Jennifer’s home is in the Point Breeze Neighborhood of South Philadelphia and she is currently working with several community groups to improve safety, health, education and poverty issues within her neighborhood.
These groups include the Newbold Neighbors Association that has moderated zoning meetings on cleaning and greening efforts, the Neighbors Investing in Childs Elementary (NICE) to improve their local elementary school, G.W. Childs Elementary, and was recently asked to join the board of Diversified Community Services which is an economic development organization. She is the Block Captain of the 1500 block of S. Carlisle Street and has created a Junior Block Captain “league” of children who also live on the street. The Junior Block Captains are educated and encouraged to pick up litter and report suspicious activity – (though they mostly just tattle on each other).
She says the “CPI program was a big eye-opener to what is really going in Philadelphia in regards to planning & zoning, how the environment affects health conditions, and how new businesses and investments can drastically change a neighborhood in both positive and sometimes negative ways.”
The training has armed her with the vocabulary, policy knowledge, and communication skills to be a contributing member of her community. She also learned a lot about the history of the development of Philadelphia which has helped her understand the cause and effect of different zoning ordinances and new developments.
She believes that anyone who is interested in being an active Philadelphian looking to improve the city or their own community should apply to the Citizen’s Planning Institute, saying “no matter what your politics are, this course will provide the knowledge and how-to’s towards making a difference.” There is a quote she loves by Alice Walker, an author and activist, which states “Activism is my rent for living on this planet,” and she believes CPI is a great training ground for this approach to life.