Welcome to the
STAR Center Newsletter!

We are thrilled to offer the March issue of the STAR Center e-newsletter! This month, I would like to call your attention to the members of our National Advisory Caucus. The NAC is a diverse group of nationally recognized leaders from across the country who guide the STAR Center's efforts on youth leadership and developing sustainability for peer and family run organizations.

Each member of the NAC brings a unique contribution and perspective to our work. We hope to feature each member on a regular basis throughout the year as well and share important news about their contributions.

For example, this month, Viviana Bonilla Lopez, a law student at New York University, joined me in a presentation at the Council of Social Work Education’s Minority Fellowship Program Conference with up to 40 Fellows who are students in Master’s degree programs across the country. All of the students have a special interest in supporting young people from minority communities in various ways.

Our presentation focused on the importance of including people with lived experience and family members as an essential component of recovery-oriented practices. Viviana was able to present on her experience as a founder of Rethink, a student run organization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to raise campus awareness about mental health, lead mental health advocacy training events and create safe spaces for students to get involved across multiple social identities through a lens and priority for intersectionality as key strategy for engaging diverse communities. This is also a core principle for the STAR Center and has been a subject of our past training programs. Viviana and the National Advisory Caucus will be supporting the STAR Center to take intersectionality even further in our work over the next year!


STAR of the Month
The STAR Center will feature young people every month from across the country who are making a difference in their communities and demonstrating extraordinary leadership that you need to know about! Help us make sure young people in your community are recognized and valued by nominating someone today!

This month the STAR Center recognizes Paula Del Moral from Carolina, Puerto Rico.  Check out her story and watch her

Featured Youth Leadership Resource

YOUTH POWER! is a New York State network run for and by youth and young adults. They work to ensure young people have meaningful involvement on all levels of the services they receive. We ensure the availability of Peer Support through persistent advocacy, technical assistance and by offering training and education opportunities.

Check out their YouTube Channel with videos on topics such as self advocacy, youth cultural competency, supporting youth as agents of change and more!
STAR Center's Featured Resource
Youth United For Change Documentary

Youth United 4 Change Video
and Toolkit

We are thrilled to release this great new resource developed by young people for young people! If you are putting together an event or program to engage and start conversations with diverse communities of young people this may be the resource you need to put your ideas into practice.
Youth United For Change is a short documentary developed by the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery, in collaboration with the STAR Center, showcasing common challenges faced by culturally diverse youth in their journey towards wellness recovery. We have developed this companion toolkit to help you plan a video talk circle event.

Featured Organizational  Resource


The number of people involved in grassroots leadership is growing, and the organizations they are involved in vary widely greatly in size and scope. These support organizations and funders offer encouragement, training and technical experience in many different ways. The Kellogg Foundation's intention with this publication is to add to the field's body of knowledge and encourage discussions and learning in the arena of grassroots leadership.
Research Update

This systematic review identifies, appraises, and summarizes the evidence on the effectiveness of peer-delivered recovery support services for people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. 
Funding Opportunity

Capacity Building Initiative for Substance Abuse (SA) and HIV Prevention Services for At-Risk Racial/Ethnic Minority Youth and Young Adults

Short Title: 
Initial Announcement
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) InformationFOA Number: 
Application Due Date: 
Tuesday, April 19, 2016


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2016 Capacity Building Initiative for Substance Abuse (SA) and HIV Prevention Services for At-Risk  Racial/Ethnic Minority Youth and Young Adults (HIV CBI) cooperative agreements.  

To read more click here.
Upcoming Webinars

A Decade of Peer Culture, Support, and Leadership in Philadelphia- By: Crystal Edwards
 Tuesday, March 29th 11am PST/ 2pm EST

This 60- minute webinar will explore the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS) celebrated decade of behavioral health system transformation. As part of this celebration, DBHIDS conducted an extensive study on what was working in the utilization of peer support services and what still needed work.  Philadelphia has been on the cutting edge of peer support services both in training and in employment possibilities.  This extensive study of all stakeholders provides the foundation for Philadelphia to continue the growth of the peer specialist professional as an indispensable member of the healthcare community.

Register Here!

DATE: March 30, 2016 

TIME: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST


Voice your Vision: A Community Engagement Initiative


Yvonne J. Graham, Director, Office of Minority Health &Health Disparities Prevention,
New York State Department of Health

Raul Vasquez, President, The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN)

Lori V. Quigley, Dean, Esteves School of Education, Professor of Literacy Education, The Sage Colleges, New York

Lenora Reid Rose, Co-Director, Center of Excellence in Culturally Competent Mental Health Care, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Kristen Pergolino, Deputy Director, Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities Prevention, 
New York State Department of Health

Amen Ptah, Digital Media Specialist/Program Coordinator, Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County; Tele Counselor II, 2-1-1/Lifeline

Register Here!

Click Here for Full Abstract and Speaker Biographies.  


Implementing Recovery-oriented Practices: Assessing strengths and priorities


Date:  April 5, 2016

Time:  12:30 – 1:30 p.m. ET

Presenters: Dr. Wesley Sowers, M.D. and Dr. Janis Tondora, Psy.D.

This webinar expands on themes from the March 2016 Recovery to Practice newsletter to explore tools for incorporating recovery values and approaches into organizational culture, policies, and practices. 

Register Here!

Upcoming Events

Save the Date!

Alternatives Conference 2016
September 19-23, 2016

Mental Health America of Oregon, Peerlink, a National Consumer Technical Assistance Center, has announced the dates for the Alternatives Conference 2016.

Alternatives Conference 2016 will be held in San Diego, California at the Town & Country Resort & Convention Center.

The Alternatives Conference 2016 website is in development and will be published as soon as possible at There, you will find the Call for Presentations brochure, an online submission link, hotel reservations information and a direct link to online room reservation. Registration and other conference information will be posted soon after the Alternatives website is available.

April 25-28th, 2016 
Corpus Christi, TX

The PeerFest 2016 deadlines to apply for attendance, breakout session proposals and exhibitors have been extended! Scholarships are still available!

The deadline for attendance applications has been extended through March 28, 2016!

The deadline for Exhibitor applications has been extended through March 21, 2016 for inclusion in the printed program and until April 1, 2016 otherwise!

The deadline for Breakout Session Proposals has been extended through March 21, 2016!

For more information visit


Are you leading youth engagement efforts in a System of Care / Healthy Transitions community or a Youth M.O.V.E. Chapter? Are you a youth or young adult who wants to develop professional skills while also connecting with peers who are using their lived experiences to make systems change? Join us by registering for the Direct Connect National Learning Community for Young Leaders!

The Direct Connect National Learning Community is a virtual forum for youth and young adults to:

  • develop professional skill sets via virtual training opportunities,

  • connect as a community to share and gather new resources, and

  • unite with other youth advocates and professional peers from across the country

Don't miss your opportunity to register for Youth M.O.V.E. National's highly interactive learning community! We look forward to connecting with you and supporting you in developing skills and relationships that will help you in your work to transform the behavioral health system and expand Systems of Care.

Register for future convening of Direct Connect Learning Community here.
Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 1:30pm-3pm ET 

Join One Night, One Voice!
April 29, 2016

The producers of “Healing Voices” – a new social action documentary about mental health – have announced an innovative plan to release the film via community screening partners in a coordinated one-night global event. Community screening partners will execute “Healing Voices” premieres in their local markets, which will be followed by audience discussion around structured dialogue topics relating to the content of the film. The documentary is ideal for individuals with lived experience in the mental health system, educators, peer counselors, advocates, researchers, psychiatrists, psychologists, healthcare workers, first responders, family members, or anyone who has been touched by mental health issues in their life.

For more information, click here.

You're Invited!
Share expertise, peer strategies, and agency advances at the 2016 Transition Age Youth Institute on Thursday, September 22 and Friday, September 23 at The Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs, NY.

The Transition Age Youth Institute offers professionals and peers working with school age youth the opportunity to enhance knowledge through interactive discussions in critical areas such as CTW & employment, inclusion, life-enrichment, literacy and managed care; reflect and deliberate on the challenges and rewards of innovative designs and youth service delivery models; and share, capture and take back experiences, strategies and informational tools that will successfully move transition services forward.

Click Here to Complete the 
Call for Presentations
 Deadline for Submission:
Friday, April 1, 2016

National Advisory Caucus Member Spotlight:
Juan Vélez