Northeast Frankford Boys & Girls Club has served young people in the Frankford section of Philadelphia since 1938, though the neighborhood has changed drastically over time. Sixty-five percent of families in the community now live below the poverty line, according to Lisabeth Marziello, the co-chief executive officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia.
“We are the only nonprofit organization left in that neighborhood, serving that neighborhood,” said Marziello, who also described Frankford as distressed and dangerous.
The club, a solemn stone building in various states of disrepair, received an extensive facelift last weekend on Comcast Cares Day. More than two hundred Comcast volunteers bulldozed debris from the rear of the property, clearing the way for a garden and planting beds.
Comcast contributed $25,000 toward the physical transformation of the club, an ongoing and expensive process that, long after the volunteers had gone home, will require sustained work and support.
Volunteers also helped to rehab the club’s My.Future technology lab, a resource with tablets, touchscreen laptops and PCs. The lab was supported by a $25,000 grant from Comcast and offers tech-based learning and activities to the club’s 800 young people.
My.Future, a national program being rolled out by select clubs nationwide, gives youth access to digital literacy and arts, helping them prepare for college and career opportunities, Marziello said.
“These kids do not have computers at home and do not have access to computers. Even at school, it’s limited,” she added.
Because the club is a resource and safe place for so many, Marziello emphasized a desire to offer young people a better environment.
“People are excited to see that changeover in Northeast Frankford,” she said.
Image via Joseph Kaczmarek-30-
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