Children living at Drueding Center/Project Rainbow, a transitional housing program, lent a helping hand on the 15th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. On January 18, 2010 from 10AM-12PM, the legacy of Dr. King was celebrated by local community members teaming up with children at the Bernard J. Drueding, Jr. Community Center to fill care packages for US troops overseas, including a handmade craft project and card from each child to brighten the day for our heroes. Even the youngest children participated with infants contributing hand prints, and older children painting and writing letters. The Center’s preschool class put on a play called “The Story of the Bus,” depicting Rosa Parks’ famous act, and nine-year old Za’hir Pierce recited King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“The children and their families have been given a leg up on self-sufficiency while at the Drueding Center/Project Rainbow,” said Anne Marie Collins, executive director. “They wanted to give back on the day of service. The care packages were very personal, with a little bit of each child included in them.”
The Drueding MLK Day of Service was held at 1325 N Lawrence St. Volunteers from Morgan Stanley, Lincoln University, AKA Sorority, the Art Institute, USS Sovereign, and the Willow Grove Naval Air Base all participated. “This was a great way for us to be involved,” said Petty Officer, Second Class Paolo Flores, who brought 17 colleagues with him from Willow Grove. “Many of us have been deployed overseas, so we knew what would be most appreciated by the troops. And, doing this project with kids was an extra bonus.” Flores and his group collected supplies for the care packages for two weeks prior to the event.
“It makes us feel good to give back,” said Caitlin Sperranzza of Morgan Stanley, who brought 13 people with her to volunteer. Sperranzza and her group have previously helped with Drueding Center/Project Rainbow’s holiday party and held a diaper drive to help the parents. “We volunteer at least once a month; we like to work together to help those less fortunate.” Many of the Morgan Stanley volunteers were reading to children long after the MLK activities were completed.
Drueding Center/Project Rainbow provides transitional housing and comprehensive support services including early childhood education, tutoring, life skills and counseling for mothers and children in South Kensington to develop two generations of self-reliant adults. Drueding Center/Project Rainbow serves the most vulnerable, helping them to heal and recover the dignity of standing on their own feet. The program is unique in the length of time it assists these families—up to seven years after they leave the Center—and in the breadth of its programs. As part of the Holy Redeemer Health System, Drueding Center is a stable not-for-profit organization, administratively sound and able to focus on long-term results.