Hoping a small gesture goes a long way

When Dave Romanofski needed an idea in his pursuit to earn his doctorate, he didn’t have to look far for the answer.

The South Philly resident, who lives near 11th and Jackson streets in the Lower Moyamensing neighborhood, needed to finish a creativity final project in his qualitative research class en route to earning his doctorate from Drexel University. He needed to do a cold observation of a setting of his choice and document his findings. 

Romanofski went out to his front steps, sat down, and stared across the street at a bare wall on the side of the Watch Us Grow Learning Center at 2141 S. 11th St.

“It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I went outside with a pad of paper and I noticed the daycare has this black rectangular area on their building that used to be an emblem for (a former business) at that location,” Romanofski said. “It’s been like that for years. So I thought, I’m going to build them a banner. I figured it would give the place a little touch-up and look nice.”

Recently, the 4×6-foot banner went up with the approval of daycare operator Bernisha Salmond. 

“I knocked on her door and she was pretty open to it,” Romanofski said. “We worked together and I didn’t do anything without her input.”

The design incorporates the daycare’s motto and Romanofski’s inspiration of art.

“I incorporated the name of the daycare, the phone number and their motto,” Romanofski said. “The other half would be my class with books that read ‘novel’ and ‘useful,’ along with my school of Drexel University.”

Romanofski, 52, is a senior radiation therapist at Jefferson Hospital who decided to earn his master’s degree from Widener University after a misstep in the medical field. He had reached a crucial crossroads in his career.

“In 2014 I committed a medical error and it actually reached a patient,” Romanofski said. “I came home completely devastated. I took the weekend off. My wife said I had three options: go in there like it never happened and ignore it, do something about it, or quit and go do something else like deliver packages.”

Romanofski chose the toughest path.

“I went in there Monday morning and said this is never going to happen again and I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way I felt again,” he said. “I started researching and writing and lecturing. I got published and it led me to getting my master’s degree from Widener. I decided I want to have a really big impact so I decided to go for my doctorate.”

Romanofski continues to better himself while he attempts to better the world around him. A daycare banner is a small gesture that can do wonders in its own way.

“I just started with VistaPrint and we worked on changing a few colors and switching a few things between Bernisha and my wife and I think the three of us made a beautiful banner,” Romanofski said. “Just mentioning it warms my heart. I’m so excited that it’s up. Maybe this banner helps a parent who is looking for a daycare and maybe that kid does something great in life and becomes the next mayor we’ve been hoping for. It could be delusions of grandeur but who knows?”