Meet the YP! Network Leadership Council
Blaise Bryant, Council Chair
Hudson River Region
Currently, I’m attending the New School Center for Media in Albany to become a radio broadcaster. Since September 2014, I’ve been working at the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley in Troy as a Peer Advocate and Employment Specialist. I was also a Youth Transitional Coordinator at the Independent Living Center and became involved in both VOYA and RAMP which is how I found out about YOUTH POWER!. Some of my interests are advocacy, traveling, current events, news, and sports just to name a few. I also have a four-year-old seeing eye dog named Flash, who’s my eyes, independence, and best friend.
Alexis Kennedy, Vice Chair, FTNYS Board Member
Alexis Kennedy is a very dedicated advocate for those who need a voice. She has struggled with her mental health for most of her life, but now uses her story to help others in any way she can. She has been involved with YP! for several years and is currently part of the YP! Services Advisory Council and the YP! Network Leadership Council. Alexis is currently a Youth Peer Advocate at the Mental Health Advocates of Western New York, where she facilitates support groups and attends many training’s and conferences to network with others, widen her knowledge within the mental health world and encourage peer support. In her free time, Alexis loves to create, making YouTube videos, various crafts, writing poetry and pursuing her love for photography whenever she can. If she’s not doing some type of art, you can find her cuddling with her psychiatric service dog and best friend, Kia. She’s not too sure what her future will hold, but her biggest hopes right now are to continue being the best advocate she can and to impact people’s lives in a positive way.
Marc Rosen, Financial Liaison, Special Events Committee Chair
Marc Rosen possesses a critic’s tongue, a demon’s luck, and a cynic’s humor. He currently serves as Treasurer for The Bards Initiative (as well as co-founder), as Treasurer for YOUTH POWER!, and as a member of the New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC). His works have graced the pages of numerous anthologies published by Local Gems Poetry Press, Autonomous Press’s Spoon Knife Anthology, the 2017 Poets’ Almanac, and his own book, Monster of Fifty-Nine Moons and Other Poems (Local Gems Poetry Press, 2016). He has also developed and mastered a method for leading groups through writing from their traumas, which he will soon begin offering as a training for education and mental health professionals, as well as peer advocates. He enjoys quiet evenings at home, spent reading, laughing at random stuff on the Internet, sampling the fruits of his slow cooker’s labor, and quietly plotting to rule the world from the shadows.
Kaitlyn O'Dell, Secretary
Hudson River Region
Kaitlyn lives in Dutchess County NY and recognizes as living in recovery from mental health and substance abuse. Being involved in many mental health treatments at a young age, she’s seen the resilience and strength of many of those around her. She currently works as a peer advocate and behavioral health specialist at Astor Services for Children and Families for youth in the area. She loves learning new things and attending training to help with the peer movement and is also strives to have more good days as she manages her symptoms. In her off time Kaitlyn enjoys coffee, baking sweets, doing watercolors, being with her cat Jellybean, her dog Alice, and hanging out with friends.
Tony spent seven years in New York’s foster care system and is an excellent advocate and voice for foster youth and other youth who are involved with various child-serving systems. While attending Columbia University, Tony is employed as a Peer Specialist at the Mental Health Association of NYC. He has written articles for the New York Times and Huffington Post, and for the past six years been a journalist for Youth Communication Represent – a magazine for and by foster youth. Tony is a co-chair for the Youth Advisory Council at YOUTH POWER!, Board Member at YP!, president of the New Yorker’s for Children Youth Advisory Board, and a core member of Fostering Advocacy and Empowerment. Tony’s main career goal is to become Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. When not being a Superhero for youth in need Tony spends his time reading classic literature, listening to music, and meeting new people.
Hudson River Region
I was born with a disability and have been advocating for myself and others my entire life. I plan to have a career in disability advocacy and after entering college as a full-time wheelchair user, I became particularly passionate about making higher education more accessible for disabled people. I attend University at Albany as a Public Policy major and am from Niagara Falls, NY.
Long Island Region
My name is Evan Reiter and I have been a part of YOUTH POWER! since it’s founding in 2008. From someone who didn’t have any friends, YOUTH POWER! showed me what true advocacy is. I am also an up and coming motivational speaker and I am grateful for everything every day.