City Year Greater Philadelphia recently painted a Frankford High School gym, and the volunteers received a big boost from the Rotary Club of Frankford-Northeast.
The rotary club presented the agency with a Visa debit card worth $540.
Thuy Le and Donna Herring accepted the donation at the rotary club’s March 12 meeting. They used the gift to buy paint, rollers and T-shirts for student participants.
Frankford’s third-floor gym was dark, and the paint was peeling. It got a much-needed paint job from March 25-27, when the school was closed for spring break. City Year members were joined by more than 40 students, including members of the school’s ROTC. The paint job included murals with inspirational sayings.
Fifteen City Year representatives are assigned to Frankford this school year. It’s the second year in a row that the organization has been at Frankford.
The City Year members focus their attention on the ABCs — attendance, behavior and course performance. They work with students, usually freshmen, who are struggling academically, have poor attendance records and have been suspended. They offer assistance inside and outside the classroom and provide after-school tutoring.
The national education-based nonprofit group has a presence in 20 schools in the Philadelphia area.
Meanwhile, the guest speaker at the March 12 meeting was Jared Solomon, a lawyer and U.S. Army Reserve member who is president of the Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association.
Solomon explained that his civic group attracts about 50 people to its monthly meetings. The group focuses on the 19111 and 19149 ZIP codes in the Castor Gardens area.
The civic leader told the crowd that his group addresses problems head on. When a member complained about dog dirt on his property, Solomon spoke to the pet’s owner. When members complained about problems with students at Gilbert Spruance Elementary School, civic leaders contacted the principal and a 2nd Police District supervisor.
Take Back Your Neighborhood has established a youth basketball league, a flower-arranging class and a knitting club. A community garden is planned this spring for the grounds outside Max Myers Playground.
The group collected 500 signatures in a successful campaign to get the city to place trash cans along the Castor Avenue and Bustleton Avenue commercial corridors. It also holds regular summer cleanups.
“The streets look better,” Solomon said.
Also, the group would like to help bring new equipment to Max Myers.
“I don’t think the place has been touched since the ’70s,” Solomon said.
The rotary members hope the spirit of Take Back Your Neighborhood spreads across the Northeast.
“We need more Jareds,” said member Margaret Kelly, Holy Family University’s rotary representative.
The Rotary Club of Frankford-Northeast meets every Tuesday for lunch from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. at Cannstatter’s, at 9130 Academy Road. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org