Officer Steven Brennan & Quaker City

About 1100 people came out last night for the annual Philadelphia Police Athletic League Awards Dinner at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel.  I was there along with a bunch of good citizens from PHL17 and NBC10. Proceeds go to the more than two-dozen PAL Centers providing a safe haven, recreation and mentoring to thousands of young people.  Congratulations to the big three honorees of the evening: Ruben Amaro, Jr.,of the Philadelphia Phillies, Dan Hilferty of Independence Blue Cross, and Jeff Scarpello, of NECA.

I want to mention some other folks, too, who continue to do great work and who I’ve been in the company of in the last week or so. Brother Al and Sister Rosemarie of Inn Dwelling, which for 30 years has been helping people get on their feet, sustain themselves and have opportunity to succeed through transitional housing, educational and other assistance in Germantown, Mt. Airy and Northeast Philadelphia.  They shared some time with me during the weekend at Merion Mercy Academy.

I also emceed the annual Philadelphia Young Playwrights production at World Café Live last week.  The fundraiser, awards ceremony and theatrical production was a thrill to see. The creations of these young folks who got to work with professional producers, directors and actors, came to life on stage and provided more evidence of the transformative power of the arts.  Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes (seen at right) applauded the participants.  Former Governor Ed Rendell stopped by, too.  Former Chair of the PA Council on the Arts, Diane Dalto Woosnam, was honored for her years of supporting and leading the arts.  However, the young playwrights shined the brightest!  Executive Producing Director Glen Knapp does an outstanding job with the program. Young Playwrights is all about lifting voices, raising self-worth and awareness, making good writers, enabling expression and helping teens become the great people they can be.  

The other night I emceed a fun but emotional event : the Inaugural Karen Graham Golf Classic Dinner at JC Melrose Country Club in Cheltenham.  Karen’s husband, Jim, and other family members and friends launched the effort to raise money for the Joan Karnell Cancer Center, which Karen praised during her valiant fight against cancer.  Even though she was ill, Karen started an endowment fund to help women who couldn’t afford or undertake transportation to and from treatment, who needed money until a person’s disability began, and other needs.  This inaugural effort is a credit to her family and friends, but also it speaks volumes about how Karen positively impacted everyone around her and will for generations to come.

At anothe event I saw folks who work every day to prevent child abuse and when child abuse happens, help children overcome what they have suffered.  I saw a lot of good folks at the annual Philadelphia Children’s Alliance Bear Affair.  The Alliance is one of the unsung heroes of our nation. They quietly work to bring justice to children who have been victims of child abuse.  The event at the Crystal Tea Room raised vitally needed funds to make sure that over the next year nearly a thousand children, as well as innocent members of those children’s families, can find justice and can begin reclaiming their lives.