Whether it is a need for assistance in handling community issues or the need for help people get their lives back on track, the Parkside Association of Philadelphia is where area residents come for change.
This community organization, located at 5218 Master St., has been in existence since 1977. With a team of volunteers dedicated to the advancement of the community, the PAP’s mission is to help improve the overall quality of life in this West Philadelphia neighborhood.
Evelyn Hudson first joined the association in 1994. After a leave of absence, she recently returned due to her passion to help her neighbors increase the quality of life.
“We are dedicated to the improvement and social well-being of life,” Hudson said.
Millicent Ayers began working for PAP last year as a consultant. After a house fire left her homeless, Ayers reached out to others for assistance. Now, she is in a position to help those who may not have the resources.
“I’ve been through some rough times in my life so I just like helping people in need so that they do not have to go through what I went through,” Ayers said.
Some of the services the center provides are summer youth employment, resume writing, limited computer job training and a food bank. The center also helps with job placement for residents who have recently been released from jail.
“We do pay special attention to ex-offenders, because it is ten times harder for them to get a job. We will champion for ex-offenders that are in our area,” Hudson said.
The ShopRite Supermarket in this neighborhood has provided job opportunities for many ex-offenders from the Mantua/Parkside area, giving them that needed second chance.
“There are a lot of young black brothers in our community that are in and out of jail. When they come out, we grab them and put them in training,” Hudson said.
Community residents have relied on PAP as a place to go when they need someone to talk to, whether it be about a community issue or personal dilemma. With a growing number of volunteers and a fundraiser planned for the near future, Hudson and Ayers said the organization will be around for many more years to come.
For more information on the Parkside Association of Philadelphia, please visit the website.