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January 16th | Posted In Nonprofit, Philadelphia, Policy

There’s Mighty More Promise to Mantua Than Just a Zone

By admin

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Driving down Lancaster Avenue in the midst of West Philadelphia, one cannot ignore the signs of neglect and decline in this historically underserved area. Buildings lay abandoned, windows hold shards of broken glass, and various amounts of trash, debris, and forgotten shoes line the sidewalks.  Yet, there is promise – not just the January 2014 federally appointed designation as a “Promise Zone,” but the promise of a brighter future, education, and level of community: a mighty promise for the children, teens, and families of West Philadelphia and Mantua.

A “Promise Zone” is an area with high poverty rates in need of increased economic security, educational opportunities, affordable housing, public safety, and job access that will be given federal support in the form of increased consideration for federal grants and loans. This past weekend, the Obama Administration identified the first five Promise Zones, which included an area of West Philadelphia containing Mantua and parts of Powelton.

But before the White House recognized the neighborhood, a local nonprofit recognized the area’s promise and expanded to Mantua.  Mighty Writers, which works to teach Philadelphia kids “to think and write with clarity so they can achieve success at school, at work, and in life,” opened a new writing center this past fall at 39th and Lancaster – the very heart of the new Promise Zone.

The West Philadelphia branch is Mighty Writers third location in Philadelphia; the other two centers are located at 15th and Christian and 16th and South. Mighty Writers offers each of their communities afterschool academy programs, mentorships, SAT Prep courses, college essay writing classes, and long-and-short-term writing classes at night and on the weekends.

What do any and all of Mighty Writers programs cost for Philadelphia students? Nothing. Why? Because Mighty Writers is home to over 300 volunteers and a large support network of donors and individuals who believe in the promise of a better tomorrow for all children and families in Philadelphia, a belief that is spanning across the entire City.

While you may have missed Mighty Writers West’s recent open house, you still have the opportunity to volunteer and support their mission of combatting Philadelphia’s literacy and academic crisis at the center of the West Philadelphia revival effort. For more information on Mighty Writers or to volunteer, please visit: www.mightywriters.org.

For more on Promise Zones, please visit:

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/01/09/what-is-a-promise-zone/

http://articles.philly.com/2014-01-14/news/46153171_1_mantua-obama-administration-officials-west-philadelphia

Samantha Pearson is a Technical Writer working in West Philadelphia. In her spare time, she blogs, collects publishing rejection letters, and searches for Philly’s best Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @BlondeWords

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