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Kensington news: Kids' bingo night, Roberto Lugo sculptures, street cleaning, & the city's police-assisted diversion (PAD) program

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

Patrice Rogers (left) and her son Majid pose for a portrait at the grand opening of "The Sunshine House" on March 16, 2024. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Happy April, neighbors!

We all know what April 1 means – if you don't want a parking ticket, you've got to keep an eye out for those street cleaning signs when you park your cars today because the city's mechanical street cleaning program is back.

For those who celebrate, we hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend. To start off the month, we’ve got a new batch of events and resources. 

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

Kensington already has a police-assisted diversion program some consider a “triage” for people who use drugs. Here's how it works.

Last week, the Parker administration asked City Council for $100 million to open “triage centers” that address drug use across the city. But while some have described the city's Police-Assisted Diversion (PAD) program model “as a sort of triage/urgent care,”  it’s unclear what the program’s role – if any – will be.

Click here to read the full story.

Kensington native Roberto Lugo to paint three 11-foot sculptures in Kensington this summer

Over the past year, in collaboration with Mural Arts, Kensington native Roberto Lugo collected input from community members to get a sense of the neighborhood’s patterns — patterns that reflect their background, culture, and everyday life.

Click here to read more.

Latino-led charter schools attract Philadelphia families with tight-knit communities and Spanish

We republished an article by Chalkbeat Philadelphia about why Latino families in Philadelphia say they’re choosing Latino-led charter schools, and how these schools are able to fill gaps not filled by the school district. 

Click here to read the full story.

What’s happening in the neighborhood

Friends of Harrowgate Park is looking for board members

The Friends of Harrowgate Park group is looking for new board members. If interested, email and tell them why you’d like to be a part of the board.

Look out for street cleaning signs; the Streets Department's mechanical street cleaning program begins today

The Street Department’s mechanical cleaning program will operate from April 1 to November 1. The program will include weekly street sweeping and sidewalk debris removal. The Streets Department is hosting two meetings this month, on April 10 at 6 p.m. and April 23 at 10 a.m. Click here to sign up.

Heitzman's basketball league evaluations are approaching

Heitzman's free basketball league for children ages seven to 14 years old is hosting evaluations on April 10, 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. Contact or 215-537-3244 to register.

Our programs 

Youth Voices Afterschool Program

Monday-Friday from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.
Every Monday through Friday, we host youth programming at our newsroom at 3237 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. We’ve got arts and crafts, computer games, multimedia equipment, and more. 

Thanks to our community engagement & programs manager John Zerbe, we also have sponsored meals from nearby restaurants for four days each week:

Youth participants who are interested in creative writing, multimedia production, and visual arts can collaborate with us to publish their work to our website and receive a gift card ranging from $75 to $150 for their contributions. 

Activities & Events 

April 2

Friends of McPherson will be holding a general meeting at 6 p.m. at McPherson Square Library. Meetings are held every first Tuesday of each month.

April 3

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is deploying a mobile COVID-19 unit at St Mark’s Church from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (4442 Frankford Ave) to offer folks free COVID-19 testing. No insurance or ID is required.

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. 

April 4

The Community First Fund is hosting a free affinity group lending information session at 6 p.m. for small business owners to learn more about funding opportunities. Click here to register for this week’s session and future ones.

April 5

Heitzman Recreation Center is hosting a kids' bingo night from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $2 per player, which includes a bingo card, pizza, and a juice box. For more information, call (215) 537-3244 or contact

Join the Creative Becoming community for their monthly themed open mic night at the Perch Music & Arts Studio, located at 2321 Emerald Street, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sign ups for performing are first-come first-serve. Tickets are donation based, so you pay what you can. Click here to register. 

April 6

Afrobeats Dance Philly is hosting another community dance class from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Creative Reaction Studios, 3437 D St. Come learn new moves or show off old ones to the sounds of Afrobeat 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.

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.


Heitzman Recreation Center hosts 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

Looking for more open mic nights in the neighborhood? Tina’s Tacos hosts an open mic and live band karaoke night every Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Come by and show off your vocal skills or enjoy some local talent.

Every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Galaei hosts its weekly discussion group, “Code Grindr”, in person at its location. This discussion group will unpack the negative impact that hookup apps have and the stigmas they uphold surrounding race, gender identity, and the harm they cause people. 

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.

Free Trainings

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

Forklift Certification Class

Project Home is offering a free forklift certification class this June. Participants will receive all-day hands-on training from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., learning how to operate forklifts. You must have a driver’s license to be eligible for the certification class. The deadline for applications is May 23. Click here to apply.

Lifeguard Trainings

Parks & Rec has reopened its free lifeguard training for teens 16 years and older. Upon completion, you will earn free lifeguard certification, which allows you to earn a starting pay of $16 an hour. Click here to apply or 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

2024 Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program

Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance & Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’s Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator program provides creative entrepreneurs with small business consulting and $2000 in critical funds. Over half (51%) of the program's funding is reserved for BIPOC entrepreneurs and those in low-income communities. To apply for the grant program and learn more, click here.

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.  

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.

Philadelphia Water Department State Grants

The Philadelphia Water Department has grants available for its Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund. Eligible homeowners can get up to $10,000 for unpaid water bills. To apply and learn more, click here.


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.

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

Philadelphia Parks & Rec

Philadelphia Parks & Rec is currently hiring for multiple positions, including RSI Programming Specialist-Pops Playground and Seasonal Maintenance Attendant. To apply and learn more, click here.

School District of Philadelphia

The School district of Philadelphia is hiring Assistant Teachers. The starting salary is $20.61 an hour. Click here to apply.

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

Vientiane Bistro

Vientiane Bistro is hiring for part-time server and part-time delivery driver for its local delivery. To apply, call (267) 703-8199 or contact


Xiente is hiring in multiple positions, including OST Group Leaders, Head Start Lead Teacher, and more. To apply, send your resume and cover letter to


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. 

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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