In January 2020, ANYTOWN® Advocacy Academy: State will travel to Tallahassee, FL. This leg of Advocacy Academy is open to all 2019 ANYTOWN® graduates and will give them opportunities to meet with legislators and advocacy groups to learn, discuss, and advocate against discrimination in legislative policy.

It is our fundamental belief that youth are not leaders of tomorrow but of today. Advocacy Academy was born of that belief.

Through Advocacy Academy, our youth learn that, even without a vote, their voices can be powerful instruments of change, and our legislators learn that there are inclusive young leaders who will inform them, inspire them, and hold them accountable.

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2018-2019 Advocacy Academy

Advocacy Academy expanded to include local politics events leading up to two full days of training prior to Children’s Week in 2019. Youth attended school board meetings, a candidate forum, an art benefit, and community panel discussions. Training focused the scope of issues and policies to advocate for and against, with our young humans bringing and sharing their own expertise and knowledge.

In Tallahassee, Advocacy Academy had scheduled meetings with 9 legislative offices and even attracted the attention and inquiry of legislators passing by. Youth met with the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Department of Agriculture, recorded interviews on school gun violence and legislation crafted to arm teachers, and joined the press conference to oppose the since passed SB168, which forces state and local agencies to support federal immigration enforcement. Our young humans also toured FSU and Florida A&M University.  They spoke with FAMU president Dr. Larry Robinson about ANYTOWN® and Advocacy Academy.

Advocacy Organizations and Events

Planned Parenthood
Florida Education Association
SB168 Press Conference
Executive and Legislative Offices
Rep. Anna Eskamani
Rep. Susan Valdes
Sen. Victor Torres
Sen. Jeff Brandes
Rep. Hattersley
Sen. Tom Wright
Rep. Jennifer Webb
Sen. Randolph Bracy
Sen. Janet Cruz
Commissioner Nikki Fried
2018-2019 ANYTOWN® Advocacy Academy
Julia Holmes
Kylisha Durr
Melissa Fiffe
River Hayward
Ryan Jacobs
Sky Hayward
Sorayah Douglass
Anya Henry
Beyla Ostin
Brianna Artiga
Casey Pulley
Genesis Valdez
Gineris Velazquez
Joshua Hughes

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 2017-2018 Advocacy Academy

Advocacy Academy first traveled to Tallahassee during Children’s Week in 2018 after two full days of training. These leaders identified issues and explored how to influence others with a combination of facts and personal experience.

During the three days in Tallahassee, Advocacy Academy toured FAMU and FSU with ANYTOWN® graduates in Tallahassee, met with advocacy organizations, legislators, and community leaders, and addressed LGBTQ+ inclusion, immigration, and education policy.

Advocacy Organizations and Events
Planned Parenthood
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Florida Education Association
FL Senate Democratic Caucus Analyst
Teens Only Town Hall
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith
Sen. Wengay Newton
Rep. Chris Latvala
Rep. Bobby Olszewski
Rep. Lori Berman
2017-2018 ANYTOWN® Advocacy Academy
Aurora Denz
Bryson Maddoz
Elois Hannah
ErrDaisha Floyd
Greta Schmitzer
Jaden Sanders
Joie Smith
Nazeriah Allen
Ren Joseph
Solana Rostick
Timothy Jones
Valentina Montoya
Zaire Tafari
Lena Chambers

 2016-2017 Youth Leadership Academy

Community Tampa Bay noticed a shift in how young humans at ANYTOWN® and at youth conferences in high schools were talking about their experiences with prejudice and discrimination. There was an increased sense of urgency with the awareness that even while youth were influencing and finding support with their peers and their communities, their very existence could be denied by the institutions that govern our lives. Fall Youth Leadership Academy was born from a commitment to hold institutions accountable and to push for systemic change.

2016 ANYTOWN® graduates attended training sessions focused on four institutions: media, law enforcement, public policy, and education. Each session was dedicated to a different institution to explore the history and global context before sharing the impact on the lived experience of the youth in attendance. The final Leadership Academy cohort consisted of ANYTOWN® graduates who attended at least 3 out of the 4 sessions. They spent a fifth session planning and preparing proposals and recommendations to be presented to representatives from each institution. The Leadership Academy cohort presented at the Youth Leadership Summit in the presence of city council members and officials from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, media representatives, the police department, and school board members and educators. Members of the Fall Youth Leadership Academy were each recognized with the Silver Medallion Award, which Community Tampa Bay has awarded to community leaders since 1970.

2016-2017 Fall Youth Leadership Academy
Camila Romero Cherone
Fredeline Pierre
Liliam Clavijo
Manuel Jose Plazas
Mattan Melamed