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Kensington news: Philly Home Girls, spring basketball at Heitzman Rec, and Valentine’s Day crocheting class

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

Gloria “Smooches” Cartagena poses for a selfie with Jasmin Velez at a Harrowgate Civic Association meeting on Feb. 1, 2024. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Happy Monday, neighbors! We’re back with our weekly round-up. 

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

Over the last couple of weeks, Kensington and Harrowgate residents have shown their support for the Philly police and the Kensington caucus’ “triage centers” idea. 

There are still limited details about how the model, which promises to direct the unhoused and those living with addiction toward treatment or jail, would work. However, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel did provide some sense of timeline at a recent Harrowgate Civic Association meeting: between late summer and early fall. 

“I made my commitment to my principals,” Bethel said. “Things will look different when our kids come back in September.” 

What’s happening in the neighborhood

Spring basketball league at Heitzman Rec Center

This spring, Heitzman Recreation Center is hosting a free basketball league for all children ages seven to 14. The games for the 7-10 age group will take place on Wednesdays, and games for the 11- 14 age group will be on Fridays. 

The evaluation period will occur on April 1, 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 still seeking board members

Kensington Corridor Trust is seeking new board members for its stewardship committee and nonprofit 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.

Photo of a Valentine's Day card-making workshop at Kensington Voice on Feb. 6, 2024, taken by Harmony, Grade 3. (Photo by Harmony)

Our programs 

Every Monday through Friday, we host youth programming at our Allegheny Avenue & Amber Street newsroom 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 

Feb. 13

NKCDC’s agriculture program is hosting the third 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.

Philly Home Girls is hosting its free Virtual Homebuyer Workshop from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Participants will learn about credit scores, mortgage myths, and homebuying programs. Click here to register.

Feb. 14

McPherson Square Library is having a Valentine’s Day crocheting class at 4 p.m. Come by and make a last-minute gift for a loved one or a secret crush. 

Feb. 15

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.

Feb. 17

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.

Feb. 18

Hive 76 is hosting their Boardgame Day. Make sure to stop by and play some games with friends or family. Click here to register.

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. 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 on 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 Feb. 28. To apply or 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, 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 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 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 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 be tasked with greeting and ticketing patrons before 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. 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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