Becoming Fab Youth Philly
Prior to moving to Philadelphia in 2007, Rebecca lived in Brooklyn, New York for 14 years. While there she held various roles in several youth programs and was a high school teacher at a small alternative high school. From 1999-2007, she started and ran an award-winning afterschool program at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School. It was one of the first high school afterschool programs to be awarded a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant in New York State, and became a model program for what was then The After-School Corporation (TASC) and has since become ExpandEd Schools. Council Member Gale Brewer, awarded Rebecca with a Proclamation from the City in 2007 for her service.
When she moved to Philadelphia in 2007, it was to be the Executive Director of a (then) 40-year-old organization whose mission was to “promote interracial, intercultural, inter-ethnic harmony among youth.” After spending six months assessing the health of the organization, she determined it was in dire shape. Thus, she recommended to the board that rather than trying to revive it, they move to dissolve it.
Rebecca then led the board through that process and then became a VP of of Strategic Partnerships & Capacity Building
at an Intermediary organization in Philadelphia.
Rebecca is at that organization until 2010, at which time she leaves to work independently and provide consulting services to youth-serving and nonprofit organizations. Her focus at that time is curriculum development, training and program planning for youth-serving organizations. Clients and projects included, but were not limited to:
Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) of the Netter Center
5th Ave Community Development Corporation
American Paradigm Schools
Department of Human Services OST
She is hired by Development Without Limits to work on projects for: Athletes for Hope’s Good Game, FEGS, South Asian Youth Action (SAYA), Manhattan Strategies, and Youth Development Initiative (YDI).
In 2012, she created an official business as Rebecca Fabiano Consulting Services (RFCS), LLC. By then she is sought after for developing curriculum on a range of topics, though with a focus on youth workforce development, and for designing and facilitating a wide range of professional development experiences like trainings, professional learning communities (PLC) and conferences.
During this time (2013), Rebecca created the Sandbox Philly, “not your same old same old professional development” to provide networking and professional development for youth development professionals. The goals of those initial meetings were to bring youth development consultants together to increase collaboration and reduce competition, and to share resources.
Since the first meeting, the group grew to also include other youth development practitioners, educators, teaching artists, community members, and advocates.
The Goals of The Sandbox were to:
Create a forum for networking, professional development, resource sharing and collaboration for adults who work with, on behalf of, and advocate for youth in under-represented communities in Philadelphia;
and be a laboratory for practitioners to test ideas.
Over the years numerous attendees have secured contracts, developed arts projects, tested workshop content, facilitated (a) Sandbox meeting(s) and more!
Clients grow to include:
Center for Literacy
Every Hour Counts
National Institute on Out of School Time
The Bridge of PHMC
Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN)
US Dream Academy
In 2015, Rebecca officially changes the company name to Fab Youth Philly, LLC.
Not a nonprofit
Rebecca makes the decision NOT to register Fab Youth Philly as a nonprofit to avoid becoming a part of the nonprofit industrial complex. She's not convinced operating as an LLC is the right or ideal way to operate when taking money to provide vital services to communities with public and private dollars and often considers other models.
Listen to her talk at West Chester University in 2017 about why NOT to start a nonprofit: https://youtu.be/yizbg2f2Du4
Fab Youth Philly is hired to help other youth-serving organizations:
Align programming with their vision, to meet grant deliverables
Assess and improve program quality
Establish and facilitate Professional Learning Communities (PLC)
Model for, coach and assist program staff in creating high quality programs and experiences for youth
Help shift organizational culture by enhancing or establishing structures for on-going professional development
Create curricular materials and train staff how to use them effectively
Develop and facilitate retreats
Design and coordinate small to mid-size conferences
Connect youth development professionals to networking and training:
Between 2013 and 2020 host 60 FREE monthly networking and professional development gatherings via the Sandbox
Founded Center for Youth Development Professionals (CYDP) www.cydpphilly.org MISSION: To meet the professional development needs of adults in Philadelphia who work with or on behalf of youth ages 4-24 through networking, training, workshops and professional learning communities (PLC).
Create and co-facilitate with Michele Martin of The Bamboo Project the Leadership Lab for youth development professionals.
Design and implement summer and afterschool programming for children ages 4-19.
Since 2015, we've provided programming directly to more than 500 children, teens and young adults (and counting!) Programming emphasizes opportunities to be exposed to and develop leadership, civic-engagement, arts, creativity and workforce development.
Fab Youth Philly is awarded a contract from LISC to run a middle school afterschool program for Norris Homes. This allowed us to hire exceptional teaching artists, community activists to provide programming.
In 2016, Rebecca developed the Teen Business Lab with Michele Martin of The Bamboo Project. It was offered to teens ages 14-18, with funding and support from Citizens Planning Institute & YouthBuild Philadelphia.
In 2017, Rebecca created the Play Captain Initiative, which has become a signature project of the organization.
In 2018, Drexel University’s West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood invests nearly $750,000 over a three-year period to support the Play Captain Initiative, create the Safety Captain Initiative and develop and facilitate professional learning communities for staff of up to 20
Out-of-School Time programs.
2020 and beyond
We are looking forward to another 10 years, supporting, connecting and innovating. These are a few of the commitments Fab Youth Philly is making to our partners, our staff, and the communities we serve :
Revise our Core Values and use them as a guide for our decision-making with regard to funding, partnerships, policies, staffing and programming;
Acknowledge and work to eliminate white supremacy culture at Fab Youth Philly;
Continue our work in neighborhoods made vulnerable by systemic racism.
Update our policies and procedures using anti racists, DEI and trauma-informed lenses.
Pay staff a living wage.
children & youth
served since 2015
connections made to
resources and between
Fab Youth Philly
*as of fall 2020
"I just wanted you to know that as a result of your resource sharing through one of your newsletters, I learned about the Awesome Foundation and applied for a mini-grant to support clean up efforts in my neighborhood - Cobbs Creek. Today, I received notification that I received a $1,000 grant. So exciting. Thanks for being an amazing connector!" -Temwa Wright, Founder and Executive Director of Pamoza International