OCTOBER 7, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.57.48 AM It’s October and here in Philadelphia we’re gearing up for fall and saying good bye to BBQ’s, shorty-shorts and our beloved block parties. On September 28th, the People’s Emergency Center (PEC), a resource that usually assists in a mix of community development, housing services and other health, educational, and financial services in west Philadelphia, wrapped up their final “Block Party in a Box.” The program offers residents a package of essential block party supplies. A 6-foot-square package containing a $150 gift card for food, a free moon bounce, popcorn machine rental, balloons, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, tote bags and the choice between a disc jockey, clown or photo booth. All the block had to do to was write to PEC and explain why their block deserved a block party.

Through these Block Parties the PEC was hoping to identify motivated community leaders and tie them into existing programming. Seeing the potential for them to elevate enthusiasm for community events and possibly persuade neighbors to participate in events that they may have never attended, this increased level of resident involvement helps build stronger, more empowered communities.

We brought our Maker Cart and loads of fun crafts and building supplies to get people working together! Children and adults were all welcome to make ‘Power Jewelry’ out of electronic components, fold origami lanterns, and try making the tallest structure they could with only zip ties and 1 x 2 boards. There are some great blocks in Philadelphia and learning more about everyone who lives in them was a great opportunity to get ideas on how to do more for our communities!