Category Archives: Free Programs

11th. Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival

Philadelphia’s Jaleel Shaw to Headline Free, Family-Friendly Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival

Event Celebrates 11th Anniversary with the New Wave of Jazz on July 15th

Philadelphia, PA – Saxophonist Jaleel Shaw will headline the 11th Annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival on Saturday, July 15th from noon to 7pm in Penn Presbyterian Medical Center’s Saunders Park Greene, 39th and Powelton Avenue. Hosted by People’s Emergency Center (PEC), this marks the 11th year that this annual event has taken place, which has grown from a few hundred attendees to more than 3,000. This year the FREE Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival offers a family-friendly event showcasing the best of Philadelphia: a mix of up and coming young artists who are shaping the future of jazz, a diverse gathering of people, a view of the city and a chance to enjoy a neighborhood that is rich in arts and culture. Rain date is Sunday, July 16.

Artisans and vendors along with a variety of specialty food trucks will be on site. Activities such as a moon bounce, face painting, community resources and digital pop-up computer lab will be available for everyone’s enjoyment. Free parking is available one block away at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center’s lot at Powelton Avenue and State Street.

Also performing on the Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival stage are jazz performers Matthew Clayton on sax, the vocalist V.Shayne Fredrick, Josh Lawrence on trumpet, the vocalist Lee Mo, Nazir Ebo on drums, and Phoenix Mystique! The Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble will also be back by popular demand, courtesy of The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.

“We are excited to present the 11th Lancaster Avenue Jazz Festival by ushering in the New Wave of Jazz. These under-40 performers will offer the audience very best in fusion, rhythm, and smooth jazz musicianship. The Festival is gaining in renown and popularity, as is Lancaster Avenue. The corridor’s rich artistic and cultural history is leading to a bright future for businesses and residents,” says PEC President Kathy Desmond.

Sponsors include Duane Morris, United Healthcare, The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Drexel University, Ellen Brotman Law, Citizens Bank, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, and Ember IT. Talent for the Lancaster Avenue Jazz Fest is curated by the Producer’s Guild of Philadelphia.

A Community Dedicated to Arts and Culture

The community that organizes and supports the Lancaster Avenue Jazz Festival is dedicated to increasing the profile of arts and culture institutions in West Philadelphia. PEC and the Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival committee will honor James Dupree and J. Michael Harrison for their outstanding contributions to advancing arts and culture for youth, this community, and the world. The Producer’s Guild of Philadelphia will also grant Lifetime Achievement awards to some musicians.

Master Class

The Community Education Center will host the Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival 4th Annual Masters class. This provides an opportunity for youth to participate in practice sessions under the direction of a seasoned Master musician. This year we are honored to have Brent White join us as the curator of the classes. He will instruct the students in the original music of PEC’s headliner Jaleel Shaw supervise practice sessions and lead the students in a special performance on Friday, July 14 at the Community Education Center.

More about the Lancaster avenue Jazz and Arts Festival

The goals of the Festival include: celebrating jazz performers under the age of 40, increasing awareness of the Lancaster Avenue commercial corridor, stimulating the local economy, energizing the community, bringing together partners, and highlighting the community’s rich cultural arts and educational assets. For more information, go to  www.lancasteravejazzfest.com and facebook..com/lancasteravejazzfest.

About People’s Emergency Center

           The People’s Emergency Center’s 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 seeks to change the life trajectory for the women and children who seek its services and inspire them to aspire to new heights. The PEC community development corporation 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. http://www.pec-cares.org www.lancasteravephilly.com www.pechousing.com  # # #

Contact: Trish Downey, PEC Cell: (267) 334-5778  Office: (267) 777-5811 tdowney@pec-cares.org

 

 

REMEMBERING A LEGEND – 2017 Jackie Robinson Day Celebration in Memorial Park

by Nikia Brown

“He could hit and bunt and steal and run. He had intimidating skills, and he burned with a dark fire.” -Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer

On April 15, 2017, Parkside community residents and civic leaders gathered around the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut as the first African American to enter Major League Baseball (MLB). Robinson broke the color barrier in MLB when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. Nevertheless, his legacy far surpasses that of a typical athlete. He is an iconic legend, Civil Rights ambassador, record breaker, and a man he lived by his own ethos: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

The Memorial Park Celebration attracted a diverse audience including Gwen Gould, the last surviving wife of one of the Philadelphia Stars players, Harold Gould; Kenny Johnson, Coordinator of Community Engagement for the Philadelphia Phillies; Ron Whittington, a Jackie Robinson storyteller and impersonator; and, of course, the eagerly anticipated and wildly unpredictable, Phillie Phanatic.

Gould, who is now in her late 80s, expressed feelings of deep satisfaction and pride after the day’s event. “It was wonderful. I saw a lot of little kids out here which is encouraging. It’s a wonderful thing, and at my age you appreciate just getting out and being among friends.” Philadelphia Phillies Community Engagement Coordinator, Kenny Johnson, grew up in West Philadelphia right around the corner from the Philadelphia Stars Memorial Park. He feels a connection to the community and is grateful for the positive impact of Negro League baseball on urban neighborhoods.

“This event is important because baseball is an intergenerational sport. It’s grandmothers and grandfathers passing it down to their kids,” says Johnson. “Stories of Jackie Robinson and his exemplary legacy are very important (and must) stay within the consciousness of families and the community. It shows that when you persevere, when you work hard and bring folks together, you can do some amazing things.”

Two Phillies Ball Girls accompanied Johnson to the Celebration, Courtney Williams and Trisha Lang. This was Williams’ second year coming to the event and she expressed that it is important “to look back at our history to see the movers and shakers and how we got to be where we are today.” Williams, who is African American, feels her race provides a greater impetus to survey the events of Black history and how much the African American community has progressed since oppressive times. “It’s sometimes hard to see how far we’ve come, but we really have come very far,” says Williams.

While this was Lang’s first time attending the event, she was equally grateful to be a part of the experience. She stated, “I am thankful to be able to be in this position where I can come out and be involved in such a great event that involves the entire community and brings everyone together to look back at how far we’ve come and where we started.”

The event was also well-represented by key members of the Business Association of West Parkside such as Marjorie Ogilvie, Miller Parker, Lucinda Hudson, Cassandra Hayes, and Dennis Lee.

Parker, who has been the treasurer of the Business Association of West Parkside for about 15 years, remembers with fondness the early beginnings of the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park. He shares, “One of the things we want to do is draw attention to this neighborhood and community and get the community involved in the park. We came up with this idea that baseball might be the way to go because there was a baseball field here a number of years ago where the Negro League played.” Parker believes this annual celebration is one way of keeping the legacy of extraordinary African Americans alive in the community.

Hayes, an animated and dedicated community advocate, continued, “This is something that we have been doing for the past eleven years. I’ve been a part of it every year. I come, I eat, I play, I meet folks. It’s a great way to just enjoy the community and recognize one of the historical figures in Black and American history.” Lee, who emceed the event, felt this year’s festivities was special because it marked their 11th year of hosting the Memorial Celebration and Jackie Robinson’s 70th year of remembrance. “The future is promising if we remember our legacy,” offered Lee before jetting off to his next event. The team is already expectant of next year’s activities and look forward to sharing the rich history of the Philadelphia Stars with a broader and more diversified audience.

 

Celebrating 10 Years of Community Heritage by Nikia Brown

Summer is quickly approaching and with it comes the annual call for spring celebrations. Deep green leaves will visit again the tall trees that line Parkside Avenue. The rush of children running from one summer program to the next will once again fill the streets. Neighborhood businesses will soon ready their shelves with refreshing items, while cultural organizations prepare new experiences for frequent visitors and tourists alike. As the season changes, the air is filled with expectations of warm weather and residents look forward to the plethora of community offerings that await them. On June 3, Parkside will welcome the summer with two community-wide festivals that draw hundreds of residents to their corridors on an annual basis: The West Park Arts Fest and Festival @ ParkWest Town Center.

This year, the West Park Arts Fest and Festival @ ParkWest Town Center share the same 10-year anniversary, and will be joining efforts to maximize the experience for festival-goers. Guided historic trolleys beginning and ending at the West Park Arts Fest will connect both festivals to ensure that visitors have the opportunity to experience both events. Festival goers will also benefit from a scenic tour through Fairmount Park’s Centennial District.

The West Park Arts Fest was created by the West Park Cultural Center in 2008 as a vehicle to promote cultural diversity, celebrate the arts, and bring people together across neighborhoods. “Many of our festival goers have expressed how much they like the family atmosphere and cultural diversity,” says Betty Lindley, Executive Director of the West Park Cultural Center. Lindley champions the efforts of the diverse partners that contribute to the success of the program each year. “The festival embraced partnership and has over the years been made possible in great part to the participation of many arts, cultural, and community partners.”

Lindley is excited about the Center’s new collaboration with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Global Philadelphia Association. “This represents a major milestone for the West Park Arts Fest and builds on the original mission,” prides Lindley. “Through this joint effort we are taking the West Park Arts Fest to the next level with increased participation and greater awareness of West Fairmount Park and surrounding communities,” she adds.

The Fairmount Park Conservancy is equally grateful for the partnership as they feel this opportunity is directly aligned with their mission “to bring positive, family friendly activities to park spaces.” Jennifer Mahar, Senior Director of Civic Initiatives, feels the collaboration is timely with the festival moving from its usual venue, School of the Future, to West Fairmount Park. “The shift requires a whole new set of logistics,” says Mahar. “Our Special Events Coordinator has years of experience in organizing large-scale outdoor events and we were more than happy to help!”

The Global Philadelphia Association was born shortly after the West Park Arts Fest and has since grown tremendously in size and form. Since November 2015, the Association, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, has been executing a World Heritage City initiative that capitalizes on the city’s diverse historical and cultural assets. John Smith, Board Chair of the Association, often says, “Our World Heritage City should be a city of the world’s heritages.” “We see the opportunity to work with the various organizations in the Parkside community as a way to explore how we can bring that concept to life, and have enjoyed our many interactions with the community,” Smith shared.

The Executive Director of the Association, Zabeth Teelucksingh, has a fondness for the Parkside community and enjoys driving pass the Victorian-style homes during her weekly trips to the international market. Regarding the Association’s affiliation with the Arts Fest, Teelucksingh remarks, “Parkside through its numerous constituents epitomizes much of what is global in Philadelphia. We look forward to helping relay that story to the international community in the region and beyond.”

The Festival @ ParkWest Town Center has several partnerships of its own and each member is eager to make this year’s festival the town square of all town squares. On March 1, Executive Director of West Philadelphia Financial Services, Jim Burnett, convened the first planning meeting with attendees from various organizations in the community. Some attendees included representatives from The Goldenberg Group, Parkside Association, Global Leadership Academy, Discovery Charter School, and West Philadelphia Neighborhood Libraries.

The Festival @ ParkWest Town Center is the annual celebration of the joint venture between West Philadelphia Financial Services and The Goldenberg Group. This June marks the 10th anniversary of ParkWest Town Center’s grand opening and commemorates the active involvement of community members since its establishment. “We created this festival to thank our shoppers,” says Burnett. Before the installation of the Town Center, West Parkside was a food desert with little to no access to fresh foods.

When asked about the significance of the annual festival, Burnett points to, “resident ownership of their community.” Timothy Smith of The Goldenberg Group adds, “the festival is about generating greater community pride and is a celebration of the asset that this Center is to the community. This is the ethos of Goldengberg.” Smith says he enjoys working for a company that uses its assets to do meaningful work.

The two also discussed the social and educational impact of the festival. “It’s like a family reunion,” said Burnett with a childlike grin on his face. The festival provides an opportunity for community residents to reconnect and build new alliances. The diligent efforts of students are also recognized as carefully selected seniors from neighboring high schools receive scholarship awards on an annual basis. The festival is in short, “a groundswell of community pride,” offered Smith.

Burnett, Lindley, and their respective partners are highly anticipant of both festivals 10-year anniversary celebration. With the two festivals occurring the same day, they expect the events to draw a new and larger audience, promote Parkside’s historic and cultural heritage, and generate a deeper level of civic pride and engagement.

 

 

 

Philly Free Streets is Coming!

The first Philly Free Streets program is scheduled for Saturday, September 24, from 8am–1pm! Mark your calendars, share within your network!

Did you know that Mayor Kenney recently announced a new people-powered initiative of the City of Philadelphia? Philly Free Streets temporarily closes a designated street route to cars, so that people can enjoy the street to walk, bike, exercise, and play. Led by the Managing Director’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems (oTIS), Philly Free Streets highlights the intersection of active transportation (walking and biking) and public health.

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The route will run from Front & South to the South Street Bridge, to the Schuylkill River Trail and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, and onto West Fairmount Park—for a 10-mile car-free route. You are welcome to enjoy all 10 miles, or to jump in along the way—there’s no formal start or finish!

Along the route, the Philly Free Streets team is working hard to program family-friendly activities that are centered on healthy lifestyles, fitness, art, culture, the environment, and social services. There also will be a family-friendly celebration in West Fairmount Park, highlighting Philadelphia talent. No matter your interests, Philly Free Streets offers something for everyone! Find out more at www.PhillyFreeStreets.com

2015 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program

The Streets Department will host its second Household Hazardous Drop-off event of the 2015 season on Saturday, May 16, announced Streets Department Commissioner David J. Perri.  The event will be held at the Department’s 1st Highway Yard, 4800 Parkside Avenue.  Residents may drop off materials between 9 AM and 3 PM.

The Streets Department’s Sanitation Division hosts Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off events throughout the year to allow residents an opportunity to recycle or dispose of unwanted Household Hazardous Waste accumulated in their home or garage. By taking potentially hazardous materials to a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) drop-off event, we can avoid contamination of the environment, harm to sanitation collection workers, and remove potential hazards from our homes.  Trained staff will be on hand to sort and properly package materials dropped off for disposal.  No waste materials generated by a business will be accepted.

recycle-rewardsPhiladelphia Recycling Rewards Program members may use this opportunity to earn extra Recyclebank® points.  A coded card worth 25 points will be given to Philadelphia Recycling Rewards participants as a bonus for dropping off household hazardous waste at any of the City events.

In 2014, over 4,433 residents dropped off approximately 297,432 pounds of household hazardous waste were dropped off at the Department’s Sanitation Convenience Centers. Over 7% of the hazardous materials accepted were recycled including 30,000 gallons of used motor oil, 32,000 gallons of antifreeze, and 4 tons of automotive batteries.

Household Hazardous Waste can also harm the environment; one gallon of used oil can contaminate one million gallons of freshwater.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that the average household can accumulate up to 100 pounds per year of oil base paint, used oil, solvents, pesticides, car batteries, and other hazardous household wastes.  These materials can be safely disposed of by taking them to a Household Hazardous Waste event.

Checking product labels for these key words can identify household Hazardous Waste: TOXIC, FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE, and REACTIVE.  As a reminder, latex or water base paint is not hazardous and can be placed in the regular trash if the paint is dried up or solidified with an absorbent material such as kitty litter.

For additional information, please visit the Streets Department’s website at http://www.philadelphiastreets.com/hazardous-waste.aspx or contact the Customer Affairs Unit at 215-686-5560.  For all City services, call 3-1-1.

ZOOCREW – Youth Program at the Philadelphia ZOO

by Margaret Degennaro

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Zoocrew students on field expedition

Zoo Champions for Restoring Endangered Wildlife (Zoo CREW) is an immersive volunteer program at the Philadelphia Zoo where teens can become conservation ambassadors, gain experience working with animals, and take action for animal conservation. Zoo CREW teens have amazing experiences and make life-long memories while developing their career and professional skills. Applicants must currently be in 9th grade. Preference is given to students from challenged communities.

This past August, ZooCREW students from the Zoo’s award-winning youth program and staff embarked on an amazing and life changing four-day experience to learn and work with Dr. Marcella Kelly at Virginia Tech University.

Dr. Kelly, a long-time Philadelphia Zoo conservation partner and the 2013 Philadelphia Zoo Global Conservation Prize winner, is renowned for her use of cutting-edge technology to study rare elusive species, such as big cats in the wild. Her ‘camera-trapping’ technique uses infra-red, remotely-triggered, motion sensitive cameras arrayed across a landscape to “capture” animals on film in order to better understand and protect these species.

During their excursion, students interacted with field researchers who travel the globe saving wildlife. This real life conservation experience is just one of many that the ZooCREW experiences during their time with the Zoo.

Students interested in joining the fun at Zoocrew can can fill out the online application at http://www.philadelphiazoo.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer/ZooCREW

Students must be betwwen 14- 18 years of age. For more information contact Laura Houston at 215-243-5243 or email her at Houston.Laura@phillyzoo.org

Another Heat Wave? No Sweat! A free way to stay cool in Parkside.

by Manuel McDonnell Smith

It’s getting hot out there. As we sweat through our second heat wave of the summer, an opportunity to cool off is just around the corner!

616768_371817916222513_1853951373_oJohn B. Kelly Pool is now open for the summer and is a relaxing and free opportunity to stay cool in the summer heat. According to Philadelphia Department of Recreation spokesperson Alain Joinville, Kelly Pool is open from 11 a.m – 7 p.m., Monday-Friday and from Noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The pool, which also recieved a fresh coat of paint before opening on June 23 has special activity hours posted on it’s Facebook page. They include:

  • Adult Swim: Mon/Wed/Fri from 5:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
  • Community Swim: Mon-Fri from 1:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. & Saturday from Noon to 4:45 p.m.
  • Family Swim: Tues & Thurs from 5:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and Sunday from Noon to 4:45 p.m.
  • Lap Swim: Mon-Fri from 11:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from Noon to 4:45 p.m.

In addition to beating the heat, using the public pool is a “Community-Building, Life-Saving Beauty,” plus never mind those rumors of the pools being dirty and unsafe. Studies have shown that there is only an .0004% chance of getting sick in a public pool. So, now there’s no excuse to check out one of the best amenities that the neighborhood has to offer during the summer!

Enjoy, and stay cool!