It’s a question that many young, involved Philadelphians ask themselves, week in and week out. Given that you’re reading this on the Young Involved Philadelphia blog, it’s safe to assume that you want to spend your free time in a fulfilling way that makes a positive impact in your community and on those who live here.
Thirty-seven out of every 100 Philadelphians under the age of 18 live in poverty. And poverty often means poorer outcomes for those held in its grasp – poorer language skills, chronic health problems, a lack of food and other basic resources, and neighborhood violence. Some studies estimate that at least 70 percent of children living in inner-city poverty have been exposed to trauma.
While there are plenty of great ways to try to help, I’m admittedly biased towards one in particular: becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. Devoting a few hours of your time every month can have a huge impact. Your free time can be priceless to a young person who needs a positive influence in his or her life—and give you a sense of emotional reward; this study quantifies the positive influence you can make as a “Big”.
About a year ago, the board of Young Involved Philadelphia resolved to take a stand on the state of Philadelphia’s schools. We wrote this op-ed in the Inquirer. Last year, the budget deficit was $304 million. This year, Superintendent Hite is asking for $440 million.
If you want to understand how Philadelphia found itself in this God awful Groundhog’s Day scenario, our Public Education resource page has a presentation by Dr. Claire Robertson-Craft and Danielle Wolfe of PhillyCORE Leaders that does a wonderful job of explaining it all.
Millennials and a growing percentage of baby boomers prefer cities to the suburbs. Unlike our older siblings, who left Philadelphia for the Main Line when they had kids, millennials are more likely to find a different city with decent schools. Philadelphia’s failing schools don’t just threaten the city’s recent growth – it threatens to harm the entire region.
Things are bad at John Bartram High School. The school, located in Southwest Philly and named after the famed botanist, recently suffered through a spat of violence that should serve as a wake up call for the deplorable state of Philadelphia’s schools. Unfortunately, if two (soon to be three!) years of huge budget deficits doesn’t do the trick, shaky cellphone videos of students fighting won’t either.
It’s beyond obvious to state that Philadelphia has a school funding crisis, but since this is a post about school funding, I have to lay the groundwork. So, Philadelphia is having a school funding crisis. Unfortunately, I don’t have the $300 million (give or take) lying around to plug the budget gap, and neither does YIP, so we can’t save the district’s budget on our own. But two local nonprofits are trying to do just that. Read more