Teens Speak Up! and the Public Policy Institute is the Foundation's centerpiece advocacy initiative. Every year we bring together more than 175 advocates, including Epilepsy Foundation affiliate staff, parents, teens, health care providers, and volunteers from across the nation. Through this initiative, we are able to strengthen our advocacy network and share updates on the state of epilepsy research & funding, as well as give our families an opportunity to speak with Congress and share their stories of living with epilepsy.
Teens Speak Up! provides an opportunity for teens with epilepsy and their parents to visit the nation's capital, receive advocacy training, meet with their legislators, and tell their personal stories. Teens Speak Up! is part of the Public Policy Institute. Teens from across the country are nominated by their local office and selected by the Foundation to participate in the program. After receiving training at TSU, each teen is asked to turn that training into action in their respective home districts through our Year of Service program.
Historically, the Year of Service has been completed after participating in the Teens Speak Up! program. However, the Foundation is opening up the Year of Service to teens between the ages of 13 - 18 years old, who wish to become young epilepsy advocates and potential Teens Speak Up! participants. For those who are volunteering to become young epilepsy advocates, the Year of Service provides an opportunity to begin to learn about advocacy and become an epilepsy advocate. The Foundation will consider your Year of Service activities if you are nominated to attend the Teens Speak Up! program. If you are selected to attend the program, your Year of Service will culminate in a trip to Washington, D.C. to receive formal advocacy training and go to Capitol Hill. Interested teens should contact their local office. If you live in an area without a local office, please contact the national office of the Epilepsy Foundation via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the 2019-2020 Year of Service Manual to learn more.
Teens Speak Up! and the Public Policy Institute will take place March 1-3, 2020 in Washington, D.C.