City-wide youth organization visits Holmesburg Civic Association

The Holmesburg Civic Association welcomed many guests at last night’s meeting – the most uncommon of which were representatives from Young Heroes, a division of Philadelphia’s City  Year.

Typical civic association guests includes politicians and other community leaders, but Holmesburg residents also had the chance to hear about how the City  Year term serves their neighborhood and the rest of the Northeast.

A “downdate” from Holmesburg Prison

A representative from Holmesburg Prison explained the city’s halted plans to renovate the facility. Civic Association President Fred Moore called this a “downdate,” as opposed to an update.

-Curran From-Hold Prison on State Road is in need of repairs in the next three to five years, which would involve demolishing and rebuilding the facility piece-by-piece and temporarily housing inmates in Holmesburg.

-Plans to add 600 beds to Holmesburg Prison, which was built in 1854, are on hold due to the city’s financial crisis.

-Curran From-Hold’s population is down to 9,200, from last year’s 9,700.

Young Heroes is a program for middle school students, which gets kids talking about community and quality of life issues, then sends them out into their neighborhoods to see those issues firsthand, explained City Year’s Director of Civic Engagement Tiffany Davis. The program is small part of City Year, which enlists the help of volunteers from 18 to 24 years old to talk with middle and highschool students about things kids have to deal with.

Davis took questions from the crowd of about 30, explaining how Young Heroes contribute to the neighborhoods they serve. In Holmesburg’s case, sixth through eight graders who participate in the program meet three Saturdays a month at New Foundations Charter School, where they focus on one discussion topic, share a free lunch, then apply the discussion out in the neighborhood.

As an example, Davis said, if kids spend the morning discussing homelessness, they’ll visit a homeless shelter after lunch. She continued: “It’s about exposing kids to things they don’t normally see.”.

Also at last night’s meeting…Michael Untermeyer, Republican candidate for District Attorney, addressed his campaign points, which include prison alternatives and a “zero tolerance” police on carrying illegal concealed weapons…residents asked the board to bring in a representative from the Streets Department to discuss speeding issued on Rowland Avenue and in common driveways…the civic association will meet again Nov. 10.

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