Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Labor Day Twitter Chat w/ Hilda Solis

On Thursday Aug. 30th at 2 pm EDT, the U.S. Department of Labor will host a live Twitter chat with Secretary Hilda Solis. According to the Department of Labor's website:
Hilda Solis official DOL portrait"Every year, on the first Monday in September, we honor the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
In advance of Labor Day 2012, Secretary Hilda Solis -- "America's Job Counselor" -- will host a live Twitter chat at 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday, August 30.
This is a great opportunity, especially for high school and college students, to ask questions and receive information on entering the workforce, finding job training programs and identifying up-and-coming careers.
Join the conversation by using the hashtag #LaborDay2012 or tweet questions in advance to @HildaSolisDOL."
You can register for the event and find more information at This is a great chance to acknowledge Labor Day by not only looking backwards, but also discussing the current and future state of American labor.

Twitter Chat Today: #AskUSDA

The US Department of Agriculture will be hosting a live twitter chat with USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Dr. Janey Thornton, at 1 PM today, August 29th.

Dr. Thornton will answer questions about school lunches and nutrition in response to the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kid's Act. The law will increase the availability of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in children's lunches this school year.

Before following the twitter chat, check out the USDA's "School Lunches Just got Healthier" toolkit, which contains more information about the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act.

To participate in the twitter chat, use the hashtag #AskUSDA or follow @USDA.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Voter ID Blitz Day!

From our friends at SEIU

Wednesday August 29th, 12 pm
PennDOT Office at 8th and Arch

Stand Together and Protect the Right To Vote!

The Commonwealth has announced that starting the week of August 27th, Pennsylvania residents who are unable to obtain the necessary documentation for a standard PennDOT ID will be able to request a free Department of State photo ID card for voting purposes only at any PennDOT Driver’s License Center.

On Wednesday August 29th we will be sending volunteers to PennDOT locations to assist people with getting an ID. We hope to help as many people as possible, to raise awareness of any problems that occur, and—if the process is significantly flawed—to try to block the photo ID law in court.

If you need an ID for voting, but have been unable to get one because you do not have a
birth certificate or other necessary documentation,
or if you what to make sure all Pennsylvanians can vote,
Join Us!

For more info, contact SEIU toll-free at (855) 4PA-VOTE or

Monday, August 27, 2012

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: August 27, 2012

Voting United StatesSpecial Alert

During the Election Season, PathWays PA will send out a special email with important updates and services as we learn of them.  If you have a service or issue you would like us to discuss, please let us know by email at  For those of you who are interested in learning more about helping your clients register to vote, you may want to learn more about tomorrow's webinar from the Better Choices Coalition.

Federal Policy Updates


The Pennsylvania Health Access Network, Maternity Care Coalition,  the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, Community Legal Services, the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Resources for Human Development Inc, Consumer Health Coalition, and SEIU Healthcare PA would like to invite you to a strategy meeting about Medicaid expansion under the ACA.

The Medicaid expansion is a tremendous opportunity for Pennsylvania individuals and families. This is an opportunity to discuss both the opportunities and threats to expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania and how we can move Pennsylvania forward in the implementation process. Details of the meeting are as follows:

In Person Meeting
PSEA - 400 n 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA
Tuesday,  August 28th at 11:00am

Please rsvp to Antoinette Kraus at

** Also please note there will be a satellite option for folks who want to join the meeting from the Pittsburgh area: 
In Person Meeting
Office of Child Development, University of Pittsburgh
400 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh 15208 (North Point Breeze). Free parking in adjacent lot.

Courtesy of our friends at the Maternity Care Coalition.


The House Appropriations Subcommittee on HHS funding marked up its fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding legislation on Wednesday, July 18. While they released some preliminary details of the legislation, details on the FY 2013 funding level for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program have not yet been released. 

The full House Appropriations Committee has not yet marked up the legislation, and it has not yet been scheduled to do so. Since Congress is currently on recess until September 10 and will be home most of the autumn in the lead up to the elections, it is unlikely that the Appropriations Committee will move forward with their markup anytime soon.

The Administration proposed providing $115 million for RHYA programs in FY 2013, which represents flat funding as compared to FY 2012. The Senate Appropriations Committee also proposed providing $115 million. The full Senate has yet to move on this legislation and it is unclear when they will do so.

Recesses are a fantastic opportunity to discuss the importance of these programs to our nation’s most vulnerable people – homeless and at-risk youth. The Runaway and Homeless Youth Alliance looks forward to working with you throughout the remainder of the summer on fall as they continue to work toward increasing RHYA funding and making systemic improvements to the way communities address youth homelessness.

Call your representatives’ offices and ask to speak to the person who handles family/youth issues. You can find your representatives’ numbers by calling the congressional switchboard at 202.224.3121.

From our friends at National Safe Place and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

State Policy Updates 


On Tuesday, August 28th at 6:00 pm, our friends at the Pennsylvania Health Access Network will host a call to discuss the future of long term care in Pennsylvania. Dennis Short, Research Director for SEIU Health Care PA, will facilitate the call to discuss:
  • The state of long term care in the Commonwealth
  • Provisions in the ACA that offer new opportunities to expand Medicaid home and community based care
  • A quick rundown of the state budget's impact on long term care in PA
  • Proposed federal budget's impact on long term care in PA
Whereas these calls are often attended by policy experts, PA Health Access Network always begins with a brief introduction so that everyone should feel comfortable joining. The call will be over before 7:00 PM, with time for questions included.

Click the following link to RSVP and check your inbox for an email with a number and passcode.  On Tuesday, August 28th at 6:00 dial that number and enter the passcode when prompted.

Information and Events 


Get excited--the Jobs with Justice Taproot Training is coming to town September 14th-September 16th!
Taproot Training is carefully honed and develped by and through the national Jobs with Justice network, and provides leaders with insight into value-based organizing's key concepts and skills. Taproot covers topics like building relationships, understanding power, the meaning and understanding of self-interest, issues and actions, and creating winnable campaigns.These sessions will develop and prepare new leaders to engage the issues they care about, and that impact their lives and their communities as leaders in Jobs with Justice.

This training isn't just about abstract strategy--this is about where we are right now, and what we need to do to move forward. In the training, you'll find yourself building new relationships and connecting with new members of the Philly JwJ community. Read more here, and apply here.

Courtesy of our friends at Philadelphia Jobs with Justice. 


On September 5, National Skills Coalition invites you to join the members of nearly 40 national organizations for a webinar sponsored by the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW) to discuss the budgetary and political situation threatening workforce development programs. As NSC members know, NSC is one of the convening members of CIAW. During the webinar, NSC Federal Policy Director Rachel Gragg will join other national policy experts to:   
  • Provide the latest information on funding levels for FY13 and the politics surrounding final decisions; 
  • Discuss the potential impact that sequestration may have on workforce development and job training programs across the nation; 
  • Recommend specific actions that workforce advocates can take NOW to ensure that our programs remain strong, vital and effective; and  
  • Highlight resources that are available to assist in outreach and educational efforts.
While NSC members are already participating in efforts to raise policymakers’ awareness of the potential impact of these cuts (see NSC’s Save Our Skills! Campaign), this joint event with other national organizations will provide additional information about the funding battle facing workforce development and job training programs. 

Title: Washington Update: Making the Federal Case for Workforce Development
Date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Time: 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
Space is limited. Reserve your webinar seat now!


You don't have time to dawdle on decision-making. You've got a lot of rapid-fire assumptions to make, and you want to find out how right - or wrong- you are as soon as possible. Monica Mehta will help make you just the sort of instinct-driven entrepreneur who sells products before they exist and finds shortcuts to market.

On August 28 at 1 PM EST, the author, investor and small business expert will host a teleconference where you'll learn how to work your network and trade your time for big savings. Speaking from 15 years of experience as an advisor to hundreds of entrepreneurs, Monica will teach you to be the kind of entrepreneur who doesn't spend a dime until her imagination has been exhausted. Register now!
Interested in entrepreneurship? Check out The Pennsylvania Conference for Women Spark & Hustle Small Business Boot Camp!


Birth certificates are often needed to receive medical assistance, housing and other public benefits, to obtain a Pennsylvania driver’s or non-driver’s license, for access to many public buildings, for general identification and for many other purposes. This is especially critical right now because of Pennsylvania’s new voter photo ID law.

When: Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Where: PECO EXELON 2301 Market Street, (Energy Hall A & B) Philadelphia, PA 19101
Who: Open (and free of charge) to homeless individuals and families and those at risk of  homelessness

Homeless individuals who attend this free clinic will meet with an advocate who will request birth certificates for them and their minor children free of charge. For all clinic dates and more information please visit:


Child and Family Connections is actively recruiting 15-20 participants for a FREE Workshop Series entitled, Parenting with a Mental Illness, for parents with a psychiatric disability that teaches positive parenting skills and strategies that promote child resiliency and foster parent-child trust and communication.

Workshop Highlights:
  • How (and why) do I talk to my child about my psychiatric disability? 
  • Developing positive parenting plans 
  • Role playing, film, activities 
  • Peer support and networking 
  • and more!

When: Starts Thursday, October 4th, 2012, and runs for seven consecutive weeks, ends Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Where: 1515 Market Street in Philadelphia (Temple University’s Center City Campus - adjacent to public transportation)

Who Can Attend?

  • You are a custodial parent who is currently raising a child between the ages 12 to 18 
  • You have a diagnosed psychiatric disability such as bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia spectrum disorder, etc. 
  • You can commit to the full seven week program 
  • You must register in order to participate 
  • Participation is on a first come, first served basis and is limited to 15 parents 

If you or someone you know are interested in learning more, please contact:
Evan Kaplan, CFC Co-Founder
Phone: 267-808-8081

PathWays PA Information


PathWaysPA will be holding a series of Adult Education classes for Adult Learners seeking to obtain GED Certification and improve their literacy skills. These classes will be held this fall at PathWays PA’s corporate office in Holmes, PA, as well as the CareerLink in Chester, PA.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Lauren Rodino at 610-543-5022 x 258.

Webinar: Registering Your Clients to Vote

Voting United StatesInterested in helping your clients or consumers register and vote, but not sure how to get started? Uncertain about the guidelines for 501(c)3 organizations interested in doing civic engagement work? Help has arrived!

The Better Choices for PA Coalition is partnering with Pennsylvania VOICE to offer free technical assistance to service providers interested in setting up nonpartisan voter registration programs for their clients.
This assistance includes:
  • A trainer who can come to your site, train staff and volunteers, and offer hands-on help with setup and startup
  • All the materials you will need
  • Information on the state's new Voter ID law and answers to any questions about what civic engagement activities are pemissible to 501(c)3 organizations
  • A follow-up phone call to the voters you register to encourage them to go to the polls
To get more information, please join the Coalition's webinar Tuesday, August 28th at 4pm.  Details below:

Log into the Go to Meeting website:
Join the conference call: (605) 475-4000,  PIN: 942720
Meeting ID: 289-602-274

Please RSVP for this webinar by sending an email to:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chester Woman is Fined $600/day for Feeding Children From Her House

PBJSince many children in lower-income families acquire their sustenance from school meals during the year, the summer can be a difficult time for these children to get the food that they need. In some families, breakfast and lunch at school are the only meals that kids get to eat in a day, prompting some organizations such as Feeding America to start BackPack Programs to send children home with food to eat for dinner.

This summer, Angela Prattis has been attempting to alleviate this problem by distributing free meals (provided by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia) out of her driveway.

However, she is facing fines of $600 a day from Chester Township officials for every day that she has fed the kids. Township officials state that the violation resulted from conducting commercial activities in a residential zone. To continue, she has been asked to request a zoning variance which costs about $1,000.

What do you think? Is Angela Prattis guilty of a zoning violation? If so, do you agree that she should be fined?

Female Olympians

Wojdan ShaherkaniI cried, and I don’t mean the quiet, almost elegant tears that trickle down an athlete’s face on a medal stand; these tears were messy, but were filled with pride and hope. As I watched Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, the first female athlete from Saudi Arabia to compete in the Olympics, take a hesitant step onto the mat, I felt my whole being screaming “you go girl!” And yes, I know it is a cliché, but I couldn’t help myself.

82 seconds later, the 16 year old Shaherkani had been defeated in her elimination judo match, and was bombarded by reporters clamoring for her attention. An 82 second judo loss is not usually a noteworthy feat, but the political, social, and cultural implications of Shaherkani’s competition reach far beyond her scores and skill as a judoka.

Saudi Arabia had never allowed a female to compete in the Olympics until this year, when they traveled to London with Shaherkani and with Sarah Attar (who participated in track and field). Within the confines of their country, Saudi women are not allowed to participate in physical education or public athletics, but there are revolutionaries like Lina al-Maenna, who started a basketball league and training center for women in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2006.

Shaherkani and Attar are the latest in a long line of groundbreaking women in athletics.

  • In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first black person to win the Wimbledon tournament. Gibson won a Grand Slam title in 1956 after winning the French Open. Following her tennis career, Gibson sent 10 years as New Jersey Commissioner of Athletes and continued to herald the rights for all who desire to play sports. 
  • Billy Jean King never competed on an Olympic tennis court, but she is among the most decorated American tennis athletes and a fierce advocate for equality for all people in sport and life. She is perhaps best know for defeating Bobby Riggs, professional, American male tennis player, in the much publicized “Battle of the Sexes in 1973. King’s contribution and seemingly unending fervor and work for parity wages on today.
  • In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Mia Hamm, with her a rocket-like goal scoring technique and humble nature, won 2 Olympic gold medals, and 2 World Cup championships. Hamm exponentially increased the popularity of soccer in the United States, and in doing so expanded the emphases and efforts on female youth sports programs. 
These women are only three of the vast number of women who have through sport, helped change the social climates of the neighborhoods, cities, countries, and the world. They helped bring about the most recent Olympics, which was also dubbed “The Women’s Olympics”. This year, every country (including, for the first time, Qatar and Brunei) sent females to compete in the games. For the first time in history, the United States had more female than male athletes represented, and the females won more medals. Of course, it’s not really about medals or a greater number of athletes, but it’s about the equal opportunity brought about by countless women and men who have championed the rights and humanity of all people.

The Olympics could be seen as just a 17-day long sporting event, but these games could also be a catalyst for change, a spark that reinvigorates all whose souls are weary from the pains, setbacks, and losses of striving for equality and freedom. May this tiny glimmer of hope be fuel for all who champion the rights and dignity off all women, men, and children around the world.

Want to read more about the role of women in the Olympics? Check out this article by Shahnaz Taplin-Chinoy, chairperson of Invest in Muslim Women, on whether Saudi women in the Olympics represent a breakthrough or tokenism.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Philadelphia Housing Authority Information Sessions This Week

RichardAllenHomes01From our friends at Vote for Homes!

In response to questions from community allies like yourselves, the Philadelphia Housing Authority are hosting two information sessions/trainings on its program, policies, and procedures.

Tuesday, 8/21/12 - 10am-12pm or
Thursday, 9/6/12 - 10am-12pm
Training location: PHA Warnock Facility at 2850 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19133
Sign-up here:

Overview of PHA Programs
Waitlist and Tenant Selection
Tenant Policies, Procedures, and Services

All are welcome, but space is limited, so signup here ASAP to reserve your spot. (

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What is Sequestration?

From our friends at CLASP

Sequestration was created in August 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which ended the showdown over raising the federal debt ceiling. Because Congress failed to come up with a deficit reduction plan, the Budget Control Act calls for $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts over the next decade.

Unless Congress acts to create a balanced package that includes budget savings and increased revenues, these cuts will hit families hard.
  • 1.6 million fewer adults, dislocated workers and at-risk youth will have access to job training or education and employment services; 
  • 80,000 fewer children will receive child care subsidies, making it harder for their parents to go to work; 
  • 96,000+ fewer children will be served in Head Start; and 
  • 1.8 million fewer disadvantaged students will receive education services through Title I. 
With so many millions of workers, families and children struggling, we can't let these indiscriminate cuts happen. CLASP has joined a coalition of more than 3,000 organizations across the country in fighting cuts to non-defense discretionary programs. CLASP invites you to learn more and get involved in this coalition and opportunities to fight for hard-working, low-income families who cannot afford these cuts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Social Security Offers Workshop on Disability Claims

The Social Security Administration is conducting a free seminar for disability advocates, social services workers, congressional staffers, attorneys and other professionals who work with the disability community in Philadelphia.

Anatomy of a Disability Claim will focus on the Social Security and SSI disability benefit programs, eligibility factors and the application process.

WHEN: Thursday, August 23rd, 9:00 – 12:30

WHERE: Temple University Hospital

For more information, email Richard Gaudiosi or call 1-866-964-7397, ext. 22429.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homestead Exemption Deadline Extended for Philadelphia Homeowners

Homeowners in Philadelphia will now be able to save money on their real estate taxes thanks to legislation passed by the City of Philadelphia providing a Homestead Exemption to all Philadelphia homeowners.

Because the Actual Value Initiative, which will make massive changes to the real estate tax system, will not be implemented until next year, the deadline for the Homestead Exemption has been extended to November 15th.

A Homestead Exemption means that if you own your home, you can qualify for a reduction of your home's reassessment, and therefore reduce your tax bill. There are no age or income restrictions and all homeowners in the city are encouraged to apply.

For more information, go here.

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: August 13, 2012

Federal Policy Updates 


Congress has been working on the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which includes funding for the food stamp, or SNAP, program.

The House Agricultural Committee passed a bill out of Committee that cuts $16 billion from the program. If that bill becomes law 2 to 3 million people would lose their food assistance and 280 million children would no longer qualify for free school lunches. This at a time when in the United States 1 out of every 7 and in Philadelphia 1 out of every 4 people are struggling with hunger.

Congress left for the August recess without coming to agreement on a Farm Bill. The current 5-year bill is set to expire on September 30th. That leaves the SNAP funding and other farm programs unresolved until Congress returns in September.

If you support funding for SNAP there is still time to contact your legislators and urge them not to cut these important programs.

State Policy Updates 


The People’s Emergency Center recently released a policy brief that not only looks at the issue and impact of childhood homelessness, but quantifies the cost to the state. This report shows that the societal cost of childhood homelessness reaches well beyond the cost of providing housing.

An examination of thirteen cost categories associated with child homelessness shows that the estimated annual marginal cost of child homelessness in Pennsylvania is $363,205,374. This averages to an annual marginal cost of approximately $40,235 per child for the 9,027 children who slept at least one night in shelter in 2011 as compared to the average cost of a child who is not homeless, $6,419.

Please click here to read more.


Applications for the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) are now being accepted.

The HEMAP program is officially back in business as of last week! Thanks to the efforts of many advocates and homeowners HEMAP has been restored in Pennsylvania. Funding has come from the National Mortgage Settlement which resulted from the law suit by the state Attorney's General against the largest mortgage banks. 90% of the $66 million coming to PA is targeted for HEMAP over the next five years.

To apply you can contact non-profit housing counseling agencies throughout Pennsylvania. Click here to find an agency near you.

From our friends at the Philadelphia Unemployment Project

Information & Events 


Housing and homeless providers work with people every day who may not have the ID needed to vote in November. Help is available.

Please join the Housing Alliance, the Pennsylvania Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies (PAHRA) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) for a timely and important Webinar on Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law. Learn:
  • Details on what identifications are approved to use at the polls 
  • How can housing advocates and providers get the word out to their residents 
  • Overcoming id-challenges within the affordable housing population 
This special one-hour webinar will feature Department of State representatives and be held 3 times to allow for everyone's busy schedules.


The National Association of Secretaries of State has officially declared September 25, 2012 National Voter Registration Day!

This declaration further reinforces the importance of registering and voting in 2012. On September 25, nonprofits and volunteers across the country will engage their communities to help register or re-register thousands of voters ahead of various deadlines.

National Voter Registration Day is a great one-day activity that any nonprofit can leverage to help their community register and vote. Your organization can still sign on to participate in National Voter Registration Day. In order to receive a hard-copy toolkit, be sure to register before September 1st.

Learn how your nonprofit can get involved in National Voter Registration Day and help your community participate in 2012!

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is a nonpartisan professional organization for state officials that facilitates the exchange of information between states and fosters cooperation in the development of public policy--including voting and election initiatives. 


Join Caring Across Generations for a National Telephone Town Hall on Democracy, Jobs, and the Budget. As Americans all over the country are dealing with difficult choices about balancing budgets within our own homes, the nation as a whole will be forced to do the same.

WHEN: August 23rd at 4:00

Sign up today.

Some questions to be discussed include:
  • What is at stake for seniors, people with disabilities, and young people in the budget debate?
  • What are the choices we will need to understand during the election and beyond? 
  • Are our rights as voters at risk? 
  • What are proactive solutions to bring the nation together? 
Caring Across Generations is a national effort to bring Americans together across generations to transform the increasing need for home and community based care and services into an opportunity to create quality jobs and a more caring economy for everyone.


Up to 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Although nothing can guarantee that you won't become a victim, there are things you can do to help minimize your risk, including:
  • Guarding your Social Security number. 
  • Shredding documents with personal information before disposing of them. 
  • Using intricate passwords. 
  • Verifying a source before sharing any personal information. 
  • Being on the lookout for online scammers and thieves. 
  • Keeping your purse, wallet, and personal information secure. 
The best way to detect identity theft is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month and check your credit report regularly. Learn more about how to detect identity theft.

If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, take steps to respond and recover as soon as possible. You can find forms, sample letters, and other tools from the Federal Trade Commission.


In June the Supreme Court upheld health care reform as Constitutional. what?

PHAN invites you to join their Tuesday Night Policy Call to get the latest updates. Hear where Pennsylvania is on implementation and what the options are to move forward.

RSVP for dial-in numbers here.

Our special guest speaker for this call will be our own Project Director, Antoinette Kraus. These calls are frequented most by directors of advocacy organizations and policy experts, but are designed to be welcoming to everyone. PHAN strongly encourages individual consumers interested in finding out just a little more about the process to dial-in. We will begin with an introduction to make sure everyone can follow along.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

HEMAP is Back!

Applications for the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) are now being accepted.

The HEMAP program is officially back in business as of today! Thanks to the efforts of many advocates and homeowners the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program has been restored in Pennsylvania. Funding has come from the National Mortgage Settlement which resulted from the law suit by the state Attorney's General against the largest mortgage banks. 90% of the $66 million coming to PA is targeted for HEMAP over the next five years.

To apply you can contact non-profit housing counseling agencies throughout Pennsylvania. Click here to find an agency near you

From our friends at the Philadelphia Unemployment Project

Monday, August 6, 2012

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: August 6, 2012

Federal Policy Updates 


Last week House and Senate leaders announced that a deal has been reached to pass a 6-month continuing resolution to fund the federal government through next spring.

Details of the agreement have not yet been made public, but the continuing resolution will reportedly fund federal agencies at current spending levels. With both chambers of Congress on summer recess, a vote on the agreement will likely be held in September, before the end of the fiscal year.

If this agreement is enacted it will ensure that the government will not be shutdown at the end of September when the current spending plan ends.


The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) needs to be reauthorized to ensure the continuation of vital, life-saving programs and laws. It was the first piece of American legislation that recognized the pervasive nature of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The reauthorization is also an opportunity to expand VAWA by improving services available to LGBTQ survivors of violence, breaking down barriers to services for undocumented survivors, and continuing prevention efforts to counter the high levels of violence against Native American and Native Alaskan women. Despite the need for this law some continue to stall its passage.

Please call your members of Congress and ask them to move the Rauthorization of VAWA forward. Below is a sample script you can use:

"Please support the prevention of sexual and domestic violence by making sure Congress considers the Violence Against Women Act's reauthorization THIS year. To do this, both the House and Senate bills must be considered as part of any future negotiations. I urge you to get a final VAWA that protects all victims passed this year." 

From our friends at Women in Transition

State Policy Updates 


With three months to go until the General Election, a survey of the Commonwealth's procedures for implementing the new voter ID law indicates there are barriers for Pennsylvanians seeking photo ID required to vote, according to a new report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC).

PBPC volunteers made 47 visits to PennDOT offices in 28 counties to assess how the voter ID law was being implemented. They found inadequate signage and a lack of information about the law at most locations. Volunteers were provided little information about the availability of free ID and, in almost three out of 10 cases, were told they must pay for ID that should have been made available for free. A new process to obtain an ID card at PennDOT centers will be rolled out at the end of August. If that process is not implemented quickly it could mean that many Pennsylvanians will be unable to vote.

Click here to read PBPC's full report and recommendations.

For updates on the current legal battle over the Voter ID Law check out Pennsylvania ACLU’s Blog.

Information & Events 


Americans will receive $1.1 billion in rebates from insurance companies that overcharged them for health plan premiums last year under new rules created by the Affordable Care Act.

The medical loss ratio provision, also known as the 80/20 rule, requires health insurers to spend no more than 20% of customer premiums on administration instead of actual health care.

If insurance companies were spending more than 20% on administration then they were to issue their costumers a refund by the end of last week. If you received a refund, Health Care for American Now is trying to capture some of that information. Please fill out their form here. If you did not receive a refund that just means your insurance company was already following the new rules.


Join National Skills Coalition and the more than 40 other national organizations that make up the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce for “Workforce Wednesdays,” each Wednesday in August.

Workforce development programs are an important part of the nation’s economic recovery and job creation effort, yet our nation’s investments in the skills of its people are at risk. Participate in Workforce Wednesdays by taking action—it can be as simple as calling your Senators or Representative or, even better, arranging a site visit with program participants (jobseekers or employers)— but just take action on one or more Wednesdays during the month of August. Stand united with National Skills Coalition and the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce in support of adequate funding for adult education and workforce training programs!

Visit SOS! Save Our Skills to learn more ways to get involved. Or for additional information contact Angela Hanks.


There are just two weeks left to submit videos to the 2012 WHYY Youth Media Awards!

WHYY is looking for the best youth-created videos of the 2011-2012 school year for their 2012 Youth Media Awards film festival. The Awards will honor the best youth media created in the Philadelphia region between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012.

WHYY invites young filmmakers to submit their films to the WHYY Youth Media Awards. The deadline for submissions is August 15. Finalists will be screened at WHYY during an evening film festival and awards presentation on Oct. 13. A selection of the winners will be aired on WHYY's YArts Channel.

This year, they are accepting videos produced by students in grades 6-12. Videos must be submitted in one of the following categories: News Report, Documentary, Narrative, and Open.

For eligibility information or to see last year's videos visit


 A new mobile app, Commit2Act, offers connections to worldwide campaigns.

Through Commit2Act, users can engage with leading campaigns around the world and promote issues they care about. Sign on to make commitments that matter to you, and compete with other like minded people in a community of inspiring youth changemakers. Users can post and promote their most important actions to their friends, while informing and inspiring all of their followers and contacts on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and LinkedIn.

Commit2Act can be downloaded for free at: