Pottstown, PA — Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Speech Communication students at the West Campus have taken their interpersonal team-building skills outside of the classroom as part of a variety of community service projects.
Instructor Meredith Frank began the community service projects in her Speech Communication 110 sections in the spring semester to meet the new civic engagement component of the course. Each class was broken into teams and tasked with creating a proposal for a community service project, outlining the specifics and how their team would work together to complete it.
“They started [by] figuring out how to solve a problem,” Frank said. “Then they gave a speech to persuade. Then they do the service, and then present it again.”
Some speeches were so persuasive – particularly a team leading an MCCC campus beautification project – that other students donated their time or money to help.
Devising a community service project that students are “passionate” about is key.
“Pick something that you’re really passionate about,” Frank said. “From there, find that passion and find an organization that’s either at Montco or close to it.”
Tayla Haulcy-Clark said her group focused on the environment and planted flowers around South Hall at MCCC’s West Campus. Her group also added more colorful flowers to a 9/11 memorial and spruced up plantings in a flowerbed honoring biology professor Marie Richard-Yates, who died in 2009.
“We were trying to figure out – how can we get our hands dirty and really be involved?”
Haulcy-Clark, a MCCC sophomore studying communication, said the assignment allowed her to get to know her peers better.
“It gave our whole entire class a sense of community within the class,” she said. “It kind of made us more of a family. It’s a great idea to take ourselves out of ourselves and view things differently.”
Team leader Taylor DiLanzo and her group took on a candy-selling fundraiser to benefit the Cancer Center at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. The group set up a table outside of the West End Café in South Hall, as well as at Earth Day and Spring Fling activities, raising more than $500.
While candy is admittedly “easy to sell,” said DiLanzo, a general studies student and aspiring nurse, it can be difficult to get the attention of would-be buyers.
“You have to get creative,” she said, adding that the team played music the first day and used colorful bins during other sales. “It kind of draws people’s attention.”
DiLanzo said the project has taught her how to work with different types of people. And, most importantly, “if you want to be successful, you have to put yourself out there.”
Nom Prophets was formed in November of this year and is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Nom Prophets has a 6-person Board of Directors who work with Julia towards this goal.
Julia wants to give back for all the help she received along the way. Being homeless and lacking job skills is a vicious cycle. Unless someone takes a chance on hiring you, many doors are closed. Without a job, you cannot afford basic necessities like food and shelter. Without a permanent residence, it is hard to get a job.
As Julia pointed out in our interview, there are jobs in the food industry and with some training and experience those jobs can be had.
This new venture is an extension of what Julia has been doing for the last several years serving meals to the poor/homeless and helping in shelters. Julia’s ultimate goal is to expand on those kinds of services through the use of food in the general area of food and food services. Pottstown residents may remember the meals at Washington Street Park, for example.
The short-range goal is to buy a food truck through fundraising. It would either be new or a retrofitted truck, depending on the results of the fundraising. Zion hopes they can get a food truck operational by the summer.
By going out and using the food truck she hopes to fund the nonprofit. The food truck will also enable Nom Prophets serve the poor in parks, churches and or shelters. Food trucks are certified and inspected kitchens which guarantee food safety and permit issues (in many cases).
There are several ways Nom Prophets is trying to raise money. They are selling homemade salsa, which you can buy at iCreate Café, 130 King Street, Pottstown and Daniel’s Produce and Dairy at 219 High Street, Pottstown. They also hope to have gift baskets available in the near future.
Nom Prophets is scouting other locations, in the Berks County area, to sell their salsa and gift baskets. If your business or organization would like to stock these items, you can contact Nom Prophets. They would be glad to work with you!
Having experienced homelessness herself, Julia feels people need compassion, stability and a self-esteem boost. Being poor, disadvantaged and/or homeless is demoralizing. The shelter system is temporary and there is no sense of stability. This causes anxiety and low self-esteem.
Julia found a new sense of self-worth and happiness once she was gainfully employed and had her own place to live. She wants to help others find their way out of homelessness and poverty so they can lead full, productive and happy lives. After all, we are talking about human beings. Human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
The common misconception is that people in these circumstances do not want to work and are lazy. The problem is without job skills, and in many cases experience, you are unemployable. You cannot be self-supporting on minimum wage. Without skills you cannot get a better paying job.
Another employment barrier is the cost of obtaining a Safe Serve certification. Having this certification helps you land a job and command more money in the food industry. However, it can cost several hundred dollars.
For many, this may not seem like much money. But if you have no money, it might as well be a million dollars. Nom Prophets wants to help people get this certification along with teaching them knife skills and giving them experience in a professional kitchen so they can apply for a get a job in the food industry that pays a living wage.
The long-range goal would be to eventually have a brick and mortar location with a professional kitchen, restaurant and housing for those in the program while they train.
You can contact Nom Prophets on Facebook if you would like to buy their products, sell their products, donate or see if there is any way you can help out by clicking https://www.facebook.com/NomProphets/
Blue Bell, Pa.—A team of 11 Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) engineering students are designing and building a hydrogen cell-powered urban concept vehicle that will allow them to compete in the “Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2016” in Detroit, Mich. this spring.
The team—MC3 Engineering INNOVA—has launched a campaign on Go Fund Me to help raise the money needed to complete the vehicle. The goal is to raise $15,000, which will be used to help purchase materials and to pay for student travel expenses to Detroit. The campaign is coordinated with MCCC’s Foundation and First Giving, making all donations tax deductible. Visit the Go Fund Me campaign online at http://www.gofundme.com/projectinnova.
The campaign builds on the $10,000 in grant funding the team has secured to date, which has allowed them to begin vehicle design. The entire project is led by students under the guidance of Associate Professor William Brownlowe.
“The designing and building of INNOVA gives our students an incredible, hands-on opportunity to engage in real-world research & development not often found at a community college,” explained Brownlowe. “The vehicle will also serve as a valuable teaching tool for future students who will be charged with modifying and improving it as an integrated part of our engineering curriculum.”
With the projected depletion of oil and natural gas resources over the next 50 years, it’s critical that engineering students become familiar with alternative fuel options today.
“Engineering students have to train for the technology they’ll be using 15 years from now, not the technology that’s available today. Alternative fuel vehicles are the future,” said Brownlowe.
INNOVA is an urban concept vehicle designed for inner city use, which means it will travel a maximum speed of 25 MPH. A small hydrogen fuel cell engine powers two small motors on the vehicle’s back tires. To compete in the Shell Eco-marathon, the vehicle must be road legal, with working headlights, windshield wipers and turn signals. When completed, Brownlowe expects INNOVA to weigh around 400 pounds. The maximum weight to compete is 500.
Malvern, PA – Each year, Hoover Financial Advisors, PC, conducts a Fall Funds for Food campaign to benefit Chester County Food Bank. Last year, HFA set a goal to raise $10,000 and actually brought in $12, 500. This year, the financial planning firm presented $15,000 to the local food bank. “With generous help from our clients, staff, vendors and colleagues, we reached our 2015 goal,” says Pete Hoover, CFP®, HFA president. “With each dollar contributed, the food bank can provide four meals or five pounds of non-perishable food.”
Chester County Food Bank stores and distributes food to more than 30 area food cupboards and 60 other meal sites and agencies at no charge. Since its inception in 2009, it has provided the equivalent of 1.7 million meals. In addition to raising money for the food bank, HFA provides sweat equity. Earlier this year, staff members worked in the kitchen at its Exton headquarters and at Charlestown Farm in Phoenixville. Last year HFA packed produce boxes and in past years, it pulled weeds and filled backpacks.
“It has been an interesting year,” notes Hoover. “Employment is up, always a good sign. Yet, there are over 70,000 households in Chester County Food Bank’s reach that do not have enough to feed their families. We are committed to helping these people, particularly as the holiday season approaches. It felt good to make our fundraising goal.”
HFA, which is headquartered on Moores Road in Malvern, was launched in 2005 by Hoover, who has been an independent financial advisor for more than 30 years. Since its inception, HFA has quadrupled in size. Employees include client relationship managers, financial planners, insurance and tax specialists, investment analyst and an information services manager. HFA selected as 2012 Small Business of the Year by Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. For more information, visit its website at petehoover.com or call 610.651.2777. To learn about Chester County Food Bank, call 610.873.6000 or go to http://www.chestercountyfoodbank.org.
Blue Bell/Pottstown , Pa – As Dr. Karen Stout officially took the helm as President and CEO of Achieving the Dream, Inc. on July 1, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) celebrates her legacy as the institution’s fourth president. That legacy is vast, and her impact, on both the institution and on individuals in the community, will reach far into the future.
The core tenant of Dr. Stout’s presidency has been her steadfast commitment to improving student access, success and completion. Under her leadership, Montgomery is recognized nationally as an Achieving the Dream Leader College for many of its student success efforts. Examples include a Minority Student Mentoring Initiative, financial literacy education, reimagined student entry and advising processes, educational planning tools, peer mentoring, and a new approach to developmental education, to name only a few.
To honor her contributions and commitment to community college students, 15 former student leaders spanning Dr. Stout’s 14-year tenure returned to Montgomery’s Central Campus in May to unveil a very special tribute: the naming of the Karen A. Stout Student Success Center. A week later, the Board of Trustees presented Dr. Stout with an honorary associate’s degree in letters during the 2015 commencement ceremony, making her an official alumna of the College. The Board also bestowed on her the title of President Emerita, effective July 1.
In addition to renaming the Student Success Center, one of the Foundation’s hallmark events—the Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience—will also bear Dr. Stout’s name in honor of her commitment to philanthropy. The annual Karen A. Stout Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience, held each spring, raises funds for women’s scholarships and programming while facilitating valuable networking opportunities for its participants.
Dr. Stout also leaves behind a personal philanthropic legacy for future MCCC students through two contributions to the Foundation’s comprehensive “Futures Rising” campaign, which raised $10.5 million in two years. She has established a Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund, which helps qualifying, Pell-eligible students pay half of the honor society membership fee, and an Endowed Scholarship Fund awarded annually to a student pursing a career in Communication.
On July 1, both Dr. Stout and Montgomery County Community College embarked on next chapter of their journeys. At the helm of Achieving the Dream, Dr. Stout has the opportunity to co-design the next generation of student success reform work alongside community college leaders from across the country. Meanwhile, Montgomery is positioned to continue growing the many seeds Dr. Stout planted during her tenure.
The Reading Viaduct Spur took another step toward reality Wednesday morning when the Philadelphia Art Commission gave the project the blessing of final approval.
The Spur is a quarter-mile arm of the viaduct that stretches between Broad Street and Callowhill Street.
Wednesday’s presentation described in detail how Phase 1 would incorporate plant material and path surface materials (think chip seal paving) into the project. It also addressed how structural elements (think bridges) would be rehabilitated; how recreational features (benches, swings, lighting) would be strategically placed on the site; how toxins (mostly railroad ballast, very little PCB presence) would be remediated; and how the entire spur would be maintained.
The Center City District is still raising money to complete the planned improvements on the first phase of the project. The group has raised about 65 percent of the $9 million it needs for the “SEPTA spur” and is pursuing a $3.5 million grant from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), according to John Struble, of Friends of the Rail Park. After the improvements are completed, the city would take over ownership of the park.
Blue Bell Pa.—To encourage and inspire students to become part of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for two-year colleges, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) President Karen A. Stout has generously pledged $30,000 to establish a Phi Theta Kappa Annual Challenge Fund through the College’s Foundation.
Phi Theta Kappa membership offers students a significant advantage when it comes to college success and completion. In fact, a recent national study reveals that PTK members in Pennsylvania have an overall success rate of 92 percent—that’s four times higher than the success rate for all of the state’s community college students.
However, despite the documented impact, only 14 percent of PTK-eligible students nationally join the organization. With a current membership fee of $60, cost is a likely barrier for many eligible students.
The Karen A. Stout Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund will support qualified students by defraying half the cost of a PTK membership, while challenging students to match the remaining cost. Students must be eligible for Pell Grant funding and PTK membership to qualify. Members of PTK must maintain a 3.5 GPA and must have completed at least 12 credits.
As a member of MCCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapters—Alpha Kappa Zeta at the Central Campus in Blue Bell or Beta Tau Lambda at the West Campus in Pottstown—students are afforded the opportunity to grow as scholars and servant leaders. By working with their peers and faculty advisors, PTK members examine real-life issues facing their communities, while gaining leadership skills through the organization’s Honors in Action programming.
For example, this year’s PTK chapters collected more than 500 pairs of shoes for the community organization In Ian’s Boots; cleaned up a portion of the Schuylkill River; and partnered with Theatre Horizon and the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center in Norristown on a community education/public art project. In addition, both of MCCC’s chapters achieved the distinction of Five Star Status—the highest level of national recognition possible—for progressing through the organization’s Five Star Chapter Development Plan.
PTK members also have access to exclusive transfer scholarship information and opportunities, which will help them continue their education after graduating from MCCC.
The Karen A. Stout Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund is part of the Foundation’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Futures Rising: The Campaign for Montgomery County Community College,” which looks to raise $9 million for student scholarships. To learn more or to get involved, visit http://www.mc3.edu/futures.
ArtsQuest’s Cupcake Bowl is the definition of a “sweet Saturday.”
The annual fundraising event brings together bakeries from around the area for a day of sampling.
The 2014 event will be held 12:30-2:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way in Bethlehem.
According to a news release, ticket sales have opened. Buy a ticket at artsquest.org or call 610-332-3378. Tickets cost $30, $25 for ArtsQuest members. Proceeds from the event will go to ArtsQuest’s Arts Education Programming Fund.
POTTSTOWN, PA — The primary cost for putting on the Halloween Parade each year, according to organizers, is the roughly $5,000 cost of paying the police for crowd control.
Currently, a fund-raising drive is underway to ensure there is enough money in the kitty to pay that cost for the Oct. 22 event.
But there may be another way to drive the cost down.
During a meeting of the Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee, Upper Pottsgrove Township Commissioners Chairman Elwood Taylor had a suggestions: “what if police from surrounding towns helped on the night of the parade?”
It was a wonderful day for the Hoover Financial Advisors staff. Employees donated a day of service to work at the Food Bank’s new location on Pennsylvania Drive in Exton. Splitting into two shifts, the group repackaged vegetable, including onions, lettuce, beets, celery and cabbage. HFA adopted Chester County Food Bank as its charity of record last year. The Malvern-based financial planning company will hold a fundraising campaign this fall.
“Hoover Financial Advisors is a terrific asset to the efforts of the Chester County Food through its support in three-fold giving with food donations, monetary support and volunteering,” says Phoebe Kitson-Davis, manager for Agency and Community Partnerships. “HFA has hosted fund drives amongst its clients to strengthen giving for the Food Bank, packed food boxes in our warehouse, helped in our farm fields and held food drives. We are very appreciative. Hoover Financial Advisors is a true ambassador of the Chester County Food Bank.”
NORRISTOWN, PA — The Elmwood Park Zoo announced the passing of Cali (pronounced “kah-lee”), an 18-year-old female jaguar, on Wednesday. She had been receiving chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with lymphoma in the fall of 2013. Zoo staff witnessed a substantial decline in Cali’s condition and made the decision to euthanize her Wednesday morning.
The jaguar, named after the Hindu Goddess Kali and whose name means “the black one,” was unlike typical spotted jaguars. Cali’s unique black coat was caused by melanism, a common condition among felines that is caused by an excess of the black pigment, melanin.
Cali was born at the Marion Nature Park in Ocala, Fla. on Sept. 19, 1995. She arrived at the Elmwood Park Zoo on Jan. 1, 1996. Cali was paired with Anasazi, Elmwood Park Zoo’s 2-year-old spotted male jaguar.
POTTSTOWN — After two consecutive years of being unable to raise enough money to pay for Fourth of July fireworks, the committee in charge of Independence Day events recognized that they needed some help.
On Thursday, they got some from the Leadership TriCounty Class of 2014, a project of the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce.
A team made up of Joyce Bagiraneza from Valley Forge Casino Resort; Rebecca Hobbs from O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei and Carrie Makoid of Barry Isett & Associates took on the challenge of revitalizing the Fourth of July Committee.
The leadership class teaches team-building through 10-month projects that have specific goals for local nonprofits. When the teams “graduate,” they present findings of their work to the nonprofits.
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski plans to drop out of the race for Pennsylvania governor, according to a source.
Pawlowski, a Democrat who had been seeking to challenge Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, will withdraw from the race Monday and endorse Treasurer Rob McCord, the source said.
Mike Fleck, Pawlowski’s campaign manager, declined to comment except to say Pawlowski would hold a news conference 11 a.m. Monday to discuss the governor’s race.
Pawlowski did not immediately respond to a phone call for comment tonight.
Penn State is seeing a boom in the number of undergraduate applications for admission in the next academic year.
As of Monday, the university had received almost 46,000 applications from prospective baccalaureate students, a figure that is more than 7,500 ahead of the number of applications received at this time last year. The count is more in line with the number of applications received at this time in 2010 and 2011.
From this applicant pool, the university has made 11,000 offers.
When chef Kevin Sousa last year announced plans to open a fourth restaurant in Braddock, one of the Pittsburgh area’s poorest boroughs, it was big news. Not only would the high-end destination eatery in the 1929 Couda Building give Pittsburghers one more place to enjoy Mr. Sousa’s award-winning modern cuisine, but it also would bring much-needed life to a town all but left for dead.
Then reality set in.
While various grants from the county and Heritage Community Initiatives were to raise upwards of $300,000 for renovations, the dilapidated structure at the corner of Eighth and Braddock avenues would end up needing way more resources. Too many dollars, in fact, to make the ambitious project feasible. Magarac — as the restaurant was to be named after the imaginary Croatian steelmaking folk hero — was about to be history before it even got started.
Without rich investors or bankers willing to take a chance, Mr. Sousa had to change direction this fall to keep his dream alive. First up was finding a new building that would prove cheaper, quicker and easier to build out. Second was coming up with a creative source of financing to pay for it.
With Mayor John Fetterman’s help, he’s hoping to hit on both cylinders.
The rift between Mohnton‘s fire crew and the social club that oversees it was years in the making.
But the catalyst, both sides agree, was a dispute over the Friendship Fire Company No. 2 of Mohnton’s stand selling waffles and ice cream at Gov. Mifflin Community Days.
The fire crew and social club clashed over where fundraising proceeds should go and who should be allowed to volunteer at the stand. Simmering tensions between the two factions boiled over, leading to the first of back-to-back suspensions of Fire Chief Allen Detwiler.
Now Detwiler and his volunteer engine crew are asking borough government to separate the department and social club.
POTTSTOWN, PA — With civic groups working to make Pottstown “the place to be” for Halloween, it would be remiss not to mention the event that got it all started — the Halloween Parade.
As Halloween-parade lovers may recall, last year’s parade almost didn’t happen when it was revealed that the organizers did not have the fee waiver they thought they had from borough council.
Council eventually agreed to pay half the fee for police overtime services to $2,500, but it was a scramble to come up with the money.
Dick Frantz is the Pottstown Rotary Club’s point man on parade matters and he said the club, which co-sponsors the parade with the Pottstown AMBUCS, hopes to avoid that last minute scramble this year.
TriCounty Community Network and the Sunnybrook Foundation invite you to join a new committee to develop a large-scale fundraising gala to support local nonprofits.
Wednesday, August 14th, 10:00am – 11:30am
Sunnybrook Ballroom in Pottstown
Registration Required. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will announce on Tuesday its biggest gift ever: $50 million toward the $425 million cost of an outpatient center rising on the institution’s University City campus.
The Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care, named for a family that owns a Fort Washington financial-services firm, will become the hub for complex outpatient care in the hospital’s network in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The donation is part of a $100 million capital campaign to help pay for the facility, expected to open in 2015. Remaining costs will be paid through additional philanthropy and money from operations.
Spearheading the family’s gift was Reid Buerger, who said his view of Children’s, frequently ranked among the best of its kind nationally, took on deeper significance when he was looking forward to fatherhood several years ago.