Hope everyone read Madison Smith’s article in the Feb 2 Philadelphia Inquirer. As was noted, the article was written for Delaware Valley Fairness Project’s student essay program! Very proud of Madison!http://bit.ly/2ljNgU7
The Delaware Valley Fairness Project is proud to announce that Elizabeth Y. Adeyi has been elected to the Board of Directors. Elizabeth is the Executive Director of Child Care Information Services of Montgomery County, PA, and the former Eligibility Director of Child Care Information Services of South Philadelphia/Caring People Alliance. She comes to our Board with over 20 years of professional management experience in social services in the Delaware Valley.
Elizabeth brings not only her extensive experience in management, but also her passion for helping the less fortunate in our communities. As a visionary and collaborator, she has revamped a program to benefit families experiencing homelessness and launched a new program in Montgomery County to assist foster families with child care. A leader and advocate in the early learning community, she has shown an uncanny understanding of needs and an ability to use data in program creation to bridge gaps in services.
Delaware Valley Fairness Project is very fortunate to have Elizabeth as the newest member of our team. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delaware Valley Fairness Project has agreed to fulfill a request from Keith Arrington, Principal of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in North Philadelphia, for support of a Young Gentlemen (YGs) mentoring program. The program uses music and the performing arts together with a 12-week curriculum to motivate at-risk students and improve their academic performance in areas such as reading comprehension and fluency, vocabulary knowledge, and presentation and staging skills.
The Young Gentlemen project was established by Loni Gamble, a music producer, songwriter and performer who has directed such programs in Williamsport for some 15 years. His partner in curriculum development is Rafika Soaries. The program at Thurgood Marshall was started last spring, but did not have the funding to continue this fall.
DVFP will assess the impact of the YG program on the attitudes and values of the participants through observations and before and after program questionnaires.
Roland Ananiglo is a coach and Grade 6 TA at Overbrook Education Center (OEC). OEC is a Philadelphia public school that serves a student population of sighted and visually-impaired students. With almost one-third of the students unable to read print without magnification, technology aides, enlarged text, or braille, OEC has the largest population of blind and visually impaired students in the Philadelphia School District.
Mr. Ananiglo applied to Delaware Valley Fairness Project for supplies to bring together sighted and visually-impaired students to play on the first OEC school soccer team. As he noted in his application, OEC was authorized to have a team but had no supplies and serves a population that cannot afford the uniforms and equipment that the children need to participate in sports.
On September 28, DVFP presented OEC and Mr. Ananiglo the funds he needed to launch his unique program. And just in time. That afternoon the team had its first practice and five days later played its first game.
To learn more about OEC, follow oecjags on Instagram.
Delaware Valley Fairness Project (DVFP) and Mitchell Elementary School in Southwest Philadelphia are undertaking an initiative to build a coalition of Mitchell Partners to strengthen support for the school and the community. Mitchell Principal, Stephanie Andrewlevich, convened a meeting of current partners on September 21 at which she stated her vision for Mitchell as an educational institution and as an engine for change within the community. She also made clear her need for support from Mitchell’s partners to make the vision a reality.
DVFP president, Ed Riehl, then explained that DVFP approached Mitchell this summer with an offer to take on the role of forming a coalition of Mitchell partners. DVFP will coordinate the coalition’s effort to deliver the resources identified by Mitchell’s staff.
The more than twenty people who attended, including Deputy Mayor Nina Ahmad as well as representatives from the University of the Sciences, Wayne Presbyterian Church Devereux Behavioral Health and several local community organizations, expressed support and a willingness to do what is necessary to make this effort successful. Others in attendance and supporting the undertaking were Spark Philadelphia, New Hope Philly, ASAP, Citylights and City Year. Any organization with an interest in joining the coalition should contact DVFP at email@example.com.
To keep abreast of events at Mitchell, check out the Mighty Mitchell Heroes page on facebook!
Is there anyone who hasn’t heard a child, or an adult acting like a child, say, “It’s not fair”? Or how about the retort, “Well, sometimes life’s just not fair”? Sometimes there IS more ice cream in one bowl than another, or you DO have to work on a holiday, or someone else DOES get more credit than for something. It isn’t fair, but it also isn’t fatal. It’s more like a bump you have to endure along your journey. It really doesn’t matter.
That’s not the “fairness” for which we took our name, Delaware Valley Fairness Project. Ours is more the fairness that’s lacking for a child born into poverty, or for a wounded family without enough money for food and shelter. It’s what’s missing for the medically addicted, the mentally ill, the victims of discrimination and the countless unwanted in our communities. These are the people whose voices are silent but whose eyes tell us that it’s not fair, if we just look into them.
The unfairness these people suffer isn’t the bump in the road. It doesn’t go away after a day, week, or year. It’s life-defining, multi-generational, and what some would call systemic, And it’s harmful – to those who live it and to all the rest of us, too.
When unfairness flourishes, everyone is its victim. Consider drug addiction, violence, pan-handlers, the decrepit condition of streets and houses in economically distressed neighborhoods. Consider the taxes used to address these social conditions. Consider the fear engendered by the anger of the oppressed. These are the fruits of unfairness.
Delaware Valley Fairness Project’s mission is to lessen these effects by attacking their common root cause: poverty. Poverty limits human potential. Poverty limits human life span. It robs children of childhood. It crushes self-confidence. Poverty strips people of dignity. It gives rise to alternative means to survival, anti-social pathways to self-respect.
Poverty is unfair, and it is that unfairness we work against. Fairness matters because fairness would mean the end of poverty. Fairness means well-resourced schools for everyone, fair-paying jobs, and training to qualify for jobs. It means dignity for individuals, hope for families, childhood for children.
Fairness matters because everyone’s life becomes better. Dignity, hope, opportunity: better than drugs, violence, and slums. Think about it.
March 21 was an exciting day for DVFP and S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School in Philadelphia. At an assembly at the school that day, DVFP for the first time in its brief history fulfilled educator applications for classroom supplies, projects and class trips. DVFP founder Ed Riehl presented sixteen teachers with fulfillment awards for 11 Chromebooks, a dozen ‘boogie board’ eWriters, multiple sets of mythology books, a fish tank and the components for a desktop bookmaking center, among others. Funding was also provided to assist with the cost of a class trip to Washington, DC.
The Chromebooks will be used by the students to use specially-designed programs to improve their reading and math skills. The eWriters offer a creative approach to writing skills. The mythology books and bookmaking equipment are two innovative projects to enhance both the reading and writing skills of the students. The fish tank will make real the kindergartners’ study of living organisms, while teaching responsibility and compassion.
The Mitchell fulfillment awards are part of DVFP’s Educator Assistance Pilot Project intended to allow DVFP to determine whether the design of its Educator Assistance Program best meets its objective of improving learning opportunities for children living in impoverished neighborhoods. Convinced that education is the key to lessening the grip of poverty, DVFP’s education program is geared to strengthen schools serving economically distressed communities rather than looking to create alternatives to those schools.
The pilot project could only succeed with the collaboration of schools and teachers. Three schools were asked to participate and to become our Founding Partner Schools. Mitchell, being the first to accept DVFP’s invitation, is DVFP’s Founding Partner School Number 1. DVFP extends its thanks to everyone at Mitchell, but particularly to its Principal, Stephanie Andrelevich, who gave permission for the project, Tara Shaw-Caruso who serves as the project coordinator at Mitchell, and the fifteen other teachers who took the time to put together some very creative projects for DVFP to consider: Andrea Evans, Elizabeth Carroll, Keena Core, Nicole Flores, Dawnmarie Hackett, Lesley O’Brien, Jason Lerner, Rachel O’Day, Kenya Lassiter and the Special Ed Team, Emily Sharon, Tyesha Lewis, Charlena Watson, Kimberly Fail, Karen Burrell, and Allison Wudarski. Thanks to a great team!
Pastor Violet Little and her Welcome Church, a church without walls that ministers to the homeless in center city Philadelphia and beyond, came to us this spring with a request to assist with funding for shelter for a group of 12 women. The Welcome Church had found a location, but with no budget to make the place suitable for the women, Pastor Violet had a dilemma. Through DVFP’s Small Nonprofit Assistance Program, we were able to provide just enough financial support for The Welcome Church to open “The Well,” which is now ‘home’ to the otherwise unsheltered women. As a volunteer wrote: “In the basement of a small Episcopal church on a side street, two of the women of The Well looked up. . . other women arrived. They put down their carts or bags after a long day on the streets, free for a while from the burdens of homelessness. . . “home” didn’t open until 7:30 pm, and would send them back to the streets 12 hours later.. . the dingy basement hall was truly a place of hope.” Congratulations to Pastor V, to the Welcome Church and its volunteers, and most especially to the women at The Well.
Simple needs are sometimes difficult to meet – especially if you are among the less fortunate. Old St. Joseph’s Church has for years been meeting some of the simple needs of men who are experiencing homelessness or teetering on the edge of homelessness. Three days a week, the church’s outreach program provides a 3-course meal to some 60 men who come together as a community to share friendship with each other.
The Old St. Joseph’s program – Faith, Food & Friends – does not proselytize; it simply welcomes those who come. Most of the men are regulars and so know each other, Mary Freedman who coordinates the program, and the volunteers (many of whom have been coming to cook a meal and serve the men weekly for several years).
Old St. Joseph’s offers the men more than community and a meal. It fills some needs that men on the street or near it have: a place to get their mail; a few hygiene supplies; a pair of socks when they are available. One need Old St.Joseph’s was struggling to meet was for backpacks to replace the plastic grocery bags the men use to protect their clothes and documents. Mary contacted DVFP a few months ago, told us about the problem, and submitted an application for assistance in getting the backpacks. It was a quick decision. Today, with the assistance from DVFP. Mary and the outreach program are replacing the plastic grocery bags with secure backpacks, making life “a little better” for that community. Great that Mary saw the need and did something about it!