ABOVE PHOTO: Some of the proud awardees with their trophies and supporters. (Photos by Mr. Shorty)
By Veronica Norris
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Support Community Outreach Program (SCOP) had to adhere to Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in order to proceed with its annual Youth Image Awards celebration, and on Saturday, June 27, we did! I learned a long time ago there is no “I” in “TEAM.”
The organization was ecstatic when the owners of Relish restaurant in West Oak Lane, management members, Ms. Taliah Watson, Ms. Zoe, and the staff were on board to host SCOP’s 6th Annual Youth Image Awards after it made these adjustments.
The Support Community Outreach Program (SCOP) aims to promote safety and well-being for children, youth, and families in Philadelphia by supporting extracurricular community programming. SCOP understands that family and community connections are crucial for childhood development programming via a network of grassroots community-based organizations.
The program fund enhances the capabilities of neighborhoods to support families, strengthen community relationships and more effectively meet the changing needs of children and youth in the City of Philadelphia.
Relish — one of Philadelphia’s most popular Black-owned restaurants — has been serving the West Oak Lane community and beyond since 2009. It is a part of “Philadelphia’s rich Black culture, heritage and history” according to visitphilly.com.
Relish is one of four restaurants owned by brothers Robert and Benjamin Bynum. Like Warmdaddy’s, South and Green Soul, the restaurant is rooted in Southern cuisine, which is good for the heart and music for the soul.
Under normal circumstances, diners can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in performances from some of Philly’s best artists. However, we are all continuing to adjust, navigate and feel the impact of the crisis as we attempt to steer back to that normalcy.
According to the Billy Penn newsletter, Gov.Tom Wolf commented, “I am proud of my Northwest Philly neighborhood, and love the way the Bynum’s run restaurants.”
I am incredibly happy to report that the Drive-By Celebration in the parking lot of the Relish restaurant was a great success.
The mural of fantastic accomplished musicians located on the side wall facing Ogontz Avenue only added to the enhancement of the 102 youth awardees from all over the City of Philadelphia.
Each awardee were presented with a 19” trophy, a pair of movie tickets (no expiration date), a $10 food concession gift card, and a Certificate of Congratulations signed by one of the administrators of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services for their SCOP contributions of community engagement, leadership, academic achievement, overcoming obstacles and year-long acts of kindness for the sake of humanities.
Not only did SCOP funding provide all of the goodies mentioned above, it also included a fabulous Relish curbside dinner. iron skillet buttermilk fried chicken, smoked turkey collard greens, rice pilaf, or herb roasted chicken, smoked turkey collard greens and cabbage, rice pilaf or an Einstein vegetarian pasta.
The ultimate dessert offering was a slice of citrus glazed lemon pound cake topped with a strawberry and a spritz of whipped cream. The youths and their guests were given times to participate, wearing mandatory masks throughout the event.
DJ Clean cuts was so dynamic in delivery of an array of great music from his playlist, that the spirits were indeed uplifted. The Star-Spangled Banner and the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” was performed by Jadon Heath.
Jadon — a two-time local NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medalist in the Performing Arts categories of instrumental/contemporary and classical music — is hoping that his own music will bring the message of much positivity and happiness that the world needs. Jadon attends theMathematics, Civics & Sciences Charter School in Philadelphia.
His performances can be uploaded via YouTube listed below:
In turn, we were also enlightened by a powerful original essay, “I Overcame,” presented by Chloe’ Youngblood. Chloe’is in the 11th grade and graduated a year earlier this June 2020 with a 4.0 GPA. She will be attending Chestnut Hill College in this fall, majoring in political science and history. She is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, the National Rho Kappa Honor Society, and the National Society of High School Scholars. Chloe was also a 2019 NAACP ACT-SO local Silver Medalist in the Poetry-Written category.
Special thanks go out to the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS), Emmitt Brayboy, Sr., Katie Brayboy, Shonda Allen-Carter, Terri Way-Thornton, Nicole Norris-Smith, Yvette Parker, Michael Rice, Ayre Yates, Andrew Williams, Lamar, Mr. David Edmonds and the host committee.
Also, we appreciate the wonderful support The Philadelphia Sunday SUN extends to their readership on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, the SCOP program participants. and their communities.