When most outsiders think of North Philadelphia, they think of crime, drugs and poverty.
Last Saturday, Dawn Staley found time in her busy schedule throw the Fifth Annual “Dawn Staley Day in The Park” at the Hank Gathers Memorial Recreation Center on the 2500 block of Diamond Street.
Staley, who was raised in the Raymond Rosen projects near Temple’s Main Campus, began her basketball career at Dobbins Tech High School.
She was named USA Today’s National High School Player of the Year and led Dobbins to three straight Philadelphia Public League championships.
Her impact in the basketball world did not stop there, however.
She is currently a guard in the WNBA, playing for the Charlotte Sting.
She has been a member of the USA’s Olympic Women’s Basketball team and toured the world this past summer in the Women’s World Championships.
But Dawn Staley has not let her success go to her head. She has also not forgotten where she has come from.
Getting out of North Philadelphia is tough, and the community around her aided her in her efforts.
To show her gratitude, Staley has been holding her “Dawn Staley Day in the Park,” for the last five years, “This is always a fun day, it touches so many people in the City of Philadelphia, not just the neighborhood where I grew up,” Staley said, “it’s grown to an event where the entire City of Philadelphia embraces it.”
Entertainment included step dancing and drums, with many other amusements.
The Philadelphia Daily News sponsored this event, and 103.9 The Beat was also on hand.
Food and drinks were served at the playground at Hank Gathers Memorial Recreation Center.
“This community is made up of us,” Staley said, “and we are going to look out for our own.”
Andrew Monoghan can be reached at ACTMONO@aol.com