Links

New York State Youth Voice

Youth in Progress
The mission of the Youth In Progress is to enhance and advance the lives of today’s and tomorrow’s foster care youth by giving them a sense of self-responsibility. To do this, YIP pledges to educate everyone involved in the foster care system to the realities of this experience. We will accomplish this mission by listening to youth in care and by offering them guidance that will allow them to achieve success in their lives and to realize their full potential.

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National Youth Voice

CAFETY
The Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth, Inc. (CAFETY) has primarily operated as a vehicle for youth and young adults who have had experience in institutional settings to have their stories told in public forums as well as a vehicle for these youth and young adults to provide support to peers in similar situations.

Kids as Self Advocates
KASA is a national, grassroots network of youth with disabilities and needs (and our friends), speaking out. We are leaders in our communities, and we help spread helpful, positive information among our peers to increase knowledge around various issues. Those issues include: living with disabilities and health care needs, health care transition issues, school, work, and many more. We also help health care professionals, policymakers and other adults in our communities understand what it is like to live our lives and we participate in discussions about how to help each other succeed.

The National Consortium on Leadership and Disability for Youth
The National Consortium on Leadership and Disability for Youth (NCLD/Y) serves as a national youth-led information, training, and resource center. NCLD/Y has a four-pronged focus on working on developing leaders, developing the capacity of centers for independent living to serve those leaders, the capacity of the staff working directly with the leaders, and supporting the cadre of youth with disabilities-related organizations.

Young People in Recovery (YPR)
The YPR national leadership team creates and cultivates local community-led chapters through grassroots organizing and training. Chapters support young people in or seeking recovery by empowering them to obtain stable employment, secure suitable housing, and explore continuing education. Chapters also advocate on the local and state levels for better accessibility of these services and other effective recovery resources.

Youth M.O.V.E.National
A youth-led national organization devoted to improving services and systems that support positive growth and development by uniting the voices of individuals who have lived experience in various systems including mental health, juvenile justice, education, and child welfare.

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INFORMATION ON RIGHTS

ADA Technical Assistance Program
Your comprehensive resource for information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessible information technology, and more! The National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education (AccessIT) at the University of Washington serves to increase access to electronic and information technology for students and employees with disabilities by leading a nation-wide effort to incorporate accessibility into policies and practices in the nation’s classrooms, computer labs, libraries, offices, and everywhere else where information technology is used in education.

Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
The mission of the JudgeDavidL.BazelonCenter for Mental Health Law is to protect and advance the rights of adults and children who have mental disabilities. The Center envisions an America where people who have mental illnesses or developmental disabilities exercise their own life choices and have access to the resources that enable them to participate fully in their communities.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
NICHCY serves the nation as a central source of information on:

  • disabilities in infants, toddlers, children, and youth,
  • IDEA, which is the law authorizing special education,
  • No Child Left Behind (as it relates to children with disabilities), and
  • research-based information on effective educational practices.

The National Youth Advocacy Coalition
The National Youth Advocacy Coalition is a social justice organization that advocates for and with young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) in an effort to end discrimination against these youth and to ensure their physical and emotional well-being.

New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC)
They can provide information about local centers for Independent living in your area that can help you with advocacy services on benefits such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Department of social services, all disabilities advocacy, ACCES-VR information and many others. NYSILC is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). Their Vision is a world where people with disabilities achieve equal opportunities in all aspects of society.

Youth @Work
Youth @Work, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) website for youth in the workforce. The EEOC’s goal is to eliminate illegal discrimination from the workplace for all workers. This website is designed to teach you about some of your rights and responsibilities as an employee. Be an informed employee – Know your real world rights and responsibilities!

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New York State Government

New York City and New York State Agencies:

Administration for Children’s Services (ACS): NYC Children’s Services is the City’s agency responsible for child welfare, juvenile justice and early care and education services dedicated to protecting, supporting and promoting the well being of our city’s children, youth and families each and every day. http://www.nyc.gov/html/acs/html/home/home.shtml

Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACESS-VR): Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) offers access to a full range of employment and independent living services that may be needed by persons with disabilities through their lives. This can include transition services, vocational rehab, independent living and business services. ACCES-VR is a part of the New York State Education Department. http://www.acces.nysed.gov/vr/

Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES): Provides a number of education programs including special education and career/technical programs designed to meet student needs. http://capregboces.org/

Council on Children and Families (CCF): During its 30-year history, the Council on Children and Families (“The Council”) has served as a broker, innovator and change agent among the state’s health, education and human services agencies. The unique value of the Council is its ability to provide a comprehensive, cross-systems perspective critical for the development and implementation of strategies impacting the availability, accessibility and quality of services for children and families. http://ccf.ny.gov/

Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS): The Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry that allows anyone to research the status of an offender. http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/

Department of Health (DOH): The NYS Department of Health protects, improves and promotes the health, productivity and well being of all New Yorkers. http://www.health.ny.gov/

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH): The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is a department of the Government of New York City responsible for public health along with issuing birth certificates, dog licenses, and conducting restaurant inspection and enforcement. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/home/home.shtml

Department of Labor (DOL): To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. http://www.labor.ny.gov/home/

Department of Youth and Community Development (NYC DYCD): The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) was created in 1996 to provide the City of New York with high-quality youth and family programming. Our central task is administering available City, state, and federal funds to effective community-based organizations. DYCD is committed to building and expanding on partnerships that generate innovative and practical programs for youth, their families and communities. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dycd/html/home/home.shtml

Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC): The NYSDDPC is a Federally-funded, New York State Agency that operates under the direction of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. For over forty years, we’ve been developing and funding innovative, disability-related projects which improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. http://ddpc.ny.gov/

Justice Center: The Justice Center was created in legislation known as the “Protection of People with Special Needs Act” to establish the strongest standards and practices in the nation for protecting people with special needs. It serves both as a law enforcement agency and as an advocate for people with special needs. http://www.justicecenter.ny.gov

New York State Education Department (NYSED): The state agency that oversees and regulates schools, colleges, and universities. Their mission is to raise the knowledge, skill, and opportunity of all the people in New York. Their vision is to provide leadership for a system that yields the best educated people in the world. The services covered by NYSED include ACESS-VR (see above), Office of P-12 education, and Office of Cultural Education (state museum, state archives, etc.)  http://www.nysed.gov/

Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS): The New York State office that oversees addiction recovery and prevention programs for drug, alcohol, and gambling additcions. With more than 1,600 prevention, treatment and recovery programs, OASAS treatment programs assist about 100,000 people on any given day and more than 240,000 individuals every year. http://www.oasas.ny.gov/

Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS): The Office of Children and Family Services serves New York’s public by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of our children, families and communities. We will achieve results by setting and enforcing policies, building partnerships, and funding and providing quality services. http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/

Office of Mental Health (OMH): The Office of Mental Health operates psychiatric centers across the State, and also regulates, certifies and oversees more than 4,500 programs, which are operated by local governments and nonprofit agencies. These programs include various inpatient and outpatient programs, emergency, community support, residential and family care programs. http://www.omh.ny.gov/

Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD): The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities is responsible for coordinating services for more than 126,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and other neurological impairments. It provides services directly and through a network of approximately 700 nonprofit service providing agencies, with about 80 percent of services provided by the private nonprofits and 20 percent provided by state-run services. http://www.opwdd.ny.gov/

Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA): The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is responsible for supervising programs that provide assistance and support to eligible families and individuals. OTDA’s functions include: Providing temporary cash assistance; providing assistance in paying for food; providing heating assistance; overseeing New York State’s child support enforcement program; determining certain aspects of eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits; supervising homeless housing and services programs; and providing assistance to certain immigrant populations. https://otda.ny.gov/

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Self-Advocacy Resources

Guideposts for Success
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability identified key elements that youth need in order to control and direct their own lives based on informed decisions

Am I Learning To Lead?
This self-assessment is designed to help you look at how you’re growing as a leader. When you’re involved in a program, it’s hard to know how much you’re growing as a person. You may feel like a program has a big impact on your life, but you may not be sure how. That’s where tools like this are important. Instead of being centered on what program staff do, this focuses on YOU. Who better to tell us what you’re getting out of the program than you? The goal is to get you and the staff you work with talking about where you’re doing great and what other things you need to practice.

Are They Learning to Lead?
This self-assessment is designed to help you look at how the youth in your program are growing as leaders. When you’re involved in a program, it’s hard to know how much your participants are growing individually. You may feel like your program has a big impact on their lives, but you may not be sure how. That’s where tools like this are important. This assessment tool was designed to help you gauge how well your program is doing. The Goals is to get program staff and participants talking about where the program is doing great and which areas need strengthening.

NCWD Youth in Action! Tip Sheets
Becoming a Stronger Self Advocate
Leading Your Transition Planning
Learning Disability History
Getting Involved in Volunteering
Serving on Decision-Making Boards
Participating in Internships and Work-Based Experiences

Strategic Sharing Workbook
This workbook is for individuals who have experienced traumatic life experiences and are interested in sharing their stories in an effort to promote change.

A Guide to Legislative Advocacy
This guide is designed to help youth with disabilities become stronger advocates. This encompasses a wide array of issues including the basics of how a bill becomes a law, how to educate yourself on the issues that are important to you, and how to use that information in talking with your legislator. This is developed for and by young people with disabilities to be used in classroom settings, in trainings, and to better prepare young people to advocate for themselves.

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Disability and Disclosure Resources

Multiple Systems Navigator
Launched by the NYS Council and Children and Families, MSNavigator.org is a comprehensive disability information resource built for youth, parents, caregivers and direct-care workers – all of whom rely on support and services from multiple child and family serving systems. Topics/resources found on this website include: Transitioning to Adulthood; Addressing Challenging Situations; Family/Youth Support and Peer Advocacy; Comprehensive Mapping Tool; Essential tips; Database of Terms and Acronyms; Hotline Information by Category; and more!

The 411 on Disability Disclosure
Helps young people making informed decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and understand how that decision may impact their education, employment, and social lives. It does not tell a young person what to do – it helps them make their own informed decisions.
Available in PDF/Word, Audio, and Order- Hard Copy (limited supply)

The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Families, Educators, Youth Service Professionals, and Adult Allies Who Care About Youth with Disabilities
This workbook is for you if:

  • You want to understand the experiences of a young person with a disability;
  • You want to understand how his or her disability influences the choices he or she makes;
  • You want to help a young person explain his or her disability better to others;
  • You are deciding how to advise a young person what and how to disclose; and
  • You feel it would be beneficial for a young person to disclose his or her disability but feel unprepared or uncomfortable guiding him or her through this challenging process.

Cyber Disclosure for Youth with Disabilities
Advances in technology have changed what youth need to know about disability disclosure. This addition to The 411 on Disability Disclosure provides suggestions on how to make an informed decision on disclosing disabilities and managing disclosure online.

Do I tell My Boss? Disclosing My Mental Health Condition at Work
Every young adult with a mental health condition will face the decision of whether or not to tell others about, or disclose their condition at work. This tip sheet provides guidance in helping you make an informed decision.

Job Accommodation Network: JAN
If you have questions about workplace accommodations or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, JAN can help! Individuals can also search accommodations by disability, topic, and limitation.

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Transition Age Youth

Hitting the Open Road After High School 
This publication is intended to help youth think about their options and plan ahead. This Publication examines the four following questions: How can I learn to make choices that are right for me?; What activities can I do during high school to help me get ready?; What are my options after high school?; and How do I access other supports to be successful?

A Guide on How to Get Scholarships and Grants for Students with Disabilities
Many schools and organizations offer assistance to help students with disabilities reach their goals. This link provides information on a wide range of scholarships and grants, as well as tips on how to apply for them.

A Guide to Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities
This guide includes resources for students with disabilities such as a list of more than 85 disability-specific scholarships, strategies for utilizing state and local financial aid resources, and an overview of loan forgiveness and reduction options.

Resources and Funding Strategies for Making Homes Accessible
Adapting your home can help you live more independently. This link provides resources on making homes accessible, assistive technology, independent living for renters, and more.

College Affordability Guide
This website analyzes government-collected data on 5,000+ colleges and universities in the United States to help identify which ones are both financially accessible for low-income students and have a track record for positive student outcomes. You can search rankings by state and subject, as well as gain access to various guides including colleges to be careful about, college life on a budget, and more.

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Youth Cultural Competence/Youth Development

Positive Youth Development Models
Circle of Courage
The Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets

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Brianna Gower, Director

Brianna Gower, Director

Pronoun: She/Her
Email: BGower@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 518-598-2467

Brianna is a hardworking young professional with first-hand experience developing self-advocacy skills as a young person with a disability and experience in the mental health system. Dedicated to amplifying youth voice across the state, she works hard to spread messages of hope and resiliency to those around her. She began her time with YOUTH POWER! serving as a mentor for the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program and after graduating in 2014 from Sage College of Albany, she began working as YOUTH POWER!’s Youth Engagement Consultant. During this time she led the E3: Engage, Educate, Employ initiative in partnership with the NYS Department of Labor. As this initiative came to a close, she then began her work with the NYS Success initiative, ensuring our system of care is youth-guided. As her role in YOUTH POWER! grew and developed, she then went on to serve as the Social Marketing and Events Coordinator, working closely with YP! members, partners, and other stakeholders. Leveraging her years of experience growing through different roles in the youth peer profession and gaining critical expertise in mentoring, youth peer advocacy, program/event coordination, social marketing, and providing trainings and technical assistance, she is excited to serve as the Director of YOUTH POWER! in this new era of leadership.

Bianca Logan, Youth Peer Development & Training Manager

Bianca Logan, Youth Peer Development & Training Manager

Pronoun: She/Her
Email: BLogan@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 585-465-8166

Bianca is a passionate young professional who has personal experience in the mental health and special education systems. She has been working professionally in the youth movement since 2012 with 8 years volunteer experience prior. Bianca is passionate about all things youth and determined to make sure youth voice is represented at all levels in her community and beyond. She comes with experience working directly with young people and also supporting young professionals in her community. She serves as a member of the Youth Peer Services Advisory Council working towards the development of the NYS Youth Peer Advocate Credential, training, and the implementation of Youth Peer Advocate workforce in New York State. Bianca has experience serving on both the Families Together in NYS and YOUTH POWER! board of directors. Bianca’s experience with YOUTH POWER! has shown her the power and strength of the peer movement. She respects the movement, its history, and its future. Keeping the integrity of the peer movement is important to Bianca as Youth Peer Services are formalized in NYS. Bianca is excited to be working with the Regional Youth Partners across the state to support communities with their youth involvement and implement Youth Peer Advocates successfully and sustainably. She believes this will enhance the wraparound experience for young people.

Bianca wholeheartedly believes that youth are our future, and they deserve to feel empowered to play a role in shaping the next generation, inclusive of Peer Professionals. Most of all she encourages young people to have HOPE that the future can be a better place!

Elijah Fagan-Solis, Statewide Emerging Leadership Manager

Elijah Fagan-Solis, Statewide Emerging Leadership Manager

Pronoun: He/Him
Email: EFagan@youthpowerny.org

Phone: 518-432-0333 ext. 19
Cell: 518-949-4617
www.facebook.com/YOUTHPOWERNY.ANY

Elijah Fagan-Solis, a God-fearing Capital Region native, is a highly motivated, young professional with firsthand, lived experienced as a person with a disability. At age 14, Elijah was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Failure and labeled disabled. Despite the label placed on him, Elijah was determined not to let a disability control his life or future; through all the trials and tribulations he faced with his health, Elijah graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Hudson Valley Community College, and Magna Cum Laude from the Sage College of Albany. While at HVCC, Elijah was honored by the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York for winning the David A. Garfinkel Essay Competition and had his essay published in Judicial Notice, as well as participated in a documentary about his involvement with the contest. Elijah has worked with the NYS Assembly, is a member of two national honor societies, and has received awards for involvement in his community, and for his belief in the ability of people to change, grow, and make a contribution to the world. Elijah participates in charity events and fundraisers such as the National Kidney Foundations Kidney Walk and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s Walk in the Park. Elijah also volunteers his time to do community service and is highly active with his church where he serves as a Deacon, the administrative assistant, and heads the youth ministry among other responsibilities.

Alex Carpenter, Western Regional Youth Partner

Alex Carpenter, Western Regional Youth Partner

Pronoun: He/Him
Email: ACarpenter@YOUTHPOWERNY.org
Phone: 585-314-2452

Alex started facing mental health issues at a young age that carried on into young adulthood. Without the right support, his unaddressed mental health led him down a troubled path. In his journey, he overcame addiction and involvement in the criminal justice system. After struggling with services, he found recovery in peer led groups and started informally mentoring others in these groups. Alex received an opportunity to be a youth peer advocate, and soon after got involved with YOUTH POWER!. Alex is the newest Regional Youth Partner and is motivated to help everyone as much as he can. Alex tries his best to live a life of recovery now and is a father to a beautiful little girl. His passions in advocacy lie in the criminal justice, drug addiction, and mental health services fields.

Alexander Frisina, Long Island Regional Youth Partner

Alexander Frisina, Long Island Regional Youth Partner

Pronoun: He/Him
Email: 
AFrisina@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 631-245-5289
www.facebook.com/YOUTHPOWERNY.LongIsland

Alexander Frisina is a hardworking and dedicated young professional that was labeled with Special Education needs at an early age. Adopted at a young age by a family located in Eastern Long Island, Alex is the youngest of four siblings, and the only adopted member of his family. Facing issues of self-identity Alex struggled with depression. Throughout the decision-making process of his treatment, he felt voiceless and was made to believe he had no choices. This feeling pushed Alex to seek alternative methods of expression; which lead him down the road of creative writing. Alex used his writing to not only express himself but also escape from the feeling of being powerless and unheard. Since graduating from King’s College located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Alex has been seeking a position that uses his creative background to help make a difference. Learning about the work YOUTH POWER! has done and the goals they are working towards Alex realized his past experience could be used to help others dealing with similar situations. Pulling from past experiences and gaining knowledge every day Alex hopes to push for change and spread the work of YOUTH POWER!

Amanda Davidson, Youth Outreach & Engagement Coordinator

Amanda Davidson, Youth Outreach & Engagement Coordinator

Pronoun: She/Her
Email: ADavidson@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 518-432-0333 ext. 26
Cell Phone: 518-949-4338

Amanda is a driven, confident young individual who plans on making the world a better place for young people step by step. Her experience in mental health, child welfare, has allowed her to grow a new skill to recognize the ability for change. She knows she wants to empower young people of all ages and help them to also recognize their ability to seek change and actively make their voices heard in society. Amanda works state wide to amplify youth voice in systems that involve suicide prevention, school mental health education, child welfare, kinship/foster care and many others. She has shared her story in front of the whole NYS Board of Education including Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, to influence the new mental health education curriculum law passed in July of 2018, the 2018 Suicide Prevention Conference sharing her own personal experience with suicide and what helped or harmed her during that time, the 2018 System of Care Summit explaining her transition from child serving systems to the adult serving systems, 2019 Families Together in NYS Annual Conference, 2019 School Mental Health Resource & Training Center Regional Summit and MANY other conferences, meetings, councils and committees sharing her story and experiences of a troubled past. She also participates with many councils and committee event planning groups to ensure young people are properly represented in the systems that we celebrate.

With all of these opportunities, she has realized her passion is to support young involved in the child welfare systems with whom live mental health challenges. She is deeply passionate about the mental health education law and ensuring students have the best supports and resources when it comes to learning such an important topic! With her story told throughout different outlets, she hopes youth can find power in sharing their own story because Amanda knows our stories matter!

Ashley Rivera, Youth Wraparound Implementation Coordinator

Ashley Rivera, Youth Wraparound Implementation Coordinator

Pronoun: She/Her
Email: ARivera@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 518-560-9880

Ashley Rivera is a natural born advocate. With years of experience navigating the foster care system, advocating for her siblings and herself became second nature. Throughout her years in foster care, Ashley dealt with anxiety, depression and self-identity. Through self-advocacy and natural supports Ashley was able to find treatment through faith-based interventions. Ashley has been involved with promoting youth advocacy since High School. She worked on Juvenile Justice projects such as, Alternative to Detention programs in NYC, engaging youth to advocate for funding Educational opportunity programs on college campuses. Ashley has a Bachelor’s of Science from SUNY Plattsburgh in Political Science and Latin American Studies. Ashley is currently serving Youth Power as the Youth Wraparound Implementation Coordinator on the NYS Systems of Care grant. Simultaneously, she works as a community support worker providing skill-building to youth facing their own mental health barriers. Ashley is dedicated to empowering youth and encouraging systems change so youth voice is inclusive and at the forefront of change.

Azaria Georger, Youth Peer Services Training & Credentialing Coordinator

Azaria Georger, Youth Peer Services Training & Credentialing Coordinator

Pronoun: She/Her
Email:
AGeorger@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 585-866-9333

Azaria has a history of working with and for youth and young adults. This stems from the care and support she received while growing up in the foster care system. Azaria was in and out of foster care since the age of 13 and has multiple mental health diagnoses. Azaria has personally experienced the power of love, support, and caring from others who helped her find her voice, drive, and have supported her personal successes. Azaria turned her passion into supporting others to find their voices. Prior to starting this position, she has worked directly with youth to support them in finding their voice at home and in school as a Youth Mentor, Youth Ambassador, and in residential care as a Youth Care Professional. Azaria earned her Bachelors in Social Work from SUNY Brockport in 2013 after aging out of foster care at 21 while studying abroad in Vietnam.

Carly DelVecchio, Central Regional Youth Partner

Carly DelVecchio, Central Regional Youth Partner

Pronoun: She/Her
Email:
 CDelVecchio@YOUTHPOWERNY.org
Phone: 315-679-1476
www.facebook.com/YOUTHPOWERNY.Central

Carly DelVecchio’s personal struggles with mental health began in middle school.  This life-altering experience ultimately sparked her passion for supporting others to live abundant lives in spite of their diagnoses.  Carly graduated from Houghton College with her BA in Psychology in December 2016 and soon began working with the Mental Health Advocates of WNY as a Youth Peer Advocate.  In April 2018, she joined the team at YOUTH POWER! of Families Together in New York State as the Western Regional Youth Partner.  One year later, she moved to Syracuse, NY and transitioned into the role of Central Regional Youth Partner. 

In addition to her work with YOUTH POWER!, Carly is currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work through Rutgers University.  She is married to her best friend and they are expecting a baby girl in September 2019.  In her free time, Carly enjoys reading, going for walks, visiting local coffee shops, and writing about her faith and the day-to-day challenges of living with a mental health diagnosis on her personal blog, Jesus, Coffee, and Prozac.  (Feel free to check it out at www.jesuscoffeeandprozac.com).  To connect with Carly, send her a friend request on Facebook, shoot her a quick email or text, or give her a call!

Imari Wilson, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner

Imari Wilson, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner

Pronoun: He/Him/They/Them
Email: iwilson@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 518-322-2096
www.facebook.com/YOUTHPOWERNY.HudsonRiver

Imari is no stranger to advocating for others. Since a young age they’ve unconsciously looked to make others around feel included and accepted. Growing up having older siblings in the foster care system, juvenile justice system, and having a serious medical illness, Imari felt they had to minimize their needs to make space for others. This created some unhealthy habits. It wasn’t until experiencing a significant loss in their late teens that they began to positively accept and voice their needs, and address the obstacles that challenged him. Imari has now gained confidence and strength by exploring and identifying their mental health needs, as well as, liberating himself through transition. This self-work and lived experience brought them into the mental health field as a Youth Peer Advocate (YPA). Now in a place where he can make space for himself and others, Imari aims to continue to raise visibility to those that need it and see a more inclusive world than the day before.

Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator

Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator

Pronoun: He/Him
Email: ZKilmer@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 518-708-3808
www.facebook.com/zack.kilmer.7

Zack Kilmer is an autistic LGBTQ+ young adult who has had a passion for activism and civics since he was a child. Raised by a single mother and brought up in special education programs, Zack knows the struggles young people face and wants to change the system to better suit their needs. He is excited and honored to be working with YOUTH POWER! to achieve that goal. Before joining YP!, Zack graduated from SUNY Brockport with a bachelor’s degree in English & Political Science. Shortly after, he worked on the New York 19th District 2016 Congressional Election in support of Zephyr Teachout. He then used the skills learned in that race to run his own campaign for Town Council in his hometown of East Greenbush.

Shainek Edmundson, NYC Regional Youth Partner

Shainek Edmundson, NYC Regional Youth Partner

Pronoun: She/Her
Email: SEdmundson@youthpowerny.org
Phone: 518-708-3808

Shainek is a resilient, self motivated young adult who has experience with the foster care system. From an early age she has been an advocate for herself along with young people she came across. She helps to provide hope by being a positive example in her community and striving for excellence each day. She identifies herself as creative as she uses the arts as a form of self expression and therapy. Being passionate about justice and systematic change, Shainek is motivated to help educate individuals about various issues to raise awareness. Recently receiving her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and becoming the newest Regional Youth Partner, Shainek is excited to leave a long lasting impact on her peers through advocacy and exposure.

Staff of YOUTH POWER!

We pride ourselves on being a peer run network. Families Together in NYS employs youth and young adults with disabilities and/or cross-systems experiences to mentor young leaders and coordinate YP! network activities.

 

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