High Temps, High Crime by Erica Cuellar

High Temps, High Crime by Erica Cuellar

No sweaters, today just sweat. Sweat, as a drastic change in temperatures alleviates us from the bizarre temperatures that we have experienced this winter. One 60-degree day not too long ago there were two shootings near my home in Philly. What I find strange is that the same morning I was asked by five policemen, if I knew if a certain man lived two houses down, as they showed me a picture of him. Considering these events I was prompted to do some research about the correlation between warmer temperatures and crime. According to criminologists, crime is stimulated when three factors are present including an offender, a target, and the absence of a guardian protecting or preventing the crime from happening. Summer is a time for vacations, long days out, open...

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Charter Schools by Ashleigh Bynum

As the native of a mid-size Virginian suburb, where the public school system is fairly well funded and generally thriving, moving to Philadelphia and hearing my neighbors’ concern for the public schools in our community was alarming.  It took me a long time to figure out exactly what a charter school was, let alone why there would be any concern surrounding their existence. The concept of a publicly funded school that operates independently from the public school system was completely foreign to me. Thankfully, through lots of conversations with my neighbors, those who have children in public schools and those whose children attend charter schools, and a recent open house I attended at a charter school in North Philadelphia, I have a better understanding of the...

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The Common Place by Ashleigh Bynum

This semester, in our community development courses, we’ve talked a lot about neighborhood revitalization and what it means for urban neighborhoods to mobilize communities to become what they hope to be. In those conversations, we’ve also talked about what it means for suburban churches to come alongside and be a part of the community’s revitalization. This week I was introduced to a project taking part in Southwest Philadelphia, where a suburban church, Wayne Presbyterian, is partnering with the community to make an impact on education and youth development. The Common Place is an initiative sponsored by Wayne Presbyterian Church to renovate the New Spirit Presbyterian church-building. They plan to use the space as a faith-based educational outreach...

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Rachel Ong by Ashleigh Bynum

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’d like to highlight a woman who I had the opportunity to meet last week at Women’s Conference in Virginia. Rachel Ong, is the founder and Chief Executive of ROHEI, which is a learning and development consultancy in Singapore, China. She is also Chair on the board of Every Nation Ministry USA and Trybe, a youth development organization that offers training programs in character development. While her resume’ is quite impressive, her down to earth attitude and passion for Christ is what most impressed me about Rachel. While the conference’s theme was about excellence and being a light wherever we find ourselves, Rachel’s message inspired me to be excellent in Christ and my pursuit of Him. Her testimony was not...

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Community Events that Reconcile by Katherine Hargrove

Bringing a community together is a difficult task.  Isolation into interest groups, busy schedules, and routine keeps many people from really experiencing the community.  Even community events are often targeted at certain interest groups, socioeconomic levels, or ages.  My neighborhood has one street that separates the community with the highest poverty rate from the community with the lowest in our city.  Bringing both sides of the neighborhood together is a feat that has caused many good ideas of programs and events to crash and burn in practice.  Our women’s exercise group is exclusively a higher economic class.  Our youth programming is almost exclusively working class, with parents from wealthier families reporting they wouldn’t want their kids...

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An “In and Out” Neighborhood by Katherine Hargrove

An “In and Out” Neighborhood by Katherine Hargrove

I recently happened upon a New York Times article containing an interactive map documenting likelihood of a child rising out of poverty within communities across the US.  The percentages across the US were pretty dismal, and one of the attributing factors to this lack of mobility was the ecological factors that lend to being “stuck“ in poverty.  I have lived in a few low—income neighborhoods, and the question is always the same: “How do people move “up and out?” After saying goodbye to another family this past week in my neighborhood and finding out three more will follow at the close of the school year, I have to say that my “in and out” neighborhood is heartbreaking.  As soon as I build a relationship with a family, it seems...

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