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Young Professionals Group Service Project

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Annual Young Professionals Group Martin Luther King Day of Service Project

On Monday, January 16, 2017 the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia Young Professionals Group (BABC YPG) partnered with PowerCorpsPHL for a day of service at Kingsessing Recreation Center in West Philadelphia. PowerCorps is an AmeriCorps program designed to support the City of Philadelphia’s environmental stewardship initiatives, youth violence prevention and workforce development priorities.  We were fortunate our community partner, the Philadelphia Youth Network, connected us to PowerCorpsPHL for this hands-on experience.  Fifteen BABC members and friends joined other regional teams to clean-up, restore, and paint the amazing facility, known as “Southwest Philadelphia’s living room.”  This structure and the grounds it occupies serves a very important purpose for people of all ages.  Many of the recreation center programs are run by volunteers who grew-up or live in the area.  They truly believe in and understand the value of this neighborhood gem.

Kingsessing Recreation Center provides daily structured activities for a range of ages throughout the year. They offer basketball, winter football and spring baseball, boxing, martial arts, tutoring, track, tumbling, and after school programs, a Teen Center, fitness center, computer center, game room, TV Room and a garden club.  During the summer months, day camp and swimming are available in the outdoor, in-ground pool.  We were told, on some summer days between 4-500 people use the facility.  The Center also has a large auditorium with a stage.  The property is managed and maintained by the Southwest Philadelphia District Services (SWPDS), and was built on nine-acres in 1916.  It is one of the oldest recreation centers in the City.

Before the recreation center was built, the grounds belonged to the Belmont Cricket Club, an organization whose members ranked among Philadelphia’s most elite professionals. Club patrons included George Washington Orton, founder of Philadelphia’s Children’s Playground Association, Captain John P. Green, second vice president at the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and John Barron Colahan, Jr., a prominent real estate lawyer.  Upon the club’s disbandment in 1913, the City of Philadelphia purchased the property for $145,000 and renamed it Kingsessing Park.  While the City’s Board of Recreation raised funds to erect a recreation building, a modest playground outfitted with swings and slides served neighborhood children, and local high school sports teams played baseball, hockey, soccer, and football on the property’s fields.  Prior to its demolition to make way for the new building, the former clubhouse functioned as an ad hoc recreation center.  The recreation center was officially dedicated and opened to the public in 1916.  Designed by Philip H. Johnson, the grand Beaux-Arts structure shares many architectural elements with other Philadelphia recreation centers opened during the first quarter of the twentieth century.  Kingsessing is among the most ornately decorated of Philadelphia’s early twentieth century recreation buildings.

The Kingsessing Recreation Center property is also home to the Kingsessing branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. It was also the 22nd of 30 Philadelphia libraries whose construction was sponsored by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.  In 2009, the Kingsessing property was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic places.  Remaining true to its mission, today, Kingsessing Recreation Center and the surrounding grounds continues to provide a safe and welcoming environment for local community members with a diversity of spaces in which they are able to play, convene, and learn.  The BABC was honored to work alongside many other community partners on Martin Luther King Day 2017 in support of Kingsessing Recreation Center.  After a long morning of hands on work to clean-up the building and grounds, the BABC invited volunteers to lunch at The City Tap House.

Please click here for pictures of the day.

 

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
  • American Airlines
  • Cigna
  • Cigna
  • Deloitte
  • Duane Morris
  • EisnerAmper LLP
  • Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Fisher Phillips
  • HSBC
  • International Products Corporation
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • KPMG
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Welsh Government