within Yourself and the Youth You Serve
Professor: Abaigael Duke, Advocacy Specialist, Office of Mental Health – NYC Field Office
A brief look at the benefits of leaders having lived experience across the systems, followed by a discussion about self-development and the importance of recognizing and nurturing the leadership skills and abilities within the youth we serve.

The Power of Language
Professors: Anne Dox, Regional Coordinator, Mental Health Empowerment Project, Inc; Beth Mangiaracina, Regional Coordinator
This class will explore how the significance, choice, and application of language may help or hinder personal growth, recovery, and effective communication. Through interactive exercises and group discussions, individuals will share how alternative language can help promote hope, empowerment, self-Determination, and more.

Effective Legislative Advocacy
Professor: John Richter, Director of Public Policy, Mental Health Association of New York State (MHANYS)
Description: This presentation will help people with little or no experience learn how to writing influential letters and issue briefs and planning meetings with elected officials and/or government officials.  We’ll discuss strategies for determining which legislators to target a message to, how to make a persuasive argument and why building relationships with lawmakers is central to effective advocacy.  Finally, the presentation will address how to conduct meetings with elected officials and how to follow up after meetings.  While the course is not limited to public policy issues related to mental health, such issues may be used for demonstrative purposes.

9:30-11:15am Elective:

Justice Center: Abuse and Neglect Awareness & Reporting
Professors: Kim Affinati, Supervising Quality of Care Facility Review Specialist, New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs; Kim Wadsworth, Training Specialist; Dee Levy, Director of Individua and Family Support Services
In this class, students will learn about the different resources provided by the Justice Center and the presentation will focus on three main areas: Reporting to the Justice Center, Neglect, and Deliberate Inappropriate Use of Restraints. Students will hear a simulated call to the Vulnerable Persons Central Register and have the opportunity to practice making calls themselves. Students will also learn about retaliation for making reports and what protections are afforded to them under law.

11:30-12:45 Leaders’ Dinner Preparation Classes

12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch, Events and Athletics Center

2:00-3:15pm Classes:

Systems Advocacy:

Political Involvement
Professors: Jessica Pidgeon, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council; Jackie Hayes
Description: Students in this class will review the different ways people in the U.S. have and can get involved politically. Then, speakers will discuss some of their experiences participating in and organizing various activities in NYS.

Takin’ It To The Streets – This Ain’t No Doobie Brothers Tune
Professor: Bill Przylucki, Director, Collaborative Solutions, NYS Council on Children and Families
Description: A highly interactive blend of academe, music, story-telling, imagination, and more. This class helps connect the dots between your gifts and ways to make them matter in the marketplace as emerging leaders and change-makers.

Peer Advocacy:

Peer Staff as Role Models: How Living and Working in Your Recovery Inspires Those Around You
Professor: Abagail Duke, Advocacy Specialist, OMH-NYC Field Office
This class will focus on the unique benefits of young people having access to advocates with lived experience and the role they play in wellness.

Young People’s Rights
Professor: Elana Marton, Deputy Director & Counsel, NYS Council on Children and Families
This course will provide an overview of youth rights, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the New York State Human Rights Law to 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, etc. Additionally, and perhaps more 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!

3:30-4:45pm Narcan Training

Opioid abuse has become a widespread epidemic across the state. In this class, students will learn about Narcan (naloxone) which is used for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose, as well as how and when to administer this lifesaving antidote. All trainees receive the Narcan, free, at the end of the training.

4:45-5:30 Free time – Dress for Leaders’ Dinner

5:30pm-8:00pm YP!’s 10th 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 10th Annual Leaders’ Dinner.

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

 Day 4: Tuesday 6/27/17

8:00am-9:15am BreakfastEvents and Athletics Center

9:30am-10:00am Energizer: Body Percussion

Professor: Todd French, Mental Health Empowerment Project
Description: This icebreaker exercise engages the full body, breath and voice to energize and promote group unity.  The facilitator will model each movement and vocalization for the full group, who will answer in a “call and response” fashion. This exercise is based on similar icebreakers used as a warm up for diverse groups worldwide. Participants emerge with a better understanding of how to use simple body movements and vocalizations to engage audiences and increase focus and energy.

10:00am-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