My Philly Neighbor is a Broke in Philly initiative highlighting stories of everyday acts of kindness and good deeds by people helping their communities. Learn more here and nominate your neighbor to be profiled here.
The most important resource in Marie-Monique Marthol’s home of Germantown is the people.
That caring and that concern about each other, she said, manifest themselves into some really concrete ways through the neighborhood’s historic civic council.
Marthol, the president of Pomona Cherokee Civic Council, which seeks to improve quality of life in the Germantown area, has lived in Germantown since 2007 and owns her home. What interested her about the neighborhood was that many of people of color who live in Germantown are homeowners and have raised their families in the community for years.
The older adults who grew up in the neighborhood were children where they reside now, Marthol said, and their parents and grandparents owned those houses.
“That exchange, that sharing of information about what used to be and so on is not just a historic document or something to read about,” she said. “The people here are living historical records and can tell us about things that happened in the neighborhood and what it looked like and how it felt to grow up here — that it was a good place to grow up, and [that] even through challenging times, people stayed.”
When Marthol was new to Germantown, the Pomona Cherokee Civic Council was an active civic organization, but many of the older neighbors who started it or was involved with it passed away, which left it lying dormant for a few years.
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“Neighbors talked about bring it back and doing work together and so we were able to revive it over the last last three or four years, working to bring it back,” she said.
It’s now a functioning organization and runs community projects and events aimed at fostering connections between residents, city officials, police and the like. Events include a holiday luncheons, Halloween candy giveaways and a summer reading camp.
“Each and every resident in our area is important is irreplaceable,” Marthol said. “We’re connected to each other in ways that are just supportive, caring and we’re concerned about every person here. We put that concern and that caring to action.”-30-
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