The Ethio-Philly Young Adult Association

The Ethio-Philly Young Adult Association

Interview Credit: Isabella Ntigbu, 2023-2024 Penn Medicine Center for Health Justice Medical Student Fellow/University of Pennsylvania Medical Student

Established in 2014, the Ethio-Philly Young Adult Association (EPYAA) is a community-based organization committed to serving Ethiopian and Eritrean youth residing in the Philadelphia area. Their primary initiatives are centered around cultural awareness, community building, resource allocation, and youth empowerment to foster thriving members of their communities. 

As the organization nears its 10th anniversary since its founding, it anticipates being able to remain a supportive village for youth that offers community networks and mentorship opportunities. They are keenly aware of the unique challenges faced by their communities, particularly those affecting first and second-generation immigrants, thus making them well-equipped to provide a safe haven for members who require their services. Their support ranges from bridging the cultural and generational gap between youth and parents to providing professional development assistance. The organization has made significant strides towards these goals by organizing college application boot camps and career fairs to expose members to educational and professional opportunities. They also host coffee chats to facilitate open dialogue regarding prevalent social dilemmas, along with health and financial workshops to promote wellness and economic success. More importantly, they continue to welcome and incorporate community feedback into their programming, to ensure that they are effectively meeting their members’ needs. Overall, the EPYAA board proudly utilizes a general framework of “serving as they climb.”

Given that the majority of the organization’s communities exist in the Paschal and Elmwood neighborhoods of Southwest Philadelphia, the ability of youth to access green spaces and nature is quite limited. In turn, these circumstances hinder their knowledge and participation in environmental conservation and advocacy. The EPYAA acknowledges the Deeply Rooted Community Grant Award as a vital tool to further address this issue. They affirm that the grant “has allowed them to create programming for creative ways to connect communities to green space including through wellness, education, art, exploration, and more.” They also note that “the best way to empower youth to become environmental advocates is through exposure to green spaces in their neighborhood and the city as well as exposure to the opportunities and paths available to them. Therefore, we have prepared career workshops in agriculture, environmental conservation, and community leadership as well as visits to green spaces and parks within Philadelphia and group activities that bring parents and youth together to facilitate learning about local flora and encourage healing intergenerational conversations.” The organization expresses deep appreciation, stating, “[We are] immensely grateful for the support of the Community Green Grant in enabling us to create new programming but also for the partnership we are able to foster and develop. Through this grant and our continued support, we hope to empower youth to develop a connection to and become responsible stewards of their environment and communities.”

The EPYAA emphasizes the grant’s pivotal role in supporting environmentally-focused programming, particularly for younger urban populations that have limited access to nature and greening initiatives.

We are grateful for the ongoing contributions of the Ethio-Philly Young Adult Association to the Southwest and greater Philadelphia community, and eagerly anticipate what is to come with this standout organization.

Stay in Touch with The Ethio-Philly Young Adult Association (EPYAA):



Instagram: @epyaa

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