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Kensington news: Amber Owls cheer team, Heitzman summer camp, KCAPA's "Beauty of Time" art exhibit, and The Sunshine House ☀️

Here’s our Monday morning update with information about free activities, resources, programs, and more.

Roz Pichardo, the founder of Operation Save Our City, welcomes Kathryn Pannepacker, a textile artist and painter, at The Sunshine House at 2774 Kensington Ave. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Happy March, neighbors! We hope you caught some sunshine this weekend as we head into a rainy week.

We're back at it today with your Monday morning roundup. As always, if you know of an event or resource you’d like us to include in future newsletters, send it our way at

In case you missed it

Mayor Cherelle Parker

During the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mayoral Luncheon last week, Mayor Cherelle Parker voiced her support for 7th District Councilwoman Quetcy Lozada and offered attendees another glimpse into her plans for Kensington.

"Help is on the way," Parker said.

Read more about what Parker had to say about Kensington here.

The Sunshine House

Also, thanks to an anonymous donor through the Philadelphia Foundation, Kensington resident Roz Pichardo is opening a new community outreach and education center called “The Sunshine House” at 2774 Kensington Ave through her organization Operation Save Our City.

The space will offer various services, including gun violence and overdose prevention, and a “messaging center” where people can make and receive calls and collect messages from home.  

“What I’m working on is really connecting the families back with the sunshines,” she said. “Some people who are suffering from active addiction lose hope when they don’t connect with their loved ones.” 

Read more about how Pichardo is opening The Sunshine House despite recent threats of a harm reduction crackdown on the Avenue.

What’s happening in the neighborhood

Amber Owls Cheerleading Registration

The Amber Owls cheerleading team is open for registration for kids ages 5-18. It's $50 per child for the season and the team fundraises the rest. For more information, contact Mimi Martinez at 267-597-2446 or

Heitzman Free Chess Club

Beginning March 11, Heitzman will host a free chess club on Mondays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for ages eight and up. No registration or prior experience is required. For more information, contact

Heitzman 2024 Summer Camp

Registration for Heitzman Recreation Center’s Summer Camp has officially opened for this summer. You are welcome to come by Monday through Friday, between 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., to register your children ages 6 through 12. The summer camp will run from July 1 to August 16 on weekdays and will cost $50 a week ($325 total). To learn more, contact or call 2155373244.

PAL Prom Night donation drive

Police Athletic League of Philadelphia is currently accepting donations of new or gently used prom gowns, formal wear and accessories for teens this prom season. The deadline for donations is March 11. Here is the information for both of their drop-off locations:

3068 Belgrade Street
Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Contact Dawn Fambro, 215-291-9000

732 N 17th Street
Open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Contact Officer Martinez, 215-232-2101

Heitzman Rec Spring Basketball League

This spring, Heitzman Recreation Center is having a free basketball league for all children ages seven to 14 years old. The games for the 7-10 age group will take place on Wednesdays and games for the 11 to 14 age group will be on Fridays. The evaluation period will take place on April 1o, 12, and 17. The time for the 7-10 age group will be 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the 11-14 age group evaluations will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To register or for more information, contact or call 215-537-3244.

Our programs 

Every Monday through Friday, we host youth programming at our newsroom at Allegheny & Amber Street from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. The programs are designed for students in grades six through 12, but those in that age range are welcome to bring their younger siblings, too. 

Mural Art Mondayz (Youth Voices) 
Mondays from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Students in grades six through 12 are invited to this free workshop series at Kensington Voice with community artist John C. Zerbe ( 

Click here for more info, including registration. 

Creative Writing Corner (Youth Voices) 
Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. 

Students in grades six through 12 are invited to join our Creative Writing Corner with Khysir Carter, a writing workshop dedicated to building creative writing skills with peers and writing professionals. 

Students can drop in at any time. However, youth participants who work with us to publish their writing in our newspaper, website, or other media will receive a gift card ranging from $75 to $150 for their work. 

Click here for more info, including registration. 

Youth Voices After-School Program
Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. 

Kids in grades six through 12 are invited to stay safe and warm with us after they get out of school. We’ve got arts and crafts, computer games, multimedia equipment, and more. 

Activities & Events 

March 6

Hive 76 is opening its doors for a free miniature paint night every first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. Meet other mini-paint enthusiasts and enjoy their high-resolution 3D printer. Painting airbrushes and supplies will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own supplies. Click here to sign up. 

March 7

Come by Lutheran Settlement House (1340 Frankford Ave) at 12 p.m. to support KCAPA’s Digital Media Production class for their “Beauty of Time” art exhibit. The exhibit is the culmination of a community service project undertaken by the students that captured photos and film showcasing the experiences of the seniors at Lutheran. All are welcome to attend and support.

Community First Fund is hosting a free Affinity Group Lending Info Session at 6 p.m. for small business owners to learn more about their funding opportunities. Click here to register for this week’s session and future ones.

March 8

Join Downtown 500 at Second Street Music (1954 N 2nd St) for their new group art show, “Going Home”, starting at 5 p.m. There will be a vinyl DJ set from the local DJ duo Planet Earths, and food will be provided. Click here to register for free.

March 9

From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Sunday Love Project will be having its community Easter event at Esperanza Core Center (3222 H St). The event will be open to the public, but the org is looking for volunteers to help out. Click here if you’re interested in volunteering.

Afrobeats Dance Philly is hosting another community dance class from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Creative Reaction Studios, 3437 D St. Come and learn new moves or show off old ones to the sounds of afro beats with friends and community members. Entry for adults is $10 and $5 for children. Payment will be accepted via cash, Zelle, or Cash App at the door. Click here to sign up.

From 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., McPherson Square Library bringing back its “Chicken Storytime” event. Come hear some stories and meet the small feathered friends from Hart Lane Neighborhood Farm.

Come by Taller Puertoriqueno for their “Rice is Everything” event, happening from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy an afternoon of food and conversation with fellow community members about the profound role of rice in Asian and Latin American cultures. To register for this event, click here.


The Norris Square Senior Center offers free daily activities for adults 60 and older on Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities include art, exercise, games, and socializing. Meals are also provided – $1.25 for breakfast and $1 for lunch.  

Heitzman Recreation Center hosts free art classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays will consist of bracelet making, and on Thursdays, participants will be making arts & crafts. For more information, contact or call 215-537-3244.


Galaei has several programs coming up for Philly’s Black and Brown LGBTQ+ community, including a book club, transgender support group, sexual health discussions, and more. Keep up on Galaei’s Instagram

To browse upcoming programs at Kensington, McPherson Square, and Lillian Marrero libraries, visit

Free Trainings

Lifeguard Trainings

Parks & Rec have reopened their free lifeguard training for teens 16 years and older. Upon completion, you will earn free lifeguard certification, allowing you to make a starting pay of $16 an hour. Click here to apply or learn more.

Energy Coordinating Agency

The Energy Coordinating Agency is offering a training program for people interested in a career in environmental remediation. This 10-week training gives you 4 industry certifications and the skills to turn abandoned or unused lots into greenspaces in your neighborhood. The training will be from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To apply, contact Tess Willams at 267-306-9551 or by email at

GRIT Program

The Philadelphia Energy Authority is running its Green Retrofit Immersive Training (GRIT) program from March 11 to July 5, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will earn five industry certifications, a competitive weekly stipend, and gain support for future job placement. You will also be provided with a SEPTA travel wallet. Some of the requirements include residence in Philadelphia, a high school diploma or GED, and you must complete a 2-week orientation prior to the beginning of the program. Click here to register and learn more. 

Mental Health First Aid Training

The Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) offers free training for those interested in earning a Mental Health First Aid certification. The virtual training is facilitated weekly. Register here.

Sheet Metal Workers

Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 19 is currently accepting applications for their Philadelphia training center. Earn money while you learn a new trade, and learn from experienced professionals in the field. Click here to apply and learn more.

Funding Opportunities

Block beautification

As part of the Keep It Clean Philly campaign, the city is offering funding to block captains the PMBC Block Captain Beautification Grant to beautify their block. The grant amount can be as much as $500, and is only available to block captains registered through the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC). Click here to apply.

Business security

Does your business need extra security? Click here to apply for the city’s Business Security Camera Program. If your company wants additional upgrades, check out the Storefront Improvement Program.

Nonprofits can also apply for security enhancements through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.  

Community Award Grant Program

The Life Unites Us Community Award grant program is giving $10,000 to $25,000 to community-based organizations working in the field of harm reduction and substance use disorder and recovery services. The grant is aimed at supporting organizations that do this work and that advocate against stigmas that affect those with substance use disorders and those seeking recovery. To Apply and learn more, click here.

Kensington Community Resilience Fund

The Scattergood Foundation’s Kensington Community Resilience Fund has reopened for 2024. All grants will provide $10,000 in general operating support, and to be eligible you must be a nonprofit organization operating in the Kensington area and have at least two years of service in the community. The deadline to apply is March 20. Click here to apply and learn more.

Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Violence Prevention Grant Program

The DA’s Office Violence Prevention Grant Program has returned and community-based addiction recovery nonprofits are encouraged to apply.  To begin the application process, contact You must be a registered 501(c)(3) to be eligible for this grant opportunity.

Mural Arts Artist Opportunities

Mural Arts Philadelphia is calling artist to apply for their latest projects: Small Walls, William and Letitia Still, and Printmaking by the People. Each project will offer artists a budget compensation for $2000 or more. The deadline for applications for all of the projects is March 17, 2024. Click here to apply and learn more


City of Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia is hiring for multiple positions, including Correctional Officer and Research & Information Analyst. View listings and apply here.

Division of Substance Use and Harm Reduction

The Division of Substance Use and Harm Reduction has several job openings available, including communications specialist and graphic designer. View listings and apply here

Esperanza Health Center

Esperanza Health Center has several job openings available. View listings and apply here.

Gloria Casarez Elementary School

Gloria Casarez Elementary School is hiring new teachers for their Kindergarten, Art, ESOL, and 1st & 5th grade classes. If you are interested, call 215-400-7160, or stop by the school, located at 800 E Ontario St, and let them know you’re looking to fill one of the positions.

New Kensington Community Development Community 

NKCDC is hiring for several full-time positions. View listings here

Pathways to Housing PA

Pathways to Housing PA is hiring for several positions, including for a truck driver/warehouse assistant at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank at 3650 I St. Find listings and apply here


PennDot is hiring new engineers, equipment operators, inspectors, and mechanics. View listings and apply here

Safe-Hub Philadelphia

Safe-Hub is hiring soccer coaches. Head coaches are paid $22 per hour while assistant and flex coaches are volunteer positions. Apply here



Ceiba still has openings for its Educational and First Time Home Buyers Individual Development Accounts (IDA) Program. The organization also has Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) applications available for immigrants. For more information, contact Ceiba here.

Department of Health and Human Services

Every U.S. household can now order four COVID-19 rapid tests for free through the U.S. government. Click here to order tests.

Filter Philly

Filter Philly provides free air purifiers, masks, and tests to local events and organizations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne illnesses. If you’d like to be supplied with a free purifier or equipment, contact

Fresh Choice Food Pantry

The Community Center at Visitation’s Fresh Choice Food Pantry is open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Additional offerings include coffee, light snacks, free vital checks, HIV testing, and Hepatitis-C testing. 

Homebound Services

If you’re homebound or a caregiver of a homebound individual, you may be eligible for the Free Library’s Homebound Services. Books and other materials can be delivered to your home and returned for free. To apply for a Homebound Services Library Card, click here.

In Color Birding Club

From now until August, In Color Birding Club is offering school bus sponsorships for teachers and institutions taking their students to field trips in nature or other green spaces like gardens or arboretums. First priorities will be given to first-time applicants and teachers or institutions with a majority presence of BIPOC students. Click here to apply and learn more. 


Applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program are now open. Income-eligible families could receive up to $1,000 to pay for heating bills. Apply online or by mail. 


From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday, NKCDC’s Kensington Empowerment Hub is open for their Record Clearing Clinic. Clients can meet with lawyers from the Lawyers for Social Equity organization to have their cases reviewed to see if they can be cleared of any records.

Youth Employment Project (YEP)

Temple University’s Youth Employment Project (YEP) is looking to enroll out-of-school young adults ages 16 to 24 years old into their program to support them with earning their GEDs and transitioning to employment or higher education. Requirements include being a Philadelphia resident, highly determined and self-motivated, and having a basic understanding of computer skills. Click here to fill out their interest form.

Volunteer Opportunities

Free Library of Philadelphia

The Free Library of Philadelphia is looking for volunteers for their author events. Volunteers will have the duties of greeting and ticketing patrons prior to events, assisting with audio equipment, and vetting questions from audience members. To volunteer, contact

Philly Community Wireless

Philly Community Wireless needs tech and outreach volunteers. Learn more here

Savage Sisters

Savage Sisters, an organization that serves people recovering from substance use disorders, has an outreach program where they directly serve folks with resources and food. On Tuesdays, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., they hand out warm food and harm reduction kits, and they also do a clean up around the area afterward. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Liddy at or 215-954-6199. 

Small Things

Small Things, a local food bank, opened a “free grocery store” style food pantry at 3510 A St. in Fairhill. Operating hours are Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is looking for volunteers

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