Hundreds of Temple students and faculty throughout Philadelphia participated in the 15th annual Philadelphia Cares Day on Oct. 18 in order to honor urban education chair Dr. Bernard Watson from the College of Education.
More than 100 schools have benefited from Philadelphia Cares Day, which is a service event with 500 volunteers and projects in nearly a dozen schools. The School District of Philadelphia partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Cares, the largest provider of volunteer services in the region, to host the event.
Watson is Temple’s first African-American to be honored with an endowed chair in the university’s history.
“It is important that Temple University is consistently represented at city-wide service events,” said Tiffany Tavarez, assistant director of development and alumni affairs for the College of Education. “It shows everyone in the city, from the resident to the executive level, that we are engaged with the city’s overall goals, and we are committed to partnering with our youth and their families.”
Students worked throughout the region painting playgrounds, cleaning landscaped areas and helping senior citizens, the disabled, the hungry and sick.
“While getting up early on a Saturday was not ideal, after cleaning up a school’s playground, I realized that a day of picking up trash created a safer and healthier environment for the communities’ children to play in,” said Stephanie Rhodes, a participant at the event.
Since 1994, Philadelphia Cares day has brought service to nearly a dozen schools with over 500 projects. Growing significantly throughout the years, this project has inspired many students to do more service, create their own projects, and to give back to their community.
“This was the first time I have really felt connected to my new community,” said Ashley Allen, a first-year participant in the event. “Being a long way from Boston, I thought this would be a great way to give back to the city that I will be spending the next years of my life in.”
Greater Philadelphia Cares assures students are in a safe environment while getting the most from stepping out of the classroom and into their community.
“As a former alumna myself of Temple University, I recall the sense of being entirely overwhelmed with my studies and my job,” Tavarez said. “It gets too easy to say ‘What is going on in the city?’ It is important for students to step outside of their comfort zone and commit to the work that grows another community, another set of people, another way of life, along with their peers.”
Whitney Segel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.