Youth Empowerment Summit (formerly the Taking Action Conference)

The California Coalition for Youth’s Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) 2018 (formerly known as the “Taking Action Conference”) aims to inspire youth, youth advocates, and staff and leadership to form their own strategies to create change and improve the lives of California’s disconnected, runaway and homeless youth.

YES is the chance to come to California’s State Capitol to share ideas, energy, and experiences with transition-age youth, youth-serving programs and youth advocates from across the state.

On the first day of conference, attendees can expect a full program of exciting workshops being held between the Sacramento Convention Center and the California Endowment Building. This format allows attendees to move freely and really get a sense of what Sacramento has to offer (no more stuffy hotel conference rooms!) Featuring a provided lunch and dinner from two of Sacramento’s premier eateries, Republic, and Station 16!

On Day 2, Attendees will be split into two tracks: Advocacy and Service.  The Advocacy track is made up of a limited number of Youth-Led teams of 5 where they’ll go and meet with their legislatures and share their stories!  The Service track will be made up of those interested in doing a service project with the California Coalition for Youth and one of our community partners in Sacramento!

Who Should Attend?

  • Transition Age Youth (ages 16-24)
  • Street Outreach Workers
  • Shelter Staff
  • Executive Directors & CEOs
  • Transitional Living Program Staff
  • Youth Mentors
  • Anyone Passionate About Empowering and Improving the Lives of Youth!


Q: How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
A: You can reach out to our conference coordinator, Jason Alviar, at or 916 514-4464 x103

Q: Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?
A: It is! Please reach out to Jason Alviar, at or 916 514-4464 x103 to do so.

Q: Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends?
A: That is okay!

Q: What Hotel/Accommodations are Available?
A: CCY has partnered with The Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown at Capitol Park for special hotel pricing. Book your group rate for California Coalition for Youth using code: CalYouth


Workshops for YES 2018


Creating Peace through Pieces: How to create interactive self-care zines

Alberto Barron, Christine Cate & Kara Dirks – San Diego Youth Services

Participants will be able to create their own self-care focused zine as presenters from Urban Beats, an art empowerment program for transition age youth experiencing mental health challenges, guide them through foundational concepts of self-care and mindfulness. Speakers will also cover topics of mental health, coping skills, and artistic expression.


Building Your Future

Shelly Moranville & Nina Lemke – Residence Inn Sacramento

This workshop would focus on entering the workforce, being the best employee, you can be and how to turn that job into a career. Looking at interviews, performance, building work relationships and finding a job you love. Understanding the dynamics of the hospitality industry as well as the workforce at large. We will talk about what employers want to see in the applicant, how to find a career and what is so special about your future.


Assisted Minors and Navigating the Victim Compensation Board

Robin Foemmel Bie – Victims Compensation Board

The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) provides compensation for many expenses incurred by victims of violent crimes, including minor witnesses and minors who reside in a home where domestic violence occurred. Learn about how CalVCB reimburses for services and how you can assist victims to access benefits. Covered expenses include medical, dental, mental health treatments, relocation, and residential security. Learn how CalVCB continues to implement strategies to reach underserved populations, increase awareness, and provide trauma-informed services to survivors.


Unpacking the Queer Narratives of Black and Brown Youth

Martel Okonji – Los Angeles LGBT Center

“Black and Brown youth are disproportionately represented in systems of care; i.e. foster care, homelessness, juvenile justice. We are constantly addressing challenging behaviors without providing outcomes where youth can thrive. This workshop will share and address the needs of Black and Brown youth in systems through a youth development framework. We must seek to provide our youth a partnership that will benefit them holistically to succeed in education, career, and their future goals.


Adding Insult to Injury

Shahera Hyatt – California Homeless Youth Project

This workshop will focus on the impact of the School to Prison Pipeline (STPP) on youth experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. This history of the STPP will be evaluated, as well as current policies that serve to further marginalize young people who have already experienced a great deal of loss, trauma, and inequity. Attendees will learn about and explore alternatives to police interventions and get a chance to imagine their own policy solutions through an interactive activity.


An Overview of Trauma Informed Care

Lori Chelius & Andi Fetzner – Origins & Consulting

This workshop will include an overview of the key principles of resilience and trauma-informed practices and how they apply to youth and youth-serving organizations. We will use concrete examples to help illustrate how these principles can be applied to both youth and the staff who are working with them. Participants will learn practical strategies to reduce burnout, build their own resilience, and foster a connection with the youth they are serving.


From Street Cred to Incredible

Desire Johnson-Forte – BIZ

The ability to communicate (inter- and intrapersonal) & EI/EQ are two of the most valuable skills for those of us living in the 21st Century. Who are you; who am I; and who are we to one another: questions reverbing throughout life? How is the story of our lives interwoven with the dreams of the ancestors – and where can we build resilience by reconnecting with our roots? Locally and globally our resiliency is being challenged by inequity, environmental devastation, technology and more. Given this reality, it’s evermore essential to foster the strength of our Xennials+Millennials and all their relations.


Know Your Rights

Mitchelle Woodsen & Anne Rios – Think Dignity

It is essential that individuals understand their rights, particularly during interactions with law enforcement. In our presentation we will follow the journey of a person being suspected of a crime from speaking to law enforcement, being arrested and booked in jail, to their first court appearance. What are a person’s constitutional rights during each stage? Our presentation is an interactive approach to keep youth both engaged and informed.


Own It: Discovering Your Advocacy Story

Taylor Buck, Noel Mora & Jacie  Mcalister– Sacramento Youth Alliance Community Action Team

This workshop provides youth advocates with the chance to frame and utilize their personal stories in context with their advocacy. This workshop will give participants insights into how youth can make a difference in their community through effective advocacy storytelling and equip them with the skills, tools, and resources to create positive impact. It will prepare youth to utilize the many activism platforms, from social media to city council meetings, in delivering a powerful and compelling narrative. This workshop is youth-led and youth-oriented, with interactive opportunities to collaborate and network.


Community Mediation

Kara Hunter – Yolo Conflict Resolution Center

A workshop about the nature of the conflict, how it impacts our lives and communities as well as how we can turn conflict into opportunities to connect with people in our lives.


Intro to Restorative Circles

Kara Hunter – Yolo Conflict Resolution Center

This workshop will give youth and youth-serving organizations the chance to learn about and experience restorative circles as a means of communication, community building, and resolving the conflict.


How Diverse is Your Universe?

Mandy Irvine & Angileena Hayes – Pro Youth and Families

This workshop will give youth-serving organizations the tools to have open and courageous conversations about race and culture. Facilitators will focus on specific activities that youth-serving organizations can implement into their programming. Activities are designed to create a safe space for students and facilitators.


How to Identify the Legal needs of Runaway and Homeless Youth and Where to Turn for Free Legal Assistance

Amy Louttit & Sabrina Forte – American Bar Association Commission on Homelessness & Poverty

This session will discuss the wide spectrum of legal issues that youth and young adults face when trying to move toward stability, and how lawyers can address those issues–both individually and systemically.   While some issues can be resolved by self-advocacy, legal assistance is often the only way to resolve legal barriers to benefits, education, employment, housing, identification, treatment, and services. This session will also focus on the American Bar Association Homeless Youth Legal Network and one of its model pilot programs: The Youth Justice Project at Bay Area Legal Aid


From the Ground to Washington DC and Back

Amy Louttit – National Network for Youth

NN4Y mobilizes the collective power and expertise of our national community to influence public policy and strengthen effective responses to youth homelessness. Young people and providers need to be informed about what is happening in at the federal policy level to be effective state policy advocates! So, join Amy Louttit, for an update on what’s moving in Washington, DC and how that may impact California advocacy. This session includes federal policy updates, NN4Y’s policy strategy, and a facilitated discussion to add you’re critical voice and opinions to the work happening at the National level.


Beyond the Safety Net: Beyond the Safety Net: Supporting Homeless Youth to Enroll and Succeed in College

Simone Tureck & Debbie Raucher – John Burton Advocates for Youth

In today’s world, having a high school diploma is simply not enough to ensure long-term stability and success. How, as a safety net sector, can we transform our programs to increase emphasis on college for youth with histories of trauma and instability? This workshop will share findings of a pilot aimed to answer this question. Attendees will also be familiarized with a Core Practice Model to better support young people with college enrollment and persistence, with special attention on the role providers can play to assist youth with accessing maximum financial aid and other important resources.


Mind Matters: Overcoming Adversity and Building Resilience

Carolyn Curtis – The Dibble Institute

As you probably know, if bad things happen to you as a child, it can impact you for the rest of your life.  The brain changes with abuse, neglect, or living with household dysfunction. The good news is that the brain is plastic and the body want to heal.  Based on current neuroscience research, Mind Matters practices can reverse this trend.  Lean six key skills based on trauma recovery.  Experience a fun way to motivate young people in learning self-soothing/emotional regulation skill.