Friday, May 29, 2009
While I would love to get into more details about the wonderful ministry this church has created, those will have to be left for the full multimedia package Chris and I are preparing for Philadelphia Neighborhoods. What I can share is how unbelievably good the food is that these deaconesses prepared for the ministry. Chris and I were invited to stay for lunch and after seeing the food being served, we couldn't resist the opportunity to eat some of it and share more time with the members of the church. Everyone that is a part of that community has been extremely welcome to us and has been willing to help us with our endeavors in any way that they can.
Today we ventured back to Miller Memorial to sit down with Reverend Wayne Weathers and see what he had to say about the community the church is located in. At 41, he's a young pastor and has only been with the church for 5 years. Although he's still learning about the area himself, he had a lot of information to share with us and suggested quite a few people we could contact for even more information. He talked about many of the issues in the area that he felt were a problem, but stressed that one shouldn't be held higher than another.
Chris and I are both more than grateful for all of the help that the members of Miller Memorial Baptist Church have provided. They've also told us to make sure we come back again. It's nice to know that we've made some friends in the neighborhood we'll be visiting more often in the coming weeks.
Ashley Campbell and Chris Zakorchemny
Group 17 - Ridge Ave. (Broad to 25th)
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I love baseball. I was psyched when our team decided to cover an inner-city youth baseball game as our first real event in Ludlow. The memories I have of Little League are some of my fondest, I wish I could still play for a Little League team. I remember everything: playing the games, sitting on the bench, listening to the crowd. I remember how those games brought communities together, how it gave busy parents an excuse to get together and enjoy a simple game, even if only for a few hours.
I knew we were likely in for some excitement. Cruz's head coach, George Jones, had warned us what could happen in the occurrence of poor umpiring. He said that when an umpire consistently made bad calls that ultimately cost the team wins—which has apparently happened several times this season—there is often a general feeling among players and parents alike that the team is being cheated. I knew he wasn’t kidding when I saw Cruz’s Director of Recreation, Michael McKeown, hanging a large black cover over the backstop prior to the game.
“To cut down second-guessing of the ump,” he told me.
For the most part the game went along without incident. The atmosphere wasn’t unlike the Little League games of my childhood. I felt right at home. The umpire didn’t seem too bad, either. He missed a few calls here and there, but hey, this isn’t the majors. I did notice that several of the parents and assistant coaches were growing impatient with the umpire’s balls and strikes, but when doesn’t that happen in baseball?
It all boiled over in the game's final inning. The Cardinals had been facing a large deficit for most of the game, but were attempting to stage a late-game rally with the help of some wild opposing pitching.
The bases were loaded. There were two outs. The Cardinals had scored most of their runs in the inning by stealing home, the runner on third had a large lead, undoubtedly hoping to continue the trend. Sure enough, the ball hit the dirt in front of the catcher, bouncing over his head and rolling to the backstop.
The runner sprinted for home. The catcher found the ball and flipped it to the pitcher--who was correctly covering home—just as the runner dropped into his slide.
The umpire called the final out of the game. The Cardinal’s bench exploded in anger. It had appeared that the runner had managed to slip under the tag. It was a close play, but in my fair and balanced opinion: the runner was safe.
I was standing in the outfield at the time. I spent the last two innings out there with my camera, filming home plate from the center fielder’s perspective. The camera captured the play perfectly.
I don’t know how many times I was forced to show the play at the plate after the game. Every player, parent, sibling, and even the coach (who wants a copy as evidence for an official protest) wanted to see the play for themselves. It seemed as if the whole team and all its supporters were crowding around, asking to watch and re-watch what will surely come to be known at Cruz as "the play."
After that, even the people who had before wanted nothing to do with the camera couldn’t get enough of it. Suddenly, with one bad call at the plate, I was able to provide this team with something that even the finest youth organizations don’t have:
I brought instant replay to Little League baseball.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court Justice enticing nationwide excitement. If confirmed, 54-year-old Judge Sotomayor will be the first Latina to rule as a Supreme Court Justice.
Obama’s decision was not based purely on race but in part due to her knowledge and success despite her difficult life story. Judge Sotomayor’s background is one that in particular relates to most poor urban Hispanics.
The Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia is one of Philadelphia’s most populated Hispanic communities. About 43% of residents in Hunting Park are of Hispanic, mainly Puerto Rican decent. This percentage is significantly large compared to the Hispanic population in Philadelphia as a whole. Driving through the Hunting Park neighborhood and you will see small Hispanic owned shops, Hispanic churches and Puerto Rican flags waving with pride outside of resident porches.
Still, the Puerto Rican population in Hunting Park is severely disadvantaged compared with their white and African American counterparts. An overwhelming 45.2% of residents living in Hunting Park live below the poverty level compared with all of Philadelphia. Twenty percent of Latino’s in Hunting Park reported skipping meals due to lack of money. In 2005, 50% of children aged 17 or younger were living below the poverty level in Hunting Park.
In addition, the high school dropout rate is higher among Latinos than any other racial or ethnic group in the city. Latino youth in Philadelphia graduate from high school at a rate of 53%, which is much lower than non-Latino Whites or African Americans who graduated at a rate of 91% and 65% respectively.
Growing up in public housing in the Bronx, Judge Sonia Sotomayor faced similar disadvantages throughout her life. Sotomayor’s father who did not speak English, died when she was only 9-years-old. Her mother then worked six days a week to care for her and her brother, instilling in them the values of hard work and education. Despite her struggles, Judge Sotomayor went on to graduate from Princeton University and then went on the attend Yale Law school.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor is already serving as an inspiration to the country’s rapidly growing minority. Her nomination signifies the ever-increasing role the Hispanic minority will play in the United States. Obama’s nomination undoubtedly has stirred enthusiasm within the Hispanic population giving them hope that despite all else, hard work will be recognized.
By Angela Barber, Felicia Williams and Jerry Brennan - Group 19
Early Tuesday afternoon we arrived at TUCC to check out video equipment for the first time. We arrived on campus with some ideas and a bit of apprehension, as we had a big story on our neighborhood Police Athletic Leagues (PALs) to get started. What we learned about first was bureaucracy. We received a call back from the Logan PAL and were told that we would need to get permission from a PAL higher-up before we could visit the site. The good news was that it was a short set of hoops we had to jump through - thanks to MURL’s reputation. The sergeant in charge of Philadelphia PAL, Sergeant Faust, was kind enough to put a call in to the Logan PAL and help us get started.
We went to the Logan PAL and met with Officer Wells, who helped us out incredibly. She opened all doors for us, and we were pleased with her good humor and forwardness. We visited the computer center, talked about the PAL programs, and took pictures of the kids playing basketball. Officer Wells even went so far as to place a call to the volunteer basketball/flag football coach, Mr. John, who went out of his way to come down and talk to us. After talking to Mr. John we were then introduced to Mr. Banks and his Logan Drill Team. This group, though not affiliated with PAL, occasionally uses the court at Logan for practices.
On Wednesday, we followed up on an invitation from Officer Wells and met her and the kids at the Paley PAL for a basketball-oriented fitness program sponsored by the Philadelphia 76ers. It was a great opportunity to see different PALs come together and interact with each other. Also, we had enough time following the program to interview the kids. We both learned that kids love to talk to the camera – once the first one has volunteered to go, then they all want to clip on that little microphone and talk to you!
We have had eventful days working on our PAL story, and we met interesting people who shared things which can develop into stories later in the class (such as Mr. Banks and the step team). We were also fortunate enough to meet the new Olney PAL officer, Officer Joe, while visiting the Sixers' event. We have a meeting set up tomorrow for an interview with him, and are excited to take a look at the Olney PAL.
By Wendy Borst and Justin Finneran, Group 3, Olney-Logan
By Anthony Myers Group 13
Walking along Germantown Avenue, it’s impossible to miss Baron Roane and his Recycle Studio. Besides the fact that the lanky owner of the store, 51, is often sitting outside on the sidewalk selling dollar bags of popcorn, the windows of the store pop out themselves at each and every passerby. Ornate mannequins fill every inch of the glass windows, covered in everything from pins to buttons to ceramic tile.
The storefront itself has no name, and is only marked by a door adorned by a nude male mannequin with no head. When asked what the store was called, Roane replied-“I forget. Oh, yes, the Recycle Studio!”
Confusion over that aside, the store itself is a gem (literally) to find. Besides the aforementioned mannequins, Roane also creates handmade bike seats, on sale for $20 a pop. Old records and clothes are bursting out of every available container, as well as tapes that records have been re-recorded onto.
Roane explained that all of the finds in his store come from digging around scrap trucks and other secondhand stores. “I feel that everything must be recycled,” he continued. “People throw out so many things that can be used in different ways still, and I like to make the most of that stuff. It’s an art form.”
Even music is recycled here-Roane records old records onto cassette tapes, which he also purchases at secondhand stores. “Tape players aren’t used all that much anymore,” he stated, “but record players are even rarer.”
So how do those sidewalk bags of dollar popcorn play in? Besides being the attraction that drove us into the store, Roane just wants to provide a simple and easy snack for passersbys. “It’s a street traffic thing-you’re walking, you’re hungry, here’s an easy cheap snack!”
Hey, here’s some credit to him for offering a vegetarian alternative to those hot dogs we found for our first blog
Sande Friedman and Sydni Grant, Group 5
To most people, Memorial Day Weekend means barbeque, picnics and trips to the shore. The members of RAVEN, an inner-city ministry, found a way to combine all three (sort of) by taking a trip to Philadelphia and having a barbeque in Fairhill Square. RAVEN, which stands for Restoring A Vision and Evangelizing Nations, has chapters all across the country, and it's Philadelphia group is based in Kensington. This weekend, members from all over the U.S. met in Philadelphia.
On Friday afternoon, RAVEN set up a free barbeque in Fairhill Square. The purpose was to reach out to the neighborhood by way of free hotdogs, hamburgers and soda. A group of about a dozen members were on hand to answer questions about their ministry, pray with people, and provide residents with information and contacts for help with addiction and abuse. Diane Lopez is based in the New York City chapter and has been involved with RAVEN for two years. She said they'd seen a large turn out throughout the afternoon. "We've been talking with prostitutes and drug addicts," she said, "We pray with them and try to get them any help they need."
After speaking with the RAVEN representatives, I made my way over to some Fairhill residents sitting on a bench nearby. "Have you talked to the RAVEN people over there?" I asked. Mike Crespo was sitting on the bench with his girlfriend. "The Jesus people? Yeah, I talked to them. They're cool." His friend Manuel was sipping a soda he'd received at the barbeque and added that they'd given him their card. Mike said he was impressed that RAVEN genuinely seemed to care about the people of Fairhill and that they were spending so much time in his neighborhood. "They're really nice," he said, "They don't just talk to you, they treat you with respect. I like that."
By Shayla Grover & Cedric Hall, Group 11-Fairhill
We’ve spent most of our time in Olney, now we are dedicating more time to Logan. Logan, Philadelphia is often recognized for it’s sinking houses. In the 1980s, the houses started to literally sink. The sidewalks began crumbling and foundations were cracking. Residents experienced many issues as a result of the sinking, such as gas leaks, cracked walls and shabby structures.
The sinking was the outcome of unstable foundations built on bad soil. The original construction was faulty because the soil consisted of ash from the factories that had been on the land prior to the homes. Hundreds of people were affected. The city had no choice but to fund a soil remediation plan. As part of the reconstruction plan, residents had to be relocated while their homes were demolished.
As we drove around this part of town, we were able to see the effects of this predicament. Currently, Logan is full of vacant lots, filled with overgrown weeds and random slabs of concrete. However, the reconstruction plan is on the table. Though it doesn’t look promising, this stage in the reconstruction is considered to be a “milestone in Philadelphia’s progress.”
Kelly McManus and Dave Nescio Group 14
Group 17 / Ridge Avenue (Broad to 25th)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The sense of personal identity is noticeable when walking around the individual neighborhoods in Port Richmond. It is fascinating to observe the styles being worn. Most apparel is modest or simple: sweat pants, a tee shirt, but than there are the trends that pop out of the crowd. I walked into several stores in the neighborhood and found what the common thread was in choosing a style. I asked around and more than one person mentioned price as a determining factor to where they shopped.
Yet if you nudge up a little further, just before the Roosevelt Expressway in between Scotts Lane and Indian Queen Lane, you'll find the Dobson Mills Apartments. You can't miss it. I was surprised to see it there, the newly-constructed, tree-lined property that promises breathtaking views of the Schuylkill. A quick read through the list of the apartment's amenities is a reminder of what most of those PHA homes, just blocks away, don't have. The starting rent is $1495 for a one bedroom. A four bedroom townhome? You're looking at $3850 and upwards. When Ridge Avenue rents start to resemble those on Rittenhouse Square, I get curious.
The Dobson Mills contains 300 apartments from the Winther Investment Company, set at a former textile company. That sounds like the Ridge Avenue we know. The Dobson listing describes its neighborhood as Center City, Manayunk and East Falls. The online photos depict the impressive interior and spacious floorplans. It certainly looks nice, even if its exterior neighborhood reflects a different lifestyle. The apartment's construction was well-intended, however, and contributes to the efforts of the East Falls Public Improvement Plan. The EFPP sought to clean up Ridge Avenue about one mile east and west of Midvale Avenue to make it more attractive. Dobson Mills means one less abandoned property.
By Dennis Bovell and Kelly White, Group 16
While walking through Mantua on Saturday afternoon, we happened by an interesting mural of a man. Not sure who he was, we decided to ask around. Turns out, this man is Herman Wrice, known to some locals as "Mr. Mantua". Herman Wrice was a huge community activist and leader. He was the leader and organizer of MAD or Mantua Against Drugs. He demolished crack houses, led marches against drug dealers and organized the Ten Commandments of Drug Fighting.
Recently, rumors have spread that the Herman Wrice mural may be covered up. The empty lot next to the mural may be filled in by a building and the mural will no longer be visible from the street. Hopefully, this will not happen so people can have a constant reminder of this great man who did so much for the community of Mantua.
We're really starting to appreciate the diversity of our neighborhood. Our first impressions were: This neighborhood is very homogonous compared to other areas of Philadelphia. This neighborhood is pretty clean and "cute" by almost everyone's standards we can think of. We’d been here before, to shop for clothing, fabrics, groceries and even to looks into some tattoo parlors. But as we walk down Seventh Street, then back up Sixth Street, we're grateful for the assignment to really look at things, to look for interesting life and experiences. Down Seventh Street, up Sixth Street, down Fifth Street. We meandered systematically through our neighborhood. This time, as we reached Washington Avenue on Fifth Street, we took notice to something that we hadn’t seen before.
The blocks of housing between Fifth and Third streets and between Washington Avenue and Christian Street, are peculiar. It’s a new development of row homes, dozens and dozens of them filling these two square blocks. We failed to find a sign on any of the buildings with a name, so we marked the development in our notebook for further research.
The houses look just like those built by the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) and upon looking at the PHA Website, we found what we were looking for. The housing cluster is called Courtyard Apartments, and is part of the Family and Senior Developments project of the PHA.
For the past 13 years, PHA has been transforming crime-ridden old projects into supposedly more peaceful, suburban-like new housing developments all over the city. We read some articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer over the past decade or so, and it looks like the cleaning up of the project homes has had mixed reviews over the years. Currently, the PHA is using the new stimulus money to renovate even more public housing developments, which it says would remain vacant if they couldn’t renovate.
By Rebecca Howe and Emily Heinz-South of South, group 6
The streets were lined with rowhomes, some of them abandoned, and wet from the grip of the rain. As we walked in front of 1511 N. 33rd St., we were steps away from the legendary jazz musician John Coltrane’s home. We stood there umbrella-less, incapable of hiding our white skin while black faces stared at us with uncertainty.
I pressed the doorbell. No one was home. Coltrane’s house was boarded up with wood and there was no sign of preservation or existence. Across the street, there was an African-American woman standing at the corner of at the bus stop of 33rd and Oxford. The rain was still coming down, and we walked briskly over to the bus stop to ask her about Coltrane’s home.
For the first time, we felt really nervous. I wiped the moisture from my face with a swipe of my sleeve. I stared at the back of her head as we walked near her. She turned to me. We told her we were journalists writing for Philly Neighborhoods. Before I could utter another word she said, “I don’t care. I’m not interested. Can’t you see, I’m busy. I’m waiting for my bus.” She shook her head in disgust. We both smiled politely and walked away. It was the first time that we felt different. We weren’t like them. We were white. We felt like we didn’t belong.
We kept walking farther into Strawberry Mansion, until we reached a street just off 32nd and Norris St. An African-American woman standing outside her stoop inhaling a Camel cigarette, bluntly shouted, “Why are you here?”
We both looked at each other with the same blank stare. I began fumbling in my red Puma bag, awkward—I was nervous, I could feel it. “Because we are doing a story, well, we want to know about this neighborhood,” I said.
She gave us a shrewd look, and I shrugged to show her we meant no harm. “You want to know about the neighborhood? Go inside and lock your doors. Sit down. Get out of here. What do you want to know about this area?”
We stared at her, hesitant to say another word. We both giggled.
“You think I’m joking?” She laughed. “I’m not.”
I wanted to ask her for her name and get her number. I wanted to say that I was sorry for bothering her but could I please take a picture?
Other neighbors were coming outside to see what was going on. For a long moment I stared down the street, trying to work out what was happening. Dark faces were watching us, and then I looked at the residents---at the expressions on their faces---and they looked like they had just seen a ghost.
We were too scared to do anything. We didn’t move. Inside the row home, two younger male voices were sarcastically pointing out that I had a tattoo on my foot through the window. It was background noise to us. “What the hell, what are they doing,” they questioned. We tried to tune them out, again. It wasn’t working.
“Thank you so kindly for your time,” I said. She nodded, blowing her cigarette smoke toward our direction. The entire way home we walked in silence, I held my cell phone close, tucked against my body.
By Danielle Bacher and Jonathan Braymer- Team 18, Brewerytown/Strawberry Mansion
The table was complete with tortillas for dipping purposes and non-alcoholic margaritas. I decided to taste a few dishes and cast my own ballot. The small store crowded with participants more than willing to give each dish a taste. I was rather surprised by how quickly the store became busy.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Wilkens, the storeowner of Cornerstone Market. He had a very warm spirit and made everyone feel like family when they walked into his store. He informed me that Cornerstone Market has only been open for 13 months.
For a store that has only been open a year, I was amazed to see how a small contest to could draw such a crowd. I would have thought Cornerstone had been there for years. Wilkens told me he wanted to open up a store that provided the community with healthy and organic foods. Although my visit was brief, I told Mike I would stop by more often to find out what’s going on in the neighborhood.
The Hunting Park Warriors, an AAU basketball team for young men, practice and play in this tiny, one-level gymnasium. There couldn’t be much room for anything here but a court. Training facilities or medical rooms for injuries or another court to split up games all seem likely to be near any basketball court, but the question of where they would fit inside this building left us scratching our heads. This is also where the public plays basketball, although there are courts outside in the park itself. But the public knows the importance, and practice times, of the Warriors, so that these young men can train in peace.
There are two paintings of basketball players to the left and right of the doorway, both faded and peeling. The windows look as black as night and have cages on the outside. We walked around this building in less than two minutes. It remains unlikely to us that a team of young men, the Warriors, while playing in a building like this can achieve the success some already have reached. It remains beyond incredible that the door to this one gymnasium has led young men to play at the highest level of basketball universities like Arizona and Memphis. It would be more than safe to say that at those schools, the former Warriors encountered large, beautiful facilities like none they’d ever seen. But it all started in a small, old gymnasium towards one edge of Hunting Park, where dreams and skills continue to be nurtured year after year.
Aaron Gottlieb and Andrea DeSabato - Hunting Park, Group 10
After passing several barber shops in Germantown we decided to pop in one and check it out. Often salons and barber shops are filled with locals and repeat clients. We hoped the people inside would give us information more important than facts and figures, but real incite from the heart of the community. We were right.
David Ross owns his own barber shop on Wyneva Street in Germantown. He spends a good deal of time giving haircuts and chatting with customers. He’s felt the recent economic hardships in the country when it comes to the volume of business that comes through his door. “I’m seeing more do-it-yourself haircuts,” he says. But haircuts being what they are, a necessity in life, he does see a lot of his customers return. “They come in for fix-ups.”
Ross has an easygoing personality and talks freely about his extensive Germantown knowledge. Turns out this barber shop owner is quite a history buff. He used to work for the Happy Hallow Recreation Center. Although no longer on staff at the center, he still occasionally helps out there. Through his connections to the center, Ross became aware of the neighborhood’s historic treasures. He sees potential value in having so much history in the area, but he also sees that potential underutilized. “The historical value of Germantown should be more exploited,” he says.
As he continues to discuss the positives and negatives of the area, Ross soon mentions the issue of race. In his opinion, Germantown has some segregation problems. “There needs to be more interaction between races. It’s important for the kids,” he says.
He goes on to explain: “They see other races, girls like you, on TV, maybe on Nickelodeon. But in real life there’s very little interaction.”
This gets us thinking. What is it like to be a kid growing up in Germantown? We look into the neighborhood and see diversity. But what does it look like from the inside, to those who actually live there?
The trick with telling the stories in Germantown, we realize, is seeing these stories through the eyes of the residents who live out those stories every day.
Meggan Kole and Lena Kravets, Germantown 12
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This Memorial Day, we set out for Ludlow hoping to find the streets filled with cheerful cookouts and the Cruz Recreational center full of leisurely games of baseball and basketball.
But when we arrived at the Cruz Recreational Center at Sixth and Master Streets, the ball fields and surrounding streets were nearly deserted. We had been hoping to speak with kids and adults alike, assuming that the holiday would be a perfect opportunity to meet community residents while they enjoyed their day off.
Instead we sat in the deserted playground, waiting, hoping that anyone willing to speak to us would arrive to save what was quickly becoming a lost day in the field.
We caught a break when a group of young children arrived, at first playing baseball, then moving on to the basketball court. The group—two boys and two girls—were not unlike most groups of youngsters who come to places like Cruz to get a little outdoor fun. The only thing that made this group appear unique was that one of the young girls was in a wheelchair.
It was inspiring to watch as the oldest of the group, a young man who told us he was a student at Kensington High, continuously and gently passed the ball to the young girl posted up in her chair under the net.
We watched and smiled as the young girl made basket after basket, undoubtedly achieving the highest field goal percentage of the small group. Her laughs and smiles let us forget the otherwise empty park for a moment, and we remembered why places like this one are so important to neighborhoods like Ludlow.
As we turned on Kensington Ave., we could not help but notice how much Kensington resembles some neighborhoods in New York. We saw people going about their day underneath the massive blue subway structure that gave them shade from the hot sun. Very Brooklyn. Stores lined the sidewalks offering sales on perfume, shoes and clothes. Very Manhattan. Awnings from the stores gave the run down strip a touch of color. Very Bronx. Music blaring from cell phone stores in an attempt to lure people in. Very Queens.
All of this, right here in Kensington? This was the last thing we expected.
The avenue was very busy. We assumed that it had to be one of Kensington’s main streets. Kind of like Main St. in Manayunk, except without the trendy restaurants and pricey boutiques. Instead Kensington Ave. boasted sales and was plagued with litter. There were no trendy boutiques on this strip, there were discount stores and cheap finds. There were no chain restaurants, there were chain fast food places instead. Either way, this New York feel gave us a sense of familiarity which in a weird way made us feel a bit more comfortable to be in the area. We passed an infamous drug corner on the strip and it didn’t make us uncomfortable. We walked around and took pictures freely. We were never worried about our safety. Could this be because of this New York feel?
OR could it be that New York, with its loud and dirty ways, is like Kensington?
OR could it be that New York, with its loud and dirty ways, is like Kensington?
by: Joangel Concepcion & Danny Barron
Saturday morning was nothing short of perfect. The sun was blazing, the breeze was cool, and the radios were bumping in Mantua. Scattered flea markets were being constructed, grills were getting fired up and the neighborhood just seemed happy. It was obvious after spending several hours getting to know our community that our previous timing was totally off. Mid-day to early evening on a weekday is not the best time to get a first hand account of what Mantua and its residents are really like.
After speaking with Edward H. Voves, the branch manager of the Charles Durham Free Library, we learned that most children and leaders of the community are behind walls after 3 o’clock on most days. One of the best things about Mantua is how many recreational activities are available to the local youth on a daily basis. There are several recreation or community centers, but other places that host activities include libraries such as the Charles Durham Branch or places of worship.
The first time we ventured into our neighborhood there were a good amount of people sitting on stoops chatting, but for the most part, it seemed like a ghost town. Only several people were out and about where you would normally hope to find kids playing. At first, this made the whole place seem kind of sad and dismal, only to learn this past weekend that we weren’t looking in the right spots for the brighter side of things.
It turns out that the libraries and community centers tend to get pretty busy after schools close due to all of the children taking part of the various after school activities that exist within the neighborhood. The Charles Durham Library alone holds daily events such as art & crafts, snake parties, and reading games for the local children. According to Vove, the library is full of adults during the day who use the computers to take care of personal or business matters, but once the late afternoon rolls around, they know its time for the kids to take over. Vove says, “We count everything and are definitely number happy…based on our statistics we are getting busier.”
For a library that was recently facing closing, it is apparent how much the community appreciates a place that will house and nurture the educational growth of its youth. Even though we were behind closed doors for a while learning about the insides of our community, it was well worth missing out on some rays to discover how involved community centers are with Mantua’s youth.
Edward H. Voves
Branch Manager/Children’s Librarian
Charles Durham Branch
3320 Haverford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
By Kimberly Ropars and Jessica Westergom Group 8 Mantua/Parkside