All posts by prentice34

Our Dreams, Our Future Dinner Recap Who was there? What happened? What did we learn? Next Steps.

by Nora Elmarzouky

On February 25, 2019, the Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation hosted the Our Dreams, Our Future East Parkside Community Dinner at the Greenhouse of the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. This was part of a community engagement effort, designed and led by in site collaborative, to bring
residents together with experts across Philadelphia to design community development projects using the lens of the triple bottom line. The triple bottom line takes into consideration people and planet together when considering profit and addressing concerns in the community.

Over 120 people attended starting with visiting the community fair to learn about and get involved with 10+ organizations and initiatives happening in East Parkside including Viola Street Garden, Revival Center, PHL WeWalk, East Parkside Residents Association, Mt. Vernon CDC, Tree Tenders, Trash Academy and more.
Attendees were asked to add their personal stories to a map and a timeline and also asked to respond to 16 different topics of interest/concern identified in the neighborhood each with four questions. The topics included: arts and culture, youth programming, education, trash/beautify, dumping, community land trust/zoning,
vacant land / abandoned buildings, affordable housing/homeownership, farmers market, community gardens, energy/solar, green jobs/workforce development, inclusive economic development / commercial corridor, unity, health, and safety and security. Carmelita Catering supplied a beautiful three-course buffet, not without both a chocolate and caramel fountain.

Guests experts from across Philadelphia joined community residents including, but not limited to representatives from the Reinvestment Fund, Drexel University, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Solarize Philly, the Free Library, AARP, and City
Council candidate Jamie Gauthier.

The evening began with welcoming remarks from Executive Director, Chris Spahr and Board Treasurer, Ronald Coleman, followed by a song from Makeda McFarlane. Gabriella Paez, the Education and Community Development Coordinator at Esperanza gave the keynote about how they have integrated sustainability principles with community education to collectively build Huntington Park.

The community project design portion began with a debut of My Future, My City short film shot by students in the summer WorkReady program and put together by Josh Graupera of Bonfire Media.

Using the responses from the 16 different topics, attendees designed 10 projects. The 16 topics generated a total of 41 resources to learn from and 110 ideas. Youth programming and trash/litter were the topics most responded to.

The project ideas revolved around youth opportunities including arts, culture, and education of various types; neighborhood integration and multigenerational cooperation; health and neighborhood cleanliness and general atmosphere; and land
use and homeownership. Using an app called slido, the remaining participants shared their project ideas and voted on a financial literacy program for youth. This program is currently being developed with $2000 of seed funding from the Philadelphia
Foundation and the CDC – incorporating cooperative economic models and green economy principles – to implement in 2019 for youth in East Parkside. That night another organization pledged their financial backing as well.

According to some accounts, “It was an evening like no other. We have never done anything like this as a community.” Another person shared they had met their cousin they hadn’t seen in years. Most importantly, it brought people together to share a
meal, learn, and build together the community everyone wants feels included in. This information gathered can be used to inform programming and development in the East Parkside neighborhood that the CDC can use when developers are asking – what does
the community need? The data can also be used by community members to take on projects, programs, or new entrepreneurial ideas. Our Dreams, Our Future can be an annual event that both celebrating and reflecting on the past year and also planning for
the coming year.

All data collected during the dinner will be available on the Centennial Parkside CDC website soon. Photos from the evening are available on the Centennial Facebook page and Sulex Move Facebook page. Sign up to CDC mailing list and follow them on
Facebook to stay tuned to community events happening in the neighborhood.


What A Great Day For Mantua And The McMichael Elementary School

by Jim Brown

The Mantua community looked vibrant as the community school, Morton McMichael, showcased the 2nd Annual “Knowing Your Neighborhood Heroes” Wall of Fame on Friday, April 12th in the auditorium for the students at McMichael Elementary School in West Philadelphia.

It’s a great feeling when you can do meaningful things in the community that you grew up in, Mantua, and one day be recognized for the body of work that you and other special individuals have done to serve Mantua, the city of Philadelphia, the state of Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.

McMichael’s Principal Brian Wallace hosted this special assembly ceremony for the students of McMichael who entertained honorees, guests, and their student body by presenting a poem to the honored guest of the day. Principal Wallace stated to the audience the importance of what Jim Brown had created for his school and what the students can have as an integral part of their school’s Black History curriculum every February. It stunned the audience of about 300 students and guests.

This was a day when the host and creator James J. Brown (aka Jim Brown) of the history-making Jenkins-Brown Mantua Heroes Program 2019 Awards Ceremony was honored along with eleven incredibly talented people from Mantua. There was a Renaming of the Auditorium for retired longtime community leader of 57 years, Rev. Dr. Andy Jenkins and his late wife Mrs. Patricia Jenkins. Rick Young was also recognized for the contribution that he continues to give to his alma mater.

McMichael School Principal Brian Wallace stated that “the Black History Program created by Mr. Brown will be incorporated in the school’s Black History curriculum every February for students of McMichael and the Mantua Community. Programs like this
reflect on Mantua’s history and the heroes of the community’s past and present.”

The honoring of the 2019 “Knowing Your Neighborhood Heroes” Wall of Fame honorees included; longtime Iconic Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, the late Mary “Mother of Mantua” Jenkins, Dr. Marcus Saunders (first African-American Chief Resident at Cooper
Hospital in 132-year history), Rev. Larry G. Patrick, Michael Thorpe, DeWayne Drummond, Gwen Morris, Khadijah Muhammad, William “Little Bill” Allen, Dexter Hamilton, Esquire, and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown.

Mrs. Rhonda Saunders, mother of honoree Dr. Marcus Saunders, the first Black chief Resident in the 132-year history of Cooper Health Care in Camden, New Jersey summed it up best about her beloved community by saying, “They say nothing good came out of
McMichael and Mantua (“The Bottom”), don’t believe everything you hear. Thanks to everyone who put this tribute together, (Mrs. Gwen Morris, Jim Brown & Principal Brian Wallace) for the men and women are truly the honorees of the community.”

That’s how people who attended the celebration described the historic event online through their Facebook posts.

Remember there are “diamonds in the rough” in every impoverished community in Philadelphia and around the country. It is of key importance to help these “diamonds” grow their talent. Leaders must always nurture, recognize, and praise these individuals’ accomplishments, their bodies of work, and contributions to their respective communities.

As Ms. Sheila Hopkins, a McMichael alumnus said on Facebook, “The Bottom Rocks”

Our New Neighbor – Dedicated Senior Medical Center

by Yvette D. Burch RN

There is a new facility in our neighborhood, Dedicated Senior Medical Center (DSMC). It is located at 1575 N. 52nd. Street, Philadelphia Pa. 19131 in the 52nd street shopping Mall. As the
name implies DSMC is designed for senior citizens in the area, those residents in the 55 plus community. The mission of DSMC is to provide seniors with quality healthcare options that will improve their health and happiness. DSMC can provide door to door transportation, driving patients from there front doors to the medical center, when needed. They also accept many different
Medicare Advantage plans. Insurance representatives are always there to explain the types of insurance they accept.

As you enter the medical center which is called the living room, you can grab a drink and a snack. The average wait time is 15 minutes or less. DSMC offers all specialties such as cardiac, endocrine
pain management and podiatry. All radiology tests are done on premises except mammograms, but they will coordinate with other health centers. All radiology rooms are digital and results are given
within 24hrs. Certain medications are available in 60 –90-day supplies which is one of the best benefits – affordability.

DSMC also offers acupuncture as an alternative method instead of typical pain management. All members are given a life card. This card contains patient medical history, such as known allergies
and your latest EKG. It also gives access to enter the facility.

Each member is assigned a case manager, social worker, and nurse. All diabetic members are custom fitted for diabetic shoes. Each doctor has a maximum of 450 patients. Once that doctor reaches that patient capacity another doctor is added to the staff. This makes the doctor to patient visit more personable.

DSMC is under (PCP) Primary Care Provider which generates information automatically to DSMC. If a patient requires overnight care at a hospital a DSMC case manager and nurse will check on the
member. There is no overnight care at provided DSMC.

The founder of DSMC is Dr. J. Chen, his mission statement is “We believe in listening to and communicating with our patients in order to deliver care with respect and dignity – treating each patient as though they were a member of our own family”. After his own experience with a life-threatening illness, Dr. Chen vowed to create a place where patients receive first-class medical care
delivered with compassion and respect.

As a registered nurse myself, I found the tour of the medical center to be amazing. The set-up of the facility is excellent. The staff that talked to me was very professional and personable. I do agree this
medical center is a 5-star facility. DSMC has 3 other locations in Philadelphia 6431 Sackett Street in Mayfair, 2101 West Lehigh Ave in North Philadelphia and 5675 N. Front Street in Olney. Their
website is http://www.Dedicated.Care



It’s not just Coffee, it’s Starbucks in Parkside by Jasmine Bullock

On the heels of becoming a Blue-Ribbon award winner for a small
CDC by the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, Parkside Association President Lucinda Hudson is happy that the Parkside neighborhood will also soon be home to a Starbucks. Hudson described the coming of
Starbucks as “a long time coming.” She originally wanted to see the named brand coffee retailer at the corner of 52nd and Parkside sharing a lot with the long-awaited Centennial Village but was talked out of pursuing the venture because of the urban setting.

Now after the 2018 Center City incident at Starbucks, the company has instituted a new dedication to diversity specifically aimed at increasing its presence in urban settings. This spearheaded the decision to have a community store in Parkside. The new location will be in Park West Town Center adjacent to the Ashley Stewart
clothing store.

With a grand smile, Mrs. Hudson described the addition to the community as a “PLUS!” This location will serve as an “economic shot” to the area. Starbucks’ goal for community stores is to bring people together helping to provide education and employment opportunities and making a difference in peoples’ lives. It is Mrs.
Hudson’s hope that this store will support and teach individuals how to be managers. This site will also help to make current individuals who are unemployed gain employability with the hopes of obtaining higher paying jobs.

With the prospect of 10 positions being earmarked for individuals in the community, Hudson and the Parkside Association hopes that some of the job training that takes place will be dedicated to ex-offenders, using the model of the Parkside Shop Rite.

Concerns about traffic flow have been raised with the addition of new retail in coming to the neighborhood but, the Parkside Association and other stakeholders are on the job.

They are currently in talks with SEPTA and the streets department discussing traffic flow, bus routes, and the opening of new streets to divert traffic in other directions. While Starbucks is one of the more expensive coffee shops, the community feels that people will make this new location a success because of the quality of the product. This location will also be a place when residents can congregate to conduct meetings and socialize.

One of Mrs. Hudson’s mottos is “speak truth to power.” Over a decade ago, she had the vision to have a Starbucks in the community. Now, with the help of several organizations and groups, the Parkside neighborhood will have a coffee shop to buy quality products, aid in job training, and serve as a hub for positive social interactions.

A BLOCKBUSTER ARTS IN THE PARK EVENT West Park Arts Fest / FREE / Rain or Shine / 1:00pm – 6:00pm

By Niesha Kennedy

The 12th Annual West Park Arts Fest presented by West Park Cultural Center, Fairmount Park Conservancy and Mural Arts Philadelphia will feature more than two dozen performances on two
stages. On June 8th West Fairmount Park on South Concourse Drive will come alive with everything from funk, jazz, R&B, modern dance, hip hop, Zumba, line dancing, art-making, live superheroes,
book giveaways, an art/craft marketplace, to food vendors and so much more.

With a Call to Action, Spiral Q. puppets, and the award-winning West Powelton Drum Squad will start in the community and proceed along Parkside Avenue to South Concourse Drive near 42nd and Parkside where the official start of the West Park
Arts Fest will begin at 1:00 pm. During the event, attendees can participate in the Spiral Q puppet workshop and join a mini procession through the festival. The event will engage the young and the seasoned in dance, art making, and other activities, including our popular narrated historical trolley tours through the Centennial District at 1 pm and 2 pm.

The Music Stage will feature Philadelphia’s first ‘FunkFest at the West Park Arts Fest’ showcasing an impressive lineup of bands from Philly’s growing Funk scene, and headlined by none other than
Philadelphia’s own “Breakwater”.

“Breakwater is excited to be headlining the first annual FunkFest. Come Splashdown with us as we lay down the funk at [West Park Arts Fest!]” – Steve Green, Breakwater Band Member. “Funk is an
important part of the sound of Philadelphia that deserves to be celebrated.”

FunkFest will include a dynamic range of funkinspired music from Jazz-Funk and Fusion, to Rock and Soul. This years’ lineup includes PhunkyMan, Expansion Project, My Funky Brethren, Terretta
Storm, The Original Groove Circus, Paulette Branson & Mixed People, and Badd Kitti. Badd Kitti (aka Dianne Brieze Thompson) is also the funkfest curator and host. Performances begin at 1 pm and
continue to 6 pm ending with an hour of Breakwater. A large crowd is expected, so come early and bring your lawn chairs.

We are pleased to announce that Park West Town Center has joined this year as one of the Arts Fest sponsors and thrilled they are bringing the very popular pony rides. Jim Burnett of WPFSI will
announce the WesGold Fellows scholarship recipients. From the music stage. Sponsors also include ARTPLACE, BlackRock, Haverford Square Properties, UPS, Brown’s Parkside ShopRite,
Rockland Capital, Zakian, Zerflin, and support from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Attendees of all ages will enjoy culturally diverse performances by some of the area’s most talented dancers, musicians, and vocalists. Activities for children and adults alike include the Black Sci-Fi
Comic Book Corner, roaming live Black Super Heroes and Tree House Books will have their book giveaway. Stop by the Global Philadelphia Heritage Booth and share your story in the Heritage
Storytelling Seat, then color World Heritage postcards to mail to friends and families.

Participate in Japanese fan making and origami, and children will enjoy playing with various robotic toys that teach the principles of basic robotics from The Franklin Institute.

Performances on the dance stage include Swing Two, Sound Stage Performing Arts students, Penn Chinese Dance Club, Three Aksha sponsored by The Mann Center, dancer Julian Darden sponsored by the African American Museum of Philadelphia, Little Big Sister Band, and more. The West Philadelphia Senior Community Center will lead an interactive social dance and line dance activity, and Crystal Evans will lead attendees in Zumba. As seen in local
and national media, our West Park Cultural Center danceLogic girls will perform their own choreography.

The festival’s mission is to bring communities together in the park, promote greater awareness of the area’s history and heritage while celebrating the arts and cultural diversity of Philadelphia. The
festival is made possible in significant part to the participation of many arts, cultural, and community partners including The Franklin Institute, Mann Center, Please Touch Museum, The Philadelphia
Zoo, Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center, and many others.

Festival Hours: Saturday, June 8th, 2019 from
1:00pm to 6:00 pm
Rain or Shine

For more information about the West Park Arts Fest
visit or call
(215) 473-7810.

Follow West Park Arts Fest on:


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