Philadelphia, PA (April 19, 2019) — The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) welcomed Gifu Sakura no Kai, a volunteer cherry blossom tree planting group from Japan, to Philadelphia on Friday, April 19. Gifu Sakura no Kai planted five blossoming cherry trees along Avenue of the Republic near a footpath that leads to Shofuso, the Japanese house and garden in West Fairmount Park.

Before beginning the tree planting, the group toured Shofuso, where executive director Kim Andrews shared the history of Philadelphia’s connections with Japan, which date back to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. The tree planting, which took place nearby Philadelphia’s Memorial Hall, adds to Fairmount Park’s abundant cherry blossoms and acts as a bookend to the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, which ran from April 6-14, 2019.

Founded in Gifu, Japan in 2001, Sakura No Kai’s activities originates from the actions of Mr. Ryoji Sato (1929-1977), a conductor of Japan’s National Railways’ Nagare Express line. Mr. Sato planted cherry trees along the route, which connected Nagoya (which faces the Pacific Ocean) and Kanazawa (which faces the Sea of Japan) as a symbol of peace from shore to shore.

Inspired by Mr. Sato’s actions, Gifu Sakura no Kai have planted 6,634 trees across Japan and 6,511 trees in 41 cities across the world since 1993 as a way of promoting international cherry blossom culture, and have visited Adelaide, Australia, New Delhi, India, and Wahiawa, Hawaii.

The exchange of cherry trees between Japan and Philadelphia goes back to 1926, when the Japanese government gifted 1,600 flowering trees to the city of Philadelphia in honor of the 150th anniversary of American independence. From 1998 to 2007, JASGP planted over 1,000 trees around the city, embodying the goodwill between Japan and Philadelphia. Groves of cherry trees can be found at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, behind Memorial Hall, along Kelly Drive, and surrounding the Art Museum and Waterworks.


The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia is a private nonprofit organization that has brought Philadelphia and Japan closer together for more than 25 years through art, business, and culture. JASGP operates Shofuso, produces the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, and presents the US-Japan Business and Public Policy Series, as well as other arts, business, culture, and educational programming for all ages. For more information, visit

Shofuso is a traditional Japanese house and garden located in West Fairmount Park. Shofuso is open for weekday admissions to the public from March 24 to October 31, Wednesdays through Fridays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Adult admission is $12; senior citizens, students with ID and children ages 5-17 admission is $8; ACCESS card holders’ admission is $2; and JASGP members, active duty military with ID and children under 5 are admitted free. Shofuso is located at Horticultural and Lansdowne Drs., Philadelphia, PA 19131. For more information, including special hours and admission, visit


Donor Dash Weekend: Life-Saving Events Culminate in 10K at the Art Museum

Buildings and Bridges to Light Up in Green and Blue Ahead of 24th Annual Race

The City of Brotherly Love will prove this weekend that no place has more heart. A series of events by Gift of Life Donor Program and its supporters will draw more than 10,000 people from throughout the Philadelphia region, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and save lives by supporting organ and tissue donation.

On Friday evening, landmarks across the city will light up in green and blue – the official colors of organ donation awareness – as part of National Donate Life Blue and Green Day. Buildings will include the Ben Franklin Bridge, the BYN Mellon Center, Two Liberty Place, the Cira Centre Towers, and more.

On Saturday, runners from across the region will meet at the Gift of Life Family House for a picnic before race day.

On Sunday, the Gift of Life Donor Program will host more than 10,000 participants in the 24th Annual Donor Dash at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Dash takes place every April, which is National Donate Life Month. More than 5,000 men, women, and children in the Philadelphia region are waiting for an organ transplant. They are among nearly 114,000 waiting nationwide. Twenty people on the waiting list die each day.

About the Donor Dash

Pre-race Picnic:                               Saturday, April 13

10:00am – 2:00pm

Gift of Life Family House

401 Callowhill St.

Philadelphia, PA 19123

Participants will collect their Dash race materials during a picnic. There will also be food, music, and more fun activities to get everyone pumped up for an exciting race the next day!

Sunday, April 14

                              6:00am: Registration opens

                              7:10am: 10K Run begins

                              7:20am: 5K Run begins

                              7:45am: Kids Fun Run begins (for kids six and under)

                              8:00am: Opening Ceremonies

8:30am: 3K Walk


Participants can register on-site the morning of the Dash. Click here for more information:

About the Gift of Life Donor Program

Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally-designated organ procurement organization, serving 11.2 million people across the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.  Its annual donation rate ranks among the highest in the world. Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 47,000 life-saving organs for transplant, and approximately one million tissue transplants have resulted from the generosity of donors and their families.  One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, and a tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 75 others. For more information or to register, visit

About the Gift of Life Donor Dash

The Dash began with a group of only 800 people, as a result of Claire Braverman’s wish to honor her husband, Mickey, who passed away while waiting for a liver transplant.  Claire wanted to turn her grief into something positive, so she organized the first-ever Donor Dash in his memory.  Today, the Dash continues to honor Mickey, donors and donor families – and the more than 5,000 men, women and children in Gift of Life’s region who are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant.

The 2018 Donor Dash drew more than 10,000 dedicated Dashers, nearly 400 teams, and raised more than $600,000 for Gift of Life outreach programs to educate the community about the significant need to register more organ and tissue donors.

Contact: Karen Muldoon Geus


PHDC, JEVS Human Services, Orleans Technical College, and other partners hosted a building trades career fair for high school students.

City Launches Pilot Program to Connect Trade Students with Local Contractors

PHDC, JEVS Human Services, Orleans Technical College, and other partners hosted a building trades career fair for high school students.

PHILADELPHIA – More than 100 students interested in careers in the building trades attended a Hiring Expo hosted today by the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC), JEVS Human Services, and Orleans Technical College.

The Hiring Expo matched selected students from several career education programs with PHDC contractors (full list below) in need of new employees. Today’s event is part of an ongoing effort between the City of Philadelphia, PHDC, and the Mayor’s Office of Education to attract young adults into the building trades and create more employment opportunities for Philadelphians.

“This pilot program is an excellent example of the power of partnership,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The collaboration between PHDC, the School District, YouthBuild Philly and JEVS Human Services will not only give young people much-need work experience, but it will also help develop a stronger pipeline between our schools and reputable contractors across the city. I am proud to see such teamwork in support of the goals and objectives outlined in Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, the city’s comprehensive workforce development strategy which was released last year.”

“For over 50 years PHDC has helped Philadelphians preserve and maintain their homes,” said David Thomas, Executive Director of PHDC. “We built relationships with small and mid-size contractors across the City. The goal of this event is to match qualified and trained students with PHDC affiliated contractors looking to increase their capacity.  This means helping more Philadelphians in need, and also increasing their business-which helps small businesses in Philadelphia.”

“JEVS Human Services is honored to host this expo on the campus of our Orleans Technical College (OTC),” said Bill Lynch, campus president. “We have been providing career and technical skills training since 1974, with an emphasis on delivering short-term, employer-responsive programs in the skilled and construction trades sector. We measure our success and impact by matching well-trained graduates with employers committed to offering sustainable employment and growth opportunities. We are equally excited to include ready-to-work graduates from JEVS Project WOW program in this first-of-its kind hiring fair because it allows us to see the real-time fulfillment of our mission, taking place under one roof.”

Participating Contractors:
Adkins Management, Inc.
Best Choice Plumbing, Inc.
Burke Plumbing & Heating
CGW Electric, Inc.
Clark Roofing Co.
Clements Brothers, Inc.
CPR Plumbing, Inc.
D.A. Virelli Roofing
DMC Environmental Group, Inc.
Dunrite Contractors, LLC
G&H General Contractors, LLC
Giampietro & Son Construction
GMW Construction
Guaranteed Plumbing, Inc.
Hamp Young General Contractor
I.B.N. Master Plumbing, LLC
IVN Sound & Communications LLC
L. Cruz Development
MD Roofing & Siding, LLC
Morris Roofing Co., Inc.
Mr. D’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc.
North American Roofers, Inc.
Pendino Construction, LLC
Quality Air HVAC Trust
Reid’s Electrical Contracting, Inc.
Richard’s Roofing
Tangent Construction Management Corporation
W&W Contractors, Inc.
Whiting Services, LLC

For more information on PHDC’s programs, please visit: For more information on JEVS, please visit:

Contact: Jamila Davis, PHDC, 215-686-9727,



WHAT:          Rebuilding Together Philadelphia Block Build

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia will repair 12 vulnerable, owner-occupied homes with 300 volunteers over two full days. Media are invited to the welcome celebration for a short tour of repairs and an opportunity to meet homeowners, which will begin on the street in front of one of the homes.

Who: Stefanie F. Seldin, Rebuilding Together Philadelphia President and CEO

Jannie Blackwell, Philadelphia Councilwoman

Dwight Evans, United States Congressman

WHEN: Friday, April 5, 2019 – 12 pm

WHERE: 4052  Cambridge St, Philadelphia, Parkside Neighborhood

DETAILS:  Homeowner Sandra Jenkins, age 71, is one resident who will see repairs to her home. Jenkins has lived in her home for 49 years; it is where she and her late husband Tyrone raised three sons. She loves her home and family-like community, but over the years, the house has experienced wear and tear. The Rebuilding Together Philadelphia Block Build volunteers will ensure her home will meet health and safety standards so Jenkins can continue to enjoy her home and age in place safely. Volunteers will add additional handrails, and existing handrails will be reinforced on the stairways. The old, uneven and dusty carpet in the front bedroom and living room will be replaced with vinyl flooring. A new clothes dryer vent that reaches the exterior will also be installed. Jenkins says, “I look forward to witnessing the togetherness that the Block Build will bring.”

Volunteers from the Wharton MBA Program, PennDesign, Drexel University, Campus Apartments, Driscoll Construction, Resource Real Estate, Well Fargo, and others are coming together to repair 12 homes in Parkside. These volunteers will complete a variety of projects including installing grab bars for elderly homeowners, installing solar-powered exterior lights, drywall and plaster repairs, and interior painting to benefit homeowners and make the homes on the block a healthier and safer place to call home.

 RTP organizes three Block Builds per calendar year, including two in West Philadelphia and another in Kensington, renovating multiple houses over a two-day period. For the first time, RTP is expanding its services into Parkside. RTP is the only organization in Philadelphia that uses a Block Build approach for an immediate impact on the health and safety of eligible homeowners and their families. This strategy utilizes between 100 and 200 volunteers, neighbors, and homeowners per day to repair clustered homes in a targeted neighborhood over two days. At each Block Build, RTP assigns different teams for different tasks. One group, called the “energy efficiency team,” goes house to house to install insulation and change furnace filters, in addition to other energy saving applications. With this energy efficiency team, feedback from homeowners showed that RTP’s repairs reduced homeowners’ utility bills and increased comfort, especially in winter. The positive health impact of improving the built environment through housing improvements is particularly evident when renovations focus on energy efficiency. To support these efforts, RTP contractors also replace windows when necessary. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing drafts in a home can result in energy savings that range between 5 and 30 percent per year.

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia is a local, independent affiliate of a national network focused on preserving affordable homeownership and revitalizing neighborhoods using volunteer resources. Through its repair projects, RTP and its 36,000 volunteers have helped 1,611 low-income homeowners since our founding thirty-one years ago. or 215-965-0777 for more information. #BlockBuild

Contact Cari Feiler Bender, Relief Communications, LLC (Press Information Only)




Celebrating Black Culture At The Franklin Institute – by Jasmine Bullock

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson and the Association of the Study of Negro Life and History found it necessary to celebrate the contributions of African Americans with a week-long celebration. In 1976, the week-long celebration was extended to an entire month and has continued with various festivities throughout the country.

On Monday, February 25, the Franklin Institute’s
Partnerships for Achieving Careers and Technology
and Science (PACTS) program, sponsored a regionwide
Black History Challenge. PACTS is an academic youth leadership program offered by The Franklin Institute for middle and high school students in Philadelphia. It promotes science enrichment,
career development, mentoring, and leadership opportunities through science workshops, field trips, educational resources, and research.

This year’s Black History Challenge took place during the Institute’s monthly Community Night, where admission is free for all visitors. Hosted by the PACTS Alumni Association, the evening included an
appearance by the Black Panther and Okoya from the motion picture Black Panther and was moderated by The Franklin Institute’s Chief Astronomer Dr. Derrick Pitts.

The event called for local teams to compete in a high-level trivia competition celebrating the contributions of African Americans throughout history while raising awareness and funds for youth
programming initiatives and scholarships provided by the PACTS Alumni Association. This year, eight enthusiastic teams came together for an evening of fun, networking, and trivia. Participants included the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, Faculty of Community College of Philadelphia, the Black & Latino Employee Network for Diversity at Subaru, Ernst & Young,  NBC10/Telemundo62, Canaan Baptist Church, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and Nubian Goddessez Social Club.

Overall, the events was a great night of fun and networking, second place contestant Tonya Lee-Phillips stated, “ This was a great night to bring the family out for a good time learning about our culture and interacting with likeminded professionals from the area.” Tonya represented the Nubian Goddessez Social Club in the competition. She was accompanied by her son as well as her mother, aunt, and cousin who is a member of the PACTS program.

The PACTS Program will continue its long legacy of celebrating diversity on March 16th at the Color of Science Program at The Franklin Institute. PACTS will provide guests with the opportunity to meet, learn from, and become inspired by local minority innovators.
In its ninth year, The Franklin Institute will welcome nine African American scientist that will speak about their professions, how they entered their line of work, perform demonstrations, and discuss the importance of science to a group of 200 students throughout the day.

This year’s STEM professionals include:
• Michael Williams, Ph.D. – Optical Science Center for Applied Research –
Delaware State University; PACTS Alumni
• Deaysha Hines – Medical Scribe – Suburban Community Hospital,
PACTS Alumni
• Antionette T. Campbell – Philadelphia Police Department – CEO/Founder of
the Association of Women in Forensic Science Inc.
• Wendy Jackson-Dow – Mechanical Engineer – CEO/ Founder of
SkyPixGroup, LLC
• Nicole S. Williams, OD – Optometrist – VIVID Eye Care
• Jason Engerman, Ph.D. – Associate Professor – East Stroudsburg University
of Pennsylvania
• Sabriya Scott, MD – Physician – Chestnut Hill Hospital Family Practice,
PACTS Alumni
• Jayatri Das, Ph.D. – Chief Bio Scientist – Franklin Institute
• Loni Tabb, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics –
Drexel University

To find more information about PACTS and the Color of Science visit

As Black History month comes to an end, The PACTS program is constantly working to ensure culture and diversity is demonstrated and emulated throughout the Franklin Institute and throughout the city of Philadelphia.

Centennial Parkside CDC and the East Parkside Residents Association host the “Our Dreams Our Future East Parkside Community Dinner” at the Fairmount Park Horticultural Cente

By Chris Spahr, Executive Director, Centennial Parkside CDC

On Monday, February 25 the Centennial Parkside CDC and the East Parkside Residents Association hosted the Our Dreams Our Future East Parkside Community Dinner at the Fairmount Park Horticultural Center. There was a huge turnout from residents and partners creating a productive night of celebrating the history of East Parkside’s many residents, adding to the history and dreams for the future, and working together to design new social enterprises, services, and other projects.

The Our Dreams Our Future East Parkside Community Dinner was an opportunity for the Centennial Parkside CDC to share the many lessons learned from a series of ongoing Green Economy Chat ‘N Chews that it hosted throughout 2018 and continues to host 2019. From these Chat ‘N Chews certain issues, challenges, and opportunities were identified including arts and culture, youth programming, education, trash, zoning, vacant land and blight, affordable housing, farmers markets, community gardens, energy, green jobs, inclusive economic development, unity, health, and safety and security. The Our Dreams Our Future East Parkside Community Dinner provided an opportunity for residents, community experts, and funders to “dig in” on these topic areas and develop project proposals.

At the end of the night attendees voted on one project proposal to receive a seed grant provided by the Philadelphia Foundation. Project proposals included:

  • home repair education and support
  • health and fitness classes
  • a community land trust conference
  • a curriculum related to block captains, trash removal, and creative reuse of discarded materials for youth
  • a tribal council office to advise budding entrepreneurs
  • a nutrition and health after school program
  • and a data collection system for vacant and blighted properties

The project that received the most votes from the community making it the recipient of a $1000 seed grant was a Financial Literacy Curriculum for the neighborhood. The Centennial Parkside CDC and the team who developed the financial literacy curriculum idea will work together in the coming months to expand this project plan and raise more money to implement it. All other projects will be entered into a project idea bank that will be used to direct future funding in the community.

Attendees of the dinner also had the pleasure of listening to an energizing keynote speech by Gabriella Paez, Education and Community Development Coordinator at Esperanza and a song performed by the talented Makeda McFarlane from Central High School.

The Centennial Parkside CDC would like to thank the sponsors of the Green Economy Chat ‘N Chews and the Our Dreams Our Future dinner namely the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP), and Pennsylvanian’s Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER).

For more information on the Centennial Parkside CDC’s ongoing monthly Green Economy Chat ‘N Chews, please

follow them on Facebook @centennypark or reach out via email ( or phone (267-225-8356)

Parkside Resident on Teaching Mission In Myanmar











For the last six months, one of the jewels of Parkside has been teaching in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Mrs. Allison Hatchett Stringfield was born and raised on North 42nd Street.  She attended Leidy Elementary, Beeber Middle School and Overbrook High School. She is a graduate of Cheyney University. Mrs. Stringfield taught in the Philadelphia School System for over twenty years in a number of capacities. She is a Language Arts Specialist and has provided education to many of the young people who still reside in Parkside.

Mrs. Stringfield is on a two-year teaching assignment at the International School of Myanmar. The official name of Myanmar is the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and also known as Burma. It is a sovereign state located in Southeast Asia and shares borders with Bangladesh. Along with her husband, Robert Stringfield, a retired fire fighter, Mrs. Stringfield is enjoying this experience. She did not have to learn Burmese as the students in this school speak English and are preparing to come to the United States to attend college.

Mr. and Mrs. Stringfield hope that their experience will inspire others to reach beyond our borders for opportunities to broaden their horizons.

News that is from, about, and benefits our Parkside Community in West Philadelphia.