Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Luzerne St. is just a few blocks away from 5th St., one of the busiest streets in Hunting Park. When crossing past 9th St. however, there is a boarded up yet beautiful little building. With hand print imprints in clay and the full spectrum of colors decorating one side, the Hunting Park Community Development Corporation glistens like a beacon of hope in the middle of a slightly deserted area. There is also the front of the building, a different look than the colorful side and a disappointing result at that. Graffiti spans much of the boarded up window while the services of the corporation are written on the boarded up entrance to the left.
The Hunting Park Community Development Corporation is a Philadelphia branch of 'Volunteer Way', which is part of the United Way organization. Whatever the location, the Volunteer Way is committed to building areas in the Delaware Valley into a better place. The Hunting Park building was just that, a center for development. It once offered assistance in housing development and counseling for local residents. They assisted the young children of Hunting Park in leadership and empowerment training and skills.
What's left of the Hunting Park location is a broken down building, both rusting and fading. Their services are still there, scribbled on the boards in thin strokes of graffiti. The phone number is also there, but it has been disconnected. The entire agency itself has been removed from the United Way's 'Volunteer Way' Web site. I spoke with a representative at the Volunteer Way for Southeastern Pennsylvania. "I just can't find any records on it, I'm sorry," she said in a soft voice. The work that was once done at this location is perhaps not forgotten entirely, but the boarded up entrance is a sign that help can't be found here anymore unfortunately, and that hurts the entire community.
Aaron Gottlieb and Andrea DeSabato - Hunting Park, group 10