We are quickly approaching our one year anniversary at Bok in South Philadelphia! Not only has this move been fiscally good, it has been strategically incredible! For a long time, I had believed that we should be out of Center City and back into the community . . . and Bok offered us a wonderful chance to do this and, in doing so, join an incredible hub of creative people, innovators, artists, other non-profit agencies, and so much more!
We have been able to put our experience and skills to work here as part of the Bok community. Over this past year, we provided pre-screening hiring services for both the Bok Bar (Bok’s amazing rooftop summer bar) and Humble Dumplings (the food vendor for Bok Bar). During the summer, we were able to place many of our high school students into amazing internships with many of the businesses in Bok! We had internships with furniture builders, clothing designers, a boxing gym, a Yoga studio, and much more! We culminated the summer internships with a gallery show featuring the creations of our students . . . all related to work. There were spoken word performances, drawings, paintings, fashion design, and much more!
This year, our year-round in-school program, USLA 2.0, will be focused on seniors at South Philadelphia High School. We are excited to begin programming at this vibrant school.
We are excited that our partnership with Opera Philadelphia is moving out of its pilot period and into a full program year! Through this partnership, we introduce students to careers in technical theater! One of only two such programs nationally, we are excited about what is planned for the next three years!
We are VERY happy to announce that we are the recipients of a $25,000 grant from the McLean Contributionship to help with improvements to the Community Learning Farm at 8th and Poplar! This will go towards the addition of a new barn, new fencing, improvements to the classroom area, upgrades to the high tunnel, and a new and portable farm stand – among other improvements! And, to add to this, we have a group of Temple University engineering students who are working to create a state-of-the-art rain catchment system for our high tunnel! The new, taller fencing will provide greater protection from vandalism, which has been a regular problem on the farm. Through this farm we will expand our partnership with the East Poplar Playground and its Director – Ty Gross! We will provide more farm-based educational opportunities for the children and youth that participate in programming at the playground. We are very excited about this expansion of our work. Marta Lynch, our Urban Farmer/Educator for 8th and Poplar, has done an amazing job building on this long term relationship!
We are also happy to announce a $45,000 grant from the Pierce Family Foundation. This is our third year of support from this incredible foundation – and, these funds help us maintain our farm team of Adam Lauer and Marta Lynch! We deeply appreciate the continued support of the Pierce Family Foundation!
I do continue to ask for your patience as we reconstruct this website. We were hit with a huge data loss due to issues with Hostgator, our previous host. We lost nearly a full year of updates and information. We have moved to a new host, however the damage done is unrecoverable – so, we are working to manually get everything back together. We appreciate the help of our IT team from PFit, Inc. and Rilwan Bello from our team!