Each year, Young Involved Philadelphia (YiP) puts together an important week of programming known as State of Young Philly (SOYP) and calls on organizations to develop relevant events that engage this population. We at VU PHL are big fans of YiP and their mission, so we were thrilled at the chance to align our goals and partner with Playworks PA to improve recess for a public school in south Philadelphia.
young involved philadelphia & state of young philly
Young Involved Philadelphia (YiP) promotes active citizenship and emerging leadership among young Philadelphians. State of Young Philly (SOYP) is an annual week long event series hosted every fall by YiP. Each year, SOYP brings together over 50 partner organizations, and 2,000 young professionals, elected officials, and organizational leaders to examine the current state of young Philadelphia and generate change. One topic that YiP has examined, and one that is near to our hearts at VU PHL, is the state of Philly public schools, which have suffered for decades as tax money fled the central business district.
In order to have a sustainable future for the city, we need to fight brain drain, even to the suburbs. Think about it: running for office and working for the City of Philadelphia both involve a residency requirement. So those who stay will be the ones holding power to make the kind of lasting change that YiP and VU PHL are striving for in our missions. What better way to get started than with our brilliant young people who we can encourage to work hard (and play harder) at school?
Playworks believes that all kids deserve the social, emotional, and physical benefits of play. To that end, they help schools and youth programs create healthy play environments where every child can join in. And this extends to adults who volunteer as well - before we even learned exactly what we'd be doing for the day, we all got to play a series of games like cool ice breakers (they exist) and freeze tag! How great is that?!
Once the fun and games were over - just kidding, the fun didn't stop all day - we got down to business. That meant cleaning up, prepping, and finally painting a series of play areas and murals for students at the Kirkbride School in Passyunk Square. We even had one particularly talented volunteer WHO DREW A PEGASUS BECAUSE KIRKBRIDE'S MASCOT IS THE PEGASUS. I'm not kidding, check this out:
We have plenty more photos of this particular mural and more on our Facebook page!
Devil's Den was the perfect place to end our day with Playworks PA. I'm not exaggerating - they had the perfect after-school-adult snack we've ever seen, a Dark 'n' Stormy Ice Pop! Not to mention killer Bloody Mary's and brunch so good that we almost forgot it was already 3PM when we finished it and were looking forward to lunch!