September 22nd | Posted In News

Last Week in Philly: 9/16 – 9/22 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 getting ready to welcome DeSean back to town. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.



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


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.



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.

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September 12th | Posted In Philadelphia

Football’s Call to Action

By Stephen St. Vincent


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

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.



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


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.

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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.


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. is a great resource for finding some new and unique locations around town.




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.



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.



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




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.



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.



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.



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.



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.





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.)



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.



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.



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.



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.





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?

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July 14th | Posted In Citizenship, Politics

Project Case Study: The #YoungPHLVotes Social Media Campaign

By Mike Kaiser


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.

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July 8th | Posted In Education

Your Free Time: Worth A Fortune to the Less Fortunate

By Liz Semon


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”.

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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.

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July 7th | Posted In Philadelphia

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

By Jim Saksa


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.

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July 7th | Posted In Philadelphia

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

By Rudy Flesher


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.

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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


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.

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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

July 1st | 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 which state America’s other Philadelphia can be found‡.

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: USA takes on Belgium today at 3PM! YIP BELIEVES THAT WE WILL WIN! One of my favorite soccer players of all time is Edison Arantes do Nascimento, who is more commonly know as who?

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June 30th | Posted In Philadelphia

Takin’ a Stroll Down the Frankford Commercial Corridor

By Stacey Mosley


A little over a week ago, Young Involved Philadelphia held the first of what will be a three-part series of Commercial Corridor Tours. With the help of Joanna Winchester from the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, we got an intimate look into some of the businesses along Frankford and Girard that are really helping the neighborhood make a strong comeback.

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June 27th | Posted In Uncategorized

Commitment Issues: Are You Ready To Buy a House?

By Cherise Wynne

In Philadelphia, the allure of homeownership can be more intoxicating than the drinks at Franklin Mortgage (Ed. note: and only slightly more expensive). You may have started looking at houses, either online or as you drive through your favorite neighborhoods. You probably dream about what it will be like to own a house. You start to notice aspects of architecture and landscaping that never caught your eye before. You start to recognize what you’re looking for, whether it’s a swanky condo downtown or a row home in a more residential neighborhood.

There are plenty of reasons to want to own your own place. Instead of paying someone else rent, you can build equity in an investment. Homeowners never need to worry about a landlord deciding to sell. You may just simply want to plant some roots, or .may only be thinking about money-making investments. No matter what motivates you, buying a home is still single biggest financial investment most people make. It’s not a decision to make lightly.

So, thanks to YIP, I’m here to offer some advice.

First, let’s discuss whether you should even think about buying a home at this stage in your life. For some people, it makes more sense to continue renting. You may still be thinking of relocating to follow your lifelong dream or reconnect with that old flame (Ed. note: that’s a terrible idea, by the way: (s)he is long gone), It doesn’t make sense to buy when you’re going to leave in the near future, due to the large transaction costs in buying and selling a house. Housing costs also play a major role in this decision. In cities like New York and Los Angeles, paying rent is almost always cheaper than paying on a mortgage. But in most parts of Philly, buying a home is a more fiscally responsible decision. Do your homework: if it’s cheaper to pay rent, then pay rent. You can then save your money to put a hefty down payment on the property of your dreams.

Second, check yourself before you wreck yourself: you need to know your credit score before getting serious about buying a home. This will influence a great many aspects of the process for any home buyer, like whether you can even qualify for a mortgage. Avoid hurting your credit score by avoiding bad habits like maxing out credit cards. You also want to keep your debt-to-income ratio (how much you make versus how much you pay towards debt) as low as possible so it shows that you actually have money left over to pay your monthly mortgage amount. If you think closing out old credit cards is a good idea, think again! The better and longer your credit history, the better candidate for a loan you become. Once you’re pre-approved for a loan, you should consult with your real estate agent and lender to discuss which loans best fits your unique financial situation.

Once you’ve got your financial house in order, its time to decide how much house you can order: You need to realistically think about how much you want to pay monthly for a mortgage. This is totally necessary to avoid the dreaded situation of being “house poor.” Sometimes thinking outside the box with living situations, like renting out your basement or having roommates, can also help keep you from living under water (and if they’re good people, you might even find a new friend). You can also consider buying a multifamily property, where you live in one unit and rent out the other, allowing you to cover most of your mortgage.

The best way to determine if you can afford the house of your dreams is to start making the payments: Determine what your monthly payment would be for your mortgage, and if that amount is more than what you’re currently paying for rent, start putting the difference in a savings account. If your future mortgage would actually be less than what you’re currently paying, then you can start to imagine those savings going back into your pocket. You will quickly see whether this amount works for your lifestyle, and you can start determining what you have to sacrifice, if anything. You might just find that having a larger house is worth cooking at home more often or getting rid of cable TV.

Cherise “AGENT LADY” Wynne is an experienced Philadelphia Real Estate Agent that helps clients buy and sell throughout Philadelphia with a focus on Center City and surrounding areas. She loves dancing, karaoke, playing a good game of spades and helping first time Home Buyers. She can also be followed here on Twitter.

June 12th | Posted In Events, Philadelphia

Après moi, le déluge de Tastykake – Bastille Day at Eastern State

By Carly Harris

Bastille Day 2011 Eastern State Penitentiary 536 copy

Who doesn’t love to eat butterscotch krimpets, drink beer, and watch men in drag? (Ed. note: No one I ever want to meet, that’s who.) On Saturday, July 12th, Eastern State Penitentiary will bring the French Revolution to life for its 20th annual Bastille Day festival, where spectacle goers will have a laugh, snag some free Tastykakes from the sky, and enjoy a night on Fairmount Avenue at one of the largest free theatrical events in Philadelphia. The Bearded Ladies, an experimental cabaret troupe, will retell the storming of the Bastille through song and dance (and with the help of a rather realistic guillotine). The performance will feature familiar faces such as Napoleon, Joan of Arc, a 6-foot-tall French Baguette, and Philadelphia’s own noted Francophile, Benjamin Franklin. But perhaps the character that will bring the most applause is Marie Antoinette, played by Terry McNally, co-owner of London Grill and Paris Wine Bar. (Pro Tip: Be on the lookout when she cries, “Let them eat Tastykake!” It’s every man for himself when more than 2,000 Tastykakes are flung from the prison’s towers!)

Après-beheading, Fairmount restaurants will feature French-themed entertainment as well as food and drink specials, and the penitentiary will reopen for rare twilight tours. Twilight tour admission is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, students and kids (ages 7-12).

The performance begins at 5:30 pm in front of Est Pénitencier de l’État, at 22nd and Fairmount. Did we mention this event is free and open to members of the Third Estate (i.e. the public)? For more information, visit the Bastille Day website.

About the Bearded Ladies

Bearded Ladies Cabaret is a troupe of artists who insist that art can be both intellectual and accessible, entertaining and meaningful, stupid good and just plain stupid. They fuse cabaret and theater to tackle the politics of gender, identity, and artistic invention with sparkle and wit. Bearded Ladies are always live, always smart, and never quite what you expect. Bearded Ladies are currently the cabaret company in residence at The Wilma Theater. Shows include No Regrets: A Piaf Affair, Wide Awake: A Civil War Cabaret, Beards Are For Shaving: A 007 Cabaret, and Marlene and the Machine.

About Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The penitentiary is open seven days a week, year round. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students and children ages 7-12. (Not recommended for children under the age of seven.) Tickets are available online at or at the door, subject to availability. Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; Hands-On History interactive experiences; history exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

Carly Harris is a Marketing & PR Intern at Eastern State Penitentiary, a Penn State Student and a full-on Francophile. She tweets @CarlyHarrisPSU.



June 10th | 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 made that statue of William Penn on top of City Hall‡.

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: In high school, my friends and I were obsessed with the Simpsons. While removed from the prime years (Seasons 3-10, if you ask me), they were still producing some of the most hilarious television on, well… TV. So, for this week’s Tuesday trivia, a Simpson’s challenge – In Season 11′s Episode “E-I-E-I DOH!”, the Philadelphia Flyers are thanked during the credits to THIS movie. (If this were actually quizzo, I’d accept anything close.)

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