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, aware of government operations, their rights and the ability to use their voices to influence policy, practice, regulation and law. 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.
YOUTH POWER! envisions a world that embraces diversity, encourages resiliency, is strength-based and has the ability to adapt. A youth-guided community in which young people are inspired, empowered and supported to make informed choices and advocate for themselves.
As a member, you stand with hundreds of young people across the state in saying that you believe in what we are doing and want to strengthen the numbers behind our mission. Becoming a member means you get all the latest information about things that are important to young people and give as much of your time to us as you want or can. YOUTH POWER! is a safe space for those looking to organize advocacy, to speak out and amplify their voices for change. Membership is standing proud as part of a movement working to change systems and pave the way for the next generation of youth.
Benefits of Membership
- You decide how involved you are but all members get the latest news, updates, and information on upcoming opportunities.
- Opportunity to join YP!’s working groups, regional teams, and other youth leadership and advocacy activities.
- Networking and support for Youth Peer Advocates.
- Training, networking, and support to youth, youth groups, and organizations.
- Receive our newsletter and be a part of our events.
- Safe space to organize and amplify your voice for systems, services, and community change.
- Active members can build their skills, resume, and be more likely to receive scholarships to events!
Who can be a member?
- Young people ages 12-29 with a disability, emotional & behavioral challenges, or experience in New York State systems such as Special Education, Juvenile Justice, Foster Care, or Addiction Recovery. In short, if you are a young person who feels you have been labeled, then you can be a member of YP!.
- Young people who live in the State of New York.
- Members who turn 30 are able to remain involved in the network as a Peer Ally/Alumni.
Leadership & Structure
The Network Leadership Council
The YOUTH POWER! Network Leadership Council (YP! Council) is the guiding force behind all of the network’s work and activities. All YP! Council members are young adults with disabilities who may also have experience in New York State public systems. They meet regularly through conference calls and in person meetings.
Staff of YOUTH POWER!
We pride ourselves on being a peer run network. Families Together in New York State (FTNYS) employs youth and young adults with disabilities and/or cross-systems experiences to staff the YOUTH POWER! network. Employees operate as official representatives of YP! of FTNYS, mentor young leaders, and coordinate network activities.
YOUTH POWER!’s current strategic plan includes the following goals
- To expand and strengthen the YP! network while remaining youth run
- To successfully advocate for systems change to ensure better opportunities for young people
- To increase empowerment, skill building, leadership and advocacy opportunities for young people with disabilities and system specific labels.
- To improve quality of youth peer advocacy & involvement by offering technical assistance and training opportunities to young people and adult allies
- To practice and promote cultural competency and diversity