Around Town

Summer programs, activities for children and youth 

With a nod to a phrase popularized during the Philadelphia Eagles’ march to Super Bowl LVII, Mayor Jim Kenney and other officials announced “It’s A Summer Thing!” as they unveiled the city’s lineup of programs and activities available to children and teens this summer.

Pools, spraygrounds, reading enrichment, STEM activities, free meals, sports activities, summer camps and seasonal jobs were all promoted as ways to keep young people engaged when schools dismiss for the academic year.

Families can visit to learn about summer programming offered by the city’s Office of Children and Families, consisting of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Free Library of Philadelphia and the Department of Human Services as well as its partners, the School District of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Police Department. Links will guide visitors to information on registration, timelines, locations and requirements.

Summer activities for children and youth include:

Over 100 summer camps at recreation centers and parks sponsored by the PPR.
Swimming and free swim lessons at pools and water play at spraygrounds.

Out-of-School Time summer camps located in schools and community-based locations throughout the city.

Reading activities at library branches throughout the city.
Fun activities and play time on hundreds of blocks throughout the city as part of the city’s Play Streets Program.

Positive youth development programming such as gaming, conflict resolution and financial literacy classes at the Community Evening Resource Centers that are open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Recreation and athletic programming at PAL sites throughout the city.
Diversion programming and activities through the DHS Intensive Prevention Services program for at-risk youth.

Paid job opportunities for teens through the WorkReady program.
Summer jobs at the city pools as lifeguards and pool maintenance attendants through PPR.
Free meals are distributed at PPR camps, OST Summer Programs and Play Streets throughout the city. For more information about free food, see

To help make this a safe summer for children and youth, PPD First Deputy Commissioner John Stanford urged parents to be responsible and accountable for their children and to help police enforce youth curfew laws. He also said police would step up patrols around pools and recreation centers during the summer.

Information about enrollment, applications and descriptions of these programs and numerous others throughout the city can be accessed through

Help plant a tree

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will commemorate Earth Day by planting trees throughout the Greater Philadelphia area from April 20-24 with assistance from more than 80 of its PHS Tree Tenders groups, neighborhood volunteers and community organizations. Over 1,400 trees are expected to be planted.

Volunteers interested in participating in tree planting can sign up at

No prior expertise is necessary for volunteers to participate in the tree planting process, which usually takes three hours at the specified location. A PHS Tree Tenders group leader will be present at all planting sites to guide and encourage volunteers. Everyone is asked to bring hand sanitizer, gloves, closed-toed shoes, a water bottle and, if they have one, a shovel. Planting tools such as shovels, pickaxes, brooms, garbage bags and other items will be supplied on-site. Specific details for each site are available via the website. Participants are also advised to dress appropriately as plantings will take place rain or shine. Visit to learn more about volunteering for this event.

Drones to catch dumpers

Democratic City Council at-large candidate and cybersecurity attorney Jalon Alexander, of Strawberry Mansion, is calling on city leaders to implement his program called “Drone Force Philly.”

Alexander said drones can help catch dumpers.

“If they knew a drone could see the dumping and follow them to help police identify and

catch them, they might not be so bold,” he said.

Alexander’s proposal calls for a fleet of 42 sophisticated drones, two for each of Philadelphia’s 21 police districts. A unit of 10 would operate and coordinate the drones. The primary purpose of the fleet would be to reduce violent crime and solve more cases, but Alexander said catching illegal dumpers is another capability and area of emphasis.

“I am not sure why the city is not already using this technology to protect our neighborhoods and schools, but it is time for us to consider 21st-century solutions to our biggest problems,” he said. ••

Gym announces school plan

Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym, a former public school teacher, announced her Schools-First Agenda.

The plan include a Green New Deal for public schools that will address the longstanding facilities crisis and put Philadelphians to work to modernize every public school within 10 years; a vision to guarantee summer, evening and weekend programming for youth and ensure safe passage to and from schools; expanded career pipelines for school staff, especially “teachers of color”; and a mission to grow an accountable, responsive school district that treats families as partners in a whole-city mission to raise the next generation of leaders.

“We’re here today because we believe in great teachers, strong mentors and fully-resourced school communities that change the course of young people’s lives. We are here because we know that investing in a transformative vision for what our public schools and our children can be isn’t just possible, it is a necessity,” Gym said.

Gym was joined by Councilwoman Kendra Brooks, of the Working Families Party.

Components of Gym’s include at least $10 billion over 10 years to ensure every school is repaired or replaced; free all-hours SEPTA transpasses for children; universal pre-kindergarten; and fully staffed libraries and librarians in every school. ••

Local 98 endorses Parker

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 endorsed Democrat Cherelle Parker for mayor. The announcement was made by IBEW Business Manager Mark Lynch Jr., along with Parker, outside the union’s Spring Garden Street business office.

“Beginning with her years of leadership in the state House of Representatives, through to her many accomplishments as one of the hardest-working members of Philadelphia City Council, Cherelle Parker has always stood tall for working people and the labor movement,” Lynch said. “She didn’t just ask for labor’s support, she went out and earned it. The 5,000-strong membership of IBEW Local 98 looks forward to helping her win the Democratic mayoral primary on Tuesday, May 16.”

Parker has also been endorsed by the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters and 32BJ SEIU. ••

Saval supporting Gym

State Sen. Nikil Saval has endorsed Helen Gym in the May 16 Democratic mayoral primary.

“What Philadelphia needs is an experienced and competent leader, but also a visionary and transformational one,” Saval said. “That leader is Helen Gym. What she achieved as an organizer and councilmember were things that no one thought possible: the return of local control of our schools; Fair Workweek legislation that brought real control over hours to thousands of workers; an eviction-protection system that kept thousands of people in their homes. To meet the challenges of Philadelphia, present and future, we need a leader with brilliance, dedication and energy. Helen Gym has those in superabundance. I am proud to endorse her for mayor of Philadelphia.”

Gym is also supported by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, AFSCME DC 47, Working Families Party, AFT Pennsylvania, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, Teamsters Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, Reclaim Philadelphia, One Pennsylvania, Make the Road Action, 18th Ward Democrats, First Ward Democrats, Health Professionals and Allied Employees AFT AFL-CIO, The Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, Jane Fonda Climate PAC, Second Ward Democrats, Ward 39A Democrats, Amistad Movement Power, Philly Neighborhood Networks, Free the Ballot and Straight Ahead. ••

Williams backs Alexander

State Sen. Anthony Williams endorsed Democratic City Council at-large candidate Jalon Alexander in the May 16 primary.

Williams said Alexander’s character, youth and ideas make him an ideal candidate.

“Jalon’s character is strong, which is the first attribute I look for in a candidate,” Williams said. “He also represents the next generation of leadership in our city. At age 30, and with his experience as a cybersecurity expert, he will bring energy and perspective we need to help solve the city’s problems. In fact, Jalon embodies similar attributes that I saw in House Speaker Joanna McClinton and state Rep. Jordan Harris when I first endorsed their candidacies.”

Williams, whose wife happens to be a certified drone pilot, said he is intrigued by Alexander’s “Drone Force Philly” proposal as a new tool in combating violent crime and illegal dumping.

“I hold Sen. Williams in the highest regard,” Alexander said. “To have a leader of his stature endorse our campaign makes me realize that our message is being recognized, especially as it relates to our innovative ideas toward fighting crime. I could not be more appreciative.”

Williams joins Philly Forward PAC and Mothers Demand Gun Sense in supporting Alexander’s candidacy. ••

Celebrating 100 years of SMT

St. Martin of Tours Parish invites all school alumni, current and past parishioners and friends to a 100th anniversary Mass in the upper church, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd., on Sunday, April 30, at noon. The Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Edward Adams. Earlier, there will be tours of the school at 10 a.m. ••

Exhibitions at Academy of Natural Sciences

An exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 19th and the Parkway, presents a new perspective on insects and reveals their beauty.

Microsculpture: The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss is a series of portraits that capture the microscopic form of insects in high-resolution detail. It will be on view until April 23.

Each photograph makes visible the many intricate adaptations to the form of insects.

Award-winning British photographer Levon Biss created the exhibition, which showcases the insect collection of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in Oxford, England. Pinned specimens from the Academy’s own entomology collection are added to provide visitors an up-close look at the actual size of insects compared to similar-looking insects in the photographs.

Meanwhile, an exhibition celebrates the diversity of birds, their role in ecosystems and people’s relationships with them. Conversations With Birds spotlights familiar local birds, such as house sparrows and cardinals, and goes beyond to introduce the variety of migrators that pass through on journeys across the globe.

The exhibition features avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers. There will be hands-on activities that explain the body architecture that enables birds to do what they do.

Conversations With Birds is free with general museum admission and on view through Sunday, May 21.


Go see Mamma Mia!

The Star Players, of the city Department of Parks and Recreation, will present Mamma Mia! from June 2-4 at 7 p.m. at Venice Island Performing Arts Center, 7 Lock St. in Manayunk. Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Group rates are available. Tickets are available at Holmesburg Recreation Center, 4500 Rhawn St., or on Venmo @TheStarplayers. For more information, contact director Bill Arthur at 215-685-8714 or ••

Trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Polish American Cultural Center Museum volunteers are sponsoring a 7-day, 6-night trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan from July 9-15. The trip consists of a ferry ride to Mackinac Island, two nights at the Grand Hotel, a horse-drawn carriage ride and visits to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the Henry Ford Museum and the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods. The price includes bus transportation, hotels, six breakfasts, six dinners, a buffet luncheon at the Grand Hotel, admission to all attractions, baggage handling, taxes and gratuities. Call Theresa Romanowski at 215-813-2780 or 215-922-1700.

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, 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]. ••

Designer bag bingo

St. Hubert Alumnae Designer Bag Bingo is on Sunday, April 30, from 1-4 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Tickets cost $35 and include 15 rounds of bingo. A designer bag will be awarded to the winner of each round. Must be 18 to attend. For tickets, email ••

Riverwards Dems for Gym

The Riverwards Area Democrats have endorsed Helen Gym in the May 16 primary.

“Riverwards Area Democrats is proud to endorse Helen Gym for mayor by a vote of our membership,” said Molly Hartman, president of Riverwards Area Democrats. “Helen has an unparalleled reputation as a champion for progressive causes and a track record of effective policy results, including leading the passage of fair workweek laws, eviction diversion, paid sick leave and a $15 minimum wage for city workers. Between now and election day, RAD looks forward to working with our progressive partners across the city to do the work to elect Helen Gym.”

RAD is an independent, progressive, Democratic political organization in wards 5, 18, 25 and 31.

Gym has also been endorsed by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, AFSCME DC 47, Working Families Party, AFT Pennsylvania, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, Teamsters Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, Reclaim Philadelphia, One Pennsylvania, Make the Road Action, First Ward Democrats, Health Professionals and Allied Employees AFT AFL-CIO, The Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, Jane Fonda Climate PAC, Second Ward Democrats, Ward 39A Democrats, Amistad Movement Power, Philly Neighborhood Networks, Free the Ballot and Straight Ahead. ••

Upcoming cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise that will sail Oct. 6-17, 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. ••

Cruise the Mediterranean

Norwegian Cruise Line will host a Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Venice on Oct. 10-19. The trip is all inclusive with round-trip airfare, a beverage package, all meals, three specialty dinners, taxes, transfers and all gratuities. The cost for a balcony sea view cabin is $3,511 per person. For more information, contact Fillmore Travel’s Kevin Fries at 215-498-8294 or ••