Fairhill Square Park Pay it Forward Project

My Leadership Philadelphia class prompted the work, and I’m so happy I got the encouragement.

Asked to do a ‘Pay it Forward’ project in which we committed some volunteer time to a neighborhood in Philadelphia that none of our team members lived, worked or already volunteered in, we ended up cleaning, mulching, picking up trash and other work in Fairhill Square Park near Kensington ahead of a rededication for a beautiful piece of art.

Puerto Rican artist Rafael Ferrer dedicated his “El Gran Teatro de la Luna” in the park at 4th and Lehigh after 14 years of it being in storage.

I asked a friend at the city’s Parks and Rec department, who put me in touch with another staffer who directed me to a community leader who had been organizing a friends group for the newly updated park. Some of my teammates and I went to one of their community meetings, then helped with the park’s clean up day and then were a part of the park’s big art re-dedication yesterday, complete with more than 100 kids from various youth groups.

See our project notes here, and below find our presentation back to our other classmates.

Volunteering with Back on My Feet presentation at Refresh Philly

View from the 45th floor of the Comcast Center, before the start of Refresh Philly

I rounded up the rear with a presentation on volunteering with Back on My Feet as part of a four-part event on ‘Fitness for Geeks’ on Monday.

It was another installment of Refresh Philly, the monthly speaker series for the region’s technologists and creative community members. I graced the podium after Randy Schmidt, co-creator of Lose It or Lose It, Robert Jolly, a triathlete and creative director at web development firm Happy Cog and Kristen Faughnan, Philly’s Dailymile ambassador.

More than a year ago, I was on hand for Philadelphia CTO Allan Frank’s unveiling of a ‘Digital Philadelphia’ plan at Refresh and last November, I led a panel there on the future of local politics and the web.

My third visit to Refresh was as much a treat as the rest.

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Committee of Seventy: Highlights of November 2009 Philadelphia election


Every Election Day since November 2004, with an occasional exception, I’ve worked with the Committee of Seventy, a more than century-old political oversight nonprofit in Philadelphia.

I always come away with stories.

As I did in last April’s primary, below, I’ll share some of the best from last Tuesday’s election, a relatively low-profile affair, including just a couple citywide offices and a dozen state and municipal judicial positions.

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The April 22 Pennsylvania primary in Philadelphia

Oh, today is the much hyped Pennsylvania primary.

If you’re registered in Philadelphia and need to know where you’re voting, using the Committee of Seventy’s Citizen Access Center. Oh, and if you’re an Independent or Republican and feeling bummed out ’cause everyone is talking Obama/Hillary, fear not, in Philadelphia, there are also two ballot questions that mean a whole lot to some people. Want a real explanation of what to do?

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Hurricane Katrina volunteering in New Orleans

I went to New Orleans with Common Ground to offer some post-Hurricane Katrina support. Mostly, I stayed with a hundred other volunteers on cots in a high school gymnasium and worked in small teams to salvage homes in the Ninth Ward.

I was driven to provide some service, having worked in a shelter in Philadelphia of victims.

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