One of the best parts of Sarah Anton’s job is meeting and interacting with neighbors, she said.
As the president of the Passyunk Square Civic Association (PSCA), Anton heads the organization in part responsible for making Passyunk what it is today: a growing, environmentally friendly, diverse neighborhood.
When problems arise in the neighborhood, Anton is usually among the first to hear about them.
How has the neighborhood changed from when you first started as PSCA president?
I think that there are more people. There were more spaces that were unoccupied and, at this point, everything is filling in and there are more people coming. This neighborhood has deep roots and people who lived here for multiple generations and they continue to live here. We have a very fixed immigrant community. Lots of folks from different immigrant communities have been here for a really long time. It’s changed a lot, but there’s a lot that stayed the same in some ways. The good things have stayed, which is great.
What kind of activities does the PSCA have?
We have happy hours. Things will get started again in the spring and we typically do two big events every year. One is an art auction and a home tour. This year, we are going to take a break on the art auction but we will be doing the home tour in the fall. There will be a tree planting that will happen in April. There’s a cleanup that the city organizes that we participate in as well in April. We have community gardens that we participate in. We do something called the Language Exchange, we work with the Garces Foundation and every month we have a dinner where students who are trying to learn English and people who are trying to learn Spanish have dinner at one of the tacoreas in our neighborhood which is a great thing.
Where do you get your funding from?
Mostly from the Neighborhood Sponsor Program, a lot of the local businesses will sponsor the Civic Association. We charge for tickets at events we host. We do ask for money from neighbors, however, we don’t have a membership fee. We do get some grants. The Philadelphia Activities Fund comes from the city where we can get a little bit of money for doing a special event.
What do you want to have accomplished by the end of this year?
We are retooling the trash cleaning program. I would say in the next year it’s really about outreach, getting rid of trash, and recruiting more people.
How do you promote the PSCA?
We mostly do stuff online, flyering, door-to-door canvassing. On an ongoing basis, we have a monthly meeting that is the same time every month, so we rely on that as being something that people know. We have a mailing list, emailing list and social media. Any community events, we try to make sure there is a board member there. We have a community garden and it’s open every Sunday, so we try to make sure someone is there just to talk to people.
How can people get involved in the PSCA?
We have a Facebook page and a website where you can say you’re interested in getting involved. There’s a link where you can sign up on a spreadsheet and it says specifically what you’re interested in. Absolutely, the best way is to come to a general meeting. One of the biggest things that we wanna tell people is to come to these meetings because we’re actually talking about things that you would be interested in knowing about. And staying posted on general meetings are the first Tuesday of the month at the South Philadelphia Older Adults Center at 6:30 p.m.
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