Category Archives: Education

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”

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VISITING JAPANESE TREE PLANTING GROUP PLANTS FIVE CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES IN FAIRMOUNT PARK

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.

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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 japanphilly.org.

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 japanphilly.org.

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

HOW TO REGISTER:

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

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 donors1.org.

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

610-864-1840

KMuldoonGeus@donors1.org 

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: https://phdchousing.org/. For more information on JEVS, please visit: https://www.jevshumanservices.org/

Contact: Jamila Davis, PHDC, 215-686-9727, Jamila.Davis@phila.gov

AMERICA TO ZANZIBAR: Breaking Barriers and Celebrating Diversity by Zenab Toure

“America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far” is one of the newest exhibits to come to Philadelphia. Opening just a few short weeks ago at The Please Touch Museum in Parkside, this multimedia interactive exhibit highlights the Muslim Culture, Religion, art and traditions. Religion has always been a sensitive subject, especially Islam. Therefore, it was definitely a huge surprise when I learned that ‘America to Zanzibar’ was coming to the Please Touch Museum. One might ask, why the Please Touch Museum? Why a Children’s museum? Exhibit consultant Salima Suswell stated, ”In Islam, we have this term called Da’wa, which is to teach. So it’s a teachable moment for not just children but for their parents as well.” This exhibition’s targeted audience is not only children but for people of all ages as well from various backgrounds and religions.

We are currently living in an era when there is so much controversy and hate happening all over the world, particularly toward Islam and its followers. One way to help foster peace in the world is to teach one another about each other’s religion, cultures, and traditions. Islam is a religion of peace. Philadelphia happens to have one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States, with over 50 Masjids (Mosques), which the Exhibit showcases in one of the
galleries. Thus, one must ask once again, what better city to come to, other than The City of Brotherly Love?

The President and CEO of The Please Touch Museum, Trish Wellenbach, has this vision to break down barriers and bring/teach the importance of diversity to not only Parkside but most of all, to Philadelphia as a whole. After seeing the America to Zanzibar exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Wellenbach was determined to bring the exhibit to the Please Touch Museum, in order to see her vision of diversity come to life. She did it along with
Salima Suswell, who heads a community advisory group of approximately 20 members from different faiths and cultures. This group helped adapt the exhibit to reflect Muslim culture in
the city of Philadelphia. As a Muslim woman myself, I’d say they have done an excellent job recreating the flavors of the Muslim religion.

At the VIP Grand Opening of ‘America to Zanzibar’, it was evident that this exhibit was not going to be a clichéd, stereotypical version of how Islam and Muslims are usually portrayed. In other words, from the virgin drinks to the halal food, to the heartwarming speeches, to the guests from all faiths and backgrounds, and finally- to walking through the exhibit that has such an authentic depiction of this beautiful and peaceful religion. I must say that I was blown
away! As I have never seen this many Muslims at an event that is not specifically run by Muslims for Muslims. It felt surreal, yet so gratifying! It was so obvious that Wellenbach, Suswell, and the community advisory group worked on every detail to really embody and reflect the true meaning of Islam and its various cultures and traditions from all over the world.

There are so many fun activities that you can do in the exhibit. I can say this because I have already visited the exhibit 3 times, and I plan on visiting again, along with my family and friends. I say this because, to me, America to Zanzibar is not just fun, creative, bold, and filled with valuable and authentic information, but it feels like home. Where I feel safe to believe in my faith and proud of where I come from. This is the safe environment that Wellenbach was hoping to create “As you explore the exhibition and discover the prayer room, I invite you to think about the importance of creating a safe space where Muslim children and families can see their faith reflected with joy and respect and where visitors from all faiths can learn about the Muslim faith in a place of joy and without fear.”

Throughout the duration of the exhibit, there will be a range of art
workshops, led by the artists featured in the exhibit. “My whole idea was to create artwork that young people could then look and find other shapes and symbols in, to learn so it’s always easy to draw someone in, and teach them something then to try to just bang them upside the head with something.” Said Keisha Whatley, a Philadelphia Artist. “So for young people, this style really works, because it’s like all this going on! and they are kind of looking like oh look there’s a star! and hey, what’s that symbol? and oh that’s what that symbol stands for? Oh and that means this! and it opens up a dialogue about the faith, and the culture, the religion and all these other things, as opposed to just being like this is this.

There are other programming activities scheduled to run through
September 2, 2019. Therefore, I recommend asking for an event calendar when you visit the Please Touch Museum, in order to stay up to date with the upcoming events, programming, and workshops. Like the Festival they will have for the first Islamic Holiday, Eid-ul-Fitr on June 4, 2019.

The exhibit consists of five different galleries. You will find one of the
oldest Quran’s, dated from 1854, a prayer room, and a living room filled with objects donated from Muslim families in the community. There is also an architecture area where visitors will be able to see and learn about Mosques from various countries. A global marketplace is the perfect hands-on experience for youngsters. Children and their families will be able to see and smell spices and fruits, wear different African fabrics filled with beautiful colors, see rugs from Morocco and ceramics from Turkey. The representation of Islam and Muslims in artwork is magnificent. I could go on and on, but I would rather let you, the reader go see for yourself and indulge in this amazing journey that America to Zanzibar brings!

Smith Memorial Playground’s Black History Month Exhibit Celebrates 120-Year History of Racially Integrated Play

In celebration of Black History Month, families are invited to Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse at 3500 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121 on Saturday, February 23 from 10am-12pm for “120 Years of Integrated Play” presented by Ballard Spahr LLP, a free exhibition of historic photographs and artifacts that highlight Smith’s commitment to the African American community and integrated play spaces since 1899. Visitors will also enjoy special craft activities and a story collection room where families can share their memories of playing at Smith.

Even during the Jim Crow Era of segregation in public schools and facilities, Smith remained a racially integrated play space and operated additional locations that served large African American and immigrant populations. Smith has been an important part of many Philadelphia families’ lives for generations and continues to serve a diverse population, welcoming children from every zip code in Philadelphia and beyond for free family visits as well as a wide range of on-site programming, events, and community programs.

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse is a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia’s East Fairmount Park. Founded in 1899, Smith welcomes visitors from more than 500 zip code areas including every zip code in Philadelphia. The mission of Smith is to provide and promote opportunities for unstructured free play for children and it contributes to the development of healthy children, strong families, and safe communities by: 1) maintaining a proud tradition of free family admission; 2) partnering with community-based organizations to reach a diverse audience; and 3) advocating for the importance of play. For more information about Smith please visit http://www.smithplayground.org. 

Contact: Zoe Lowry

215.765.4325 x101 (O)
610.609.1590 (M)

zoe@smithplayground.org

 

THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE HOSTS 1ST ANNUAL BLACK HISTORY TRIVIA CHALLENGE

PHILADELPHIA February 5, 2019—The Franklin Institute and its Partnerships for Achieving Careers and Technology and Science (PACTS) program, host the first ever region-wide Black History Challenge, Monday, February 25. The event invites local teams to compete in a high-level trivia competition celebrating the contributions of African Americans to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) while raising awareness and funds for youth programming initiatives and scholarships provided by the Franklin Institute’s PACTS program.

The event takes place during the Institute’s monthly Community Night, where admission is free for all visitors after 5 pm. Hosted by the PACTS alumni association, the evening includes live science demos and educational resource tables from The Franklin Institute and local partners offering advice and support for future STEM leaders.

Tickets for contest registration are now on sale through February 15, or until full. Trivia challenge entrance fees are $25 per person or $100 for a 4-player team. All trivia proceeds go toward supporting PACTS youth programs and scholarship funds.  General Museum Admission is free.

For more information, or to register a team, please visit http://www.fi.edu/events.

About PACTS

Partnerships for Achieving Careers and Technology and Science (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.

 About The Franklin Institute

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit www.fi.edu and follow The Franklin Institute on Twitter @TheFranklin and Instagram @FranklinInstitute, hashtag #franklininstitute.

Contact: Stefanie Santo, ssanto@fi.edu | 215.448.1152

Noah Lattanzi, nlattanzi@fi.edu | 215.448.1388