Briefs: April 12, 2022

Union keeper Freese spokesman for Ardent

Ardent Credit Union, which has a branch in the Navy Yard, has signed Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Matt Freese as a spokesman for its youth financial products.

Freese, 23, who was born and raised in Delaware County, will be featured in advertisements for Ardent’s Cash and Stash accounts, which encourage members ages 13 to 26 to practice smart money management with their checking and savings.

Freese, an Ardent member, will help promote the credit union’s commitment to helping members of all ages learn to manage their money through products that reward good money habits. The member-owned financial cooperative offers online financial guidance through, which hosts fun training videos and real-world financial advice for kids and parents alike.

A graduate of Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Freese previously played for local clubs Radnor Soccer Club, SC Europa, Penn Fusion and the Philadelphia Union Academy. As a student at Harvard, he was second-team All-Ivy League by his sophomore year in 2018.

‘Today is My Birthday’ to show at Theatre Exile

Theatre Exile will open a new show on April 28 called “Today is My Birthday” by Susan Soon He Stanton.

Today is My Birthday is an eccentric comedy by award-winning screenwriter and playwright Susan Soon He Stanton that follows an out-of-work journalist named Emily, who returns home to Hawaii after her life in New York City falls apart. Feeling unfulfilled, Emily creates an alter-ego for a radio dating show in a desperate attempt to turn fantasy into reality. Told through a unique blend of live radio broadcasts, voicemails and phone calls, this topical and adventurous show highlights Emily attempting to break free from her self-imposed isolation. 

The show runs through May 22 at Theatre Exile at 1340 S. 13th St.

Apply for scholarship contest

Ardent Credit Union, which has a branch in the Navy Yard, is accepting applications for its annual scholarship contest. The member-owned financial cooperative is awarding $1,000 scholarships to 12 students pursuing undergraduate degrees beginning this fall. This is the first year that applicants will submit videos instead of essays.

To apply, candidates are asked to create a “viral-worthy” video demonstrating why they should be awarded an Ardent scholarship. This includes highlighting academic accomplishments, personal stories, community involvement and athletic and extracurricular activities. All videos must be submitted by May 6, and winners will be notified at the end of May.

Qualified applicants must be members of Ardent and either a current high school senior or a 2021 high school graduate who has been accepted to an accredited two- or four-year college, university, technical, trade or business school for the fall. Students who are not yet Ardent members, but are eligible for membership, can join before applying for the scholarship. Ardent is asking that each video be between 30 seconds and two minutes in length, while excluding any logos or copyrighted material to include music.

More information about the scholarships and the application process can be found at

Flower show tickets available

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society announced that tickets are on sale for the Philadelphia Flower Show.

The theme is In Full Bloom. The show will take place at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, 1500 Pattison Ave., from Saturday, June 11, through Sunday, June 19.

For tickets, go to

Paint & Sip for a good cause

Programs Employing People Services will host its first Paint & Sip Party Fundraiser on Sunday, May 22, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at PEP Services’ great room, 1200 S. Broad St. Buy tickets at the door for $35. Painting supplies will be provided. The event is BYOB. Proceeds benefit PEP’s services for the disabled. To reserve your seat, call 215-389-4006 or visit https://www.signupgenius.

Sign up for 68-plus softball

Philadelphia Senior Softball League needs players for its 68 and over league. The season starts Monday May 2. There will be 27 games, along with playoffs. Games are played Mondays and Fridays at 10 a.m. at Crispin Field, Holme and Convent avenues. For more information, call Marty King at 215-698-0009. 

Free trees to plant at home

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy will offer up to 850 Philadelphia residents the opportunity to receive a free tree to plant at home this fall through the TreePhilly program. Trees will be available for all city residents through two regional pick-up events and through a door-to-door delivery service for those unable to pick up a tree. 

Registration for trees opens on a rolling basis at Regional pick-up events will take place on April 23 at Awbury Arboretum in collaboration with Philly Forests and May 14 at Frankford Boat Launch in collaboration with Riverfront North. Trees are available while supplies last and pre-registration is highly encouraged. Trees must be planted in the ground on private property in the city of Philadelphia. Delivery is reserved for residents in high-risk populations and those unable to pick up a tree in their car. Tree species offered are selected to meet resident needs and desires and withstand the changing climate. The spring offerings include large shade trees alongside flowering magnolias and trees that provide fruit and medicinal products.

Evans secures $1 million in federal funding for Mann Center 

Congressman Dwight Evans (D-3rd dist.) highlighted $1 million in federal funding he secured for the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, joined by officials of the center.

“I was pleased to designate this $1 million in federal funding for the Mann Center, a major cultural and economic driver in Philadelphia, in the government funding bill that President Biden recently signed into law,” Evans said. “This will go toward the first phase of the Mann’s master plan for campus improvements, helping to support over 550 jobs during construction and creating 35 additional jobs long-term.”

Planned activities in the first phase are expected to include pavilion restoration, electrical grid expansion, rainwater management, installation of a second permanent Skyline Stage, and renovating the Plaza to increase revenue generation.

The Mann Center drives over $50.4 million in local economic impact and typically brings a total of 564 full-time and seasonal jobs and $2.3 million in tax revenue to the city. The center strives to embody Philadelphia’s diversity, with 58 percent artists of color and 45 percent minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses in its procurement. It also serves nearly 30,000 Philadelphia students through free music education and arts programming, with a focus on serving the neighboring Parkside community.

“The Mann is a cultural treasure for the City of Philadelphia and a destination not only for world-class music and performing arts but also for enriching educational and community engagement, especially for those who live in our neighborhood. These federal funds are critical to helping us realize our vision of continuing to elevate audience, artist, and community experiences on our beautiful Fairmount Park campus while also creating meaningful job opportunities,” said Catherine M. Cahill, president and CEO of the Mann. “We are incredibly grateful to Congressman Evans for his foresight to include the Mann in this funding bill and for his acknowledgement of the central role we play for the city as one of its leading cultural institutions.”

1970 Goretti reunion rescheduled for April 24

St. Maria Goretti Class of 1970’s 50 (+2) reunion will be held on April 24. Postponed because of COVID, it will be a celebration of those born in 1952 who will also turn Classy 70 this year. The event is from 1-5 p.m. with a 12:30 p.m. check-in at Penns Landing Caterers at 1301 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. For more information, check the Facebook page: St Maria Goretti Class of 1970 Philadelphia PA. Send contact information to to ensure you receive an invitation.

Toomey wants Ireland part of work visa program

U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Dick Durbin introduced bipartisan legislation to add Ireland to the E-3 non-immigrant visa program. The bill would allow Irish nationals annual access to any unused E-3 visas from the previous fiscal year. In exchange, Ireland intends to provide Americans expanded access to work visas in Ireland.

“The United States has long benefited from people coming here to work hard and contribute to our economy,” Toomey said. “With this legislation, highly skilled Irish workers can apply for the E-3 nonimmigrant visa program to continue this tradition. I appreciate Sen. Durbin working with me on this bipartisan immigration bill, which will strengthen America’s relationship with Ireland.”

The E-3 treaty professional visa is a temporary work visa currently limited to citizens of Australia. Up to 10,500 E-3 visas may be granted each year and the visas are valid for up to two years on a renewable basis. Qualifying jobs in the U.S. for which an E-3 visa may be obtained require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation.

McSwain signs education pledge

Bill McSwain, Republican candidate for governor, announced that he has signed the Education Freedom Pledge. By signing the pledge, McSwain promises to support parental rights in education and educational freedom, including the right of parents to apply their child’s taxpayer-funded education dollars to the school of their choosing, whether it be private, public, charter or homeschool.

“Education is a gateway to a better life, and every family deserves the freedom to choose the education that is best for their children. As governor, I will empower parents to have the final authority over their children’s education, and fight back against teachers union bosses in defense of students and good teachers. I am proud to sign the Education Freedom Pledge, which reflects my commitment to ensuring that every child, regardless of ZIP code, has access to an excellent education.”

As part of McSwain’s Parents Bill of Rights and Pillars of Education, he favors school choice, wants to ban critical race theory, and pledges to never accept a cent from teachers unions.

Monster Jam at the Linc

Monster Jam returns to Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, April 16.

The show starts at 7 p.m., with a pit party for fans going from 2:30 to 5:30.

At the pit party, fans can see the massive 12,000-pound trucks up close, meet their favorite drivers and crews, and take pictures.

Tickets are available at

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water St. Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner and open bar. For tickets and more information, call Arleen Liberi [609-922-2419], Maria Leati [856-287-3734] or Stephen Michielli [267-252-2740]. 

Activities at Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is hosting several current and upcoming exhibits.

Hidden Works of Nature: The Microscopic World in the Library & Archives will be on exhibit on Friday, April 15, hourly from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss will run from through July 24.

Invisible World of Water runs through May 1.

Sea Change is running indefinitely.

A Junior Scientist Workshop: How Does a River Flex its Mussels? is set for Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to noon. Examine Academy specimens and learn how the Academy is partnering around the region to restore mussel populations. Meet some baby mussels and try out a few filter feeding activities to see how hard these animals work. The workshop is for grades 3–5. For more information, fee and to register, visit

Earth Day Story Time will take place on Wednesday, April 20, from 10:15 to 11 a.m. Join in for the reading of Over and Under the Pond and then craft a special finger-painted pond to learn how animals and plants need water to survive. Recommended for ages 3-5. For fee and more information, visit

The Earth Day Festival on April 22 will take place from 4–8 p.m. and admission will be pay-what-you-wish. Visitors can celebrate life on Earth and the systems that support it with a night of fun and interesting science programming, conservation conversations and craft beer.

Access to Science Earth Day Celebration is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, from 9 to 11 a.m. Visitors on the autism spectrum and their families are invited to experience the museum before the crowds. Guests can visit the dinosaurs, dioramas and all the other exhibits at their own pace. Enjoy some quiet time with Academy educators to learn more about water conservation and how you can make the world a cleaner, greener place. Free with registration; to register, call 215-299-1060 or email For more details, visit

Kids Club: Take Action is set for Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to noon. At 10:45 a.m. authors will read their new book, Coco’s Fire: Changing Climate Anxiety into Climate Action. The reading will be followed by a discussion. The event is designed for ages 6–10. Register at

A Junior Scientist Workshop: What’s So Mighty About a Diatom? will take place on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to noon. Discover how diatoms have inspired scientists to invent special tools and create art, then take home your own daring diatom design. Designed for grades 3–5. For more information, fee and to register, visit

The River Feeds Back, going from June 1 to Oct. 16, is an immersive sound installation created by artists Annea Lockwood and Liz Phillips. The exhibit brings visitors into the deep sonic environment of the Schuylkill River watershed through recordings and a layered sound map that captures glimpses of the river system including the life of aquatic insects, eels, fish and swirling currents.

Ocean Bound will run from Aug. 20 to Jan. 15, 2023.

Water exhibit opens

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is presenting Invisible World of Water, on view through May 1 and free with general admission.

The exhibit coincides with “Water Year,” an initiative of the Academy of Natural Sciences and Drexel University aimed to increase public attention of the resource.

For more information, visit

Explore ocean depths

A new exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, reveals the mysteries of the ocean’s greatest depths.

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss invites museum visitors to explore newly discovered life forms, thermal vents, deep-sea research submersibles and shipwrecks including the Titanic.

Museum visitors will observe firsthand the technology that only recently has allowed scientists to travel to the ocean floor and discover the creatures that thrive in total darkness. They can test their skill at manipulating a robotic arm of a replica of the submersible Alvin to pick up lava rocks and clams similar to what scientists do to gather samples of creatures from the ocean floor.

Visitors can also fly a remotely operated vehicle over a model of the Titanic’s deck and, in another display, see how currents created by superheated water erupting from thermal vents carry nutrients that support life forms few ever dreamed existed. 

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss will be on view through July 24.

Celebrate water and the planet

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, will present two events to celebrate water and the planet.

Events and activities include Drexel Earth Fest on Tuesday, April 19, from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m.; and Naturepalooza on Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.

For more information, visit

Evans accepting Community Project Funding applications 

Congressman Dwight Evans is accepting Community Project Funding applications for the 3rd Congressional District for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The applications are due to his office by 5 p.m. on April 15.

The 3rd District includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South, Southwest and Center City Philadelphia.

“I was able to secure nearly $6.3 million in federal funding for eight Philadelphia community projects in the government funding bill that President Biden recently signed into law,” Evans said. “I’m hoping to see several good applications again this year.”

Organizations interested in applying should visit and click on “Services,” then click “FY 2023 Community Project Funding Requests.”

During Evans’ first five years in Congress, his office has helped to return to or save more than $25 million for Philadelphians from federal agencies such as the IRS, Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Kimmel schedule

The Kimmel Cultural Campus has returned to live Broadway programming.

Here is the schedule through the summer: Hairspray (May 16-22, Merriam Theater); To Kill A Mockingbird (July 12-24, Academy of Music); and Dear Evan Hansen (Aug. 16-28, Forrest Theatre).

For more information, call 215-893-1955 or visit

Upcoming cruises

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a cruise to Charleston and Bermuda, June 2-12, on the Celebrity Summit, sailing from Cape Liberty, in North Jersey. Rates range from $1,577 to $2,387 per person, double occupancy.

Meanwhile, a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise will sail Oct. 6-17, 2023, featuring 10 ports-of-call. Rates, including airfare, range from $4,198 to $7,998 per person, double occupancy.

Call 215-788-9408 for information and reservations.