Monday, December 8, 2008

Yuletide for Young People in Need

Contact: Sheila Johnson, Chair, PR Committee
P: (215) 687-0525

Although many are finding it difficult to make ends meet during these tough economic times, very few people can say that their situation is worse than that of a young person incarcerated in the Philadelphia Youth Study Center during the holiday season.

Subsequently, the Philadelphia Congress of the National Congress of Black Women (PC-NCBW) has teamed up with Creating Alternative Support Services Together (CASST Inc) to provide outreach and mentoring to young girls incarcerated in the Philadelphia Youth Study Center.

"Over the weekend, I was given an opportunity to participate in an orientation session for the new facility. While the facility is functional, there's still much to be done and the staff and children are functioning as effectively as possible." said Fatimah Lane, CASST Founder and member of the PC-NCBW.

"Leroy Simon, is the volunteer coordinator and he brought to my attention two serious needs at the facility: supplies for the young people and a serious need for volunteers particularly men. The facility currently houses 15 girls and 120 boys. The numbers can differ day to day but that was Saturday's count. With that said, there's a significant amount of organizational mentoring and support for the girls and yes they could always use more, but the young men are desperately lacking in that area. I was told there are only 3 organizations that provide mentoring to the young men of the facility and not necessarily on a consistent basis. This is deeply appalling and disheartening. The adjustment to the new facility has been a bit trying on the staff and residents. The young people need a reprieve from all that's going on and the staff could really use a little assistance from additional volunteer efforts to help with keeping the children occupied. With all that's going on in the facility in terms of adjusting to the facility while also being aware of the contractors completing work in the building, it somewhat allows and provides and environment for the children to get into mischief," urges Ms. Lane.

PC-NCBW and CASST are committed to working jointly with other charities and associations to tackle the causes and effects of hopelessness in the Philadelphia community. These groups have organized an advocacy program for the Philadelphia Youth Study Center's Christmas party. Over the next week, CASST and PC-NCBW are collecting the following items for the Youth Study Center's children (boys and girls ages 13-21):

  • Toiletries (lotion, soap, shampoo, conditioner, vaseline, etc.)
  • Undergarments of all sizes and kinds for both boy and girls
  • Socks
  • journals (glued and bound only, please keep in mind they are "incarcerated" so no
  • spiral bound items of any kind.)
  • Writing Utensils - pencils, markers, crayons, etc. (these would be kept on
  • the unit by the staff for all of the children to share)
  • Writing paper and mailing envelopes
  • Art supplies (anything to keep their little hands productive and busy -
  • nothing metal or sharp please)
  • Board games, playing cards, etc. (These would also be maintained and monitored by staff
  • but would be provided for the youth to play with)
  • Movies
  • Reading materials
  • Clothing of all kinds and sizes (For children who are released and who may not have weather appropriate attire to go home in upon their release)
The center is hosting its annual holiday event for the residents and staff of the facility next Wednesday, December 17th, so we'd like to get them items in as soon as possible. Please be advised the need is ongoing so even after the event supply donations will still be greatly accepted.

Please contact Fatimah Lane at or call: (267) 242-2525 to confirm/organize the drop off of your items.

Additionally, PC-NCBW and CASST organizes year 'round mentoring and volunteer efforts at the facility; but everyone is encouraged to volunteer. To be considered for any mentoring or volunteering effort at the facility, you must:
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have criminal background and child abuse clearances (please note, having a criminal background does not necessarily disqualify a person as a volunteer)
  • Receive orientation with Leroy Simon, Volunteer Coordinator at the Philadelphia Youth Study Center. He can be reached directly at or 215-686-8601
  • Have the ability to come on a consistent basis
  • Commit to a dedicated period of time as a volunteer at the facility
Contact Fatimah Lane at or call: (267) 242-2525 to participate in this year 'round initiative or for more information.

Listen to our interview during the following radio programs on WURD 900 AM in Philadelphia:

The Streets are Talking with Corey Smith and Keith Chennault, Part 1

The Streets are Talking with Corey Smith and Keith Chennault, Part 2

News Source 900 with Thera Martin Connelly

Marla Davis during the "Pulse Magazine" program

Listen to our interview on KYW New Radio 1060 AM in Philadelphia:

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