October 6, 2021
Siria Ana Rivera – Executive Director, Providence Center
Province Center is a sponsored ministry of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.
Each summer Providence Center hosts our Summer Leadership Academy, a six-week program that helps to develop workforce and community engagement skills in local teens to prepare them for success in high school and beyond.
This program is our first one on-site since the start of the pandemic over a year ago! Our teens worked in our community garden, pulling weeds, planting fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the community. Additionally, they spent time doing routine garden maintenance and trash removal. These were six very busy weeks!
Participants were also engaged in a Changemakers policy workshop, a partnership program with the Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity (P-CHE). As a result, the teens learned how to create sustainable change and ensure equity and justice through policy. They also became certified Mental Health First Aiders by learning how to recognize and address the signs of mental health distress in their peers and refer to outside resources as needed. Finally, they cooked their own healthy lunches each day and participated in a water drinking challenge to encourage healthy diet choices.
Our Summer Leadership Academy received overwhelmingly positive feedback this year, both from our teen participants and local community members witnessing their work each day. Our program was even recognized in a segment on ABC news! We’re so excited to continue working with these teens and to return to fully on-site programming this fall.