The Manayunk community raised their glass on Thursday night for a beloved neighborhood staple. It was the third annual ‘Pints for North Light’ fundraiser which brought in more than $10,000 in funds for North Light Community Center in Manayunk.
Breweries and local eateries offered their selections to a large crowd throughout the night. This year, VIP ticket holders were allowed in an hour earlier than general admission receiving the pick of the litter.
“This is the best VIP turnout we’ve ever had,” said Jane Lipton, executive director of the Manayunk Development Corporation. “It’s awesome.”
Lipton has been involved with North Light Community Center for more than 20 years. She was joined by many business and community leaders, North Light board members, staff, alumni, beer geeks and local residents who wanted to make a difference.
“It’s amazing we have been here 75 years,” said Lipton.
More than a community center
Founded in 1936, the mission of North Light Community Center is to promote the welfare of the community, including the social, educational and athletic development of its youth. North Light is a place where children come to learn and play in a safe and nurturing environment and their parents seek counsel, assistance and civic engagement. It is a place where neighbors mobilize to solve community problems and shape a common vision.
“This isn’t just a community center,” said Lipton. “This is our community center. We are lucky to have such an organization right here, right on Green Lane. Every dollar you spend at this event stays right here in the community.”
North Light serves more than 2,700 community members of all ages in the neighborhoods of Manayunk, Roxborough, and the surrounding communities. The community center’s constituency consists of a multi-ethnic mix of low-income and lower middle class working families, their children and senior citizens.
“Imagine you were sending your kid to a school that had to hold a bake sale every day to keep the school operating,” said Rob Krieder, Pints For North Light Chairman. “That’s what it’s like at North Light. Without your support, we would not exist.”
Through events like ‘Pints For North Light’, the center has been able to raise more than 85-percent of the funds needed to support operations; so that no one is ever turned away due to inability to pay. Services at North Light include after-school programming for school aged children, a full-day summer camp, tutoring, scholarships for students in elementary through graduate school, teen employment and leadership, parenting education, emergency support, arts, theater, recreation and a computer lab with public access.
Providing opportunities for students
This past summer, a total of 50 local students including 25 WorkReady interns and 17 USLA interns were placed at 26 worksites throughout Manayunk, Roxborough, Center City, West Philadelphia and Germantown. The interns worked up to 102 hours at the worksite of their choice and attended an additional three hours of professional development seminars at North Light per week. WorkReady Philadelphia is a city-wide youth workforce development system funded through a blend of public, private and philanthropic investments.
USLA, which stands for Urban Sustainability Leadership Academy, is a two-year after-school program for juniors and seniors at Roxborough High School, facilitated by North Light. This summer, instructors taught about leadership development, urban and social sustainability, awareness of social responsibility, professional development and setting and reaching post-secondary goals.
USLA volunteers worked at the Pints for North Light event serving food to guests from various sponsors. One of the most talked about food sponsor of the evening was Nolt’s BBQ. Guests lined up later in the evening taking home his Amish BBQ chicken.
Motivated by a Board of Directors, dedicated staff and a talented pool of more than 300 volunteers, North Light is a vital community hub that relies on the support of individuals, businesses and organizations to remain an integral part of the heart of Manayunk.
“This is a good time for a good cause,” said guest Jerry Vetter. “I received another cool glass this year that doubles great for coffee.”