Around Town

Children’s Playhouse receives honors

Children’s Playhouse Early Learning Centers’s two locations in South Philadelphia have been recognized as Pennsylvania’s Equity in Early Childhood Education Champions.

The Whitman Center located at 2501 S. Marshall St. received a Gold Level Award and the Newbold Center at 1426 W. Passyunk Ave. received the Bronze Level Award. More than 50 submissions were received as part of the 2022 recognition of the work being done around equity in Pennsylvania’s early learning settings.

Damaris Alvarado-Rodriguez, a 2022 bronze level awardee herself, is thrilled that both schools received these honors. She said, “Equity has always been a priority in our centers. We respect everyone equally and I am very proud of our staff that is dedicated to creating the most positive experience for our children and families.”

The award, provided from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, brings awareness to and highlight the equity work being done within Pennsylvania’s early childhood education and after-school settings, and by child care, evidence-based home visiting and early intervention professionals, as it aligns with the Pennsylvania Department of Education Equity and Inclusion Toolkit, and with the position statement of the National Association for the Education for the Education of Young Children, Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education Position Statement.

Register now for Summer Learning Programs 

The School District of Philadelphia is accepting registrations for its 2023 summer program opportunities. Through partnerships with the City and local organizations, these opportunities for rising kindergarten through 12th grade students are fun, meaningful, academically and socially enriching summer programs for children of all ages.

Summer programming, which can serve more than 14,000 students, begins on June 26 and runs through Aug. 4. In partnership with the city and other organizations, more than 100 district buildings across the city will be open this summer to support district students – including roughly 40 buildings open for district-operated programming.

Program options include:

Rising Kindergarten virtual transition program to provide instruction for the earliest learners and help families and children feel confident about starting school in the fall.
Rising grades 1 to 7 for additional ELA/Math skills and project-based learning, art, music and physical education.

Extended School Year will serve students who require special education supports and services to maintain progress and meet their most critical goals, as determined by the student’s IEP.

Newcomer Summer Program is an invite-only program focusing on building language concepts and skills in both English Language Arts and Math Instruction for English Learners entering grades 1-7 and entering grades 8-11.

Summer Bridge for rising students in grades 8 and 9, reinforcing their math and English skills, while learning about career pathways.

Summer School (formerly Credit Recovery) for students who have failed a previous course and want to earn the grades and credit that they need to stay on-track for graduation.
StartUP EDU for students entering grades 10 and 12 who are interested in becoming an entrepreneur.

Summer Drumline is a new program for students entering grades 6 to 12 who wish to learn the fundamentals of drumline percussion and perform in an ensemble, along with supplemental music instruction.

Registration closes April 28. For more information and to register for these summer programs, visit and click the link in the homepage banner.

Hughes endorses Landau

State Sen. Vincent Hughes endorsed Rue Landau, Democratic candidate for City Council at large.

“Rue is the type of leader City Council needs,” Hughes said. “From her work in affordable housing, to her activism fighting for marginalized communities, Philadelphians will rest easier knowing they have Rue fighting for them.”

Landau has also been endorsed by, among others, the 27th Ward, the Sierra Club, AFSCME DC 47 and the National Organization for Women.

“I am humbled and grateful for the coalition of support we’re building,” Landau said. “I don’t take any of these endorsements for granted. To the Philadelphians and community leaders placing their trust in me: I am ready to get to work and deliver for our city.” ••

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. ••

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 ••

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. ••

Investing in communities

Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym outlined an approach to public safety that invests in communities facing the highest rates of violence, stabilizes young people and overhauls services for victims of crime.

The plan includes funeral funds for families coping with loss, wrap-around supports for youth and employment programs.

“I will lead an agenda that not only prioritizes responding to and reducing gun violence, but gives our residents the opportunity to live better, healthier lives every day so that they do not end up on the path of violence,” Gym said. “Violence is rooted in the disinvestment and economic despair: in streets that are neglected, in schools that fall apart, in closed public buildings and a lack of economic opportunities that make people feel like this city doesn’t care, cannot respond or is turning a blind eye. No more. As mayor, I won’t just manage a crime crisis, but end it. Yes we will have law enforcement and accountability. But safe cities do more than that. Safe cities invest in their people.” ••

Sierra Club backs Gym

The Sierra Club’s Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter endorsed Helen Gym for mayor.

“The Sierra Club is very pleased to endorse Helen Gym as the next mayor of Philadelphia,” said Karen Melton, co-chairwoman of the Southeastern PA Sierra Club. “There are many issues at a crisis point in Philadelphia but they all interconnect. While Sierra Club is focused on environmental issues such as air quality, PGW, tree canopy and open space, dumping and plastic pollution, these tie directly to childhood asthma, crime and disinvestment.”

The Sierra Club’s endorsement is a two-step, volunteer-driven process, originating at the local level and affirmed by elected leaders at the state chapter level. Along with the endorsement, the Sierra Club will lend its volunteer strength to bolster Gym’s grassroots campaign. ••

Liberty City endorsements

Liberty City LGBTQ Democratic Club released its endorsements.

City Council at large: Kathy Gilmore Richardson, Jim Harrity, Rue Landau, Amanda McIllmurray, Erika Almirón.

Supreme Court: Dan McCaffery

Superior Court: Jill Beck, Timika Lane

Commonwealth Court: Matt Wolf

Court of Common Pleas: Wade Albert, Chesley Lightsey, Will Braveman, Damaris Garcia, Brian McLaughlin, John Padova, Natasha Taylor-Smith, Tamika Washington, Samantha Williams, Kay Yu.

Municipal Court: Colleen Osborne, Barbara Thomson

City Controller: Christy Brady

Register of Wills: Rae Hall ••

Nods to Gym, McIllmurray

People’s Action endorsed Helen Gym for mayor and Amanda McIllmurray for City Council at large.

“My major victories in office have come through people’s campaigns that strengthen organizing in our city – The Fair Workweek campaign, the fight for clean water and anti-eviction work,” Gym said. “I use the power of my voice to drive public action and I will do the same as mayor of Philadelphia.”

“I’ve used what I’ve learned from People’s Action to build power for the multiracial working class in my city. As co-founder and political director of Reclaim Philadelphia, I’ve spent the last six years leading and building our organization, electing our leaders to office and deeply investing in the leadership of community members citywide. I’m ready to bring my winning record to Council and make this a seat for the people.” ••

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. ••

Exhibitions at Academy of Natural Sciences

An exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 19th and the Parkway, 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.


Memorial Day ceremony

The public is invited to honor the fallen on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, at noon at the Charles J. Glenn III Memorial, at Marlborough and Wildey streets in Fishtown. The event will feature the Vietnam Veterans Society and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes and Drums. ••

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]. ••

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 ••