Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit

This toolkit is a guide for Centers for Independent Living and others to conduct interactive and engaging workshops to facilitate the development of advocacy skills of emerging Independent Living leaders and youth with disabilities. It describes how to introduce advocacy through the facilitation of unique activities and discussions, identifying issues of importance, and putting advocacy skills into practice.

A unique approach presented in this toolkit is the use of improv to introduce, invite, and engage others into and with the world of advocacy.

Why Improv?

Using improv hones communication and public speaking skills, stimulates fast thinking, and encourages engagement with ideas, all skills that are important for effective advocacy. Improv also provides a supportive environment that allows participants to take risks, try out new ideas, and build their confidence.

The activities incorporate different learning styles, and can easily be modified to accommodate everyone.

Establishing Your Voice

group of youth holding fists up in the air

An important part of advocacy, no matter if the goal is to help one person or many, is establishing a confident voice, developed and supported by a community of peer support. This workshop and accompanying toolkit materials give participants the opportunity to explore their voices, build confidence, and display their skills both verbally as well as in written form.

The intent is to provide a safe space among peers and trusted facilitators to introduce the concept of both group and self-advocacy.

Toolkit Contents


Icon of slideshow on a screenSession 1 workshop slides (PowerPoint)




icon of video play button
Whose Line Is It Anyway: Super Heroes (YouTube video)


icon of video play button
Name Symphony Improv Demonstration (YouTube video)



icon of document
Getting Started worksheet (PDF)


icon of document
Short Write worksheet (PDF)


icon of slideshow on screenSession 2 workshop slides (PowerPoint)




icon of video play buttonTone Symphony Improv Demonstration (YouTube video)


icon of video play buttonDebate Improv Demonstration (YouTube video)




icon of documentAudience, Resources, and Tone worksheet (PDF)

Our Partners

This Toolkit is a collaboration between: 

It was developed in response to the needs and interests of CILs and other stakeholders.

To learn more about BASE, their mission, and their use of improv to teach advocacy skills, check out their YouTube video:

Video: BASE Impact with CC

For technical assistance, or if you have any questions, please contact RTC:Rural.

We are very interested in how you think you might use these materials, so we can use this information in our future research and other materials we plan to develop! 

Please take a moment to email us the answer to this question: If you are downloading or viewing these materials, how do you plan to use them?