Teens Speak Up! & Public Policy Institute

The Teens Speak Up! & Public Policy Institute (TSU-PPI) is the Foundation's signature advocacy initiative. This biennial conference brings together more than 175 advocates, including local Epilepsy Foundation office staff, families, health care providers, and volunteers from across the country to make a difference. Through this program, we are able to strengthen our advocacy network and share updates on the state of epilepsy research and funding, as well as policies impacting the epilepsy community. Teens living with epilepsy and a family member have the opportunity to visit the nation's capital to receive advocacy training and meet with their lawmakers to share their experiences and discuss issues that are vital to the epilepsy community. These passionate young advocates help to represent the 470,000 children living with the epilepsies when they go up on Capitol Hill. It is also an incredible opportunity for teens – and their families – to connect with each other. Each teen is asked to turn their training into action in their respective home districts through a Year of Service. 

Year of Service

Teens must embark on a Year of Service prior to or directly after attending the conference. Teens who wish to become young epilepsy advocates and potential Teens Speak Up! participants may also complete a Year of Service. The Foundation will then 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.

The Year of Service allows teens to take on a leadership role and advance their advocacy to the next level. Teens will explore ways to raise public awareness, build relationships with elected officials, and help create positive change for the epilepsy community. Advocacy is year-round and there are many opportunities to make a difference in their state and local community.  

Interested? Eligible teens must be between the ages of 13-18 and living with epilepsy. Teens must be nominated by their local Epilepsy Foundation office. If you live in a state or area without a local office, please reach out to the national headquarters’ advocacy team at tsu@efa.org.

Teens Speak Up! & the Public Policy Institute will be virtual in 2021.

Sara Stubblefield Advocacy Award

The Sara Stubblefield Advocacy Award was established in memory of the late Sara Elizabeth Stubblefield of Mount Vernon, Illinois, and recognizes an individual who is a leader in advocating and making a difference in the lives of more than 3 million Americans living with epilepsy. Sara was participating in the Epilepsy Foundation’s annual Public Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. at the time of her unexpected death at age 36 in March 2011. This award honors her life and continues her legacy of advocacy.

Sara was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was a junior in high school. She was valedictorian of her graduating class and was a 1996 honors graduate of Greenville College. She received a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in 1998 and earned the designation of Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Sara was a fearless advocate for epilepsy education and research. She dedicated her life to making a difference in better care and treatment for people living with epilepsy. She served for 10 years as the Epilepsy Services Coordinator of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois.

2020 Awardee

The Epilepsy Foundation was pleased to present the 2020 Sara Stubblefield Advocacy Award to William Murphy of the Epilepsy Foundation New England during this year’s Teens Speak Up! & Public Policy Institute conference.

Authored By: 
Britt Dorfman
Authored Date: 
10/2020
on: 
Monday, October 5, 2020