© 2018 Safe Kids Stories

#VoteThatJawn Report 2018-2019



Between the 2014 and 2018 primaries, 130% more 18 year olds in Philadelphia registered to vote. #VoteThatJawn was part of the surge in civic participation among youth by connecting organizations and schools across Philadelphia. The initiative started at the hands of the 2018 Summer Steering Committee, 10 individuals including Lorene Cary, the SafeKidsStories editorial board, and Professor David Brown from Temple. The team shared a vision to collect and create content for new young voters to share with each other. Over the next few months, SafeKidsStories created #VoteThatJawn (VTJ), a coalition of education and media partners and a platform for events, blogs, a social media campaign, and a website with resources and strategies for bringing fresh voters to the polls. VTJ is supported by UPenn’s Provost’s Office, the School of Social Policy & Practice, and in-kind donors Fresh Artists and Distort. 


Our Partners

From Temple University to City Hall, radio stations to online publications, and youth groups  to working educators, VTJ’s partnerships form a network of organizations devoted to fresh voters.


  • Ampersand.com

  • Art Sanctuary Philadelphia 

  • Caucus of Working Educators, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

  • City Hall, Office of the Mayor— Hosted Vote That Jawn’s final contest: November 7, 2018

  • Community College of Philadelphia

  • Distort— artist responsible for the VTJ logo

  • Free Library of Philadelphia— The Roundtable event was hosted by the Central Branch on March 19th 

  • Fresh Artists

  • Philadelphia City Commissioners Office and Commissioner Lisa Deeley


  • Temple University, Klein College of Media and Communication

  • ThePhiladelphiaCitizen.com—A content partnership between SafeKidsStories and The Citizen to promote VTJ

  • UPenn School of  Social Policy and Practice

  • WHYY—The VTJ event was hosted by WHYY Commons on September 22nd, 2018

  • WURD, Independent Black Media


Between our website, social media campaign, promotional videos, and content partnerships, the VTJ movement is grounded in creating shareable content and reaching youth across Philadelphia through fun, interactive media. 


#VoteThatJawn website

Read about events, strategies for strengthening civic participation, partner projects, youth blogs, and learn about the scale of youth impact across Philadelphia. 


#VoteThatJawn blog

Original content by youth about the stories of their franchise and why we must vote. 


Social Media 

Our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts keep the VTJ community updated with voting information and youth stories.


Why Should You #VoteThatJawn? Video

Young Philadelphians are invited to participate in #VoteThatJawn, a nonpartisan, city-wide initiative encouraging 18 to 21-year-olds and first-time voters to find their voices through voting.


#VoteThatJawn — Register to Vote Video 

Are you one of the 20,000 Philadelphians who just turned 18? Learn about all the ways you can register by October 9th to vote on November 6th.


Central High School “Why Vote?” Video

Central High School students explain why voting is important.


#VoteThatJawn Rap Video 

Featured on the VTJ website, this rap is written and produced by young Philadelphia rappers MG and Ma'tthue Raheem.


#VoteThat Jawn Newsletter: Your Monthly Jawn

A pilot monthly newsletter that connects youth vote advocates, including shout-outs to successful events and campaigns, updating resources, and spreading the word about collaboration opportunities. 


Partnerships with Radio Stations: WHYY-FM and WURD-AM


Philadelphia Citizen

SafeKidsStories has formed a content partnership with this news site, where articles about the VTJ initiative are published on the Citizen. 


VTJ’s events bring together students, representatives, and organizations from across Philadelphia to brainstorm, celebrate, and discuss how to increase civic participation and advocate for youth inclusion. 


The Jawn at WHYY Hamilton Commons, 9/22/18

Youth groups across Philadelphia gathered to brainstorm strategies for registering their peers to vote. Mayor Kenney, activists, and leaders in civic participation were also present, and delivered motivational speeches to engage the community. The competition was also announced, enlisting youth to register the most voters, hold the most creative campaign, and demonstrate the most grit. Attendees: about 100, including the Franklin Learning Center band, Professor David Brown’s students from Temple University, students from Lorene Cary’s Creative Nonfiction Writing (ENGL 135) ABCS course, and representatives from the City Commissioner’s office. Speakers: Wes Matthews, Philadelphia youth poet laureate, Keith Mui, Civic Engagement Coordinator at SEAMACC, Lansie Sylvia from Next Stop: Democracy, and Tamara Anderson. 


The Jawn at City Hall, 11/7/18 (day after the midterm election) 

All of those who participated in the previous Jawn were invited to the Mayor’s Reception Room. Results of the competition were announced by the judges: David Brown, co-director of the Jawn and Assistant Professor at Temple's Klein College of Media and Communication, Dr. Peter Conn, Director of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia and Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, and Michelle Saahene, the Starbucks Activist and life coach. Mastery Lenfest High School, led by teacher Joseph Bradley, won the category for registering the most voters; Temple College Democrats won for the most creative campaign, and Art Sanctuary’s interns won for most grit. Students and judges were also joined by students from Lorene Cary’s English course,  PRowl at Temple, a student-run public relations group, and the Clef Club Junior Jazz Ensemble. 


Roundtable Discussion at the Central Branch of the Free Library, 3/9/19 

VTJ recognized a need for organizations across the city to form a collective platform through which collaboration could be facilitated and relevant information could be shared. Lorene Cary partnered with Working Educators powerhouse Thomas Quinn, a teacher at Central High School, to communicate to representatives from around fifteen organizations and invite them to a roundtable discussion at the library—organizations including local colleges, media channels, and other groups devoted to bringing new voters to the polls.  Representatives discussed how to connect and share resources, and developed ideas on how to better reach voter populations. 


Filming the Why Vote?” Video at Central High School

A unique opportunity to hear and project student voice, Lorene Cary, cameraperson Timothy Shepherd, and assistant William Shepherd went to Central High School to showcase Thomas Quinn’s students’ thoughts on voting. The footage was edited by videographer Mike Greenidge.   


Teaching and Learning 

This extraordinary moment in the life of our governance provides an opportunity for teaching and learning for 18-year-olds both in college and high school. Here are the ways that youth associated with VoteThatJawn learned many skills, including writing citizenship, public relations, social media, and organizing. 


Professor David Brown’s Students at Temple

Students worked on communication strategies to promote civic participation through examining Vote That Jawn influence on college campuses, came up with several tactics to increase voter turnout in youth. 


Joseph Bradley’s Class at Mastery Lenfest Charter School 

Students met Michelle Saahene and became involved in Vote That Jawn.


Pat Christmas from the Committee of 70 


Central High School Teacher Thomas Quinn & The Working Educators Caucus

Tom Quinn connected to several classes through the Working Educators group. 


Barbara Allen’s Mentoring Project

Where, through Fresh Artists, one 19-year-old student, a Philadelphian home for the summer from Academy of Art animation  college, mentored a 16-year-old student from Benjamin Rush Academy to draw background images for the characters our 25-year-old animator created.