SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAIL LIST
October 15th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 10/6 – 10/13 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

 

Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while riding the emotional roller coaster that was the Eagles game this week. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.

 

[Editor's note: Yup, it's Wednesday evening, not Monday.  Sometimes your humble editors are too busy to meet their own deadlines.  Please accept even-more-belated Philly news!  It's not as pretty or flowerly as usual, but it's still just as awesome.  Mostly.]

 

Education

Students strike in support of teachers

In response to last week’s nullification of the teachers’ contract by the SRC, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf has come out in favor of abolishing the SRC and replacing with a locally-elected school board.  We’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if the Philly political process would actually produce a group capable of more effective school governance.

 
As a result of the cancelling of the teachers’ contract, the District allocated more funds to schools.

 

Read more

October 15th | Posted In Philadelphia, Policy

Recycling Right

By Phil Bresee & Michelle Feldman

628px-Recycling_symbol.svg

Every day seems to bring another good piece of “green” news in Philadelphia: new parks in underutilized spaces, bike share, and the success of City initiatives like Green City, Clean Waters, TreePhilly, and the new energy benchmarking program, to name a few.

One success story you might not know as much about, however, is the City’s recycling program. So let’s look at the facts:

Since Mayor Nutter took office in 2008, Philadelphia has seen a 155% increase in tonnage of materials recycled

New materials have been consistently added to the City’s recycling program, including cartons and cardboard

The Philadelphia Streets Department has distributed tens of thousands of recycling bins to residents in every corner of the City

195,000 households have signed up for the Recycling Rewards incentive program, where Philadelphians can earn points for recycling and then redeem those points for coupons and discounts (Eligible, but not signed up? Sign up here! Signed up already? Make sure you’re logging in to your account and collecting your rewards!)

And if you’re a business owner, the Streets Department has you covered with their new Business Recycling Toolkit

All of this has made a measureable impact, too. According to the City’s Recycling Office and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Philadelphia’s recycling efforts in 2012 alone helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Not to mention, the City actually makes money from recycling (to the tune of about ten million dollars a year).

So, great, right? We’re doing a really awesome job at recycling in Philadelphia. Go, team!

But that’s not quite the end of the story.

Increasing participation in Philadelphia’s recycling program can too often lead to (innocent) recycling mistakes. As we approach America Recycles Day (a national holiday for us recycling fanatics), it’s important to remind ourselves of what you should and shouldn’t throw in your blue bin.

First and foremost, no plastic bags! They tear easily and end up damaging processing equipment at recycling facilities. Return your plastic shopping bags to specially-marked drop off locations at supermarkets or big box stores. Better yet, figure out a trick to remind yourself to bring that reusable bag along with you to the grocery store, and cut down on your usage of plastic bags. And in no circumstances should you put your recyclables in an opaque or black plastic bag. They’ll be mistaken as regular trash.

Other common “problem items” found in Philadelphia’s recycling stream include:

Food waste (consider composting!)

Garden Hoses

Wire and Christmas Tree Lights

Small appliances

And if in doubt, consult the Streets Department’s comprehensive list of what is and is not recyclable in the City.

With so many exciting things happening all over Philadelphia, it can be easy to forget about every-day municipal functions like our recycling program, and how they impact the health of the City. So we leave you with a call to action: keep up to date on what you can and cannot recycle in Philadelphia, and urge at least one friend to do the same. Then ask that friend to tell someone else. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Phil Bresee is the City of Philadelphia’s Recycling Director, where he oversees and supports programs and policy planning for the City’s recycling program, one of the largest in the country.

Michelle Feldman is the Executive Director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, and Outreach Chair for YIP. You can reach her with questions about recycling at michelle@keepphiladelphiabeautiful.org, or find her on twitter at @michelle92486

October 6th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/30- 10/05 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

schuylkillbankswalk

Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while riding the emotional roller coaster that was the Eagles game this week. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.

 

Education

Late breaking: the SRC cancels the teachers’ union contract. We can expect a lawsuit over this move, which felt very sneaky to many, given that the only notice of the meeting to do this move was a small, legally mandated notice in Sunday’s Inquirer

Charter schools: Less-than-stellar oversight of charter schools may have cost Pennsylvania’s schools $30 million.

Positive news!  A city magnet school has been named one of the nation’s best schools.

The cigarette tax means more charter schools, thanks to a compromise forced by House Republicans.

Read more

October 6th | Posted In Philadelphia

Know a great Philly public servant? Nominate them for the Dilworth Award

By Jim Saksa

Dilworth-11x17 (2)

It’s always nice to get a little recognition for a job well done. Most of us can enjoy the simple pleasures of hearing a “thanks” or “good job” when we do something well at work.  But if there is a group of people who toil unnoticed at best, and under the hyper critical scrutiny of complete strangers at worst, it’s city government workers.

More often than not, their work goes unnoticed. When it doesn’t, its usually because something is screwed up.

That’s why Mayor Nutter established the Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service a few years ago.  It’s to say “Hey, usually anonymous bureaucrat – I noticed that you did a great job here, and made Philly better, so let me say thanks.”

This year, the award program has expanded and includes two new award categories, honoring Innovation in Government and Excellence in Public Service.

You can help give your favorite civic servant the attention he or she deserves by nominating them for the Dilworth Award.

If you know someone who has helped make your city a better place to live, work, or play, please submit a nomination at www.dilworthaward.org. Nominations are accepted through November 14th.

September 29th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/23- 9/29 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

IR_ConcillioParade2011_Complete_Lowres-28-680uw

Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while salsa dancing at the Puerto Rican Day parade. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.

 

Education

Cigarette tax passed: Lawmakers in Harrisburg finally passed the $2-per-pack cigarette tax, after months of delays. It’s unclear whether the amounts raised by this tax will be enough to close the budget gap, and the delayed implementation certainly cost the city money.

City Council approves $30 million loan for the School District. The loans will be paid back using the city’s 1 percent sales tax surcharge, which was extended recently to help cover the huge drops in state funding for schools.

Class sizes: Some schools are facing serious overcrowding problems, with some classes of 35 students being taught by a strings of substitutes. Elsewhere, classes with 50 pupils aren’t uncommon. Some parents are having trouble finding schools with free registration slots. This isn’t an easy read, but that’s what makes it an important one.

Test Scores: Turns out that slashing funding doesn’t increase test scores.  Who knew?.

Read more

September 22nd | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/16 – 9/22 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

banks

Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while getting ready to welcome DeSean back to town. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.

 

Education

City Council approved a referrendum calling for the abolishment of the School Reform Commission (SRC). Mayor Nutter would have to sign it, then Philadelphians would have to vote to approve it, and then the General Assembly and the Governor and the SRC would have to decide to care.  Right now, the SRC views the vote as “symbolic.” which, to be fair, is all it is.

11 more School District buildings were sold.

Will PA review and/or revise its Common Core-like standards?  Tune in … sometime in the future to find out, as the House has postponed hearings indefinitely.

So long: After just a hot second on the job, the founding principal of the LINC school is abandoning ship.  After (checks watch) months of dedicated service, Saliyah Cruz is leaving for an undisclosed job in Baltimore.

Read more

September 15th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/6 – 9/15 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

loveparkphoto

Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while planning out your Restaurant Week. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.

 

Education

School is no longer out for summer, which means Alice Cooper lied to us.

School Reform Commission: The Teachers’ Union is angry over City Council’s refusal to add a non-binding referendum to the November ballot asking Philadelphians whether the School District should be controlled by the School Reform Commission or a local school board. The SRC can only be disbanded by a vote of the SRC itself or an act of the state legislature.

The Notebook will have a new focus this year: children’s behavioral health issues.

Raw numbers on school performance, for your perusal.

Read more

September 12th | Posted In Philadelphia

Football’s Call to Action

By Stephen St. Vincent

football

Monday was a hard day for football fans.  Between the publication of the security footage showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice beating his then-fiancée into unconsciousness and the NCAA’s surprising decision to rescind the penalties that it had imposed on Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, it’s fair to say that everyone who follows the sport was left with mixed emotions at best.

It’s not YIP’s place to comment on whether the NFL’s handling of the issue of domestic violence is right or wrong; nor is it our place, as an organization, to comment on whether the NCAA was right in reversing its sanctions against Penn State.  There are plenty of arguments to be had about any number of points, and reasonable people can disagree about many of them.

But there are two points that are not in dispute: (1) domestic violence is abhorrent, it needs to be stopped, and its victims need all the help we can give them; and (2) child abuse is abhorrent, it needs to be stopped, and its victims need all the help we can give them.

Please take Monday as a call to action.  There are many great organizations in and around Philadelphia that do amazing work in the fields of domestic violence and child abuse.  A handful of them are listed below.  If you want to make a difference, you could try boycotting the NFL or NCAA football.  But if you want to change a victim’s life, you should donate to or volunteer for these organizations.  This list is far from exhaustive, which just shows you how many opportunities you have to do the one thing we hope all of you will do: get involved.

Domestic violence organizations:

 

Child abuse/child welfare organizations:

September 10th | Posted In Millennial, Politics

Framing the Problem: Lack of Young People in Politics

By Nick Marzano

Only 53% of millennials get this reference

Only 53% of millennials get this reference

There is a lack of engagement in Philly politics on the part of young people. Two big, simple facts back that up.

The Big, Simple Facts Section

Fact 1: 18-29 year-old voter turnout has been abysmally low in primaries and non-presidential general elections.

Former YIP President and bona fide political smarty-pants, Josh McNeil, wrote the following and I, recognizing his sagacity and my own laziness, will simply cut-and-paste it here: Read more

September 8th | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 8/31 – 9/6 Edition

By YIP Advocacy Committee

dilworth park

Children dance in Dilworth Park’s new fountains – photo credit thedp.com

Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed finalizing your fantasy football lineups and getting weird at the Philly Fringe. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.

 

Education

Good News! All PSD students are eligible for free meals.

Bad News! Early morning school is bad for students’ health.

Sorta Good News! No Philly Schools are on “persistently dangerous” list. This is due to a drop in total violent incidents; however, the rate of violence per student population has remained constant since the district has lost population.

Really Bad News! Philly Schools open on time, but under the threat of looming layoffs and massive budget cuts.

Read more

July 28th | Posted In Philadelphia

Nick Foles – Sports Media Kryptonite?

By Tim Reilly

250px-Nick_Foles_calling_play_in_2012

Nick Foles. Man. Myth?

On Friday, members of the Philadelphia Eagles alit at the NovaCare Complex to commence preparations for their 2014 NFL campaign. The Eagles begin their second year under the stewardship of head coach Chip Kelly and boast one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. Returning to pilot the offense is Pro Bowl quarterback Nick Foles, who led the league in passer rating while tossing 27 touchdowns and throwing just two interceptions. Last season, the team overachieved to the tune of a 10-6 record, an NFC East Division title, and an unexpected playoff appearance. Despite the pressure of a stronger schedule and the burden of heightened hopes, the Eagles appear primed to continue their success and compete for the Super Bowl.

Read more

July 18th | Posted In SOYP

15 Ways to Host an Awesome State of Young Philly Event

By Mike Kaiser

We want your State of Young Philly event to be the best it can be. Over the years, we’ve learned what does and doesn’t work for our members and we want to share what we know. Below you’ll find our top ways to make your event both successful and engaging. We hope these insights will get the gears turning and give you a better idea of the ways you can participate in SOYP.

Don’t forget the deadline to submit an event proposal is Thursday, July 31st and this year’s State of Young Philly will be held November 14th through 22nd.

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.002

Make sure to hold your event at a venue that fits your goals and size of expected audience. Ideally, the history and purpose of the venue itself ties into the themes of your event. This will also make it easier to partner with venues if missions are aligned. PhillySpaceFinder.com is a great resource for finding some new and unique locations around town.


 

 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.003

Ensure that different viewpoints and backgrounds are represented at your event — age, race, gender, geographic, levels of experience, etc. Above is an example from our event on young entrepreneurship held in August 2013. Speaker bios and headshots can easily be compiled as a way to promote your event to your network and theirs.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.004

In our experience, by charging a small fee of $5 or $10 you will ensure a much more solid commitment from attendees upfront and be able to put this revenue into covering costs — by either offering refreshments or something additional at the event that will draw folks in.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.005

That said, free events are still an option — given that it is a good fit. They should be able to naturally draw in a large crowd or be attractive to a specific, niche audience. Above all, put yourself in the attendee’s shoes and think, “what is the real motive to come to this event?” Have questions? Email us at info@yiphilly.org.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.006

 

Hashtags work very well for YIP events and our members use them to tag photos on Instagram and post updates on Twitter. These photos and comments can become great ways to look back on your event but more importantly serve as an avenue to continue the conversation after the event concludes and connect with the folks you didn’t get a chance to meet in person.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.007

Many YIP members rely exclusively on SEPTA to get around, so take that into consideration when planning your event and make note of transit directions when you are advertising. It’s not a deal breaker, but definitely a major a plus.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.009

By simply elevating your speakers onto platforms like the ones pictured here at the Citizens Planning Institute‘s event, you can immediately quiet the room (often a difficult task) and capture the attention of the attendees. Also, by inviting multiple people to speak and giving them brief amounts of time (5-7 minutes) you can cover more topics in just a few hours.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.010

With a couple stacks of Post-Its and markers, ask one (or a few) questions and have attendees write down and post their answers on the wall. Think: What questions would you want to ask young people in Philadelphia? Gather the feedback, document it, and share it out.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.011

Prepare an experience for attendees with a behind-the-scenes and hands-on look at your work, a local institution, or an overlooked part of Philadelphia. Walking tours can be either indoors or outdoors and are a way to have people experience a place first hand rather than simply talking about it. YIP members prefer to move around and roll up their sleeves over sitting and listening.


 

 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.012

 

You can provide a way for everyone in the room to meet each other with a timed and structured speed networking session. Divide the room into two sections, put the time on the clock, and go. This format could also be used to brainstorm or discuss ideas around a certain issue of topic. It could also be used to introduce communities that may not have formed connections (i.e. generational, industry, neighborhood, transplant vs. locals, etc.)


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.013

We suggest adding in a networking and/or workshop component before or after a panel discussion. This photo is from a State of Young Philly 2013 event about the ways to develop your career and find employment in Philadelphia. After the event, attendees were invited to have their resumes reviewed by experts during a workshop.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.014

Utilize an app like Poll Everywhere to pose a question to the audience and gauge live feedback on-site. With a projector you can share the results in real time.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.015

No matter what format your event takes, consider your Twitter strategy. As mentioned above about hashtags, Twitter is an easy and simple way to amplify the message of your event. Post quotes, photos, and the handles of speakers, attendees and organizations so that even those not physically in the room can participate online. If you need something say during a transition point or a question for a speaker, read some interesting comments from Twitter users.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.016

Maybe you don’t even need to have a venue for your event. Or maybe your keynote speaker can’t make it to Philadelphia for the only day that works for you… Think about creating a Google Hangout to host your discussion virtually. Folks can easily drop in and participate from anywhere and it’s cost effective. Bonus: you can easily record video of the Hangout and share it later.


 

YIP_Event_Tips_version2.017

 

 

A Twitter Chat is another virtual (and cost effective) option and possibly a way to bring in some national voices to your event. You’ll see the example above has all the trappings of an in-person gathering: a date, time, speakers, and discussion topic… but the venue is the hashtag and Twitter.

Now it’s up to you. Go forth and send us your idea for a State of Young Philly event.

July 15th | Posted In Trivia

Trivia Tuesday!

By Jim Saksa

Isn’t quizzo the greatest?  Whether you are a New Deck purist who spells it with just one ‘z’, or prefer to win “adult” toys at a round of Kinky Quizzo, you can’t help but to love the thrill of being the only person at your table who knows who Isaiah Zagar is‡.

To celebrate my love of quizzo (which is one of the reasons #whyilovephilly), I give you a Philly-focused trivia question every Tuesday. Answers after the jump.

This week’s trivia question: Last week, YIP had a meeting with the Committee of 70 to start planning some great events (make sure you’re getting – and reading – our newsletter, so you can find out what they are when we announce them!). The Committee of 70 is Philly’s storied, non-partisan government watchdog. It was established in 1904 for the explicit purpose of combatting corruption in Philadelphia. But what’s up with that name?  Why 70?

Read more

July 14th | Posted In Citizenship, Politics

Project Case Study: The #YoungPHLVotes Social Media Campaign

By Mike Kaiser

IMG_7545

A big part of our mission at YIP is to increase the number of young people who go to the polls.

As an all-volunteer organization, we have limited time and resources, so holding large scale events, rallies, or canvassing door-to-door was off the table for us. With the May 20th primary election fast approaching, we knew that we needed to do something to help get out the vote among our demographic. We thought about what we could do that would increase the awareness about the election itself, inspire people to get informed, and cast their ballot.

What we came up with was #YoungPHLVotes — a social media campaign that was focused on using the power of personal pledges to spread the message.

Read more

July 8th | Posted In Education

Your Free Time: Worth A Fortune to the Less Fortunate

By Liz Semon

BBBS

It’s a question that many young, involved Philadelphians ask themselves, week in and week out. Given that you’re reading this on the Young Involved Philadelphia blog, it’s safe to assume that you want to spend your free time in a fulfilling way that makes a positive impact in your community and on those who live here.

Thirty-seven out of every 100 Philadelphians under the age of 18 live in poverty. And poverty often means poorer outcomes for those held in its grasp – poorer language skills, chronic health problems, a lack of food and other basic resources, and neighborhood violence. Some studies estimate that at least 70 percent of children living in inner-city poverty have been exposed to trauma.

While there are plenty of great ways to try to help, I’m admittedly biased towards one in particular: becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. Devoting a few hours of your time every month can have a huge impact. Your free time can be priceless to a young person who needs a positive influence in his or her life—and give you a sense of emotional reward; this study quantifies the positive influence you can make as a “Big”.

Read more

July 8th | Posted In Trivia

Trivia Tuesday!

By Jim Saksa

Isn’t quizzo the greatest?  Whether you are a New Deck purist who spells it with just one ‘z’, or prefer to win “adult” toys at a round of Kinky Quizzo, you can’t help but to love the thrill of being the only person at your table who knows who designed Penn Center‡.

To celebrate my love of quizzo (which is one of the reasons #whyilovephilly), I give you a Philly-focused trivia question every Tuesday. Answers after the jump.

This week’s trivia question: Even though his name is no longer on the company, this Philadelphia founded what we call JPMorgan Chase today – J.Pierpont was a junior partner, but after the Philadelphian’s death, Morgan dropped the elder partner’s name.

Read more

July 7th | Posted In Philadelphia

The Dept. of Records Has Some Awesome Videos for Your Procrastination Needs

By Jim Saksa

mqdefault

The Dept. of Records has a handful of videos on YouTube from the 60s and 70s that are absolute time vampires. Most are your standard, made-for-school film strips. My personal favorite is “Design for a City”.  Produced in 1963, the video is a fascinating peak at a time just before cities across America would see massive population declines.  Philadelphia, like most other north eastern cities, was primarily concerned about how to deal with surging populations and increased traffic from cars. Few realized that the rise of automobiles and the development of large highway systems would literally drive urban populations into the ‘burbs.

Read more

July 7th | Posted In Philadelphia

INVISIBLE RIVER – The Intersection of Dance, Sustainability, and the Schuylkill River

By Rudy Flesher

river

As a young Philadelphian and a former YIP Board member, I love Philadelphia, and INVISIBLE RIVER encapsulates everything Philadelphia that I love. It is unique and home-grown, and it takes place in, on, and above the Schuylkill River. The show combines dance, art, boating, and love of sustainability in a celebration of the Schuylkill River. It will be performed twice this weekend, on Saturday & Sunday July 12th & 13th.

Read more

July 2nd | Posted In Philadelphia

UPDATED: A Tropical Flavor for this Year’s PHS Pop Up Garden – Opening July 8!

By Alan Jaffe & Marion McParland

popup

The PHS Pop Up Garden has become synonymous with urban oasis. And this year’s design, location and menu will have an island-getaway ambiance in the middle of the city.

The fourth PHS Pop Up will transform a vacant lot at 1438-46 South Street into a beautiful gathering place featuring tropical drinks, beer and wine, a rotating array of food trucks, and Caribbean dishes served by the Jamaican Jerk Hut, the Pop Up’s next-door neighbor. The site, owned by Philadelphia music legend Kenny Gamble, will also feature live acoustic performances and other special programs and events.

Read more

July 2nd | Posted In Nonprofit

It Just Got Easier to Start a Small Nonprofit

By Jim Saksa

When people say “Nonprofit” they often mean “501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization.”  That’s what YIP is and whom we mainly partner with, but I rely on the easier shorthand of “nonprofit”, too, despite my lingering anal retentive lawyerly ways. Read more