PHA and Boys & Girls Clubs launch historic partnership
    PHILADELPHIA - As many as 200 low-income children now have a great new place to learn and have fun after school, thanks to a historic partnership between the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. With excited, newly enrolled children at their side, leaders of both agencies officially opened Boys & Girls Clubs at two PHA sites, with plans to do even more. 

    "We know that children in PHA communities will benefit greatly from the programs offered by this outstanding organization," said PHA executive Director Carl Greene. "When the opportunity presented itself to form a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, we grabbed it." 

    Resident Advisory Board president Asia Coney said in looking for a group to offer programming at the centers, Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia stood out. "We received proposals from many many organizations, but we felt the Boys and & Girls Clubs offered the most qualitative program," said Coney.

    The program will operate at PHA's two newest community centers, at Wilson Park in South Philadelphia and at the Richard Allen Homes in North Philadelphia, with up to 100 kids at each site. Both locations will offer programs for 1st through 5th graders from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, and for 12-18 year olds from 6:00 to 8:00, Monday through Friday. 

    BGCP chief professional officer Jeffrey Waldron said activities at the centers are designed to help kids develop a positive self-identity and find their "moral compass." He also said the hours of operation are intended to keep kids off the streets. 

    "It has been documented that most children who get into trouble, do so between 3:00 and 6:00, so if we can get them involved in healthy afterschool activities the chances are that they'll have positive experiences," Waldron said. 

    Activities at the centers focus on five core areas: education and career development; character and leadership development, health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation. 

    There is no charge for families to send their children to the Boys & Girls Clubs programms at the PHA locations. BGCP obtained foundation grants to pay for this first year of program operation, while PHA covers the cost of providing and maintaining the community centers. BGCP also hopes to identify funding to run the program during the summer. 

    Both PHA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia say this is just the beginning of a long-term collaboration. 

    "This arrangement was a long time in forming. Now that we have it, we want to keep it and we want to expand it, said PHA director Greene. We're expecting positive results for families who take advantage of the opportunity." 

    Jeffrey Waldron of BGCP agreed. "If there are opportunities to open up more Boys & Girls Clubs down the road or to partner with PHA in other areas where we could help deliver services to public housing residents, we would love to look at those opportunities," he said. 



Leaders of both agencies officially opened Boys & Girls Clubs at two PHA sites, with plans to do even more. Shown here are (back row, starting 3rd from left) Linda Staley, director of Customer Support Services for PHA, Asia Coney, Director of Tenant Support Services Inc., John Rooney, chairman of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, and Jeff Waldron, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs (holding one of the kids).

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia will operate an after school program at PHA's two newest community centers, at Wilson Park in South Philadelphia and at the Richard Allen Homes in North Philadelphia, with up to 100 kids at each site. Shown here is the computer lab at Wilson Park.

Resident Advisory Board president Asia Coney (back row, 2nd from left) said in looking for a group to offer programming at the centers, Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia stood out. Jeff Waldron of the Boys & Girls Clubs and PHA's Linda Staley joied Coney and a happy bunch of kids as the new program began.

Kids play basketball in the gym at the Wilson Park Community Center, one of the activities that will be managed by the Boys & Girls
Clubs of Philadelphia.