ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS AND PROJECTS
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
As a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP), Steve Seweryn, RTP's former Executive Director, had forged a long-term relationship between RTP and SVDP. Since SVDP was founded on the premise of "Neighbors Helping Neighbors," a community partnership was a natural fit. Over the past several years, SVDP has contributed furniture and appliances to our homeowners in need. Volunteers from SVDP often are one of the first groups we turn to for emergency repairs in North Philadelphia. In 2007/2008, RTP volunteers returned the favor, making improvements to the St. Vincent de Paul warehouse on Luzerne Street in the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia. HSBC employees undertook a range of exterior and outdoor projects in August 2007, and the warehouse was the location of RTP's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project on January 21, 2008.
RTP is a member of the Senior Collaborative – a diverse group of organizations united in providing interdisciplinary solutions to help residents sustain healthy, multigenerational communities. The Senior Collaborative identified West Shore as the neighborhood on which to focus for an initial pilot project. RTP's spring 2008 activities in West Shore, through the sponsorship of AARP, provided RTP with the opportunity to serve as an anchor for greater community impact. Other members of the Senior Collaborative built upon or were inspired by RTP's activities as they considered activities they wanted to undertake in West Shore in 2007-2008. The lessons learned from this pilot will be used to develop a model that can be applied in other neighborhoods and communities, and perhaps, eventually on a city-wide level. Participating in the Collaborative not only allows RTP to expand its direct service work, but also enables RTP to participate at a policy level to effect both individual and systemic change in neighborhoods.
Direct Senior Collaborative collaborations with RTP in 2007-2008:
- Community Design Collaborative -- designed an accessible entry for the Southwest Community Enrichment Center
- University of the Sciences of Philadelphia -- Occupational Therapy students provided home modification services to homeowners in West Shore. This experience was incorporated into USP's curriculum.
- The Senior Collaborative held the first in a series of workshops on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at the University of the Sciences. This workshop focused on legal services and was followed by an Information Fair composed of a full range of service providers from AARP to Wireless Philadelphia.
Families are Victims Too
RTP's partnership with Families are Victims Too extends several years. In 2004, RTP launched a two-year project to transform an abandoned house into offices and community space for this Southwest Philadelphia-based nonprofit. Families are Victims Too uses a holistic approach to violence prevention, grief counseling, and mentorship. Founders Sandy and Garnet Spicer have become true partners of RTP, providing headquarters for RTP's neighborhood operations, referring homeowners to the organization, and connecting RTP to civic leaders.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – 2007
RTP and Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) honored Dr. King's legacy on January 15, 2007 by coming together to devote a day's labors to making improvements to the community space of New Creation Church in Lower Kensington. More than 60 volunteers gathered to haul debris, clean, and paint at the Center. Through a Food Cupboard and Baby Boutique, LSH distributed emergency food and baby items to individuals and families. LSH also was an important liaison with community members, previously translating RTP's homeowner application and other communications from English to Spanish and teaming up with volunteers during the homeowner selection process that day. The improvements to the community space were part of a series of significant repairs that took place from the fall of 2006 through April 2007. This anchored a “Block Build” where RTP volunteers provided warm, safe, and dry repairs for more than a dozen homeowners in the immediate area. The staff and congregants of New Creation were an essential force of support for volunteers and an important connection to area homeowners.