Young Involved Philadelphia‘s general focus is nonpartisan, local civic engagement, but in a presidential election year, that focus widens to encourage Philly’s young citizens to pay attention to national politics.
In the past 16 years of its existence, the volunteer-led nonprofit’s reach has grown to 10,000 to 12,000 citizens who follow on social media and attend events — everything from cleaning and greening events to an upcoming panel about poverty and inequity with Councilwoman Helen Gym, according to programmatic co-chairs Gwen Emmons and Stacey Mosley.
For the upcoming Democratic National Convention, YIP is collaborating with the DNC Host Committee (not the Democratic party itself) to encourage young Philadelphians to volunteer for the convention — staffing events, assisting VIPs, directing visitors at hotels — by educating them on what those commitments would entail, and how they benefit the city.
“It feels like there’s something for everyone to do,” Emmons said. (Emmons was reportedly told by the DNC volunteer coordinator that when YIP sends an email with volunteer information, volunteer registration spikes.)
YIP is also hosting a story slam during the DNC called “Inside the Political Machine” where everyday people — both Philadelphia citizens and out-of-towners — will be invited to share their experiences with politics.
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When the DNC is over, YIP’s focus will shift again to its seventh annual State of Young Philly (SOYP) event series, to be held this year from Nov. 11 to 18. Last year’s series hosted about 30 events, such as a State of Young Media panel, about the future of media in Philadelphia, and Neighborhood Civics 101, about how to get involved in your local RCO and why you should.
A big question for this SOYP will be how city life will change under the new presidential administration. YIP has request for proposals out now, due by June 24. A civic engagement fair featuring civic, sustainability, education and other nonprofits will kick off the week.
First, though, as it did during the April primaries, YIP will also enact a “get out the vote” call campaign in which YIP will call members with reminders about when polls are open and instructions about finding polling places, among other helpful info, just before the fall elections.
P.S. Not sure if you qualify as a “young” involved Philadelphian? Emmons and Mosley said there’s no official age cutoff to participation.-30-
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