Recent News & Publications

August 24, 2015

Your Impact: A Voice for Shaniqua

By Sarah Punderson , 3:30 pm

Shaniqua’s story is the fourth in a bi-weekly series to showcase the impact proceeds from the Saint Paul’s Rummage Sale have made in Philadelphia. For more information on the outreach work at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, please contact Shara Dunham, Outreach Coordinator.zymira, shaniqua

“I didn’t come from a squeaky clean background. I used to be in foster care. Up until I was 18, I was living with people I knew, like family, but I still wasn’t at home. I didn’t have the right guidance…You can live in a messed up house, but you have to do what you have to do … to help yourself.” Shaniqua, like many of the teens in the Seeing Youth Succeed Program run by Episcopal Community Services, had experienced both poverty and a broken home.

ECS’ Seeing Youth Succeed program (SYS) provides leadership development and employment preparation through a variety of hands-on projects, activities and workshops. It combines project-based learning, cognitive-behavioral therapy and vocational assessments for some of the city’s most under-resourced youth, aiming to break the cycle of poverty.

Shaniqua was referred to the program by her cousin nearly three years ago. “[SYS] offers you a lot. It helps you get what you want with your future. You’re surrounded by people that actually care about your opinion, so it makes you want to keep coming back. It makes you strive for more.”

This past year, students worked together to produce a documentary on an issue they feel passionately about. They chose homelessness. Shaniqua said, “We called different shelters and spoke to different people to find out their life story…It taught us to be thankful for what we have, even if you don’t have a lot, because a lot of people don’t have anything.”

Unlike the typical educational setting, SYS is youth-centered and youth-driven, giving the participants a voice in the decision-making process for activities they will take part in. “They don’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do,” Shaniqua says. “Of course there are rules, but rules you should know, like don’t say things to people you wouldn’t want said to you. I wouldn’t even consider it rules – it’s just stuff you should know.”

 

August 20, 2015

Church School Registration – 2015-2016 year!

By Visible Missions , 10:53 am

There are two options to register for Saint Paul’s Church School this year. Print out the form online and bring it into the Church or email the completed form to Manny at emercer@stpaulschestnuthill.org. Looking forward to another great year!

August 10, 2015

Your Impact: A Friend for Cheryl

By Sarah Punderson , 3:30 pm

Cheryl’s story is the third in a bi-weekly series to showcase the impact proceeds from the Saint Paul’s Rummage Sale have made in Philadelphia. For more information on the outreach work at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, please contact Shara Dunham, Outreach Coordinator.Cheryl

Cheryl worked for 22 years at St Joseph Manor as the Director of Cafeteria Services. She knew how important meals were to the frail elderly residents, and she always tried to satisfy them with tasty, nutritious meals. Cheryl’s husband had heard about Aid For Friends, which provides meals and companionship for homebound residents here in Philadelphia. When Cheryl retired, she immediately signed up as a visitor volunteer, and was assigned to visit Margaret. They connected from the start.

Margaret’s husband had passed away five years previously. She had multiple illnesses including severe heart and kidney problems; she went for dialysis three times each week. Margaret had three children, but none of them lived nearby. Margaret even had to give up her pet dog because she was no longer able to take care of it. Cheryl loved visiting Margaret each week, bringing her meals (often ones she had made herself since Margaret loved Italian cooking), and staying for an enjoyable visit.

Margaret was so pleased last Christmas, when Cheryl brought her gifts from the Aid for Friends Gift Room. Cheryl had picked out a pair of pajamas and a robe that Margaret needed, but then, as she was leaving the gift room, a small bottle of White Diamonds perfume caught her eye, and she thought it would be a nice surprise. Cheryl was so excited when she got to Margaret’s home, bringing the decorative bags of gifts, that she wasn’t sure who the happiest person was that day: Margaret or her! Margaret opened each gift, and when she got to the White Diamonds perfume, she got so animated and said “I never had GOOD perfume” and asked to have some put behind her ears.

Although Margaret is currently in a rehabilitation center recovering from a fall, Cheryl continues to visit her each week, and hopes that Margaret can be home in time for the holidays. Cheryl said that when she first volunteered, she thought that this would be a compassionate thing to do, but she had no idea how happy becoming a visitor volunteer would make her.

 

July 30, 2015

Annual Rummage Sale Volunteers

By Visible Missions , 7:00 am

Thank you to all of our wonderful and dedicated Rummage volunteers, who have so far put in over 868 hours of work to make the Rummage Sale a spectacular success! We rely on our volunteers, and new faces are always welcome. Join us for sorting days on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or Sundays after church.

We are accepting donations! You can drop items off on Wednesdays during the hours listed above or on Sundays between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

The Rummage Sale will be held on Saturday, September 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $2. The Pre-Sale will be held the night before, Friday September 11, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with admission $10 at the door. All proceeds support community outreach programs! Please remember that the last day to donate goods for sorting and sale is Sunday, August 30!

July 27, 2015

Your Impact: A Family for Zymira

By Sarah Punderson , 3:30 pm

Zymira’s story is the second in a bi-weekly series to showcase the impact proceeds from the Saint Paul’s Rummage Sale have made in Philadelphia. For more information on the outreach work at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, please contact Shara Dunham, Outreach Coordinator. zymira

Ten months ago, during a three-month stay with her mother at St. Barnabas Mission, Zymira learned about the Episcopal Community Services Youth Center from a shelter employee. “They said it would be a good fit for me since I was the oldest kid in the shelter. They said to check it out and that it would benefit me … and I have been here since. I’m not really a sociable person, but when I got here, I felt comfortable to open up and talk about what I’ve been through … I just love the people.”

ECS’ Seeing Youth Succeed program (SYS) provides leadership development and employment preparation through a variety of hands-on projects, activities and workshops. It combines project-based learning, cognitive-behavioral therapy and vocational assessments for some of the city’s most under-resourced youth, aiming to break the cycle of poverty.

Through its projects, the center encourages collaboration and teamwork and teaches participants how to manage conflict before landing their first jobs. Zymira said, “We have our moments where we all disagree, but we all find a compromise to make decisions as whole group.”

SYS also helps youth identify career paths and goals based on their skills and interests, using the comprehensive online vocational assessment, CareerScope. As for Zymira, she said, “I want to be a family lawyer or a fashion designer … or maybe an author, because I have a crazy imagination.”

Zymira is currently in the eleventh grade, and for the most part, enjoys school: “it’s a decent learning environment, but there are some bad kids.” She prefers the Seeing Youth Succeed program and encourages her friends to come, too. “They help you with your future and it’s three hours on a Saturday, so get up and do something. You can actually meet friends … we are like one big family.”

July 23, 2015

Guest Preacher this Sunday: Miguel Pulido of Gideons International

By Visible Missions , 11:08 am

Miguel Pulido will be our guest preacher on Sunday, July 26. He is a member of Gideons International which was founded in 1899. It is the oldest Christian business and professional association in the U.S. They distribute Bibles and New Testaments in 90 different languages throughout the world, believing that God’s Word changes lives.

 

(Scroll picture is courtesy of Gideons International)

July 16, 2015

Summer Tuesday Nights at the Movies

By Visible Missions , 9:43 am

Our final film of the series is Amélie (2001, 121 min.) to be shown on Tuesday, July 28 at 7 p.m. in the air-conditioned Dixon House. Amélie is a healing presence and a gift of grace for a blind man, and a force of judgment toward a cruel green grocer.

July 13, 2015

Your Impact: An Identity for Carol

By Sarah Punderson , 3:30 pm

Carol’s story is the first in a bi-weekly series to showcase the impact proceeds from the Saint Paul’s Rummage Sale have made in Philadelphia. For more information on the outreach work at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, please contact Shara Dunham, Outreach Coordinator. carol

In a pinch it’s easy enough for most of us to prove we are who we say we are.  We can simply pull out a driver’s license or, maybe a passport.  Unfortunately, many of our guests at Broad Street Ministry don’t have that option.  For those who have no ID, proving that they are who you are can be next to impossible.  For one of our guests named Carol, our Identification Restoration program here at Broad Street Ministries was how she was able to get her identity back.

Although Carol has lived in the US for many years, she was born in Scotland, and is still a citizen of the UK. After completing her studies in London, Carol traveled around the world working on a number of cruise ships.  Two years ago, while Carol was living outdoors, and had to keep all of her important documents on her person, her wallet was stolen.  In an instant every document that could prove her identity was gone. She had no green card, no passport, no social security card, and no state identification. And she had no way of getting those vital documents back.

Here’s the problem most of us don’t think about – How do you get identification, if you don’t have any identification? What do you need first the state ID to get the birth certificate, or the birth certificate to get the state Id?

Carol realized that before she did anything else, she needed to establish an address where she could have those documents sent.  So Carol met with Brittany, Broad Street Ministry’s Postmaster General, who helped her set up a mailing address through BSM’s mail service.  Brittany also helped her acquire a BSM picture identification, which gave her the leverage she needed to finally reacquire her social security card, her Pennsylvania ID, her passport, and most importantly in terms of getting a job, her green card.

Looking back on all she went through, Carol says, “It felt good to be reassured I was who I said I was…even I was beginning to doubt.”  Her newly restored identification has opened doors for her to travel, to work, and to access services throughout the city.  Perhaps most surprising for Carol is that she found that the greatest benefit to reclaiming her identity has been that she again has a library card. “As silly as it may sound, it just feels so good to check out books from the library,” she remarked. 

Rummage proceeds change lives in our community.

 

July 9, 2015

Summer Tuesday Night at the Movies

By Zach Hemenway , 10:27 am

Enchanted April  (1991, 93 min.) will be shown on Tuesday, July 14th at 7 p.m. in the air-conditioned Dixon House. Four dissimilar women find the healing power of place – San Salvatore. An enchanted villa is a mystical venue of healing that restores the women’s lives.

July 1, 2015

Jennifer Sager is a NCAA Champion, and She Needs Your Help

By Sarah Punderson , 11:57 am

Jennifer Sager, daughter of Tim and Margaret Sager, has been rowing since her Springside days. Her crew at Trinity College just won the NCAA National Championships. She and her partner Kathryn Oram have qualified for the Under 23 World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She hopes to raise $3500 in addition to what her family has been able to contribute in order to compete in this championship. If you would like to help Jennifer, USRowing has set up a fundraising page here. You can help fulfill her dream of competing in this race. “I will work my butt off, compete hard, and do my best to bring home a medal for the United States.”

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