In North Philly, a former Boy Scout is now a scoutmaster

In North Philly, a former Boy Scout is now a scoutmaster

Antonio McCall has been involved in scouting since he was just 14 years old. He followed his step-brother one day to a scout meeting at Wayland Temple Baptist Church in at 25th and Cecil B. Moore and never left. “That was exciting to me, that was different to me,” said McCall, who’s 31 and the scoutmaster for Troop 98. “I’m a different kind of guy, I was a different kind of kid. So when I came here and heard that was an option, those were things that we would learn and explore, I was excited. Being that this troop is based in North Philly, there’s not a lot of that so I was excited that this was an opportunity that I could come every week and meet new people.” Troop 98 is one of seven units in North Philadelphia and has been around since 1999. It was started by former scout master Roslyn Munson with her son, Aaron, who was one of...
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The people who care for Philly’s gunshot victims

The people who care for Philly’s gunshot victims

On average, Kenneth Dupree of Dupree Funeral Home at 28th and Diamond streets sees one to two victims of gun violence a year. Bruce Talbert says Talbert Funeral Parlor at 22nd near Lehigh has received 10 so far. The services for the victims that both men preside over have all been young people, usually in their early 20s. Talbert says he’s not surprised when gunshot victims come through the door, but it doesn’t get any easier. “It’s not an everyday occurrence, but it’s not something that alarms us when it happens,” the Chester native said. “When I was growing up, you handled things with your hands. [Young people now] handle things with guns, so it’s not something that catches you off guard to get a call from a family that someone has passed from a shooting incident.” With anyone who has passed — but specifically with those of gun violence — the family conferences that follow with funeral directors can be highly emotional....
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When The Justice System Fails

When The Justice System Fails

For young black men in Philadelphia, sometimes just walking down the street is all it takes to earn a two-month stint in jail. On Dec. 8 2010, then-18-year-old Isaiah Smith was just returning from visiting his cousin, when he noticed two police officers who were patrolling the area peering out at him from their squad car. The two officers returned to riding through the neighborhood and Smith thought nothing of it. Not until he found himself against the squad car, and countless officers surrounding him. "When they grabbed me I had asked, why?" Smith said from his North Philadelphia home. "One of the arresting officers told me that I was being arrested for being an asshole." He was about to learn a valuable lesson about the strained trust between the police and residents in vulnerable neighborhoods. While he was held, Smith overheard the description of who the officers were looking for, a male with braids wearing a gray sweat suit. Smith had braids, but...
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Graduates entering the workforce should be proactive

Graduates entering the workforce should be proactive

As graduation is quickly approaching for seniors, many are anticipating finding their dream job in an effort to succeed in the ever-changing job market and fluctuating economy. The Associated Press analysis of available government data, reported that about 53.6 percent of Americans who have bachelor’s degrees and are under the age of 25 are unemployed or hold lower wage jobs. This is a bleak outlook for those who are preparing to enter the workforce. But, Gayle Christensen of Employment Entrepreneur Specialist at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs offers some advice to graduating seniors. “Well, I think it’s a little bit easier this year than maybe a couple of years ago, but I think we’re still under the recession so my advice would be to network as much as you can in many possible ways,” Christensen said. “Let people know that you are coming out of school and you’re job searching, or going to job fairs and different kinds of events.” Read...
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New blog exposes volunteerism throughout Philadelphia

New blog exposes volunteerism throughout Philadelphia

Lovemyhood.com was created in October 2011 to share the volunteer experiences of friends, David Kwon and Joanne Yoon, throughout Philadelphia at local nonprofit organizations. At the time, Kwon and Yoon were looking for different organizations to get involved with. Among the websites they found were idealist.org and volunteermatch.org. While the two said those are both quality websites, they felt they were missing testimonial accounts of volunteer efforts. “Our mission is to serve as that link through volunteers and people, as well as motivate others to volunteer,” Yoon said. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Yoon said that in 2004 a lot of things had drawn her to Philadelphia, including its people. When transitioning to Philly life, she was able to obtain work at a finance company where she said she met a lot of interesting people and was able to develop friendships. Kwon is no stranger to Philadelphia. He was born and raised in Philly and attended the University of Pennsylvania as a finance major. Volunteering has always...
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