Every Monday we round up a handful of fun ways to get involved throughout the week to make your city better. Have ideas for upcoming events? Email tips here. And find more evergreen ways to get engaged in our handy Do Something guides.
Photo: Victor via Flickr
On Monday night, WURD Radio, The Reentry Project, Philadelphia Media Network and more team up for a discussion about the most common issues that make reentry so difficult, and offer up solutions on how to put men and women recently released from prison on a more sure-footed path into the future.
Among the speakers taking part in If These Walls Could Talk: Solving Reentry and Recidivism are a panel of voices from both sides of the prison system: former Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Leon King II; Reuben Jones, co-founder and executive director of Frontline Dads; Valerie Todd-Listman of Mothers In Charge and a group facilitator in the Philadelphia prison system; and freelance journalist for Al Dia and others Emma Restrepo. The night will be moderated by Solomon Jones, a morning host at WURD Radio.
As one of 15 media outlets in town that are part of the Reentry Project, we’ve written tons of stories on ways locals are working to help the formerly incarcerated adjust back to life outside bars—from Philabundance Community Kitchen, which helps those recently released from prison find culinary jobs, to I’m Free, one of few programs answering to the issues women face when they re-enter society from prison. Maybe they’ll spark some ideas when you go in Monday night. Monday, May 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m., free, African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street.
A discussion taking place in East Falls Tuesday night seeks to inform locals on all the ways they can get civically engaged and make smart decisions when they step into the booth to vote on May 16. “With so much emphasis on voter registration, we felt it was important to begin a discussion on voter education,” says Lawanda Horton, CEO of Mission Incorporated, the organization spearheading the event. “We believe an informed constituency is critical in a participatory democracy.”
Done in partnership with the city’s SERVE Philadelphia initiative, Committee of Seventy and more, the night promises to delve into engagement 101 topics like how government works, how to access government resources and voter registration. For those looking to take a more-active approach to citizenship, they’ll also discuss how to run for office and ways we can all be more civically engaged. Tuesday, May 9, 6 p.m., free, Bulogics, 3721 Midvale Avenue.
Photo: The Food Trust
The Food Trust’s fantastic roving street food festival, Night Market, returns for its seventh season this Thursday. The first stop is Northeast Philadelphia’s Burholme neighborhood, where dozens of mobile food vendors, like Dump N Roll, Grubaholics and Fat Jack’s BBQ, set up camp at Cottman and Rising Sun avenues. To stick with the festival theme, the night also features live music, entertainers and activities for kids.
The Burholme stop is the 25th installment of Night Market, which was created to “celebrate diverse neighborhoods and immigrant communities across four corners of Philadelphia.” You have three other opportunities to take part now through early-fall: July 1 in Spruce Hill, August 10 in Roxborough, and October 5 in the Italian Market.
To keep track of these upcoming events, go here to sign up for The Food Trust’s newsletter. Thursday, May 11, 6-10 p.m., pay as you go, Cottman and Rising Sun avenues.
Photo: Fairmount Park Conservancy
On Saturday morning, 2,000 devoted volunteers across the city will head out to their favorite local patch of green to pick up trash, paint faded fixtures, mulch trees and more to make ready their park for the 6th annual LOVE Your Park Week.
Fairmount Park Conservancy (FPC) and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s eight-day hoopla encourages folks to celebrate the city’s local parks through a series of events taking place across the city. The reason is simple: The more people are involved, the better our parks are, says FPC Stewardship Coordinator Lindsey Walker. “When communities and neighbors are engaged, the parks tend to be in better shape.” That’s because active citizens, for instance, organize cleanup days, host park events and even advocate for better maintenance by reaching out to City Council.
There are lots of reasons to Love Your Park besides the obvious break from all that concrete they provide. Adding greenery to a dull, vacant lot in a neighborhood has been shown to reduce crime rates. A Penn study of low-income areas in Philadelphia showed that planting trees in a neighborhood boosted nearby home sales by two percent. And then there’s the effect on our well-being. BioMed Central Public Health data shows that walking or running in green spaces has a positive effect on anxiety, anger, fatigue and sadness.
Whatever your reason for loving your park, there are tons of ways you can get involved this week. Find all the opportunities here, or make up some of your own on your block or nearest park. May 13-21, free events happen all over the city.