After school program grows food, connections.

After school program grows food, connections.

What used to be nothing but a huge parking lot for the Philadelphia Housing Authority has become something much more to a group of residents living in the Haddington section of Philadelphia. Nearly hidden amidst a cluster of homes, the Conestoga Pearl Gardens is full of garden beds neatly in rows, cherry trees ready to be picked, and a park area where children are able to play. The garden is just one of many that the nonprofit Urban  Tree Connection oversees. The organization’s primary goal is to engage  children and adults from some of Philadelphia’s most disadvantaged  neighborhoods in community-based, urban greening projects. A beautiful sign, decorated with yellow suns and red roses, welcomes those who enter the garden and pass by the large trees that are almost guarding the entrance. Seedlings of onions, cucumbers, string beans, and other vegetables occupy the beds, waiting to blossom as youth ages 7-10 tend to their creations. It was evident as I sat down to begin...
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Ready for college?

Ready for college?

How exciting. Myself and a few others from the Community College Of Philadelphia are featured in an article by Philadelphia Public School Notebook Managing Editor, Wendy Harris. In the article I briefly discuss my journey toward getting into college. CCP was not my first choice, but I am glad that I attended. You can read the second half of this article, as well as read the latest edition of which it appears in, by visiting www.thenotebook.org. ...
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An Afterschool experience

Hopefully the start of a blog series for the notebook, email me/comment if you have suggestions of what afterschool programs I should profile. Sometimes I think of what my life would be like, or how it would have turned out, if I had not attended and ultimately become a teacher assistant with Project H.O.M.E.'s afterschool program, located at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs. My assumption is that I would have continued high school and then worked my way slowly through college. It would have been harder, I think, because I would not have benefited from the college visits and preparation for the SATs and the FAFSA application process that the center provided for me. In my opinion, one does not really understand what college is until actually attending. Books, tuition, computer fees, food, - everything adds up. But I got a taste of what to expect having gone to...
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Camelot Schools Making a Difference

“One thing about the teachers here is that they will never give up on you,” says Klarice Reed. The 11th-grader begins each day at Shallcross Academy attending Townhouse, a social gathering in which students from different grades come together to discuss their issues and brainstorm on how to make the day successful. Like most of her schoolmates, Reed, 18, was sent to Shallcross because she was acting out at her previous school, Woodrow Wilson. By the time the tumultuous teen hit the 10th grade, she was infamous for disrespecting her teachers, fighting and throwing paper balls in class. Reed says her friends constantly urged her to misbehave. And she gladly obliged. “I felt as though I was the class clown,” she says. “The class used to laugh with me, but I soon realized that they were just laughing at me.” When it became clear that Reed couldn’t make it in a traditional...
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From G to Gent

Jamal Nasir was 15 the first time he sold drugs. It was an easy choice for the gullible teenager: As a Baltimore high school student in the late ’80s, he watched many of his peers arrive at school sporting flashy clothes, showcasing new cars and brandishing huge wads of cash. “It was eye-catching,” says Nasir, who lives in North Philadelphia. “These guys had all the girls and made the football and basketball players seem obsolete. I wanted to be part of the team.” Being a player on the drug-dealing team was as easy back then as it is today: Nasir and a friend were recruited and given a package of crack along with instructions to bring back half the money they made. “I would go out there on the corner and within 20 minutes that stuff would be gone,” he says. Before long, the teen had enough cash rolling in to keep him hooked in the lifestyle. But the game has a way of...
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