Chestnut Hill: Walk/Run Looks to Fill Arts-Funding Void

Community members participated in the one-mile walk following the 5k run.

Like other schools in the Philadelphia School District, John Story Jenks has learned to do more with less. But even though the district’s financial distress has left schools with less resources, J.S. Jenks’ parents are determined to keep creative programming adequate, evidenced by a run-and-walk held Saturday morning.

The event, Jogging for Jenks, consisted of a 5k “fun run” and one-mile walk, which began and ended at The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, located at 8000 St. Martins Lane. The fundraiser was hosted by Friends of J.S. Jenks, a fundraising group formed by parents, school officials, teachers and community members.

Principal Mary Lynskey said J.S. Jenks’ funding has been “hit really hard,” leaving the school without an art teacher, among other personnel and program cuts.

Community members participated in the one-mile walk following the 5k run.

“We want to maintain what we’ve started and continue growing and our parents have all chipped in and decided they weren’t going to settle for mediocre,” Lynskey said.

Participating adults paid $25 for registration, while children were charged $5.

Proceeds from the events go toward arts-related and other creative programming, Lynskey said, such as establishing partnerships with World Cafe Live and a recent trip to a horse stable.

“That’s one of the reasons our kids do well because you might hate math, but now you want to see the horses and you want to do that again so you want to do better in math and reading,” Lynskey said. “It’s not just music and arts that always get cut. It’s everything that makes kids want to come to school.”

The group’s current goal is to raise $36,000, according to its website.

Haviva Goldman, president of Friends of J.S. Jenks, organized the event.

Friends of J.S. Jenks President Haviva Goldman said while this is only the group’s second fundraising event, she said she hopes such events will help maintain a thriving school and build bridges with the community.

“In the long term, we hope we can keep the funds to keep programs in the school that are otherwise cut,” Goldman said. “To build new infrastructure at the school and really make it one of the best public schools in Philadelphia. Keep people coming into Chestnut Hill.”

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