Category Archives: Community Happenings

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Philadelphia’s “Park Champion” has a New Leader

by Jasmine Bullock

Jamie Gauthier is the new Director of the
Fairmount Park Conservancy

Since 1998, the Fairmount Park Foundation, now the Fairmount Park Conservancy, has invested millions of dollars in the Philadelphia park system. The organization is a “Park Champion” and has been so effective because of its understanding of the importance of parks to our city’s neighborhoods. The Fairmount Park Conservancy takes pride in increasing public awareness of the park’s role in contributing to the health and vibrancy of neighborhoods in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Today the Park Conservancy works very closely with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to develop and implement projects and programs that support, improve, and enhance Philadelphia’s parks. One of its premier programs is the Oval at the Art Museum that provides not only a play area for children, but also a beer garden and food truck hub for adults over a six week period during the summer. The Conservancy also works closely with community groups and over 115 Friends groups. The Conservancy aids in forming new groups and in sustaining and supporting existing groups dedicated to their neighborhood parks.

As of July 2017, the Fairmount Park Conservancy is under the new leadership of Jamie Gauthier. Gauthier is a native of Philadelphia who began her career at DuPont working in the field of accounting. During that time, she had a desire to do more meaningful work that helped cities and specifically the struggling communities of Philadelphia.

With a growing passion to work intimately with the community, Gauthier embarked on a graduate degree in Urban Studies and Planning from University of Pennsylvania. With a new career focus, Gauthier gave almost ten years of service to the Local Initiative Support Coalition (LISC). LISC is a national non-profit organization that provides capital from private sources to promote and support low income housing projects and community revitalization. Gauthier described LISC as a great place to learn but wished to serve in more of a leadership position.

Gauthier then became the Executive Director of the Sustainable Business network, a “Chamber of Commerce for socially conscious businesses”, as Gauthier describes it. After four years with this group and her recognition of the new potential that the new Philadelphia soda tax would provide, she decided that now was the right time to make a career change.

She made the decision to take the leadership position with the Philadelphia Parks Conservancy in order to take advantage of the Rebuild Initiative that was the direct result of the revenue produced by the soda tax. Rebuild is a $500 million program designed to revitalize neighborhood parks, recreational centers, playgrounds, and libraries across the city.

The funds are acquired from both the soda tax and private donations. Gauthier’s vision is to “connect and partner with the city to see the mission come to pass”.

Latest Happenings from The Centennial Parkside CDC

Letitia House is the new home of Centennial Parkside CDC,. For
more information go to http://centennialparkside.org/

by Chris Sphar

This summer has been a busy one for the Centennial Parkside CDC. We have officially opened our office at the Letitia House at 3479 West Girard Avenue and are actively working with residents to plan how we will use the acre of outdoor community space surrounding the office building. Quentin Drew, Tracy Reed, and Johnnie McFadden, our Clean and Green Team, have been hard at work cleaning the streets and vacant lots of East Parkside in an effort to improve the quality of life of local residents.

In addition our summer programming, the Parkside Fresh Food Fest, has proven to be a great success. Close to 20 East Parkside residents have subscribed to receive a bag of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products from the Reading Terminal Market on six occasions over the summer.

In addition to receiving these healthy food shares at an affordable rate, visitors to the Parkside Fresh Food Fest experienced a cooking demonstration from a great local chef, Tess Connors.

Parkside Fresh Food Fest attendees could also access resources on Indego BikeShare, local recycling campaigns, and home health services while children read books donated by the Philadelphia Free Library. If that wasn’t enough, the Parkside Fresh Food Fest had a rocking performance by local musicians, CityLove on August 10 and anticipate a repeat performance at our closing on September 21.

This has been a great summer for the Centennial Parkside CDC and it is only a preview of what is to come as we grow to be an important resource in the East Parkside Community.

 

PEC’s Third Eat Dessert First Event

People’s Emergency Center Marks 45th Year

Where:  Thursday, September 14, 2017 6:00pm-8:00pm

WHERE:   Suzanne Roberts Theatre 480 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

WHAT:       Fundraising celebration in support of People’s Emergency Center’s (PEC)’s mission to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change in West Philadelphia.  PEC was founded in 1972 by the late US Representative Robert Edgar and Dr. Jim R. Hallam to inspire students of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania to serve people experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia.  Today, PEC offers people experiencing homelessness and poverty affordable housing, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, life skills and technology coursework.  PEC collaborations include the Family Service Provider Network, Building Early Links for Learning, Second Fridays on Lancaster Avenue, the Neighborhood Time Exchange, and Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival.  PEC is part of: KEYSPOTS, West Philadelphia Action for Early Learning, LoLa38, the Philadelphia Promise Zone, Children’s Work Group, and Housing Alliance PA Provider Network.

VISUALS:   Diverse group of supporters sampling desserts from local bakers and restaurants, mingling, cutting a large anniversary cake, taking keepsake photos with sweet props, participating in raffles and a drawing for an Apple TV, and playing wine bottle ring toss.

WHO:       Sponsors: Comcast, Eisner Amper, Trizen, Wells Fargo, LISC, PFM Group Brinker Capital, and more.

Bakers:  Demestria Baking Company, Sweets An Treats 4 U, Sweet Cravings by Diana, Quotable Kitchen, Oteri’s Italian Bakery, Varallo Brothers Bakery, Chef Mama Joy and more!

ABOUT:     People’s Emergency Center’s (PEC) mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change in West Philadelphia. PEC offers affordable housing, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, life skills and technology coursework. PEC’s community development programs respond to community needs and build on neighborhood assets to help bridge the digital divide, expand mixed-income housing opportunities, stimulate economic growth, create wealth, and improve the quality of life for all West Philadelphia residents. More information at pec-cares.org and lancasteravephilly.com.

Breaking: Permanent Closure of 48th and Lancaster Church announced

Our Mother of Sorrows Church at 48th and Lancaster Ave will no longer serve as a worship site of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish and will close as a Roman Catholic Church announced the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Monday.  Over the past year, there was minimal attendance at the once-monthly mass, and no weddings or funerals were held. Future plans for the large site are still to be determined. The full press release announcing the closure is below.

Contextual Background

In January 2013, Our Mother of Sorrows Parish merged with Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish, both located in West Philadelphia, as part of the Parish Areas Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

At that time, the Our Mother of Sorrows Church building became a worship site of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish and was available for the occasional celebration of Mass, funerals and weddings as is customary whenever possible in the case of a parish merger.

Additional information regarding the merger can be found at the following link http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2013.html.

Today’s Announcement

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has approved the relegation of the Our Mother of Sorrows Church building to profane but not sordid use effective October 9, 2017.  This formal, canonical designation means that the church will no longer serve as a worship site and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

This information was shared with Saint Ignatius of Loyola parishioners at all Masses during the weekend of September 2-3.  A copy of the official canonical decree regarding this matter can be found at http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Signed-Decree-of-Relegation-Signed-by-CJC-and-SPB.pdf.

The formal request to close this worship site originated from the parochial administrator of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish together with his parish pastoral and finance councils.  The request was then reviewed by the Archdiocesan Council of Priests and presented to Archbishop Chaput, who, after a careful review of all supporting factors, made the final decision.

Our Mother Of Sorrows Church – 48th and Lancaster – source: Google

Additional Background

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish incurred expenses exceeding $100,000 associated with care for the properties associated with the former Our Mother of Sorrows Parish.  Furthermore, at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish experienced a deficit of approximately $230,000 while having an approximate savings of $17,000.  During the same fiscal year, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish maintained an approximate debt of $80,000.

Since May 2016, one Mass per month was celebrated at Our Mother of Sorrows Church. That monthly Mass was discontinued in February 2017 due to minimal attendance.  No funerals or weddings have been celebrated.

When Our Mother of Sorrows and Saint Ignatius of Loyola merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Our Mother of Sorrows Parish were transferred to the newly formed Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish.  These transfers are standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers.

As such, the former Our Mother of Sorrows church building, along with the former school building and former convent is the property of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish.  The future disposition of these buildings will be determined by the parochial administrator of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils in a manner consistent with providing for parish viability and sustainability.

AUGUST 19: THE MANN TO TRANSFORM INTO A SPACE-THEMED PARK FOR Free Family Fun

Visitors will travel through space with Star Wars(TM) characters, hands-on science experiments, musical performances and more during Super Solar Saturday

Free screening of Hidden Figures – 7 p.m.

WHAT:     As part of the Mann’s New Frontiers festival, a six-month community festival, Super Solar Saturday will provide free family fun and entertainment for all ages. Throughout the day, local artists will perform on multiple stages and the Mann’s campus will be transformed into a miniature space theme park with a moon bounce, face painting, Star WarsTM characters, and much more. Other highlights include the Please Touch Museum’s Space Shuttle traveling exhibition, interactive science experiments led by Science 2 the Max and an immersive virtual reality experience with The Franklin Institute. The event concludes with a free screening of the Golden Globe®-winning and Academy Award®-nominated film,  Hidden Figures.

The Mann’s New Frontiers festival, presented by PNC Arts Alive and developed in partnership with NEWorks Productions, features a collection of original, artistic programming that brings the arts and sciences together. Inspired by Colonel Guion Bluford, Jr., a Philadelphia native and the first African American in space, this festival is designed to educate, entertain and inspire the Philadelphia community. Super Solar Saturday is presented through the PNC Arts Alive initiative and developed in partnership with NEWorks Productions.

WHEN:     Saturday, August 19, 2017

1 p.m. – Performances & family activities begin

7 p.m. – Free screening of Hidden Figures

WHERE:    Mann Center for the Performing Arts

5201 Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131

THE OVAL+ Launches Summer Season With Expansion

This week Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and its nonproprofit partner Fairmount Park Conservancy unveiled the latest version of summer at The Oval:  now called the Oval + (plus) because it includes installations and activities at two other parks along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  Public events began on July 20 and will run through August 20.  This year, the schedule of events at The Oval+ will include programming by The Free Library of  Philadelphia at the newly renovated Shakespeare Park and the Franklin Institute and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University at Aviator Park.

The Oval+ will have food, fun, and entertainment for a month between July 20-August 20, Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 am -11 pm. Highlights at the main Eakins Oval site include:

Eakins Tavern, a beer garden serving Meltkraft sandwiches, local wine from Blair Vineyards, craft brews by Yards, and “Adult Water Ice,” a vodka-spiked slushy.

A rotating line-up of food trucks including these that were ranked in the top 101 in the country in April: Chewy’s, The Cow and the Curd, Surf and Turf Truck, Foolish Waffles, and Cupcake Carnivale.

A brand new drinking fountain with water bottle refill station, a wheelchair accessible nozzle, and dog bowl station; free water bottles will be provided by sponsor PNC.

Wellness Wednesdays with CKO Kickboxing, Philly Dance Fitness, Power Yoga with Yoga Habit, CoreFitness, and Dance Boot Camp.

Arts & Culture Thursdays featuring Hip Hop Fundamentals and dancing with DJs lil’ dave, Skipmode, Mike Nyce, Rich Medina, and Matthew Law from 7pm -11pm.

Food & Flicks Fridays with free screening of the movies Clueless, Hidden Figures, Up, Spaceballs, and Invincible at 9pm.

Game Day Saturday featuring live kids’ music jams and the trivia game Quizzo by Johnny Goodtimes in Eakins Tavern.

Family Fun Sundays with an afternoon-long kid-friendly dance party called “Let’s Rock Recess.”

At Aviator Park, the Free Library will host a jazz series on Thursday evenings, storytelling on Saturday mornings, and improvisational theatre (involving kids from the audience) on Sunday mornings.

Also at Aviator Park, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will present “Wild Wednesdays” at 1pm, a learning session about birds, butterflies, small mammals, and other creatures in our neighborhoods.

For an interactive calendar of events go to http://theovalphl.org