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Mayfair: Q&A with a Business Leader Fighting a Changing Neighborhood

Mayfair: Q&A with a Business Leader Fighting a Changing Neighborhood

Angela Vanni is a Philadelphia native and an owner of Giggles Gifts, a retail gift shop which specializes in candies, cards, seasonal decorations and other possible presents. Located at 7400 Frankford Ave., it was founded by the Veneziale family in 1983 and opened during an era when these types of businesses were a common sight in Mayfair. Now, the times have changed, […]

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South Philadelphia: Former Teacher Helps Others Work with Young People

South Philadelphia: Former Teacher Helps Others Work with Young People

Andrea DiMola, a former math teacher, is now the director of the Southeast Philadelphia Collaborative (SEPC). DiMola was born and raised in South Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at The College of William and Mary, but then moved to Philadelphia for grad school at the University of Pennsylvania. DiMola has her master’s in education. SEPC […]

 

Kensington: Organization Hands Out Free Needles for Heroin, Decreases HIV

Kensington: Organization Hands Out Free Needles for Heroin, Decreases HIV

Syringe Exchange Lowers HIV Rate, Lacks Government Funding Philadelphia isn’t only known as the City of Brotherly Love, it’s also known for its substantial spread of HIV/AIDS and drug use. In 1991, Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP) was founded as an underground syringe exchange organization to combat the sweep and has since become a multi-service hub […]

 

Kensington: McPherson Square Park Ditches the Needles, Welcomes Children

Kensington: McPherson Square Park Ditches the Needles, Welcomes Children

McPherson Square Park, more commonly known as “Needle Park” among the Kensington community, used to be a place of high drug usage and crime. Children weren’t safe, and the risk of getting stuck by a needle was high for more than 30 years. However, efforts have been made over the years to clean up the […]

 

Fairhill: Efrain Diaz Has a Plan to Take on Drug Addiction

Fairhill: Efrain Diaz Has a Plan to Take on Drug Addiction

Efrain Diaz had a bad addiction, a heroin addiction. “I lost my family. I lost my wife,” said the 58-year-old. Yet for the past 30 years, Diaz has been helping people overcome their addictions. This one-time addict is now the pastor of Alcance Victoria church. Pastor Diaz was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He […]

 

East Kensington: Committed To Change

East Kensington: Committed To Change

Once a neighborhood widely known for drugs, prostitution and poverty, the culture of Kensington is changing, thanks in large part to outreach programs such as The Last Stop, which houses and rehabilitates drug addicts. For Chris Marshall, he reached his last stop. “I ran to the only place that I knew was safe,” said Marshall. “The […]

 By Jenine A. Pilla and Marc J. Snitzer

Kensington: Kensington Blues Documents Hardships Beneath the El

Kensington: Kensington Blues Documents Hardships Beneath the El

For many, the battered streets beneath the El along Kensington Avenue serve as an eyesore, but for some, it is an outlet of expression.
Photographer Jeffrey Stockbridge, 31, has turned the littered sidewalks of Kensington into a narrative of the neighborhood’s struggle
with drugs and addiction through his blog Kensington Blues. By using photographs, audio recordings and journal entries, Stockbridge utilizes several media platforms to show the lives of those living along Kensington Avenue, better known to them as “the Ave.”
Stockbridge started Kensington Blues in 2008 after spending years photographing the interior of abandoned houses around Philadelphia. Through his work within blighted neighborhoods he became more familiar with those who occupied their streets and narrowed his focus to document their stories.

 By Raymond Boyd and Steven Mitchell

Northeast: The Friends of Pennypack Park Strive to Protect Historic Landscape

Northeast: The Friends of Pennypack Park Strive to Protect Historic Landscape

The Friends of Pennypack Park work together to beautify the park and preserve it for the enjoyment of future generations. Despite having an eye on the future, there is a particular area of the park which carries great historical significance. The Pennypack Creek Bridge, also known as the Holmesburg Bridge, was named a historical landmark by the state […]

 By Corey Woods and Imani Nieves

Haddington: Olympic Champ Trains Young Boxers

Haddington: Olympic Champ Trains Young Boxers

  At 6 feet 5 inches, Tyrell Biggs presents an intimidating physical presence. However, due to his quiet demeanor, it is easy to overlook him. Biggs, 51, is soft-spoken. On most weekdays, he can be found quietly wandering around the premises of the Shepard Recreation Center, often with cups of McDonald’s coffee for his friends […]

 By Mike Green

Fairhill: Crime Rate Falls in the Neighborhood

Fairhill: Crime Rate Falls in the Neighborhood

[vimeo 52950894] When Hector Colon moved into Fairhill in 1986, it was a much different place from what it is today.  According to Colon, the 1990s became a very bloody and crime-ridden time in Fairhill’s history. “There used to be a drug dealer on every corner, dealing dope, dealing needles,” he said. “People would get shot […]