The West Philadelphia Community Center, at 3512 Haverford Avenue, hosted its first parent meeting of the summer season to introduce its newest Assistant Center Director and to recruit neighborhood children into its recently overhauled summer program.
From early childhood education to senior recreation, the Center has provided indispensable educational and social resources to Mantua residents for over 75 years.
Assistant Center Director LaShawn Braxton brought neighborhood parents together to introduce himself and to explain the changes in the summer program under his leadership.
Many of the parents present were not new to the Center and were quite vocal about the shortcomings of the summer camp in the years prior.
Several times throughout the meeting Braxton was called upon to address failings in the program’s operation, such as lack of planned activities.
Last year, according to parents, the only trips the teen camp took were to the Chinese restaurant across the street.
“The money we spent on activity fees was just too much for what we actually got,” one parent commented.
The program serves children ages 6 through 17, many of whom live in foster homes or have special needs.
These children make up about 50% of the participants in the summer program and they receive subsidies, Center Clerk Antoinette Allen said.
The other half are from working families who pay out of pocket, including the $100 activity fee.
Braxton assured parents the activities coordinator will not be the same as last year, and the summer camp, in affiliation with the Boys and Girls Club of America, will be far more substantial.
He introduced the new activities schedule, sponsored in part by the Boys and Girls Club, which consists of a comprehensive curriculum under this year’s multicultural theme of “Around the World In 55 Days,” as well as physical fitness activities and planned trips.