Our local Brightside Academy, located at 1627-29 Meadow Street, hosted a “Meet Your Legislators” event on Friday, 1/13/12, to bring our local legislators, parents and students together. Part of the program included a photo display of students’ concerns about our community. The students had been given disposable cameras to capture and record what they would like to change about Frankford. Students also prepared questions to present to the legislators. As I looked at the photo display, there were pictures of littered streets and abandoned buildings. We, too, share these young citizens’ concerns. Parents gathered in the meeting room of Brightside Academy, munching on provided snacks, to await the arrival of the legislators.
This was our first visit to Brightside Academy and we were warmly greeted and impressed with the brightly painted and decorated classrooms. This Brightside Academy is one of 30 academies in the city according to Davida Garr, Community Affairs Specialist. Brightside Academy is a part of many of our city neighborhoods and are reaching out to connect with their families and support the local communities. Early education and care are provided for children aged 6 weeks – 12 years. Academies are open year-round from 6 AM until 6 PM (may vary slightly by location). Juana Ramos, Area Business Director, explained that Brightside Academy opened in 1999 at this location. The name “Academy” is very important to staff as they provide an educational environment, work to enhance their own qualifications through staff development and work to reach higher levels in the Keystone Stars program. Keystone Stars is a PA Early Learning initiative that gives accreditation to day-care centers based on the highest performance level they achieve – Star 1 through Star 4.
I had a chance to speak with parents who are unanimously very pleased with this facility. They feel staff are pleasant, there is a family atmosphere and they recommended them highly. One mother has had three children in Brightside Academy and the oldest is now 11. We visited a class where a student was celebrating an 8th birthday and cupcakes had been shared!
State Representative Tony Payton arrived, as did City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Unfortunately, State Senator Christine Tartaglione had a previous commitment. Students welcomed them and introduced themselves asking questions about litter, jobs and money for education. These future voters did themselves well!
The Northeast EARN Center (located on Frankford Avenue) had representatives and a table of information at the event. This agency provides support for those transitioning from welfare to work in northeast Philadelphia. You must be referred to them by your caseworker if you are receiving assistance from the Department of Public Welfare. If you have any questions or think you might be eligible, talk to your caseworker.
For more information, visit their website at Brightside Academy or call 215.289.0641 or 877.868.2273. Kudos to all those involved in this event! Our Frankford community is the better for them!