On Tuesday, August 23rd, the Board and staff of Philadelphia’s favorite little wooden boat shop for neighborhood youth hosted a happy hour to support the building of a library and computer station at their Frankford location. Thanks to a great turnout and generous giving, the dream of having a quiet and safe place for our students to focus on homework and do maritime research is on its way to being realized.
The idea for a library came out of the realization that literacy was an unavoidable issue that affected the organization’s programming and that PWBF—within their capacities—could address the issue. At a meeting of our Sea Change Committee, a group made up of young participants in our programming, students reported that they were doing homework perhaps three to four times per year. The high school dropout rate for African Americans is 48% and worse for Latinos. For the students that do finish high school, many are socially promoted and graduate unprepared for college or the knowledge based job market we live in today. Why not create an enriching space at the shop with computers and shelves full of maritime books where students can be inspired, build literacy skills and get homework help?
The fundraising happy hour was held at City Tap House in University City and thirty people came. The atmosphere was relaxed and jovial. For many people, they were hearing about the organization for the first time. Brett Hart, PWBF’s executive director, gave a heartfelt speech about PWBF, its history, current programming, and the building of a library we are fundraising for. Probably unbeknownst to him, Brett touched many people when he told an inspiring story about a moment that happened this summer with the kids.
By the end of the night, PWBF had raised nearly $400. A number of people offered in-kind services, such as furniture, computers and books for the library. One supporter was so moved by the organization’s mission that he offered his marketing services. It was certainly a success!
One of the greatest aspects of the night was seeing the sense of community start to build among everyone. Something great is happening up in Frankford at a youth driven wooden boat shop, so drop by and bring us a book!