Amy Koslowsky is the director of children’s programs at Face to Face, a multi-service organization located in Germantown that offers free human services to low income and homeless individuals. The organization serves 2,500 individuals in need each year, according to its website.
Koslowsky has been with the program for seven years and has taught in Philadelphia schools for more than a decade.
Describe Face to Face and the services it provides to the community of Germantown.
Face to Face is a wonderful non-profit. We have a dining hall with a soup kitchen, legal services, a social worker, children’s programs and a legal clinic. It’s all free services available to the people of Germantown.
What do the children’s program consist of?
We have an afterschool program that runs September through June and we have two camps. We have a July camp, which is like an enrichment camp with a lot of fun activities. This year we had art, yoga, games, cooking, chess and the kids rotate through different sports. Then our August camp is getting the kids ready to go back to school, so it’s almost like a little school. We have a group of thirty kids and certified teachers on staff. We have the kids in age groups and we do lessons and warm ups throughout the day. The morning is like your academics and the afternoon is academic games.
Describe your official position with the organization and how you became involved with the children’s program.
I’m the director of children’s programs at Face to Face. I teach at Taylor Elementary on 6th and Erie. I’ve been teaching for Philadelphia for about 15 years. Seven years ago, I was going to Europe and I had a certain amount of money that I wanted to save up and I was a little bit shy of it.
I had a friend who called me up saying, “I just saw this advertisement at a camp in Germantown, and they’re looking for an art teacher for just one week to fill in as a substitute.”
The pay for that was the exact amount I was short. At that point there were no teachers on staff and no one who really had experience with kids, so because I was a teacher I stood out. I’ve stayed ever since and I love it.
What are your ties to the neighborhood of Germantown?
I live in Roxborough, so I live close by. But Face to Face is my tie. Through Face to Face, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the families in the neighborhood.
Is everything volunteer based?
We have kids who come and volunteer from different colleges, but we do have a core paid staff.
How would you describe the demographic of children that come here to the after-school program? What kind of families and/or neighborhoods do they come from?
They all come from immediate neighborhoods. It’s high poverty. They’re all struggling. We have a lot of transient kids. Some kids have been with us for years and then some we’ll have for a couple of months. Then they’ll move or their parents will have a difficult time getting them here. It’s a lot of in and out. It’s tough times. Parents are struggling.
What is the age range for participants of the children’s programs?
Kindergarten through sixth grade. We have some kids who are older, who have been with us for years so they come as helpers.
What has been one of the most rewarding parts of this for you?
Just watching the kids grow. One thing I really, really love about this program is that you get time to actually sit time and talk about their day. We call it share time. It’s like a family with the kids and the staff who have been here forever with me. I feel like being able to see the whole child is what’s rewarding for me.
– Text and images by Jared Whalen and Lauren Dunn.