The Overbrook Arts Center, a nonprofit organization, teaches children and adults how to create sustainable living within the city.
“Our nonprofit decided to make the entire experience a community project so people can learn you can turn things around in your neighborhood,” Jerome Shabazz, executive director for the Overbrook Arts Center and founder of JASTECH Developmental Services Inc., said.
JASTECH stands for Juveniles Active in Science and Technology. Its intent is to further students education in science related studies.
“After a four-year stint of working as a virtual center we began the quest to find our own space in the community where students could practice their learning all the time,” Shabazz said.
Shabazz started the Overbrook Arts Center as the central location to bring science to life.
“I’m a firm believer that you learn by doing,” Shabazz said. “We work in conjunction with science teachers to determine where they [students] are in their curriculum and we create some sort of public demonstration project.”
Recent projects include the building and upkeep of a community greenhouse. With the help of a design engineer, students from the architecture program at Overbrook High School constructed the greenhouse. The point of the initiative is to show fresh fruits and vegetables can be maintained in a small urban setting for little cost.
The goal overall is to provide neighborhoods within Philadelphia with an outlook that they can create a better environment for themselves.
“It’s a community project and we’re real proud of it,” Shabazz said. “It’s a wonderful place, a great example of how you transform neighborhoods.”