Block captains in Southwest Philadelphia had an opportunity to meet with the representatives of local groups, organizations and service providers during a meeting held at the Francis Myers Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia on Thursday Jan. 3.
The meeting, hosted by the group PhillyRising, was well attended and included presenters Captain Kevin Hodges of the 12th Police District, Dwight A. Wilson, administrative operations manager of the city’s 3-1-1 call center and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell.
“It was a really good meeting and we got to engage block captains and really focus on some of the new things happening in the area,” said Bennie Ruth, assistant managing director for PhillyRising’s West and Southwest operations.
Ruth said the meeting was called in advance of the kick-off event to be held January 10 at Shaw Middle School at 54th and Warrington at 6 p.m. in the Kingsessing area. It will mark the official launch of PhillyRising in the area.
Asked during an interview why he felt residents, organizers and block captains should attend the kick-off, Ruth said it would be an opportunity to be heard.
“To be blunt, but not cynical, we have more people complaining than we have people voicing what it is they need,” he said. “This is an opportunity to voice what you need and let us know the vision for your neighborhood.”
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell described the meeting as important — in this era of rising crime.
“It is so important to sell hope and for community people to know what’s going on,” she said.
Blackwell stated she contacted the district attorney’s office about resources available for witness protection programs so she could in turn inform residents in the community about what programs and services are available and how they can be accessed.
Hodges encouraged the room full of people to work together as neighbors to help improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.
“As communities we need to start coming together as individuals as a community and as neighbors to get to know each other and start working together,” he said.
Dwight A. Wilson, administrative operations manager of the city’s 3-1-1 call center, encouraged block captains and residents to become a part of the Neighborhood Liaison Program instituted by the center.
“We are attempting to empower people in the community and give them the tools that they need to make changes in their neighborhoods,” he said.
Community organizer and resident, Regina Young, informed the block captains about the formation of a new community development corporation, Empowered Communities CDC, which will soon serve the residents of Southwest Philadelphia. Young is also the executive director of the Empowered Communities Community Development Corporation.
“We’re around to help bring programs which not only will help build the community but also strengthen it as well,” she said.
Those interested in more information about PhillyRising should call (215) 554-1579. Contact Empowered Communities Community Development Corporation at (215) 360-2450.