ABOVE PHOTO: The Philadelphia Housing Authority handed out over 3,000 book bags filled with supplies to residents during its annual Back to School Jam held at the John F. Street Community Center in North Philadelphia and the Wilson Park Community Center in South Philadelphia last weekend. Shown with some of the recipients are PHA President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah (third from right) and Atif Bostic of Citizens Bank, one of several private donors to the initiative.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) helped its young residents get ready for school by handing out 3,000 book bags stuffed with school supplies on Aug.15 and 16.
“PHA is doing its part to help kids go back to school prepared to learn. The book bags and school supplies will help families in a city that has one of the highest poverty rates in the country,” said PHA President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah. “It’s important for the next generation to get a good education so they’re ready to take on the challenges presented in a complex world.”
The PHA Back to School Jam was held at two locations: the John F. Street Community Center in North Philadelphia and the Wilson Park Community Center in South Philadelphia. Two rap artists, Kur and Lee Mazin, performed at the events, emphasizing the importance of going back to school.
The agency received donations for the back to school initiative from Citizens Bank, which donated 400 book bags with supplies. PHA also received financial contributions from the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, Duvernay and Brooks, and Edgemere Consulting. President and CEO Jeremiah thanked these organizations for their contributions and partnership on this important initiative.
In addition to the book bag giveaways, PHA also awarded gift cards to youngsters who placed first, second and third in a poster contest entitled “What My Home Means to Me” Contestants had to make a drawing showing their home and family that depicts the value of their residence. All contestants were asked to provide a short narrative on the inspiration, vision, and importance of their poster design.
Khodijah Johnson, age 10, who lives at Blumberg Apartments, won first prize with his poster that depicted a split level home with a two-car garage, surrounded by trees and grass with happy people in front of it. He won a Visa gift card worth $50.
“My home is about loving each other, caring about each other and having fun, being there for one another, and always respecting each other,” Khodijah wrote. “My home is very pretty, very comfortable, an enjoyable, pleasant place to grow with my family.”
Second place in the contest went to Julius Hall, age 9, of the John F. Street Center. His poster shows a small A-frame house with stairs and grass. His prize was an iTunes gift card worth $25.
“To me, my home means loyalty, shelter, peace, comfort, and a stable place to live for me and my family,” he said in his narrative.
Jarmal Arthur, age 11, a 6th grader from Paschall Village, took third place in the contest. He drew a two-story home with a big tree, bushes, and grass and won a gift card to the movies worth $15.
“What my house means to me is warm and blessed bricks,” his narrative said. “I feel like I have a blessed house to look at and sleep in every day.”