Category Archives: Free Programs


PHILADELPHIA, PA – UC Green, a community greening organization serving 19143, 19139 and 19104, is
accepting applications for free street trees through May 5th. Trees will be planted in November 2020.

WHO: UC Green

WHAT: The Fall 2020 Tree Planting Request Open Call

WHEN: through May 5th, 2020

WHERE: Online

WHY: UC Green aims to bring communities closer through volunteerism and support a healthier
environment through the planting of street trees.

About the Fall 2020 Tree Planting Request Open Call

In a time of uncertainty and concern, UC Green invites residents to plant a tree as a great way to invest in the future of our neighborhoods. UC Green is now accepting applications from our catchment area to receive free street trees in November 2020. UC Green’s services include cutting cement for tree pits
where needed, facilitating the city permitting process, procuring 4-6’ saplings, planting the trees with community volunteers, and supporting tree care and maintenance at no cost to the applicant.

These services are provided in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Tree Tenders Program.
Applications are due by May 5th, 2020 and must be completed online at: . Inquiries should be sent to

UC Green empowers volunteer environmental stewardship in West and Southwest Philadelphia. Each year, UC Green volunteers plant and tend hundreds of street trees and enhance public green spaces contributing thousands of hours in service to the community.

For more information contact:

Kiasha Huling
Phone: (215) 386-6245

Parkside Happenings

Warm Up with Yoga in the Greenhouse
Fairmount Park Conservancy’s popular greenhouse
yoga series returns for another season from December
to March. The Sunday series will take place indoors at
Fairmount Park Horticulture Center among the lush
foliage on the following dates:

● Sunday, December 8
● Saturday, December 21
● Sunday, January 5, 12, 26
● Sunday, February 2, 9, 16, 23
● Sunday, March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Times vary. Registration is free for Conservancy
members and $15 for non-members: the -Horticulture-center/

The Christmas Village at Love Park

The larger-than-life Present will sparkle again at the Christmas Village at LOVE Park this holiday season. From Giving Tuesday, December 3 to Tuesday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve), visitors will be able to experience the dazzling installation and donate to
Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, or Project HOME.

In addition, a shipping container will be open as a popup
store during the Christmas Village, featuring soaps and candles made by Project HOME residents, and LOVE Park-themed items, including LOVE Park granite keepsakes, t-shirts, winter hats, and more

Escape the Winter Blues at Getaway at the Greenhouse

After a successful inaugural season last year, the
Fairmount Park Horticulture Center will once again be
transformed into an indoor summer oasis with Getaway
at the Greenhouse from February 1-16, 2020.

For two weeks, the 20,000-square-foot greenhouse
will feature summer-inspired fun with food trucks, live
music, a giant sandbox, and family-friendly activities.

New this year to the Getaway at the Greenhouse:
“Gaia,” an oversized globe of the Earth will be shown
in Philadelphia for the first time. Created by British
artist Luke Gerram with detailed NASA photography
of the Earth’s surface, the three-dimensional piece is
designed to give people the opportunity to gaze at our
planet as if it were floating in space. In ancient Greek
mythology, Gaia was the personification of the Earth.



People’s Emergency Center and Youth Service Inc. announce intention to affiliate

Photo: (l-r) PEC President Kathy Desmond, PECCDC Board Chair Bernadine Hawes, YSI Board Chair Sara Moran, and YSI Executive Director Gwen Bailey.

PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 12, 2019)—People’s Emergency Center (PEC) and Youth Service Inc. (YSI), two Philadelphia nonprofit agencies with a long history of providing critical services to children, families, and youth in the city, announced today that they have notified the
Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General of their intention to affiliate.

“The affiliation of PEC and YSI will create a strategic partnership to integrate services and provide a continuum of services that will enable us to have a greater impact on those we serve,”
said Kathy Desmond, president of PEC.

The two agencies have already partnered for several years on parenting programs, respite shelter for young children, and services for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.

“As a combined entity, we can better share our complimentary services and expand services by combining our resources and leveraging each organization’s specialized expertise,” said Gwen
Bailey, executive director of YSI.

YSI will retain its operational and governance structures for a three-year transitional period, eventually becoming part of PEC. PEC will then assume full operational and governance
responsibilities for YSI.

During the transition, Ms. Desmond will continue to serve as head of PEC while sharing oversight responsibilities over YSI with Ms. Bailey. Ms. Bailey will continue to serve as head of YSI and will become a part of PEC’s leadership team.

PEC and YSI will continue to operate their current programs while pursuing opportunities to create new programs and develop operational efficiencies.

PEC and YSI: a natural fit

The affiliation capitalizes on many synergies between the two agencies: similar service populations, a service mix that is both distinct and complementary, and mutual work that addresses the city’s strategies to improve the housing and support options for children, youth and families.

PEC and YSI currently serve many of the same populations: families, young children (early childhood: age 0-5), school-aged children (age 6-12), youth (age 13-17), young adults (18-26) and adults (27+), and communities in West Philadelphia. These children, youth, and families often have experienced trauma; face barriers to housing, education, or employment; and lack the resources to sustain their families in a safe, stable and supportive environment.

PEC and YSI now provide both distinct and overlapping housing, temporary shelter and supportive services, child abuse and neglect prevention services, intervention services, education, and economic development opportunities for families, children, youth and

Here are key program areas of each agency and benefits to be gained through the affiliation:

 Housing and community development. PEC offers several housing and supportive services for families, children and youth experiencing homelessness. PEC’s Community Development Corporation (PECCDC) expands mixed-income housing opportunities and provides economic development and quality of life programing. YSI provides immediate shelter for teens, emergency care and shelter for young children at a crisis nursery, and services for young adults experiencing homelessness.

Together, the agencies can provide more housing options for all of their clients. The resources and connections of both agencies will also enable them to grow their efforts in the communities they collectively serve: West Philadelphia, Germantown and North

 Family support and education. Both agencies’ services are trauma-informed, strengths-based, and solution-focused. PEC offers job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, life skills and technology classes.
YSI offers counseling and in-home support services to children, youth and families to strengthen families, foster self-sufficiency and develop the health and well-being of children and the family unit, including life and job skills.

Clients of both agencies will be able to more seamlessly access the combined array of services.

 Policy and advocacy. PEC is a leader in policy work and public education to address issues relating to families, children and youth who experience homelessness. YSI is active in youth homelessness policy work.

Combining forces will strengthen the agencies’ mutual advocacy efforts and voice.

More about PEC and YSI

People’s Emergency Center (PEC) was founded in 1972 and is located in West Philadelphia. PEC’s mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change. For families,
children and youth experiencing homelessness, PEC offers more than 235 affordable housing units, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning,
and life skills and technology classes. PEC seeks to change the life trajectory for the families and youth who seek its services and inspire them to achieve housing security and financial

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.

PEC has about 100 employees.

Youth Service Inc. (YSI) was founded in 1952 and is based in West Philadelphia. Its mission is to offer accessible, high-quality services to children, youth and families who have often experienced trauma. YSI provides respite, prevention, intervention and shelter services to children, youth and families in West Philadelphia, Germantown, and North Philadelphia. YSI offers unique programs and niche services, including Philadelphia’s only crisis nursery program
and the longest-standing shelter in the area for runaway teens and those experiencing homelessness. YSI employs about 100 people

For more information, contact:

Trish Downey, People’s Emergency Center

Direct: 267-777-5811

Cell: 267-334-5778


Linda Wolohan, Youth Service Inc

Cell: 267-625-6982

Mayor Kenney celebrates Rebuild milestone at the opening of a new athletic field in Parkside

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Contact: Maita Soukup, 267-251-3064,

PHILADELPHIA – Today Mayor Jim Kenney joined Councilman Curtis Jones to open the new multi-sport athletic field at the Parkside Evans Playground. The field was the first Rebuild project to break ground last December, and represents a major milestone for the program and the Parkside community. Rebuild is a signature initiative of Mayor Kenney’s, made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries.

The Parkside Saints Youth and Mentoring Association is a popular youth football league that has been operating without a dedicated home field since 2010. Thanks to Rebuild, the City invested roughly $560,000 to build a brand new multi-sport practice field at Parkside Evans. The new field is designed for both football and soccer, and includes an irrigation system, retaining walls, and drainage to ensure it is well maintained in all weather.

“Rebuild is our chance to give every young person in this City a neighborhood public space they can feel proud of,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “For too long, our parks, rec centers, and libraries haven’t received the investments necessary to benefit our neighborhoods and help residents thrive. The Parkside athletic field represents the type of major improvements Rebuild is bringing to communities across the city.”

The Parkside practice field is the first phase of a project that will also see a brand new game field built on the Parkside Evans campus. The game field is being supported by Rebuild with additional funding from a grant from the Philadelphia Eagles.

“This community loves football, and we love the Parkside Saints,” said Councilman Curtis Jones. “The young people here are finally able to have a home field, and the chance to have fun and stay fit right here in Parkside. We look forward to the next phase of the project here, and for additional Rebuild projects planned for the Fourth District.”

“This is a huge day for the Parkside Saints,” said Coach Clifford Smith. “These kids just want to play football, so we have been using this patch of grass as our unofficial practice field for years. Seeing the goal posts and lines on the field is tremendous. This league is all about building kids’ self esteem and providing discipline, life lessons, and positive role models. I am happy to see the city bringing new resources to our community through Rebuild.”

Since its first groundbreaking at Parkside Evans in December 2018, Rebuild has committed over $124 million to improvement projects at sites across the city, including major renovation projects at the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center, the Vare Recreation Center, the Olney Recreation Center, the Heitzman Recreation Center, Barrett Playground, Glavin Playground, and the Rivera Recreation Center. Two-thirds of Rebuild’s initial 64 sites are in high needs areas, and all Rebuild funding addresses critical facilities needs in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries.

“The Parkside Saints, and all the kids in this community, have been waiting for their own field for a long time,” said Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “I am pleased to say that, thanks to Rebuild, the wait is over!”

Rebuild projects are meeting ambitious diversity and inclusion goals, including 25-35% of all Rebuild contract dollars going to diverse Philadelphia businesses, and 15-25% to woman-owned firms. This month Rebuild began a training program for its first class of union trainees, a quarter of whom are women and all of whom are people of color. The program will recruit up to 35 participants a year, offering diverse city residents a paid pathway into a career in the building trades.

“Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize Philadelphia’s neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries,” said Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman. “The work now underway across the city lays the foundation for sustainable neighborhoods and a more equitable City, with a diverse and inclusive building trades workforce.”

To stay up to date on the Parkside Evans project and all Rebuild sites, visit

Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild) is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries.  Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild seeks to improve pivotal community spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion.  Rebuild is a public private partnership made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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:

A Season for Giving by Jasmine Bullock

The holiday season is always an exciting time of year. Families and friends often fellowship and exchange gifts. It is also a time for giving and the West Philadelphia area is abundant with opportunities to give to people in need, of all ages. Community Coordinator, Pamela Evans has made it her mission to provide opportunities for students and families in need. Ms. Evans spent fifteen years serving the students and families of Discovery Charter School. Within the last year, she transitioned to Alain Locke Elementary, a Community School in West Philadelphia, where she has instituted several programs to service the families throughout the area.

The Locke school and Pam Evans have initiated a “Community Closet.” This space is open for donation of clothing and hygiene supplies for people of all ages. The donations of clothing, toys, baby supplies, and bath supplies are open to all but specifically those who reside in the West Park High Rise apartments and shelters. The Locke School is continuously open taking in tax deductible donations. They are especially in need of donations of diapers children’s clothing, and clothing adults can wear for job interviews. They are also looking for school uniforms and sweat pants to help discourage student absences due to lack of appropriate clothing.

This particular community closet is special because of the personal attention “shoppers” get when looking for items. The school has acquired a volunteer to work as a shopping attendant. This individual not only sorts and maintains the items donated to the closet, he also works with individuals to choose items to best fit their needs. The personal attention allows those in need to feel special and guarantees that they receive the right items.

Throughout the Thanksgiving holiday season, Ms. Evans has several missions planned. With the help of local organizations and businesses such as Westside Church and the People’s Emergency Center, Ms. Evans was able to organize the donation of approximately 45 Turkeys to families for their Thanksgiving feasts. Ms. Evans is proud that Lavish Restaurant at 4308 Lancaster Avenue will provide dinner on Thanksgiving for 300 people free of charge.

Ms. Evans also arranged for three students at the Locke School to have a dinner at Lavish Restaurant with their families. The students will be chosen through raffle based on their attendance and timeless to school throughout the month of November.

Another initiative that is thriving is the Gifts of Warmth Drive. This project looks to collect socks, hats, gloves and scarves for children in the area. Ms. Evans has partnered with local hair salons and barber shops on Lancaster Avenue to host donation boxes for their clients and members of the community to drop off donations.

The Gifts of Warmth initiative goes beyond the doors of the Locke School. Each year, the Please Touch museum collects coats for children in need. They send all of their donations to the Second Antioch Baptist Church. Rev. Dr. Joe Nock and his leadership team distribute the gifts of coats to not only members of the church who are in need but also to community members throughout Parkside. While winter is often thought of as a season for giving, donations to many of these initiatives can be given throughout the year. Sweater, scarf, hat, glove and sock donations can be left at the Please Touch Museum from November 24th through December 8th. All donations to the Locke School for the Community Closet can left in the main office of Alain Locke School, 4550 Haverford Avenue, from 8am to 3pm weekdays.

Remember, the holiday season is a time for fun and family but also a time to think about giving to families.

Food Cupboards in the Parkside Area

325 North 39th Street
Saturdays; 10:30am – 1:30pm

Church of New Hope and Faith
662 N. 39th Street
Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 9:30am – 3:30pm

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
19 South 19th Street
Mondays; 10am until 150 households are served

Grace Lutheran Church
3529 Haverford Avenue

Mt. Zion United Holy Church
4110 Haverford Avenue
West Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist Church
4527 Haverford Avenue