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Do Something: Spread Holiday Cheer

This week, make Philadelphia and the world a little better for others: Give a toy to a child in need, fight mass incarceration, help homeless dogs find a loving home, and more!

Every Monday we round up a handful of ways to get involved throughout the week to make your city better and have fun doing it. Have ideas for upcoming events? Email us tips! Then, discover more evergreen ways to stay engaged in our handy Do Something guide.

Uncover Philly's Corporate Power Structures

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Do you know who is powerful in our city? Who makes the big decisions in Philadelphia’s important corporations, universities, civic institutions, corporate lobbying groups, and more? Come help Unite Here Philadelphia and in their search for answers. The event will begin with a brief training provided by, a free crowd-sourced database that “tracks and maps relationships between powerful people, corporations, and organizations.” Afterward, research on board members of important Philly institutions like Comcast, Penn, and the Chamber of Commerce will be conducted. After all the information is compiled, it will be added to LittleSis’ online mapping tool. Results will be analyzed and discussed. Monday, December 18, 6 pm-8:30 pm, Free, Unite Here Philadelphia, 1415 N. Broad Street, Suite 219.

Fight Mass Incarceration in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has the largest incarceration rate per capita of any major US city. What does this mean for the black, brown, and poor of our city? Join Mural Arts Restorative Justice Program in a film screening of Alex Pope’s “Nightmare,” a film on the relationship between poverty and incarceration. After the 6-minute short, Professor Baz Dreisinger of John Jay College, journalist Marc Lamont Hill and ACLU Deputy Director for the Campaign for Smart Justice Bill Cobb will host a panel. Then, members of Black Lives Matter Philadelphia will lead a community-wide discussion. Tuesday, December 19, 6 pm-7:30 pm, Free, Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, 5445 Germantown Avenue.

Help Homeless Dogs Find Loving Homes

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Last year, Pennsylvania’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals rescued Cranberry, a stray dog, during Thanksgiving weekend. The pup was found in a trash bag in Fairmount Park hungry and sick. By Christmas time, the organization had restored her health and found Cranberry a forever home! Although this is just the story of one pup, it’s also the one of many street dogs in Philly that PSPCA picks up and rehomes with loving individuals. Come support the hard work of this animal welfare group and celebrate in Cranberry’s name! Wednesday, December 20, 8 pm, $10, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street.

Call For An End To Homelessness

In Philadelphia, an estimated 6,500 individuals live on the streets. In this city, like many other places, the homeless often go unnoticed and unheard; but their voices and lives are important. Join Homeless Memorial Philly for their Homeless Memorial Day 2017 to remember the lives of those who passed away on our city’s streets during this difficult year. Nikki Johnson-Huston, a formerly homeless Philadelphian who fought her way out of poverty and homelessness, will speak at the event. Thursday, December 21, 5 pm to 6 pm, Free, Thomas Paine Plaza, 1401 JFK Blvd.

Help "Play On Philly" Keep Playin' On

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Curtis alumnus Stanford Thompson founded Play On, Philly! (POP) to provide intensive and comprehensive music education to the city’s poor and marginalized children. Since its founding in 2011, the program has provided music education and helped affiliated children improve grades and develop life skills. R&D Vinyl will host a Friday show to raise funds for this vital music program, which is founded on Venezuela’s El Sistema, a model of free classical music education for the country’s poorest youth. There will be a special, percussion only performance by NAH and a 25% discount off the entire store’s stock. Friday, December 22, 7 pm to 9 pm, $5-$10 donation, R&D Vinyl, 1504 S 6th St. 

Shop Local At The Holiday Market

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Need a last minute holiday gift? Why not take the opportunity to support a local Philadelphia artisan while you’re at it? The Love Park’s iconic German-style Christmas village returns this year with a wealth of high quality vendors and products. From arts and crafts, to jewelry, to ornaments, you can find something for any of your loved ones. Hurry! This is the final weekend the market will be open. Saturday, December 23 and 24, 11 am-5 pm, Pay-As-You-Go, Love Park, 1500 Arch Street. 

Give A Gift To A Child With An Incarcerated Parent

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Eastern State Penitentiary has a notorious reputation for having housed Al Capone and being one of the scariest haunted house attractions in the United States during Halloween. But the once most famous and expensive prison in the world has a soft spot beneath its gray and haunting exterior. In collaboration with Philadelphia FIGHT’s Institute for Community Justice, Eastern State Penitentiary is collecting toys for children with incarcerated parents. Considering 1 in 28 American kids has a parent in prison, this is no easy feat. The museum is even throwing in a bonus perk for the generous souls who bring gifts. For every Eastern State visitor who donates a gift in original packaging, they’ll gift them with a second admission free of charge. Don’t have time to drop a gift off? Ship it here: ATTN: Toy Drive, Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130. Sunday, December 1-23, 10 am-5 pm, Donations vary, Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue.

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