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EPIC Stakeholders March Meeting

The Northeast EPIC Stakeholders met on March 27th at 2nd Baptist with a full program of informative speakers.  Nafisah Lewis, the new coordinator, lead the meeting.

George Mosee, Deputy District Attorney, discussed in detail the juvenile justice system in Philadelphia.  With his years of experience as a prosecutor, he has seen it all yet approaches each case with an eye toward justice.  One important takeaway for those at the meeting was a common misconception that juvenile arrest records are automatically expunged when the individual reaches maturity.  This is not an automatic process.  A petition must be filed.  It’s important because those records can hold a young person back from getting a student loan or even enlisting in the military.

Latasha Myers spoke on Turning Points for Children and the need for foster parents.

Leon Brantley spoke on Cyrus Bushnell (1700s) and Sister Sara Congo (1800s) and the movement to formulate historic and patriotic clubs in schools and churches.

Elizabeth Nicholas, community organizer for spoke about the new and growing online community for neighborhoods.

Brett Hart from the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, at the Globe Dye Works, introduced himself and described their program for youth.

Jason Dawkins, candidate for the state assembly for the 179th legislative district gave a campaign talk at the end of the meeting.  His opponent for the seat, James Clay, was not present.

The next meeting of the Northeast EPIC Stakeholders will be held n April 24th at 5:39 PM at the Second Baptist Church at 1801 Meadow Street.


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Focus on Frankford: Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory

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The Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory (PWBF) is one of the oldest tenants at the Globe Dye Works, on Worth Street at Kinsey.  While the word “factory” brings to mind a mass production facility, in fact this is an educational program for high school students. students

Founded in 1996, Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory provides hands-on maritime-based educational programs.  Using an experiential learning approach grounded in Frankford’s historic connection to the river, PWBF’s programs are engaging youth to learn about themselves and prepare for the future.  The organization’s boatbuilding and on-water programs blend physical strength and endurance with problem solving and academic enrichment, and help students develop the resiliency and tenacity to succeed in the transition to adulthood.

Geoffrey McKonly founded the organization in 1996 because few developmental opportunities existed for underperforming and economically disadvantaged youth. He saw a need for a program that could provide youth with meaningful activities that would be central to academic achievement, and also address the needs of students that are often not met at home or in school. When students are working with their hands and learning woodworking and a variety of maritime skills, they are engaged in dynamic activities that blend physical strength and endurance with problem solving and academic enrichment that leads to success and personal growth.

Brett Hart, the organization’s Executive Director grew up in Frankford, on Hawthorne Street not far from the Globe.  He is a Tall Ship Captain and wooden boat builder with eight years experience working with at-risk youth from Philadelphia. Prior to joining PWBF, Brett was employed by the Los Angeles Maritime Institute going to sea with teenage students from East Los Angeles. He was the Captain and Director of Maritime Education for Philadelphia City Sail on board their 75′ Schooner North Wind, traveling for extended periods with Philadelphia teenagers.

Shop1Also on the team are Victoria Guidi, Program Director and Andrew Cintron, Program Assistant.

At present, there are 48 students enrolled in two programs. The programs are at capacity drawing participants from all over the city. Students participate in one of the two programs: the Community Row Riverguides program or the Boat Build & Sail program.

Community Row participants are given the opportunity to learn about the local watershed and to explore the quiet stretch of the northern Delaware River using the PWBF fleet of rowing vessels. Riverguides empowers students to become teachers and environmental advocates, and to organize riparian zone restoration projects. Riverguides work with the science staff to build and deliver interactive, hands-on lesson plans for the Community Row Program. Riverguides work within to restore local ecosystems and rebuild riparian zones along the fragile northern Delaware River, at present focused on Lardners Point park at the foot of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.

Boat Build and Sail is a year-round (after-school and summer) program that offers students the opportunity to participate in project based learning in the fields of wooden boat building and competitive sailboat racing. The program is equal parts competitive one design racing and traditional wooden boat building apprenticeship. Students begin with the building of the organization’s “Factory One-Design”, and stay on to campaign the boat with their teammates from the on-water facility at the Frankford Arsenal boat Ramp.

Learning to build and sail a boat is both fun and challenging. Each semester students begin by examining the project’s driving question: “What are the things I will learn during the building and sailing of a wooden boat that will help me in other aspects of my life?” In the months that follow, as students continue the process of re-defining their answer to this question, they develop a toolkit of 21st century skills that will be invaluable as they make the transition into post-secondary education.boat1

The PWBF will be participating in Factory on Focus at Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 21st.  The students will be on hand to display the Factory One Design craft that they built last year (color purple) which was designed by the well known small boat designer Antonio Dias.  It will be on display in the grand hall at the museum.  A true work of Art.

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High School Students Can Build Boats

Below you will see an ad for the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory.  What does this have to do with Frankford?   First it is located in the Globe Dye Works, right here in Frankford and second Brett Hart, the Executive Director,  grew up in Frankford and attended Frankford Friends School.   More importantly it is aimed at high school students who might need a boost.  Given our demographics, there has to be a large number of kids, both boys and girls, who would benefit from this experience.

The Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory is a maritime education organization whose mission is to engage urban teens in hands-on boatbuilding and on-water programming to nurture the problemsolving, communication, and collaboration skills needed to become confident, capable adults.

For may kids this is a trans-formative experience.  Have look below and go to their website.

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Philadelphia Open Studio Tours coming to Frankford October 15th and 16th

The Center for Emerging Visual Artists is presenting Philadelphia Open Studio Tours.  It’s the largest tour of artist studios and creative spaces in the Philadelphia region and will feature Globe Dye Works artists and artisans.  The tour for studios east of Broad Street will take place Saturday and Sunday, October 15th and 16th.

Several artists with studios in the Globe Dye Works will open their studios for display.  Along with them, the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Company, which according to their website:

Operating out of a newly renovated light industrial site in the heart of Frankford, our boatbuilding and sailing programs – which include school day, afterschool, and summer sessions — help middle and high school age students develop self-esteem, improve academically, and learn valuable real life lessons.


Research shows that kids learn best by doing. When they have meaningful opportunities to make vital connections between what they learn in the classroom and what happens in the real world, they become more engaged and successful students.

Also included will be metalworker Jason Robert‘s new digs down at Duncan and Melrose inside the Bermuda Triangle that I call Frankford Valley.  His work includes Silk City’s Beer Garden and Northern Liberties’ Community Center.  His work is second to none and he’s settled his trade in Frankford.  It’s a must see.

The one downer is that the studio tour’s website calls both Jason Robert’s shop and the Dye Works Port Richmond.  boo.

[link] Post Studio Tours