STAR Center In Action!

We are thrilled to offer the May issue of the STAR Center e-newsletter! The STAR Center was in the US Virgin Islands for the first time last month. We are grateful to already have a strong and diverse group of people and community based organizations to work with.

Picture above features: (back row to front row and left to right) Khnuma Simmonds-Esannason – Executive Director for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition (DVSAC), Ginny Dargan – Advocacy Director for American Association of Retired Persons (AARP-VI), Sherilyn Pogson – AARP-VI/NAMI St. Croix, Denyce Singleton – Executive Director for AARP-VI, Nikita Ward – Division of Health Services Virgin Islands (DHSVI), Yvonne Peterson – Executive Director for the Virgin Islands Developmental Disabilities Council, Darlene Springer – DVSAC and Amelia Headley LaMont – Executive Director for USVI Disability Rights.

Picture below features: USVI Disability Rights St. Thomas Office – Archie Jennings - Managing Attorney, Kishma Creque – Administrator and Lisandra Latorre – Senior Advocate.  

Our next steps with the advocates in the US Virgin Islands is to begin Collaborative Action Leadership and Trauma-Informed Community Building (see our featured resources) with hopes of increasing the leadership and numbers of people with lived experience as consumers/survivors/ex-patients and family members who are involved. We are also facilitating a Collaborative Coalition building process for all of the community organizations to work together towards the ongoing monitoring and support for the implementation of the Olmstead based 5 Year Strategic Plan that was developed in response to a law suit and resulting court decree that was filed by the USVI Disability Rights. This is a true systems transformation effort and opportunity that we can all learn from!  

We will be featuring updates about the work in USVI, including a video interview with Managing Attorney, Archie Jennings, soon so please stay engaged with this growing movement in the USVI.

Want to learn more about the STAR Center and all that we do? Check out the STAR Center’s website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to find out where we are headed next!

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 Loren Musgrave from the Pueblo of Nambé, a tribe in Northern New Mexico. Check out her story  and watch her video!
Featured Youth Leadership Resources


The REACH Survey
Based on Search Institute research and reviews of research conducted by others, the REACH Survey is designed to gain insight into middle and high school students’ character strengths that are essential for motivating them to become self-propelled young adults. The survey examines the Relationship supports young people have in school as well as four additional components: Effort, Aspiration, Cognition, and Heart--their sparks and values. It also examines external factors experienced by youth, such as school climate, obstacles to perseverance, and perceived discrimination.

Apply Now to the 2016 – 2017 Young Leaders Institute!
The 2016 YLI Cohort will focus on “Building Immigrant Justice” in our communities.

Application deadline is May 31, 2016.

SAALT is seeking 15–20 outstanding, diverse young leaders to join the 2016–2017 Young Leaders Institute. Selected candidates will join other young people from across the U.S. at the July 15–17, 2016 training in the Washington, DC metro area.
2016–2017 Institute participants will:

  • Explore key issues affecting South Asians in the U.S. This year’s Institute will focus on building immigrant justice;
  • Develop leadership skills and resources to become agents of change;
  • Design and implement a civic engagement project in collaboration with community partners. Download the 2016 Young Leaders Institute application (Word Document)
    All responses should be typed directly into this document.
Featured Organizational  Resource

Racial Equity Assessment Toolkit
What are Racial Equity Impact Assessments?
A Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) is a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. REIAs are used to minimize unanticipated adverse consequences in a variety of contexts, including the analysis of proposed policies, institutional practices, programs, plans and budgetary decisions.

The REIA can be a vital tool for preventing institutional racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities.
Research Updates

Trauma Informed Community Building Toolkit

This toolkit documents strategies that de-escalate chaos and stress, build social cohesion and foster community resiliency over time.

The TICB model is based on five years of BRIDGE Housing’s community building work at the Potrero Terrace and Annex public housing site in San Francisco. The Potrero development is part of San Francisco’s HOPE-SF initiative to rebuild some of the most distressed public housing in the city.

At the Potrero site—as at many other public housing sites across the nation—cumulative trauma results from daily stressors such as concentrated poverty, chronic health and mental health conditions, violence, low levels of education, and structural racism and isolation. The TICB approach takes into account residents’ emotional needs and avoids re-traumatization triggers, which “traditional” models of community building may ignore or exacerbate. 


Peer Respite Essential Features Survey Results
What makes peer respites work? Thanks to Researchers from Live & Learn, Inc. and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) we now have some new answers to that question. Check out the results of the 2016 Peer Respite Essential Features Survey.
Funding Opportunity

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
Administration for Children and Families – (ANA) Native Youth Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (I-LEAD)
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ANA-NC-1167

Deadline: June 13, 2016

Purpose:  This program will emphasize a comprehensive, culturally-appropriate approach to ensure that all young Native people can thrive and reach their full potential by fostering Native youth resilience, capacity building, and leadership. Native Youth I-LEAD will specifically focus on implementation of community programs that promote Native youth resiliency and foster protective factors such as connections with Native languages and Elders, positive peer groups, culturally-responsive parenting resources, models of safe sanctuary, and reconnection with traditional healing.

Projects will also promote Native youth leadership development through the establishment of local models to instill confidence in Native youth of their value and potential, preparation of older youth to be role models for younger peers, and activities that foster leadership and skills-building. In addition, it is intended that Native youth must be actively involved during the planning and implementation phases of the projects to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of Native youth in the communities to be served and to ensure that youth remain engaged throughout the project period.

Upcoming Webinars


Peerlink Webinar: Enhancing Careers and Economic Security: The Synergistic Effects of Supported Employment, Financial Literacy, and Peer-Led Services
Date: Tuesday, May 17
Time: 2:00 PM EDT / 11:00 AM PDT

In this webinar, the importance of meaningful employment and economic security to achieving a successful recovery will be highlighted. Evidence will be presented for what works to help people find competitive jobs and build careers that enhance self-esteem and foster community participation. In addition, services that promote financial literacy and economic self-sufficiency will be discussed. Throughout the webinar, the critical role of peer support and peer-led services in vocational and economic recovery will be emphasized. This will include demonstrating the importance of the emerging peer workforce and how it has a significant role to play in supporting our nation’s economy and contributing to its labor productivity.

Outreach, Prevention, and Intervention Strategies in Tribal Communities: A Focus on Child Safety
Date: May 19, 2016
Time: 2-3:30 p.m. ET

Description: This webinar will present participants with considerations and methods for conducting outreach, prevention, and intervention in tribal communities. Several community safety topics are addressed within tribal communities; however, the messages are not always well received. This webinar will discuss common outreach, prevention, and intervention program failures surrounding child safety and how to improve these approaches. Participants will also identify strategies that include partnerships and technology to increase child safety messaging.

BRSS TACS Webinar: Cultivating the Leadership Skills of Young People in Recovery
Date: Thursday, May 19
Time: 2:00-3:30pm ET (1:00pm CT, 12:00pm MT, 11:00am PT)

Young adult recovery movement leaders have become powerful agents of change in the behavioral healthcare field.  In many organizations and communities, they have achieved extraordinary levels of professional responsibility and authority.  To continue their growth and aspirations, these young leaders need access to professional development supports that can equip them to interact, share ideas, and cultivate their professional acumen (The Bridgespan Group, 2010).

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) project will host a webinar titled Cultivating the Leadership Skills of Young People in Recovery that will disseminate leadership tools and discuss their application with established and emerging young leaders in the recovery movement.

Helping Educators and Counselors Prevent Bullying of and Discrimination Against our Nation's Muslim Youth

Date: May 23, 2016
Time: 2-3:30 p.m. ET

Description: This webinar will discuss civil rights, bullying and harassment, basic cultural competence, behavioral health implications of bullying, and resources for protecting America's Muslim youth.

Countering School Pushout and the Criminalization of Girls of Color
Date: May 24, 2016
Time: 3-4:30 p.m. ET

Description: This webinar will examine the pathways to school pushout and confinement for girls of color, particularly African-American girls, who are consistently over-represented in school discipline categories. The session will also explore key concepts and strategies to reduce the criminalization of these girls and repair their relationships with schools.

National Empowerment Center Webinar: Improving Relationships Between Police and the Mental Health Community
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

The National Empowerment Center’s Technical Assistance Center presents a webinar that includes best practices from both the police and mental health peer perspective. Research, collaboration models, and approaches to building better relationships, as well as tools and strategies for safely collaborating with police, will be offered with the ultimate goal of improving the relationship between mental health peers and police and reducing negative outcomes.
The purpose of the Improving Relationships Between Police and Mental Health Community webinar is to provide both peers and police officers with new perspectives and tools to promote successful collaborative efforts, improve relationships, and reduce harm.


Doors to Wellbeing Webinar: Shoulder to Shoulder – Peer Support with Veterans- By: Deanna Brent and Larry Buttel
Date: Tuesday, May 31st
Time: 11am PST/ 2pm EST
Larry and Deanna are Peer Support Specialists and WRAP facilitators for the Veteran's Administration in Boise, ID.  They are both military vets.
The webinar will describe what VA Peer Support is and why it is so important.  There will be a look at the critical role of recovery and having peers modeling recovery from both the provider and the patients’ perspective.  To support the legitimacy of the peer support position the presenters will detail the training, certification, credentialing, and ethics of Peer Support within the VA.   They will explore the many roles of a peer supporter such as a model, mentor, coach, guide, cheerleader, or companion. The webinar also presents appropriate boundaries and clarifies what Peer Support is not. Examples of what is happening at the Boise VA Medical Center and other VAs throughout the nation will be presented.  Listeners will see how they can be part of the VA peer support system.

Upcoming Events


June 11-14 2016, YOUTH POWER! will host the third annual University of YOUTH POWER! (UYP). UYP is a for-youth-by-youth social justice conference that is modeled after a college experience.

University of YOUTH POWER! is still accepting registration and scholarship applications. This is a great opportunity for young leaders, Peer Advocates and those who may be interested in learning more to attend a Statewide event with other young professional. This event is designed to replicate the college experience, students are housed in the dorms at the College of Saint Rose and can select to major in System Advocacy or Peer Advocacy. If you have contact with young people that are interested but have questions please feel free to have them contact me at 631-245-5289 or

Click here for the UYP16 flyer.
Click here for the UYP16 Agenda.



San Diego, California  / September 19-23, 2016


Alternatives Conference 2016


Call for Presentations Deadline is May 23, 2016



To submit a presentation proposal please go to

Alternatives 2016 Presentations


Registration for the conference is now open!

Early bird rate ends June 12th!


Have a resource to share?
Please do!
We encourage you or your organization to submit a resource for the STAR Center to share. The STAR Center fosters a community of people and organizations interested in sharing information and resources to build a thriving leadership network. Please email your suggested resource(s) by including an attached document or link to Please consider sharing your resource with the STAR Center community today!
This material was developed [in part] under grant SM062551 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS. 

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