The Juvenile Law Center is the oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. The Juvenile Law Center uses an array of legal strategies and legislative advocacy to promote fairness, prevent harm, ensure access to appropriate services, and create opportunities for success for youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Widely published and internationally recognized as thought leaders in the field, the Juvenile Law Center’s impact on the development of law and policy on behalf of children is substantial.
The Juvenile Law Center plays a leadership role nationally and in Pennsylvania in shaping and using the law on behalf of children in the child welfare and justice systems to promote fairness, prevent harm, secure access to appropriate services, and ensure a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood. Most of the youth on whose behalf we work are between 10 and 21 years of age and are among society’s most vulnerable—most likely to be mislabeled, ignored, harmed, or scarred for life by systems that are supposed to help them.
They work to protect and advance children’s rights in courts, legislatures, and executive agencies. Their strategies include litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, and strategic communications. They strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, as well as reflective of international human rights values.
Contact: (215) 625-0551
Location: Philadelphia Building, 1315 Walnut St # 4, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The number of teenagers under the age of 18 who are held in adult jails and prisons in Pennsylvania has increased drastically over the last fifteen years. The Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) is building a youth-led movement to stop this trend by ending the practice of automatically trying and incarcerating young people as adults. Through its work in the Philadelphia jails, YASP provides space for incarcerated young people to express themselves creatively and to develop as leaders both within and beyond the prison walls. Young people who have been through the adult court system are at the forefront of YASP, leading the movement to keep teenagers out of adult prisons and to create new possibilities for youth around the city.
What We Do
YASP conducts art, poetry, music, and empowerment workshops at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (P.I.C.C.) and Riverside Correctional Facility (R.F.C.) every Saturday with young people under 18 who are being tried as adults. We also show our documentary and do leadership building workshops at schools and colleges to teach youth about the flaws of the criminal justice system and how to avoid a a life of crime.
YASP’s work with young people continues even after their time in the adult prison system. On Thursdays, YASP has “open hours” from 4:00pm-7:00pm to provide these teens help with finding employment, writing resumés and cover letters, continuing education, homework, college applications, etc.
YASP participates in rallies and demonstrations, and conducts door knocking campaigns for our petition to repeal or amend Act 33, the law that allows youth to be automatically charged as adults in PA.
Contact: 267-571-YASP, Yasproject@gmail.com
Location: 2231 North Broad St., Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19132
*This site is accessible via public transportation from the Bryn Mawr campus.
MMP exists to build a media, education and organizing infrastructure that will cohere and amplify the growing movement to end poverty. We use media to organize poor and working people to tell our stories to each other and the world, disrupting the stereotypes and structures that keep our communities divided.
MMP grows out of two histories of anti-poverty, human rights and communication organizing – Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign and Indymedia. From these histories, we learned core lessons: that in an era of consolidated media that doesn’t tell true stories about poor and working people, we need a community-based media production and distribution infrastructure, and that new communications technologies offer vital platforms for disenfranchised communities to share stories and unite across powerful lines of division.
Building on these insights, MMP formed in 2005 and has since strengthened dozens of existing and emerging grassroots struggles and organizations through narrative and resource development, media collaborations, and training; educated over 1000 immigrants, low-wage workers, and youth in audio/video production, digital literacy and human rights; launched radio, TV, and web platforms reaching nearly 50,000 people; shaped the public debate around poverty locally and nationally (including producing a PBS documentary on American poverty that has been seen by over 7.5 million viewers); and led a coalition to win Philadelphia $18 million in federal stimulus funding to break the digital divide.
Contact: (215) 821-9632
Location: 4534 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Youth United for Change (YUC) is a youth-led, democratic organization made up of youth of color and working class communities, with the “people” and political power to hold school officials and government accountable to meeting the educational needs of Philadelphia public school students. This is done through a process of school/community-based organizing where a diverse group of youth come together, identify common concerns in their schools/community and act collectively on their own behalf to create strategies for whole school reforms in the Philadelphia Public School System that better meet the needs of youth of color and working class communities. YUC believes that every young person deserves a quality public education that prepares him or her for success at a 4-year university, for a living wage job, and for active participation in civic life.
YUC has always followed a very specific school-based model of youth organizing; meaning students are organized through Chapters in their schools. Chapters, gain input from the general membership and the larger student body through listening campaigns. As a result of the listening campaign, YUC members identify specific issues, conduct research into the issues, develop and implement a strategy to address the issues, and hold public actions or meetings where a person in power publicly agrees to meet their demands. Our strategies around outreach, recruitment and retention have shifted to better meet the emotional and intellectual needs of the young people coming into our City Wide and Pushed Out Chapters which are not school based.
In YUC, we believe organizing for racial justice is two pronged. Leadership development/youth development must happen at the same time the technical aspects to organizing are happening. We do this by intentionally making time throughout the year where young people come and study the history of movements, how their racial, gender or cultural identities impact the individual and society as a whole, etc.
Phone: (215) 423-9588
Location: 1910 North Front Street Philadelphia, PA 19122