Hope’s Graduate Support Program has been quite busy this spring! Between eighth grade high school placement, after-school programs, community service hours, job placement, and tutoring, Ms. Holiday and our Hope alumni have had a full plate! Through a grant from Verizon, and with the help of Ms. Sarah Fox, Hope’s new graduate support program associate, the program has added taking Hope’s alumni on college tours to their schedules.
As college is on the horizon for many of our alumni, we know an important part of the college selection process is taking a tour. So far, Ms. Holiday and Ms. Fox have taken the alumni on tours of La Salle University, Millersville University, and Temple University. On the tours, the alumni were able to see the campus, as well as learn about the academic programs and extracurricular activities each of these schools have to offer. Hope’s alumni were also able to speak with college admissions counselors, ask questions, and find out about what it takes to be successful in college.
What did the alumni like about the college tours? Sophomore Briana says, “This was my first time visiting a college. I like that I was able to see the dorms, and see what college life is all about.”
Our college explorations are not over yet! Later this spring, the Hope alumni crew will be visiting Gywnedd Mercy University, the Community College of Philadelphia, and Cabrini University. We are all excited to see what these schools have to offer!
If you would like to assist in setting up additional tours, send an email to Mr. Holiday.
The choice to write about a second trimester honors’ assembly might strike some people as a rather mundane topic, but it is cause for a moment of reflection and gratitude for the faculty and staff of Hope Partnership for Education. As our students gathered in the Hope Room on March 15th, at the close of the instructional day and right before enrichment classes began, there was a buzz in the air. The Honor Assemblies have gradually become a point of pride for our middle school students.
The students received their report cards at parent conferences about a week ago, so not everything was a surprise. Certificates were awarded for the highest average in each subject area in each grade and for first and second honors. The number of students receiving honors has been steadily increasing and, more importantly, has become a focus for many of our students as they begin to realize the significance of middle school grades for high school acceptance. Perfect attendance and arriving on time is also recognized.
The final awards of the afternoon were presented with an added touch of gravity. Who exemplifies the core values of Hope Partnership all the time? Which students demonstrate the commitment to respect, academic excellence, hospitality, compassion, joy, and hope in a way that is universal? This award is not limited to one student per grade, but it is very selective and holds importance in our school community.
Finally, genuine happiness, rounds of applause, and pats on the back from one student to another are the icing on the cake for all of us who treasure this Community of Hope.
We’d like to make you aware of a group of people who are invisible, yet so instrumental in making Hope happen. These people are our Rays of Hope members. The idea was the brain child of a Holy Child Sister way back in 2005. She suggested that we establish a monthly giving club. The members range from young friends in their 20s to mature friends in their 80s. The monthly gift amounts range from $10 a month to $1,000 a month. The members are primarily from Pennsylvania, though we have members as far north as Connecticut and as far south as North Carolina. If you are interested in joining this amazing group – who either send a monthly check or who have their donation automatically deducted via their credit card on the 15th of the month – please call 215-232-5410, Ext.101. These donors literally serve as “rays of Hope” to those of us who cherish this work of quality education for those who need it most.
Since the inception of Hope’s Adult Education Program in 2006, Townsend Press has provided their superb language arts materials for our learners and teachers completely free of charge, including shipping. This is a tremendous support for our learners and our program. Townsend prefers that our learners each have her or his own copies of the books they are using to ensure that they can continue their studies, even when they cannot come to class. In addition, as a teaching team, we have a wonderful library of Townsend materials in the Quint Learning Center.
Townsend’s support of our learners doesn’t stop at the printed page. Each year, Townsend provides free access to their Learning Center, a powerful, digital learning platform that learners can access in Hope’s computer lab, as well as on their mobile phones. One example is Vocabulary Plus, an engaging, interactive, digital word-building program that provides instructive feedback to learners and teachers. Learners who do not have a strong vocabulary struggle with writing and reading comprehension. Townsend breaks through those barriers with an intensive words-in-context approach and abundant opportunities to practice.
Townsend Press is a 25 year old, independent publisher of superb language arts resources for learners at reading levels ranging from elementary through college. They live true to their motto, “Helping you help students learn.” Hope Partnership thanks Townsend Press for their excellence and generosity!
“I am you…You are me” are words that echoed in the Hope Room on February 16th at the end of Spirit Week. The statement came from Marc Jackson, a former NBA player and 76er, who now works as a commentator for NBC Sports. How could Mr. Jackson make that statement? It turns out that Marc Jackson grew up on Huntingdon Street, in the shadow of what is now Hope Partnership, but was then the Salvation Army.
Our students couldn’t have been more attentive as Marc talked about his own childhood, where he experienced considerable challenges related to poverty, and how he was treated by his classmates. His height – in the upper reaches of six feet – is impressive, but was something to be ridiculed when he was in sixth and seventh grade as his physical appearance didn’t match his current athletic stature.
The students were very interested in how Marc learned to play basketball and, how in his sophomore year, he transferred to Roman Catholic High School. He was mentored by his coach and by the time he was a senior was well known throughout the basketball world. He played for Temple University and was then drafted in the NBA.
The faculty and staff were impressed with Marc’s emphasis on how he managed to focus on education, as well as basketball, and how his degree from Temple would serve him throughout his life. Marc talked about his wife and three sons, his opportunity to travel, and the fact that he speaks another language and is married to someone who speaks five languages.
Everyone at Hope is looking forward to continuing our connection with our “neighbor.”
The annual 100 Book Challenge Principal’s Lunch for Hope’s top readers featured eight eager students excited to share their latest read. Recommendations included the infamous Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, a book current 5th graders said helped teach them important lessons such as, “learn to forgive, and listen to your heart.“ Even upperclassmen fondly remembered characters like Opal who inspired them to be caring and generous to those in need. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick was another favorite read by all. This book, about a physically disabled boy who becomes friends with another boy living a challenging life, taught Hope students not to, “judge a book by its cover.” Good friends can be found in people who are very different from you.
Our lunch concluded with a deep discussion around the well-renowned book Night by Eli Wiesel; a riveting, but painful narrative about family members ripped apart during the Holocaust, one of whom survived to tell their heroic story. Congratulations to Raven Brown, Jordan Charles, Taylor Holmes, Shadaia Lindsay, Niaya Marriott, Raheem Peterson, Nikia Walker and Sanaa Waters for their dedication to reading and for sharing important lessons and inspiring life stories!
On Sunday, January 28th, Hope Partnership for Education opened its doors to NExT (Network of Extraordinary Talent) Philadelphia, an affinity group of the Urban League of Philadelphia to host a community Health and Wellness Summit. Attendees learned tips and tools to help them take control of their overall health through diet, exercise, and self-care. The event started off with a discussion led by therapist and author Jaynay C. Johnson, MFT, regarding the importance of prioritizing self-care, managing stress, and mental health.
Following the seminar, participants headed to the gym where Zumba Instructor Moria Brooks cranked up the music and participants danced while burning a ton of calories through a combination of Latin dance and cardio. The event came to a close with a seminar surrounding the dangers of smoking, followed by yoga.
Overall, the event helped to empower individuals to take their health, both physically and mentally, more seriously in order to excel in life and the workforce. We look forward to partnering with the Urban League for many more exciting and informative events in the future.
For the next five months, Hope students will participate in the World Affairs Council Jr. Model UN Program. This year’s research/activities will focus on gaining knowledge on two topics: Ending Food Insecurity and Protecting Women and Girls’ Access to Education. On January 22nd, seventh graders began their work by exploring their own cultures during an introductory Cultural Diplomacy workshop. They shared information about themselves by answering such questions as: What music do you listen to? What foods do you eat at home? What is considered polite or rude in your family? What do you wear on special occasions?
Throughout the program, students will work in small groups and each group will be assigned to one country delegation and one research committee. In weekly class sessions our diligent 7th graders will learn to become world diplomats who are charged with the grown-up task of finding solutions to world hunger and the lack of education for girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ghana. Once research and brainstorming are completed, students will draft and submit a resolution proposing possible solutions to a major issue in their assigned countries. Activities will also include a regional Model UN Conference at Temple University and a culminating trip to the United Nations in New York City. Hats off to our budding diplomats!
Meet seventeen-year-old junior, Zayanna ! Zayanna first joined the Hope Family in the fifth grade and graduated from Hope Partnership in 2015. She attends Mercy Career and Technical High School. She is in their Culinary Arts Program and is currently studying pastry arts.
At Mercy, Zayanna is a well-known athlete. She is a member of the Volleyball, Softball, and Basketball teams, and has won many awards for her efforts – most recently being selected as an athlete with the Tri-Country Independent School League. Her favorite subjects are mathematics and science, and she loves to use the things she learns in science to help conceive recipes. One of her specialties and favorite things to create is a three-layer vanilla cake, with buttercream frosting. Delicious!
Zayanna is interested in studying Sports Management or Culinary Arts when she goes to college and is currently considering Johnson and Wales, Millersville University, Clark-Atlanta University, or her dream school of UCLA. When she gets older, she hopes to own her own fine dining restaurant and has gained some experience through an internship at Center City’s R2L Restaurant in Two Liberty Place. In her spare time, she likes anime cartoons, listening to music, traveling with her mom, exercising, and of course baking! She recently got her driver’s license, so she also enjoys the new experiences she’s having on the road.
While at Hope, Zayanna was involved in many activities including Students Run Philly, our first ever Kwanzaa Play, baked cupcakes for our Student Council Bake sales and was heavily involved with our partnership with the Fairhill Police Athletic League.
Zayanna wants to make her mother, and community proud. She will be one of the first to attend college, and we are so excited for what the future has in store in her. Go Zay!
This fall, Hope Partnership graduates have been able to participate in a highly requested “relationships” workshop through a partnership with The Philadelphia Theatre Company and Women Against Abuse. Dating and Us: Exploring Relationships through Play is a weekly two-hour workshop that challenges participants to ask some of the tough questions we all explore as individuals: What does it mean to be in a safe relationship? What values are important to you? What does consent mean to you? Do you know how to establish boundaries? What will I look for in a partner? How do I handle conflict?
Through music, games, life experiences, role play, and dialogue, our graduates have been learning the ways to have healthy relationships; not only with their peers, but with parents, guardians, teachers, and their community.
Held in our Quint Center every Tuesday afternoon, graduates are learning the skills needed for communicating effectively and dealing with conflicts. They’ve created “partner poems,” acted out scenes of conflict with resolutions, discussed cheating, and have been keeping personal journals to document their experience.
It has become another safe space at Hope, and the room is often filled with laughter, new perspectives, and informative discussions. From their workshops, our graduates work together with other teens from the Philadelphia community to decide on the future topics of the program. Hope is grateful for the opportunity to pilot such a unique experience for our graduates, and we know that the skills they are learning today will most definitely serve them well in their futures.