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Kensington news: Black History Month, book releases, GRIT job training, and the Kensington caucus

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

(Photo by Khysir Carter)

Happy Black History Month, neighbors.

This week, we’ve got a long list of stories you may have missed, plus events and other opportunities happening in the neighborhood this week. 

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

Last week’s big news was the launch of the Kensington caucus, a four-member City Council group that wants to “triage” people using drugs in Kensington to treatment – or incarceration.

“It's an either/or proposition… you're either going to treatment, or you're going to jail,” said Mike Driscoll, who represents a portion of the Kensington and Allegheny avenue intersection. “And that sounds harsh, but we have to start, and we have to be aggressive.” 

We also published some updates from Mayor Cherelle Parker’s administration, including a new communication policy that requires all public statements go through her office, and news that Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, a leading voice in the city’s opioid response efforts, is stepping down after a three-year post.   

And finally, earlier today, we published a story clarifying that last week’s “large, militarized police presence” was the attorney general’s office, not a Parker or Kensington caucus initiative. 

What’s happening in the neighborhood

Philly Bridge & Jawn fundraising event

Philly Bridge & Jawn is having a fundraising event for their “Eat, Cook, Meet, and Get Paid Kensington” program at Cantina La Martina on Feb. 15, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Come by and support the local organization’s effort to engage neighborhood kids and enjoy a five-course meal along with entertainment. Tickets for the fundraiser are $100 per person. Click here to register.

Kensington Corridor Trust is seeking board members

Kensington Corridor Trust is looking for new board members for their Stewardship Committee and their main board. Applicants must be at least 16 years old and live or have a business in the Kensington neighborhood. The serving term for board members is two years. To register for the Stewardship Committee, click here. To register for the main board, click here.

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. 

Some of the kids work on sticker designs at one of our recent after-school workshops. (Photo by Khysir Carter)

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 

Feb. 6

NKCDC's agriculture program is hosting the second session of its  "Dreaming of Spring" Garden series at Esperanza Health Center, 3222 H St., from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Come by and bring your kids ages eight and up and enjoy gardening with the family. Snacks will be provided. Click here to sign up.

The Blue Stoop is hosting another installment of The Bricks Reading Series at H&H Books, located at 2230 Frankford Avenue, at 7 p.m. This installment will feature poetry readings from poets Carina Del Valle and Jubi, and include work from writer Annie Liontas. To learn more and to register to join, click here.

Feb. 7

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. 

From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Julia De Burgos Bookstore is hosting a book signing event at their space for author Camille Gomera-Tavarez’s latest book, “The Girl, the Ring & the Baseball”. You will have the chance to meet Gomera-Tavarez and ask questions about the book, as well as purchase a copy of it on the spot. Click here to sign up and pre-order the book.

Feb. 8

Julia De Burgos Bookstore is inviting community members to its virtual book launch for “Relit”, an anthology series of 16 classic stories retold from a Latinx point of view. The book launch will begin at 6 p.m. and will include authors Sandra Proudman, David Bowles, Saraciea J. Fennel, and Nonieqa Ramos. Click here to join the live stream and pre-order the book.

Join Taller Puertorriqueno’s YouTube livestream at 6:30 p.m. for the “Seeing/Hearing: Capturing the Asian Presence in the Americas” discussion event. Learn about the intersection of Chinese and Latinx identities and hear of experiences from Chinese artists and organization directors. Click here to watch.

Join Fishtown Neighbors at Saint Lazarus Bar, a black-owned bar in Fishtown, for their Black History Month Meet-up at 7 p.m. Come by and chat with fellow black Fishtown residents, or just come and buy a drink to support a local black business. 

Feb. 9

Come by Taller Puertorriqueno at 6:30 p.m. this Friday and experience the Voyager Ensemble 2024. Enjoy the sounds of Puerto Rican music from artists like Jose Miguel Cueto, Kelvin Diaz Inoa, and Airi  Yoshioka. The event is free, but a $10 donation is encouraged. 

Feb. 10

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Hagert community will be meeting in person at Hagert Playground to discuss plans for the playground and the Smith Barrick Play Garden. Memberships for the garden are available for $30 a year or a scholarship for those who can’t afford to pay. Click here for more info.

NKCDC is hosting one of their First-Time Homebuyer Workshops from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Join the virtual workshop to learn how you can get support and more information about owning a home. Click here to register for Saturday's workshop and future ones.

Feb. 12 - March 15

Every Monday from February 12 to March 15, NKCDC’s “Nourish” program will be hosting virtual cooking classes from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each class will include a weekly meal kit with provided food and ingredients for each recipe, and nutrition educators will be instructing participants on how to cook the meals. Registration for the classes closes on February 7, so click here to register as soon as you can.


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.  


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

Bloomberg Art Internship

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, is running a summer arts internship program for all high school seniors in the city. The program will begin June 19, and participants will be paid $17.53 an hour while working up to 35 hours per week. Applications for the program are due on February 28. To apply, or to learn more about the internship program, click here.

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.

Northstar Digital Literacy Program

Northstar is hosting a digital literacy certification program at Kensington Neighborhood Library, on Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come learn basic computer skills and how to operate different digital programs to fill up that resume. For more information, call 215-685-9996 and ask for the library’s Digital Resource Specialist. 

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.


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.

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.


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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