Patch interview with Amy Concilio



Names in the News: Amy Concilio

A Q&A with Teen UpRise's Concilio.

Name & Occupation: Amy Concilio; Founder, Teen UpRise

How long have you lived in Manayunk and Roxborough? My family and I have been living in the Manayunk/Roxborough area for eight years. I first moved to Manayunk when I was 19 and a sophomore at University of the Sciences. I loved it here, and my parents liked it so much they moved from New Jersey to a house in Roxborough. Last year, my husband and I bought that house from them, and we're here to stay.

What do you like most about this community? I love the “village inside of a big city” feeling of Manayunk/Roxborough. It amazes me how interconnected people are here. Every time I meet someone new, we discover we have three or four friends in common. 

What community and civic organizations are you currently involved in? Teen UpRise is my passion and my life. Almost every free moment I have is devoted to Teen UpRise kids or programs. This September will be our organization’s first anniversary. My goal for next year is to have a little more free time, and to plant a garden.

What are some personal/professional accomplishments? I'm ADD and dyslexic, which meant I had to work very hard in school. My teachers could never have imagined that I’d start my own nonprofit organization, and become an adjunct professor at Arcadia University. While I didn’t achieve my childhood dream of playing for the WNBA, I feel very blessed.

What drew you to your profession and what do you find most interesting about the work you do? It all started with my little sister Susie. When I was 14, I realized that the summer soccer camp she was attending had only male counselors. I told the head coach that this didn’t seem fair to the girls. I offered to work for free, and he hired me on the spot for minimum wage. I loved it, and the next summer I started my own basketball camps for younger girls.

After attending Princeton Theological School for youth ministry, I got a job at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Roxborough. Susie went on to attend Arcadia University. Through her involvement with the Honors Program, Arcadia University got interested in my work with Roxborough teens, and said they could get more involved if I founded a nonprofit.

Now, one year later, I’m an adjunct professor at Arcadia teaching a class on urban adolescent life. AU also sends students to work with Teen UpRise as interns. The best part of my job is watching the teens and the college interns interact and learn from each other's life experiences. Both groups come away with a better sense of who they are, and who they could become in the future. An added plus is watching them teach each other their favorite dance moves! 

Who is most influential in your life? Obviously, my sister Susie! Besides her, I owe a lot to my University of the Sciences professor, Dr. Gilbert Zink. He realized that I was miserable as a college pharmacy major. Dr. Zink took me aside and asked me what made me truly happy. When I said working with kids, he told me to not worry about making money and pursue my dream. Now that I am doing just that, my husband, Mike, my parents and Board of Directors keep me enthused about my life as a fund-raiser, coach, cook and chief bottle-washer.

Who do you admire? My favorite historical figure is President Teddy Roosevelt. I love how he overcame a sickly childhood to become a vigorous presence in the world. I  also admire Rev. Frederick Buechner, who gave the best career advice ever: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

What are key ways that other people can make a difference locally? Take Buechner's words to heart. For instance, maybe your passion is automobiles. Maybe you have a nine-to-13-seat passenger van that needs a little work, but is still serviceable. You could donate that van to a nonprofit, like Teen UpRise, that doesn’t have the funds to buy its own van, and has to take kids on outings by bus. Being able to provide transportation to our kids would make a huge difference in the programs we can offer. 

If you are interested in learning more about Teen UpRise, please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit the website.