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Project Rebuild – the Northeast Frankford Boys and Girls Club

$200,000 Grant from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help complete the project

State Senator Christine Tartaglione and State Representative Jason Dawkins brought home the bacon when they presented a check for $200,000 to Joseph Marziello, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, on November 22nd.

Tartaglione and Dawkins invested a lot of time and influence to get the grant for the club.  It is ear marked for the completion of the renovations that have been underway at the club for over a year now.

The work at the club has been one of the biggest construction projects in Frankford this year and it has already made a big difference.

From Marziello’s message on the Boys and Girls Clubs web site:

After establishing the new John and Katie Ericksen Family Literacy Center at our Northeast Frankford Club in March 2017, we began renovations to create a Kids Café, STEM Learning Lab and Technology Center at the Club. The improvements are on-track to be completed In October 2017 and will allow us to provide youth at Frankford with hot, home-cooked food daily while engaging them in critical STEM programming.

… Since renovations to the Northeast Frankford Club began, youth enrollment at the Club has increased by 50 percent, with the number of teens attending Club programming doubling. 

I spoke with Marziello 2 years ago about his vision for the club.  The building was in very poor shape at that point and, yet he was optimistic that he would raise the money and get the job done.  He actually did what he said he was going to do.

Bellow is a video of the presentation.  If you have seen it on Facebook, this is a shorter version of the same.


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Gary Skerski Memorial Bridge

State Rep. Jason Dawkins has announced plans to introduce legislation that would designate a bridge on Castor Avenue, as the Officer Gary Frank Skerski Memorial Bridge.

Gary Skerski was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 6, 2006, while responding to a reported armed robbery at Pat’s Café near the intersection of Arrott and Adams avenues in Frankford.

Memorial at the rear of Pat’s Cafe where Gary Skerski lost his life

“We always name bridges after presidents and generals, and that is well and good,” said Dawkins. “But this man was a hero in the truest sense of the word. He devoted and gave his life to protect our people. We will always remember his sacrifice and we will work to keep his legacy alive.”

Officer Skerski had served with the Philadelphia Police Department for 16 years and was assigned to the 15th District. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, the League of Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was a parishioner of Saint Adalbert Roman Catholic Church in Port Richmond.

State Representatives Angel Cruz and John Taylor are co-sponsors of the bill. Dawkins said he is hopeful of swift House passage.

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Op Ed from Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-Philadelphia)

Rise up and take action!

The 2016 election cycle proved to be a bitter, hard-fought battle with surprising results to many. After such a conclusion, it is only natural to feel discouraged or depressed. It is tempting to react by retreating from the constant news coverage and choosing to remain willfully ignorant of the nation’s new political realities. However, I strongly urge that anyone who has been feeling hopeless with recent events treat this past election and first weeks of this new administration as a rallying cry to action. Any sadness and frustration with America’s political system is the finest motivation to fight for change, justice and increased accountability for all.

While we may feel disappointed in our nation’s electoral surrogates for not fulfilling our founder’s vision, it is critical to keep a sense of perspective. America’s democracy has withstood countless tests of its integrity including wars, secession threats and political upheaval. The values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, so crucial to our nation’s founding, are too fundamentally ingrained in America’s fabric to be taken away by the results of a single election.

As Americans, we are still the beneficiaries of the greatest nation. Even if it feels as though we have been kicked – we have been kicked before. Even if it feels as though we are down – we have been down before. We have always overcome these challenges to emerge as a stronger nation, so this time will be no different.
This is the time to draft battle plans for the coming years. Mid-term elections will be crucial, so it is never too early to organize communities and mobilize people for action, as strength in numbers encourages political clout. In addition to looking toward the future, we need to work to hold our leaders’ feet to the fire as we work to implement policies.

Whoever is in office, regardless of party, must be held accountable for their promises and actions. As a state representative, I strive to ensure that my actions in Harrisburg reflect the will of my constituents.

Do not despair for America’s democracy. Instead, aspire to organize, keep abreast of current events and hold our elected officials accountable. More than ever before, it is crucial to remain politically engaged. Hope for a better future starts with you.

State Rep. Jason Dawkins represents the 179th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.