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Becoming Fab Youth Philly

This is the story of how we became Fab Youth Philly. Unlike many people who start organizations, it was not our goal. Read on to learn more.

Our Story


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

  • Taller Puertorriqueño


She is hired by Development Without Limits as a Senior Consultant to work on projects for: Athletes for Hope’s Good Game, FEGS, South Asian Youth Action (SAYA), Manhattan Strategies, Youth Development Initiative (YDI), and the National Urban League.


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!

Her Clients grow to include:

  • Center for Literacy

  • PowerCorps PHL

  • Every Hour Counts

  • Bell eXcel

  • National Institute on Out of School Time

  • LISC

  • MightyWriters

  • The Bridge of PHMC

  • Triskeles

  • Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN)

  • US Dream Academy


In 2015, Rebecca officially changes the company name to Fab Youth Philly, LLC.

Is FYP an nonprofit?

Initially, 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 providing 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:

After a lot of thought and discussion with trusted advisors, in 2021, Fab Youth Philly applies for and is granted nonprofit status, enabling us extend our fundraising reach. 


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 four-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.


Fab Youth Philly is invited to apply for and receives a prestigious award from the William Penn Foundation to pilot the Play Captain Initiative in three playgrounds during the summer of 2021.

Fab Youth Philly is selected as one of 4 national finalists of the

National Summer Learning Association Learning in Excellence Awards.

Rebecca writes a children's book, Yaya Plans a Block Party about the Play Captain Initiative, featuring several of the Play Captains. It is illustrated by Briana Clarke, a local artist and former Play Captain Supervisor. You can read Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Helen Ubiñas' heartfelt review!

Councilwoman Helen Gym provides Citation from the City to all of the Play Captains. Listen to them read the citation here and be inspired by their joy!


Fab Youth Philly, along with other key city agencies are part of a working group to bring about engaging opportunities to McPherson Square park during the summer and beyond. The organization is gifted $75,000 in unsolicited funds.

We start a Youth Advisory Board, which is a paid position for teens at Fab Youth Philly, and also launch our Little Library Stewards afterschool job. You can read more on our Youth Programs Tab.


Fab Youth Philly brings back the Sandbox Collective and hosts the monthly meeting at Il Sorriso Cafe.

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