Advocacy Institute

Rise & Dream Philly Teen vConference, Oct. 3, 2020

Click here to watch the Rise & Dream Philly Teen Conference!



Participants will:

  • Develop leadership and advocacy skills
  • Have fun with interactive activities 
  • Learn about public health policies affecting Philadelphia
  • Network with other youth advocates and experts 
  • Learn to leverage skills to #BeTheChange they want to see in their community!

The Advocacy Institute

The Advocacy Institute (Ai), an initiative of Health Promotion Council (HPC), is a youth empowerment program with a mission to empower youth of Philadelphia to make sustainable community changes through policy, community, and social media advocacy. Participants gain knowledge and opportunities to network and build their leadership skills.

The twelve week program culminates in participants implementing an action project to address an issue that affects their specific community. Upon successfully completing the program, graduates are inducted into the AI Alumni Network where they are given opportunities to expand their action plan and reinvest their experience in future cohorts and ongoing campaigns.


#RealTalkTobacco (#RTT) is a youth engagement and advocacy program of the Advocacy Institute focusing on youth tobacco prevention. #RTT is designed to address issues that impact our health and social justice. Participants have an opportunity to learn about how tobacco impacts their community including health impacts of tobacco use, the impact of advertisements, and how tobacco companies have historically and presently target youth, women, LGBTQ, low-income, and communities of color. Specifically in Philadelphia, 90% of schools are within 1,000 feet of a store that sells tobacco products (Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 2020). This is more common in low-income neighborhoods than higher income areas. The black community has also been heavily advertised with Menthol (mint flavored) tobacco brand advertisements. Youth in #RTT take a stand against big tobacco companies and have their voice heard on issues that impact them. Highlights of the program include meeting others from all over Philadelphia, a Community Mapping trip, and annual outing to Harrisburg to meet with legislators.

Most recently, #RTT advocates were able to advocate to limit e-cigarette flavors in Philadelphia. As a result, a local bill was passed by City Council that will protect youth all over the city by preventing stores from selling flavored and high nicotine vaping products. Our #RTT Youth leaders continue to lead the way for youth-led tobacco prevention and policy advocacy here in Philadelphia.
This program is open to high school age-youth throughout Philadelphia. New and experienced advocates welcome! #RealTalkTobacco is currently offering virtual cohort options to keep staff and youth safe during COVID-19.

#RTT members have had the opportunity to travel to Harrisburg to meet with legislators, testify at City Hall, advocate in Washington, D.C. against vaping companies, radio interviews, and participate in virtual advocacy.

Alumni Network

Upon successfully completing the AI program, participants are inducted into the AI Alumni Network - an extension of all cohorts - where they get the opportunities to expand their action plan project and reinvest their experience with advocacy and public health in future cohorts and ongoing campaigns. Participants also get the opportunity to plan and attend events, meetings, and trips as part of the Alumni Network.

Young City Planner's Initiative

The Young City Planners Initiative takes the AI model and adapts it to focus on a specific neighborhood/zip code in the city of Philadelphia and recruits youth from within that community to partner with their local Community development center to address public health concerns and neighborhood issues through media, community, and policy advocacy. The Community Development Center’s function is to work as a sustainable and mutually beneficial partner that provides data from community needs assessments along with their neighborhood plan or vision of change for the community and corresponding commercial corridor to our youth advocates and in turn build the capacity and leverage the resources of their organization through the groundwork and grassroots advocacy efforts of the YCPI youth advocates.

PA Youth First Fellowship

The Advocacy Institute has assembled a Youth Advisory Council of students aged 14 to 18, to take the lead in creating a series of media campaigns that communicate the dangers of opioid misuse and addiction to the youth of Pennsylvania. As AI's first statewide initiative, fellows participated in an accelerated training program designed after our #RealTalkTobacco class series. While there, the council participated in fun activities designed to Empower! Educate! and Activate! Fellows were able to network with other young leader across the state of Pennsylvania, and create tangible change in their state!

The fellowship arms students with the tools to effectively communicate the dangers and consequences of opioid abuse, design an effective and targeted media campaign, and team build with their peers to make a difference. After the training, the council connected via webinars and conference calls over the course of the one year fellowship to see their campaign through to finish. 


The Advocacy Institute is proud to partner with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH), the Philadelphia Public School District, local legislators, and local community based organizations.

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A Note of Appreciation to the Advocacy Institute

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"I just wanted to take a few minutes from my day to send off this note of appreciation to you and all of those that worked tirelessly within the Advocacy Institute.

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