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 (info@centennialparkside.org) or phone (267-225-8356)

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