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Kensington news: Friends Hospital, Narcan training, & the Philly DA's illegal gun diversion program

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

Philly Bridge & Jawn founder Bryan Belknap speaks at a fundraising event at La Cantina Martina on Feb. 15, 2024. Dressed in all black on the left are youth from the PB&J program who worked as servers for the event. (Photo by Khysir Carter)

Happy Monday, neighbors. If you're a parent of school-aged children, we hope you're coping with the federal holiday... 🙃

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, we published a story about the Philly DA Office's illegal gun possession diversion program, which has reported a 76% decrease in rearrests among its participants.

The Alternative Felony Disposition program is an option for individuals who have no adult criminal convictions or juvenile felony adjudications, have never brandished a weapon, have no “group affiliations,” and had no intent to commit another crime using the gun, as determined by the arrest report.

Of the 186 people the program has served since September 2021, 67% reported full-time employment at the time of graduation, and only 5% of participants had been rearrested in the first year after graduating, according to data compiled by the District Attorney’s Office last fall. That’s compared to a 21% re-arrest rate over that period for defendants convicted of gun possession.

Read more about the program here.  

It was also a full house at Cantina La Martina last Thursday during Bryan Belknap’s fundraising event for his organization, Philly Bridge & Jawn (PB&J). The ticket sales will be used to fund the next “Eat, Cook, Meet, and Get Paid in Kensington” program this spring, which will now increase to 30 kids instead of 20. 

“This whole project has been an amazing experience with everyone in the community stepping up and helping out,” Belknap said. 

PB&J will also be expanding how many youth-based organizations they will be partnering with, one of which will be Safe Hub Philadelphia. If you would like to support PB&J or learn more about the work they do with Kensington area kids, click here

What’s happening in the neighborhood

Friends Hospital

Councilwoman Quetcy Lozada and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health are hosting three community meetings about the proposed health center at Friends Hospital on Feb. 20, 21, and 27. While these meetings are not located directly in the neighborhood, the health center will have an impact on residents.

Here are the dates, times, and locations:

Tuesday, Feb. 20 @ 6:00 p.m.
Houseman Recreation Center
5091 Summerdale Ave.

Wednesday, Feb. 21 @ 6:30 p.m.
Juniata Boys & Girls Club
1225 E. Cayuga St.

Tuesday, Feb. 27 @ 6:30 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church
5435 N. 3rd St.

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.

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. 

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 ProgramWednesdays, 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. 20

NKCDC is hosting one of their First-Time Homebuyer Workshops from 4 p.m. to 8 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 this workshop and future ones.

NKCDC’s agriculture program is hosting the fourth 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.

Feb. 21

The Fishtown Neighbors Association is meeting at Fishtown Recreation Center, located at 1202 E. Montgomery Ave., from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They meet every third Wednesday of the month.

Feb. 22

NKCDC’s Nourish program will be hosting a free youth cooking class at McPherson Square Library from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The class is open to the public, but the first 20 participants to show up will receive a bag of food to go home with. 

The Fishtown Neighbors Association and East Kensington Neighbors Association are partnering up to host a Harm Reduction & Narcan training at Shissler Recreation Center (1800 Blair St.) at 7 p.m. The training will be provided by harm reduction experts at Sol Collective Philly.

Are you a local comedian looking to tell some jokes on a stage? The Monkey Club will be hosting their monthly open mic for comedians at 7 p.m. Sign-ups for the open mic start at 6:30 p.m., and each set will have 5 minutes. Click here to sign up.

Feb. 23

Taller Puertorriqueno will be having its annual Arturo A. Schomburg Symposium on Friday at 5 p.m., and on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s Symposium is themed “Repairing & Reparations, Healing from Racial Wounds. Hear from psychologists, activists, social workers, and more about various pathways to healing from racial trauma. Click here to register and learn more. 

Feb. 24

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 this workshop and future ones.

Tuesdays and Thursdays

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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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