Category Archives: Education

Fall College Tour for High School Students

Join Second Antioch Baptist Church on their Annual College Tour.

A few seats are still open for this year’s tour

Tour visits historically Black colleges on the East Coast

Get a jump on the college enrollment season by attending the Tours

Call 215-387-6774 for more details

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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.

 

A College Sendoff, Symbol Of A Mother’s Love

By Jim Brown

Email: jbrownthefansview@netzero.com

The photo above shows McKenzi Custus, surrounded by family and
friends at her sendoff to college party!

“Empowering young people is one of the greatest  assets a parent, family or a community can do to have a positive return on life’s investment as they grow.” – Jim Brown, 8/28/17

As you know September is the month when many kids and young people look forward to starting their next school year whether it’s kindergarten, middle school, high school or college. Some area students start this adventure with not much more fan fare than getting new school supplies. Others however, will have the full support of their parents.

Recently (8/12/17), I covered and attended a college sendoff of a young lady from West Philadelphia named McKenzi Custus who was accepted to Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, a hundred and fifty-three miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mckenzi’s mother, Crystal Custus, demonstrated her love and support for her daughter with a special sendoff that had the theme: The World is Yours.

Watching a tireless mother be inspired by her daughter’s accomplishments, created moments that would give any first year college student the motivation to do well. Crystal and her friends transformed a former art studio in Germantown into an elegant and classy venue where they created an event to remember for her daughter, family, and friends. Over 65 people were in attendance at this dinner celebration.

“I wanted to give her a day full of love,” explains Crystal Custus. “I wanted her to feel that foundation that one last day that we’d come together in honor of her before she left to go Susquehanna University this fall.”

“One of the key things to carry her through school, is knowing that she has people that she can count on,” adds Custus. “People who recognize her achievements and accomplishments and congratulate her past triumphs is extremely important for her future success.”

As a biology major heading into her freshman year of college, McKenzi Custus felt the air of confidence that many of our kids need to feel from not only her mother but the incredible support system of family and friends that were in attendance to cheer her on that day.

“Kenzi” as mom passionately calls her mentioned that her daughter said to her early this summer, “mom, this is the best summer I’ve ever had. I’ve gotten to spend so much time with my family and friends and it meant the world to me.”

As McKenzi was celebrated, each person attending had great words of encouragement, while some reminisced about their days of college with great optimism for McKenzi. Her great-grandmother held back tears to talk about her great-granddaughter.

“Grand mom loves her very much and I’m gonna miss her,” says Marian Custus, great grandmother and the matriarch of the Custus family. “She’s special to me because she used to live with me and it makes me cry. Congratulations in everything she does, I wish her the best and I’m gonna miss her.”

McKenzi Custus will be attending a university that will allow her to travel abroad during her four years. She will see the world and yes, the world will be yours McKenzi and to all of the young people in West Philadelphia, shoot for the stars because the world awaits your contributions.

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

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site Opens Long-Abandoned Medical Wing to the Public

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site kicks off its 2017 season on Friday, May 5 with the first-ever public tours of Cellblock 3, also called the Hospital Block. Visitors have long wished to explore this space, but its severe deterioration has made touring the hospital impossible – until now.

Visitors explore Cellblock 3 in new tour of the penitentiary’s Hospital Block

Cellblock 3 has captivated visitors’ imaginations since the penitentiary opened as a museum more than 20 years ago. Opportunities to step past the head gate, ornamented with its iconic red cross, have been rare. The few hardhat tours offered over the years filled to capacity, affirming visitors’ strong interest in seeing this eerie and fascinating space. A series of stabilization projects have finally made it possible for visitors to safely enter the long-abandoned medical wing.

Beginning May 5, 15-minute guided tours will be offered several times a day. Visitors will explore the corridor of Cellblock 3 and learn more about this unusually well-equipped prison hospital. They will see Eastern State’s operating room, laboratories, pharmacy, X-ray lab, hydrotherapy rooms, psychiatric department, and a solarium for treating tuberculosis patients. A number of medical artifacts remain in place, despite decades of abandonment and decay.

Hospital Block tours are included with standard admission. Regular daytime programs, including “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour, guided Hands-On History tours, history exhibits, and artist installations, are also included with admission. Tickets are available online at http://www.EasternState.org, or at the door subject to availability.