The STRIVE Initiative & The JT Dorsey Foundation present “Go For The Goal” an inspirational song and video created by mentors and students to highlight the importance of setting goals and achieving them! Along the process we documented not only the video but also the journey and how the students along with the mentors collaborated to create a masterpiece of expression! Please Share & Donate @http://fundly.com/go-for-the-goalto help us continue youth development! #goforthegoalpa
To learn more click on their website: http://striveinitiative.org/
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/
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.
Editor’s note: The difference is that when Norristown searches for new employees, they actually hire the best qualified people instead of just moving people up and perpetuating the same bad policies like Pottstown (under the guise that Pottstown is so complicated nobody could come in and “figure it out” in less than a couple years). Sorry, new ideas are needed. Congrats to Norristown for being proactive and embracing change. Apparently, it’s working!
Pottstown and Norristown are the two largest urban areas in Montgomery County and share many of the same challenges, particularly when it comes to crime.
In the wake of the wave of violence in Pottstown which culminated in last month’s arrests of more than 30 people involved in an apparent gang war, a community meeting about crime was held recently in Norristown that focused on what police and authorities are doing now, and how citizens can help.
Norristown Police Chief Mark Talbot Sr. has been asking that question since he took over leadership of that department two years ago, and he’s starting to see answers get results.
In the last two years, major crimes in Norristown have dropped by 20 percent.
Salvation sits just across the railroad tracks from Alex Bodnar’s Hungarian restaurant on Second Avenue in Hazelwood.
It doesn’t look like much now, just acres and acres of vacant land, graded but idle. But the redevelopment potential of the 178-acre site has raised the hopes of the struggling city neighborhood.
“The good Lord is answering my prayer,” Mr. Bodnar beamed as he stood in the kitchen of his restaurant preparing a bowl of goulash.
For much of the last century, the Monongahela riverfront site has been closely tied to the neighborhood’s fortunes. For decades, the massive coke works that dominated the land brought prosperity. Jobs were plentiful and Second Avenue teemed with grocery stores, shops and restaurants.
Pottstown, Pa.—The TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, recently donated $10,000, as part of the foundation’s commitment to giving back to the community, to Montgomery County Community College in support of its G-STEM (Green Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) summer program.
MCCC launched the G-STEM program in 2011 as the result of an initial $10,000 grant received from the TD Charitable Foundation. Since its inception, approximately 70 middle school students have attended the science program taught at the MCCC’s West Campus in Pottstown. Because of the ongoing generous support of the TD Charitable Foundation, MCCC can offer this program again for the fifth consecutive year.
For 2015, the G-STEM program will be expanded to include 25 students in middle school through ninth grade from Norristown, as well as the Pottstown region at no cost to the participants. The program will be held at West Campus in Pottstown June 25, 26, 29, 30 and July 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday with a scientific presentation of work and award ceremony on the last day.
“Thanks to the TD Charitable Foundation’s ongoing, generous commitment, students will have the opportunity to learn the basic concepts of scientific methodology and data analysis through hands-on activities and will leave camp with a thorough understanding how the scientific process works, specifically as applied to environmental issues and stewardship,” said Dr. David DiMattio, MCCC’s Dean of STEM.
The program’s goals are to improve students’ understanding of science and the environment and to help prepare students for the academic rigor of their high school science curriculum. The program will help a diverse population of underserved students in the Pottstown and Norristown areas.
MCCC offers nationally recognized, competitive STEM transfer programs, in addition to career-track and certification programs. Students receive an affordable, high-caliber education that enables them to reach their goals, including seamless transfer into one of the College’s many partner institutions or entry into the workforce. For more information about the College’s STEM programs, visit http://www.mc3.edu.
A staunch commitment to active involvement in the local community is a vital element of the TD Bank philosophy. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank® and the TD Charitable Foundation provide support to affordable housing, financial literacy and education, and environmental initiatives, many of which focus on improving the welfare of children and families.
About the TD Charitable Foundation
The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank N.A., which operates as TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, and is one of the 10 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States. The Foundation’s mission is to serve the individuals, families and businesses in all the communities where TD Bank operates, having made more than $135.8 million in charitable donations since its inception in 2002. The Foundation’s areas of focus are affordable housing, financial literacy and education, and the environment. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation, including an online grant application, is available at www.TDBank.com.
About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at approximately 1,300 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.
TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD”. To learn more, visit www.td.com.
Southwestern Pennsylvania has low unemployment, a plethora of high school and college graduates and relatively safe streets, but residents are more likely to smoke cigarettes and be overweight compared to a group other major U.S. metro areas, according to a University of Pittsburgh report released Wednesday.
The “2015 Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow Report” from Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research compared 11 quality-of-life factors in Southwestern Pennsylvania to 14 other metro areas.
Researchers found that while the region “continues to be a national model for economic recovery and public safety, the region still has major deficiencies in overcoming issues related to the environment, infrastructure, public health, and other matters that are key to the quality of life for most Americans.”
Editor’s note: Alas, Pottstown leadership doesn’t seem to get this concept. Two thumbs up to Norristown leadership for being proactive and thinking outside of the box. We like what we are seeing.
NORRISTOWN, PA – Police are called with increasing frequency for complaints about a homeless man with mental health issues. A boy who lives in a household familiar to authorities for domestic issues has started skipping school and breaking curfew. An unemployed mother of three with no previous criminal record is arrested for drug possession.
These are examples of bad situations that many law enforcement officials agree often get worse.
But what if that was not necessarily the case? What if police and other public health and safety professionals collaborated on these cases using a comprehensive strategy that enabled them to mitigate risk factors and intervene to address small infractions before they snowball into larger ones, effectively reducing and preventing crime?
That is the goal of the Whole of Government concept, presented at the 2015 International Conference on Proven Collaborative Strategies for Improved Community Wellness and Safety recently held at the King of Prussia Radisson and conducted by the Penn State Justice and Safety Institute (PSJSI). The concept, which has a proven track record of success in Canada, is being implemented by a small number of forward-thinking law enforcement agencies in the U.S., including Norristown.
Perhaps the Wilkes-Barre metro area parties too much.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area ranked as the fourth-most indulgent metro in the United States by the personal finance website badcredit.org. The website used data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and credit information from Experian, a credit reporting bureau, to analyze how indulgent residents are in 105 metro areas.
They looked at the obesity rate, alcohol consumption, number of smokers and the average consumer debt to determine the most indulgent metros. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro came in at No. 4
■ 7.8 percent of residents claiming to be heavy drinkers.
■ 21.5 percent who say they smoke everyday.
■ An obesity rate of 31.9 percent.
■ $28,974 in average consumer debt.
To John Kromer the city’s persistent poverty is best tackled at the neighborhood level. In a four-part series of commentaries Kromer, an urban housing and development consultant and former city housing director, will explore different policy interventions the next administration can deploy to reduce poverty, stabilize neighborhoods, and finance anti-blight work. Kromer lays the foundation with this first installment:
Mayoral and City Council candidates rarely have to take strong positions on neighborhood issues because other topics, such as taxes, crime, schools, and drugs, are more likely to attract voter interest when presented in a citywide, rather than neighborhood-specific context. Given all the demands of a hectic campaign season, most candidates don’t bother to bring forward substantive proposals for improving the condition of Philadelphia neighborhoods until after the elections.
The lower-priority status of neighborhoods as a campaign issue is particularly unfortunate, because the city’s biggest problem—the persistently high level of poverty in Philadelphia—can only be solved at the neighborhood level.
Organizing a neighborhoods policy that can be effective in reducing poverty levels is doable but complicated. Doing so requires thinking about existing strengths and weaknesses and future opportunities in a new way and seeking to obtain political buy-in for a new approach immediately. Advocates for fundamental policy changes can’t afford to wait until after the inauguration ceremony, after the appointment of planning and development officials, and after the presentation of the new administration’s first budget. Anyone who’s serious about planning to significantly reduce poverty during the next city administration needs to begin now.
When Philadelphia’s murder total fell to a historic low in 2013, officials believed it was no fluke.
Now, with 2014 at the same rate – and other violence also down – experts say the city is indeed getting safer.
With 248 slain, the toll is one above last year’s – and a 25 percent drop from 2012. But statistics show police in 2014 solved fewer killings than in 2013.
Overall, violent crime fell 7 percent.
It was grim news Tuesday as a flurry of reports showed that Luzerne County’s middle class is shrinking while the wealthiest get richer with nearly one third of children under 18 live in poverty.
Data show while the unemployment rate has dropped substantially both nationally and locally, the poverty rate has not seen a corresponding drop.
If there was a silver lining in the data put out by three different sources, it may be that Luzerne and Lackawanna counties have lower rates of uninsured children than the state.
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children — which bills itself as a nonprofit and non-partisan child advocacy group — issued its annual “State of Children’s Health Care” report, which showed that the percentage of children lacking health insurance statewide dipped slightly since last year’s report, from 5.3 percent to 5.2 percent.
On a wooden table in Gregg Hardy’s kitchen are a handful of cherry tomatoes.
They come from the garden behind his East Walnut Street home that his wife tends, caring for fish in a small pond and cultivating an orange tree, where a single unripe fruit hung one day in August.
While she will spend a day coaxing flowers to grow, Hardy focuses his own labor on the interior — putting in bathrooms, widening door frames and shaping cabinets.
He bought his home for $15,000 in 2003, property records show. He said he put $20 down on it, and spent several years driving down from New York on weekends to fix it up. He is now entrenched in a neighborhood he believes has remade itself into an area families can call home.
NORRISTOWN — An urban planning class presented the results of a study of food availability in Norristown to council Tuesday that included targeted recommendations.
Jennifer Krouchick, a Temple University student in the urban planning studio class taught by Professor Deborah Howe, said that Norristown is a car-dependent municipality for large food shopping but had also notched a 74 percent score in “walkability.”
Of Norristown’s 34,324 residents, 19.3 live below the poverty line, according to recent demographics. In addition, 2,484 of Norristown’s 13,058 households receive federal food assistance through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
A resident group helped the students shape the food study during a task force meeting in January, Krouchick said. A community workshop was held in April allowing residents to explain what food issues were important to them.
Editor’s note: I hope folks from the Pottstown School District follow this story. It’s a smaller version of Pottstown with many of the same issues!
Columbia’s public schools will reopen in late August, reverberating again with the clamor of children.
But overshadowing the back-to-school routine will be difficult questions.
Columbia is a tiny, high-poverty school district struggling to prepare kids for our fast-changing, technology-driven world.
The single-municipality district has the weakest tax base in Lancaster County and the second-highest proportion of needy children. Its taxes are the county’s highest and salaries the lowest. It has too many dropouts. Test scores are abysmal.
Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College student and community leader Ryan Bergman, Collegeville, is among an elite group of students in the country to earn the 2014 Newman Civic Fellow Award from Campus Compact.
The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors college student leaders nationwide who inspire others and have worked to find solutions for challenges facing the community. According to the organization’s website, through service, research, and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.
A Social Sciences major concentrating in Psychology, Bergman dedicates his service efforts to eradicating poverty and homelessness both on local and national levels. Selected as a Scholar for Community Service at MCCC for the 2013-14 academic year, Bergman used the opportunity to strengthen the College’s relationship with the Montgomery County chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Habitat ReStore.
“Ryan’s commitment and dedication to issues of homelessness and poverty have assisted in raising student awareness about Habitat for Humanity and ways to individually support the work being done within the County,” shared MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout in her letter of recommendation to Campus Compact.
Bergman chartered and serves as president of MCCC’s Habitat Club, whose members support ongoing volunteer dates at Habitat build-sites throughout the year. He also served as co-leader at the Habitat ReStore site in January during a college-wide day of service and again in March during spring break.
“Our goal for this new club is to show the importance of improving our community and lending a helping hand whenever needed,” explained Bergman.
In addition to his work locally, Bergman is a two-time participant in MCCC’s Alternative Spring Break program. In 2013, he traveled with students to West Virginia to build houses with Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge, and in 2014, they volunteered at The Samaritan Woman in Baltimore, Md., a transitional residence program for victims of human trafficking.
An electrician by trade, it was Bergman’s job that first brought him to MCCC when his company was contracted to do electrical work on the College’s new Children’s Center. While working on the Center, Bergman began to fall out of love with his career choice, especially as he noticed students around his age walking to and from class.
“They all seemed full of life and motivated,” he shared.
When the company for which he was working closed two years later, Bergman enrolled in College’s Engineering Technology program, but soon switched to Social Sciences. He also got heavily involved in service work through the College’s Office of Student Leadership & Involvement, where he is a work-study student.
“I juggle my busy life by optimizing every moment of time; time management is crucial to excel at the college level,” he shared, adding that the work-study position enables him to “know the current happenings around campus” and participate as much as possible.
Adding to his full schedule, Bergman is also president of MCCC’s Psychology Club, performs contracting and electrical work off campus, and still finds time for basketball and weight training, as well as for saltwater fishing, longboarding and hiking.
After he graduates from MCCC, Bergman plans to continue his education in Clinical Psychology, knowing that the College prepared him for the next chapter in his life.
“I know it sounds cliché, but I have truly found a home here at Montgomery County Community College, and I hope that I can one day return to inspire other people to follow their dreams.”
Newman Civic Fellows are recommended by college and university presidents to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadership. Newman Civic Fellows awards are made in memory of Frank Newman, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform.
Editor’s note: This is a more in-depth article than the one below with some excellent graphs and charts showing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania and what the impact of raising the minimum wage would mean by county. Well worth the read!
About one in five workers in Lancaster County would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, a new study shows.
That 21 percent amounts to 49,099 workers here, according to the Keystone Research Center study.
The research is being cited by a labor and community coalition, Raise the Wage PA, which will hold a rally in Penn Square at noon Thursday.
Lancaster County rates somewhat worse than the statewide figure of 19 percent and the urban-area figure of 18 percent, says the study.
WILKES-BARRE, PA — At first, it sounds like a good new, bad news sort of thing.
The good news: According to a new report, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would help 21 percent of the Luzerne County workforce get better pay.
The bad news: One fifth of Luzerne County workers earn below or near the proposed new minimum of $10.10 an hour.
The numbers come from “Living on the Edge: Where Very Low-wage Workers Live in Pennsylvania,” issued by the Keystone Research Center this week. As part of a push to get Harrisburg to consider increasing the minimum, rallies were held around the state Thursday, including one on Wilkes-Barre’s Public Square.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is looking to spur manufacturing, help poor residents open bank accounts and offer free Internet in the City-County Building, according to a report on his administration’s first 100 days.
Peduto reiterated many of the initiatives he has touted since taking office Jan. 6, but he also offered a glimpse of what he is planning among the 63 accomplishments and ideas listed in the 13-page report.
“While we have accomplished a lot in our first 100 days, we have a long way to go to realize our potential as a city poised for greatness,” Peduto said in a statement.
The mayor was in Ontario, Canada, on Monday and Tuesday attending an international bicycle summit.