Parent Advocacy Accelerator: Engaging Parents As Civic Leaders For Children

Accelerate Parent Advocacy

Parents are loyal to the ultimate “Special Interest” — their children. The Parent Advocacy Accelerator will prepare parents to achieve bold changes that will improve children’s lives.

From our 40-year history of wins with parents on health care, Pre-K, afterschool programming, and education, PCCY knows that trained parents are unstoppable powerful agents of change and that more parents want to make an impact. To tap that passion and meet that need, the Parent Advocacy Accelerator will:

  1. Listen to parents and unify them around needed and bold policy changes.
  2. Train parents in traditional and novel ways that deploy online resources so parents can build their advocacy skills while raising their children.
  3. Support parents as they use their voice in the press, social media, and in personal dialogue with policymakers to make a persuasive and informed case for change.
  4. Engage parents in high-visibility public campaigns that tap their passion and Accelerator skills.
  5. Create and sustain a network of Parent Advocacy Accelerators, including annual convenings to build on the successes and share skills.


More children live in poverty in Southeastern Pennsylvania than could pack the stadiums if the Eagles and Phillies played home games at the same time. Go to Wildwood, NJ, on a busy summer weekend and count the beachgoers; that’s still 100,000 short of the students attending underfunded schools in the region. And more than 27,000 local children don’t have health insurance.

Parents are THE experts on how public policies affect their children. Too often they lack the skills to effectively engage in the civic arena. PCCY has been training parents to do just that for decades. Now more parents want to learn the tools of engagement than we can support.

Well-trained parent advocates can accelerate the pace of change. Guided to effectively share their stories, parents can make their elected representatives understand how their policies fall short and press them to act on what needs to be done about it.


Parents want to engage in the civic space and change the world for their children, and PCCY teaches them how to do so. We expertly prepare parents in the region to be leaders in civic campaigns aimed at meeting the needs of children. Far too often there are more parents who want to help us do our work that we can thoughtfully engage. Moreover, there is enormous opportunity to tap the passion of parents for civic engagement on issues that expand the focus of our current campaigns for kids.

By expanding our capacity to support parent advocacy and leadership, employing in-person and social media-based training tools and convening parents to learn from and lead one another, we will multiply the number of parent leaders in the civic space, increase the range of child issues being addressed, accelerate the impact of our efforts, and make our civic infrastructure more vibrant.


Parents want to level the playing field for hundreds of thousands of children starting out life at a severe disadvantage because of where they live or the struggles of their family. This grant will expand PCCY’s capacity to support parents addressing these issues by:

  1. Creating a trained/focused corps of parent advocates;
  2. Focusing the advocacy of parents who, like no other special interest group, will press policymakers to put the needs of children first;
  3. Supporting a region-wide network unifying urban and suburban parents to effect change at the regional and state level for children.

This grant will:

  • Enable trainings in our most distressed communities;
  • Enroll parents in innovative advocacy training via social media;
  • Produce a TED Talk-like event, Tell Your Story of Civic Wins for Kids, and recruit more parents to join the Accelerators.


Translation services, childcare, and transportation costs will be available, enabling any parent to participate.

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PCCY listens to parents, and they tell us to help them fight for quality and affordable early childcare, Pre-K, well-funded public K-12 schools, healthcare coverage for all kids, and protection from lead poisoning. PCCY is uniquely able to convert the personal experience of these most passionate advocates for children in Greater Philadelphia into policy goals and civic action that benefits the whole child. We engage parents and family caregivers in high-profile, high-impact campaigns like Pre-K for PA to expand Pre-K access to all 3- and 4-year-olds in Pennsylvania; the Start Strong PA Coalition working to increase access to high-quality infant/toddler child care for low-income families; and in the PA Schools Work Coalition building the public will to adopt a fair and equitable K-12 school funding formula backed by sufficient funds. Parents want to change the world for their children, and PCCY teaches them how.