Philadelphia Parks Alliance
Community Outreach Organizer
Project Goal: With this project, we expect the Philly Fellow to asses the current state of recreation centers as well as gather information from rec leaders and community members at all underserved rec centers’ regarding their needs and wish lists. In doing this, we ultimately desire to develop citywide standards and processes for recreation centers to encourage their own sustainability. We desire to positively impact Philadelphia’s children and youth through creating individualized programming at all underserved rec centers. In order to accomplish our goals, we must continue to develop both public and private partnerships with organizations and community leaders.
The mission of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance is to champion the public’s interest in outstanding parks, recreation, and open spaces – key to making Philadelphia a healthy, vibrant and sustainable city for all.
Address P.O. Box 12677
Philadelphia, PA 19129-0077
Total number of Agency Staff Members 7
Agency Budget 138720
The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:
– Help plan recreation dinners with recreation leaders
– Maintain communication with resource-providing partners
– Growing volunteer capacity
– Canvass and distribute flyers for recreation dinners
– Collect and enter recreation center data
Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:
– Ability to work in a group and as an individual
– Communicates with others to convey information effectively
– Effectively communicates in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience
– Manages one’s own time effectively
– Understands the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making
– Brings others together and tries to reconcile differences
– Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins preferred.
– Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:
With more than 134,000 Philadelphia children living in poverty (39% of all children), there is a massive need to provide place-based resources in communities across the city. Despite this dire statistic, the Philadelphia Parks Alliance has a vision for fostering healthy futures in these communities by maximizing our extensive infrastructure. In fact, according to the National Trust for Public Lands, among the 60 largest U.S. cities, Philadelphia falls in the top 10% for access to park and recreation facilities. Our city maintains a ratio of 2.1 recreation and senior centers per 20,000 residents, besting cities with well-funded park systems like Chicago with a ratio of 1.7 per 20,000 residents. Yet, our city’s over 150 recreation facilities are often un- or under-staffed and lack the resources they need to improve the quality of life of those in their communities. These deficiencies have taken a particularly deep toll on our city’s children. A lack of adequate programming at many rec centers leaves the community (often our most marginalized and underserved children) with nowhere safe and healthy to gather and play. These rec centers are located in every neighborhood in Philadelphia and have no barriers to access– providing an ideal locale for citywide programming and addressing our city’s child poverty issue.
How the new capacity created by this fellow will help strengthen the community and alleviate the problem:
The Philly Fellow’s work will lead to anti-poverty outcomes by increasing both internal and external capacity and program delivery for our growing constituent base. We are currently in the process of building relationships with numerous recreation leaders and advisory councils. The Philly Fellow will primarily help us progress this process through helping lead dinner discussions that are open to the public and give us the opportunity to learn what individual community members want from their recreation facilities, as well as what they can offer each other. By hosting a series of events, this process enables rec centers, particularly those in poorer regions of the city, to further know and help meet the needs of their residents. We then turn these needs into viable programming at the recreation centers, typically focused on creating more educational opportunities in the forms of ESL support, after-school tutoring, Pre-K programming, and other Out-of-School-Time (OST) learning.
Level of community involvement in the fellow’s project:
Working at the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, enables the Philly Fellow to engage in a deep level of community involvement. We have anywhere from 2-6 recreation meetings a month in which the Fellow will help lead. These dinners provide a great opportunity for the Fellow to not only interact with rec leaders and advisory council members, but interact with up to 100 community members at any given time. Besides these community dinners, the Fellow will build relationships with resource-providing partners, such as other nonprofits, Parks & Rec staff, and volunteers. Finally, the Fellow will actively canvass the corresponding rec center neighborhoods, going door to door with flyers, often personally inviting members of the community to our events.
The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:
Our work on this project began in June 2016 and we have already experienced great progress. In particular, we have gained valuable connections with other non-profit and government entities looking to expand place-based initiatives in the areas of the city with the greatest need.
Fellow orientation plan:
At the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, an orientation on our organization’s’ history and current situation is the Fellow’s first step. Acquainting the Fellow with the geographic climate of the city as well as explaining the political and cultural context of Philadelphia is the next step. Once the educational aspects are complete, we train the fellow in community outreach by having them first shadow one of our experienced community organizers before helping lead a recreation dinner themselves. Finally, throughout the Fellow’s time with us, training in the form of continual feedback will be provided to the Fellow.
Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor: George Matysik; Executive Director
Plans for supervision of the fellow:
At the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, Fellows receive daily check-ins along with one-on-one coaching opportunities with our Executive Director. In general, the atmosphere of strong teamwork within our organization enables Fellows to receive the supervision and resources that they need through numerous accomplished staff members.
Will fellow be working at the same address listed above?
No (please list alternate work site below) 5070 Parkside Ave. Suite 3500A Phila. PA 19131 — Physical Address
Will the fellow have their own…
Office? Fellow will share
Desk? Fellow will share
Computer? Fellow will share
The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…
As a team member in a group setting 60
As a team leader in a group setting 20
Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position? Yes
If so, how often and where? Travelling to rec centers across the city will occur on a weekly basis, but each location is accessible via public transportation.
Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…
A driver’s license? No
Their own car? No