*Classes/activities subject to change.

SA: Systems Advocacy Major
PA: Peer Advocacy Major
RT: Recovery Track

Day 1: Saturday 6/22/19

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

1:30pm-3:00pm Orientation- St. Joseph

3:30-5:00pm Classes:

SA: Systems Advocacy 101
Professors: Brad Hansen, Public Policy Coordinator, Families Together in New York State; Imari Wilson, Hudson River Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS
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.

PA: Peer Advocacy 101
Professors: Bianca Logan, Youth Peer Services and Training Manager, YOUTH POWER! of FTNYS; Azaria Wittekind, Youth Peer Services Training and Credentialing Coordinator, YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS
Description: Join the Youth Peer Services Training and Credentialing Coordinator to explore the process of becoming a Professionally Credentialed Youth Peer Advocate. Here we will explore the training necessary for the Provisional and Professional Credentials, the applications, the statement of lived experience, and discuss any questions you may have.

RT: Recovery Advocacy 101
Professors:  Rachelle Brown, Carlee Hulsizer, and Lori Teaney; Youth Voices Matter
To kick off the new Recovery Track, join the Youth Voices Matter team to explore how to effectively voice your recovery story through positive recovery messaging. This class will teach individuals how to develop their message to various groups, how to shift their usage of language, and what words to elevate and celebrate! This class will also teach different messaging strategies, the key parts of messaging, and provide ways to practice the use of their recovery message. By learning how to voice your recovery story you can contribute to breaking down stigma, advocate to change policies, and assist in building a strong national recovery movement.

Understanding the New Services Available to Young People and Their Families
Professor: Brianna Gower, Director, YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS
Description: As the state transitions to Medicaid Managed Care, there are a variety of new services available to young people and their families. In this session, we will provide an overview and discussion on the new services, the role Youth Peers play, and how to access them. Those who participate in this session will be provided tools and resources to further support efforts to educate the young people we work with.

5:00-6:00pm Dinner

6:30-8:00pm Stand Up for Mental Health
Creating Recovery One Laugh at a Time!
Join award-winning Vancouver counselor, peer, stand-up comic, and author David Granirer for a night of comedy featuring you very own peers! Leading up to UYP, David will be training a group of young people from the YP! and Youth Voices Matter networks to share their experiences and inspire hope and laughter through their very own stand-up comedy routine to be performed live with David Granirer during this session.

9:00pm-11:00pm Activities:

Paint and Dip
Enjoy some late night snacks while breaking out your inner artist for a night of painting.


Advocacy Film Screening & Discussion
Join the YP! team for an advocacy film screening  and discussion. Film: Generation Found


Day 2: Sunday 6/23/19

8:00-9:15am Breakfast- Main Dining Room

9:30-10:45am Classes:

SA: Legislative Advocacy 101: Effectively Telling Your Story
Blaise Bryant; YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS Network Leadership Council
Description: The course will describe best practices to advocate to elected officials via face-to-face meetings, e-mails, phone calls, social media, etc. Blaise will share his own experiences with each platform, with emphasis on telling your own story. There will be an opportunity for students to play both the roll of an advocate and an elected official/Chief of Staff.

PA: Supports for Transition Age Youth Entering the Workforce that also have a Mental Health Challenge/ Disability
Professor: Kaitlyn Ledzian, Youth Peer Advocate, Mental Health Advocates of WNY
Description: Transition age youth is described as any young person from the ages of 18-28 that are now faced with any struggles with entering the world of the workforce, college/trade school, moving out. These challenges are difficult enough for a young person let alone having a mental health challenge/disability. I plan to provide different tips and resources that can help a young person strive in the “adult” world. Speaking from experience I am a youth peer advocate at the age of 22, who has attended college, has their own apartment and entered the workforce at a very young age so I can speak from experience. I also make follow up calls to transition age youth after they are discharged from a psychiatric hospital in the Buffalo area, so this is something that I am very familiar with.

RT: We Got Your Back
Professor: Stephanie Campbell, NYS Ombudsman Project Director, OASAS; Rob Kent, OASAS General Counselor, OASAS
The Recovery movement has long advocated on reforming the health care system to make health insurance more available to youth and their families. Although young people are at greatest risk to drug overdose and suicide, those with substance use and mental healthcare concerns often have challenges accessing much needed health care. New York State has special programs to help protect young people and get them the care they need and deserve. This course will provide an overview of Patient Advocacy and the Community Health Access to Addiction and Mental Healthcare Project (CHAMP) – two programs that help people get access to treatment and resolve complaints. Participants will also look at barriers to treatment – including access to medication, and solutions to how young people can get the most from their insurance for substance use and mental health services. We will look at the range of sensitive health care services that young people may receive and that they are entitled to have those services delivered in a manner that is confidential and addresses their needs. The take-away is the knowledge that there are programs that protect and enforce the health care rights of youth and young adults. We hope this course will provide attendees with a greater awareness that their healthcare choices are in their hands.

11:00-12:15 Electives:

Making Meaningful Connections
Professor: Alex Frisina, Long Island Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS
Description: Attending events can be stressful and at times feel like a waste of time. In this class we will learn skills to make the best of every opportunity. Learn the importance of being prepared, how to limit anxiety during the event and best practice for follow up with new contacts. Add Networking to your toolbox, to create strong personal and work relationships. 

Healing with Yoga & Meditation
Professors: Robbie Lettieri, Outreach and Training Peer Specialist, Association for Mental Health and Wellness
 During this course, we will dive into the depths of holistic healing. We will look at the common misconceptions surrounding yoga and meditation while also exploring different approaches to an array of mindful practices. Presenter and registered Yoga Therapist, Robbie Lettieri, credits these mindful practices as being a key role in his own road to recovery. Come join the discussion and learn more techniques to support your road to finding peace within.

Adulting 101
Professor: Carly DelVecchio, Central Regional Youth Partner, YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS
Description: Let’s face it – adulting is hard, and transitioning from a teenager to a young adult is even more difficult for those of us who grow up “in the system”. I don’t know about you, but as a teenager with significant mental health challenges, my high school experience definitely wasn’t what you’d call normal. Those of us with disabilities, mental health challenges, or involvement in state systems such as juvenile justice or foster care sometimes missed key opportunities to learn basic skills critical to our success as young adults. If this sounds like you, join us for Adulting 101, where you’ll learn important skills like how to write a check, how to write a professional email, how to do laundry, how to put out a kitchen grease fire, how to compile a resume, how to utilize public transportation services, basic conflict management, and much more! Participation in this class will not only help you succeed in day-to-day life, but also in your academic and professional pursuits!

Speak Up about Sexual Freedom! Information about the Consenting Process
Professor: Andrea Onstot, MSW, PH.D Student, UAlbany
Adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who are supported by non-profit agencies are often forbidden from participating in sexual activities, or taking sex-ed classes, unless they can pass a “consent capacity assessment.” In this class, I will provide a summary of recent scholarly research, which has revealed that this process may be negatively impacting people with disabilities. I will also provide details about the policy that has influenced “consent capacity assessment,” and invite participant opinion on these policies and practices. *This class will contain information about sex and/or sexual abuse which may be triggering to some young people.*

12:30- 1:30pm Lunch- Main Dining Room

2:00- 3:15pm Classes:

SA: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Systems Advocacy Research
 Melanie Hecker, Student, UAlbany
Description: Research is an essential part of any good Systems Advocacy campaign. But how do you know if you’re using good sources in your research? In this class, we will learn what reliable sources are, what they look like, and how to find them. We will learn what sorts of things make a source reliable and good to use, but also what makes a source less reliable and the reasons why it may not be a good idea to use it. Finally, we will discuss the pros and cons of different types of sources like books, newspapers and websites and when these sources are appropriate to use. Great research and great sources make great campaigns!

PA: Where do we go from Peer?
Azaria Georger, Youth Peer Services Training & Credentialing Coordinator, YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS
Youth Peer Advocate That Is! Life is full of transitions and one of those transitions will be from a Youth Peer Advocate to an Adult Peer. Your experience does not expire and there are so many options for peers out there! Join us in exploring peer and other career options in NYS that could benefit from the peer expertise.

RT: The Brain on Drugs, Addiction Science
Professor: Samantha Kawola, Youth/ Young Adult Specialist, OASAS; Shyla Primavera, Addictions Program Specialist, OASAS
An overview of the basics of addiction science as it relates to adolescent brain development. Participants will also leave class with an understanding of OASAS services and supports available to young people, as well as how to access those services.

3:30-4:45pm Electives:

Afro-Caribbean Dance
Professor: Shaahida Samuel, Dance Instructor, NYU; Ashley Rivera, Youth Wraparound Implementation Coordinator, YOUTH POWER!FTNYS
Description: Shaahida Samuel Graduated with her bachelors in dance education and is now pursuing her Master’s at New York University in Dance Education. This dance class will be an interactive dance workshop that explores Afro-Caribbean dance as a way of Meditation and wellness, and a way to relieve stress. This self-expressive class will leave you feeling new and rejuvenated.

Play It Off
Professor: Joseph Burrows, Peer Advocate, Addiction Center of Broome County
Description: An innovative approach to connecting with youth and young adults 14 and up. What is something that anybody can relate to regardless of race, upbringing, culture, sex or background? Music! What better way to foster growth and promote positive change than to utilize something that anyone can relate to? This interactive workshop is designed to teach YPA’s how to run a group that incorporates evidence based practices with learning a fun new skill. The program was initially designed with teaching guitar as the catalyst but any type of music or instrument can be used. Play to your strengths! In this workshop you will learn the basic structure of the group and how to effectively communicate with your group member. You will learn all of the tools needed to get your group up and running as well as invaluable resources to overcome the barriers of getting your group started. You will learn effective forms of data collection to prove how successful your group is and mostly, you will learn how to make a group comfortable and fun for your participants!”

Narcan Training
Professor: Lawrence Byrne, Project Safe Point
Description: This course will teach students the 8 strategies of Harm Reduction and how this pertains to overdose prevention.  During this course, students will be trained on how to use Naloxone/Narcan.  Students will also be taught an overview on what a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate is.

Electing YOUth: How to Run for Public Office
Professors: Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator, YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS
Have you ever imagined yourself running for office? Many have never seen themselves going so, but it is more plausible than one might think. If you are unhappy with your elected representatives or the status quo, what better way to change it than getting in yourself? In this workshop, we will go through a step-by-step guide for how young people can run their own elections for local office and beyond. Zach Kilmer, previous Town Council candidate, will help you create your own action plan to run for office and help elect more youth to local government.

5:00-6:00pm Dinner- Main Dining Room

6:15-8:00pm Student Fair- Touhey
Network with your peers, gather resources, win prizes, and more! 

8:00-8:30pm YP! Network Leadership Council Open Meeting- Touhey
Join the YP! Network Leadership Council for an open meeting

9:00-11:00pm Activities:

Our Art Class
Hosted by: Aprecia Cabey, Director, Our Art Class
Participants will create self-portraits based on qualities that they recognize about themselves. Participants will choose three qualities and include a discussion on how participants communicate their individual strengths and weaknesses will assist with the reflective component of the activity. Discussion will continue to include how to cope with perceived weaknesses. Participants will use visual art as a medium to express themselves with a self-portrait.


Qigong: Wellness and Martial Arts Workshop
Hosted by: Shawn Fariss, Tai Chi/QiGong Instructor, Chinese Martial Arts Academy
Participants will learn Qigong, a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial arts training. We will learn one basic form called “Eight Pieces of Brocade or Ba Duan Jin”, which can be done either sitting or standing.

Day 3: Monday 6/24/19

8:00am-9:15am Breakfast- Main Dining Room

9:30-10:45am Electives:

Skills and Strategies for Effective Advocacy
Professors: Stephanie Belveg, Advocate w/ Individual and Family Support Services, Justice Center; Crystal Collins, Coordinator; Maeve O’Donnell, Advocate
This class provides individuals with information and skill building exercises to develop and enhance self and peer advocacy skills.
The goal of this course is to teach the skills and strategies necessary to be an effective advocate:
• Skills are techniques for becoming competent in advocacy.
• Strategies are plans for an approach to address an issue or solve a problem through advocacy.
This class will provide the basics; a definition of advocacy and will teach Informal and Formal Advocacy Strategies. Although the course is designed with the self-advocate in mind, peer advocates (including family, friends and service providers) will benefit from the advocacy information and techniques throughout the course. We will also provide a brief overview of the NYS Justice Center and how to make referrals to our Individual and Family Support Services for advocacy.

Building a Powerful Advocacy Photo Campaign from Scratch
Professor: Desiree Moore, Youth Advocate Supervisor, You Gotta Believe
Do you love Photography, Social media, and Advocacy? Join this course and learn how to create a social media campaign that will share your story and help create system change and peer support.

Youth Rights
Professor: Elena Marton, Deputy Director & Counsel, NYS Council on Children & Families
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!

Political Involvement: Voting Isn’t Your Only Option
Professors: Jessica Pidegeon, Ph.D, SUNY UAlbany
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 influence policy, and 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, students, and will conclude with a group activity to get students thinking about and planning different ways to be politically and civically involved going forward.

11:00am-12:15pm Classes:

SA: Strategies for Effective Positive Systemic Change
Professor: Cliff Perez, Systems Advocate, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley
Description: Advocacy is used to promote an issue in order to influence policy-makers and encourage social change. Are you interested in how the political system works, how you can become an effective Systems Advocate and become a catalyst for Effecting Positive Systemic change? The presentation topic/focuses will involve:
• What the tools and mechanisms and/or strategies are needed to be an effective Systems Advocate
• Learning objectives to learn when and how to utilize Systems Advocacy tools and strategies
• Introduction of what Systems Advocacy is and factors that can influence the outcome of public policy issues: money, votes, exposure in the media (i.e., positive or negative) and coalition building.

PA: Facilitating Peer Support Groups
Professor: Abaigeal Duke, Advocacy Specialist, NYC OMH Field Office
This class will focus on the basics of running peer support groups, hopefully giving attendees the skills to start and comfortably run groups for their peers.  We will go over what makes a good group, elements of a successful group, suggestions for the flow of groups and do an activity around creating group activities!

RT: Understanding NYS Government 101
Professor: Maria L. Morris-Groves, Director Adolescent, Women and Children’s Services, OASAS; Tracey Collins, Government Affairs; Carmelita Cruz, Senior Attorney
The presenters will provide an overview of NYS Government with a focus on the Executive and Legislative Branches; and the operation of state agencies. The course also will cover the state budget process, and how legislation is developed and becomes law.

12:30-1:30pm Lunch

1:45-3:00pm Electives:

Justice Center: Focus on Abuse Prevention
Professor: Kim Affinati, Supervising Review Specialist, Justice Center; Caitlyn Kelley, Review Specialist, Shannon Burns, Review Specialist
 This presentation will provide general information about the Justice Center, with a focus on abuse prevention efforts, including a brief overview of mandated reporting requirements, the Justice Center Code of Conduct for Custodians of People with Special Needs and criminal background checks, and more detailed discussion of tolls developed by the prevention and quality improvement unit aimed at abuse prevention, including professional boundaries and reducing restraints.

Strategic Sharing/ Public Speaking
Professor: Zack Kilmer, NYISA Coordinator, YOUTH POWER!, FTNYS
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. This will also touch on strategic sharing techniques in order to use personal stories for advocacy purposes.

Youth Clubhouse Panel
New York’s youth clubhouses help young people in recovery (or at risk for addiction) develop social skills that promote prevention, long-term health, wellness, recovery, and a drug-free lifestyle.  During this Panel the Youth Voices Matter team will facilitate a discussion with Clubhouse leaders and members about their unique clubhouses and how they engage young people in recovery.

Working on Our Wellness
Karl Shallowhorn, Education Program Coordinator, Community Health Center of Buffalo
Karl Shallowhorn experienced his first psychotic episode at the age of 18, just when he was embarking on a new life as a college student in Michigan. It was this life changing experience that cause him to go into a “tailspin” of despair and pain, which included periods of mania, depression, and even suicide attempts. After many years of cycling through Buffalo area psychiatric settings, Karl had an epiphany during a therapy session in 1988 that would lead to the single most important decision he has ever made. In the years since, Karl has successfully navigated through many transitory experiences that have been both challenging and rewarding. In this presentation, participants will learn about the concept of potential and what it means to go beyond one’s own self perceived limitations. There will be an opportunity for participants to join in on a dialogue to share their own particular struggles and triumphs.

3:00-3:45pm Dress for Leaders’ Dinner

3:45-5:00pm Dinner Prep– Preparation for Leaders’ Dinner- St. Joseph Hall

5:30pm-8:00pm YP!’s 12th Annual Leaders’ Dinner- St. Joseph Hall

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 young people the chance to communicate in a relaxed setting.  We create an atmosphere of sharing and partnership that is comfortable for both young people and adults. This year, we are celebrating the 12th Annual Leaders’ Dinner.

9:00pm-11:00pm Karaoke Pajama Dance Party
8:30-11:30pm Roleplay Game Night

Day 4: Tuesday 6/25/18

8:00am-9:15am Breakfast- Main Dining Hall

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

12:00-12:45pm Lunch- Main Dining Hall

Class Networking: Pictures, Signing of books

1:00-2:30pm Graduation Ceremony- Recital Hall

Elected Class Speakers

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