However, we know that four walls and a roof overhead are not the only things that define ‘home.’ Neighborhoods equally play an essential part in providing residents with the tools they need to build home.
In the spring of 2018, the Brewerytown Sharswood Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) agreed to co-convene the Brewerytown Sharswood Neighborhood Coalition with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia. Habitat Philadelphia’s neighborhood revitalization work is part of 10 Habitat-piloted cohorts across the US. This model ensures that Sharswood resident leaders are the guiding force in decision-making and building upon community assets.
Since forming, the Brewerytown Sharswood Neighborhood Coalition has grown to 80 members and consists of four resident-led action groups that set goals and ignite growth through resident-identified work. These action groups are: Public Realm, Advocacy, Engagement & Outreach, and Youth & Education. Habitat Philadelphia’s role is to support residents in these subject areas with our tools and capacity.
“It moves us from looking at what needs fixed in the neighborhood into looking at what assets already exist or what is strong,” says Engagement & Outreach Chair of the Coalition, Winfield Thomas. “It’s a simple concept but it changes everything.”
In January 2020, the Youth & Education action group applied for a grant for the Play Everywhere initiative powered by KABOOM!. This program sets out to encourage children living in urban areas to promote play in spaces incorporated into their everyday routines, commutes, and common navigation throughout their neighborhood.
Felicia Blow, Habitat Philadelphia Community Coordinator says, “Youth, children and their well-beings are some things that everyone can rally around.”
Since obtaining the grant in April of 2020, the coalition has begun planning the Discovering Sharswood play sites. It has determined five locations in the neighborhood and will start developing the sites soon.
Named ‘Discovering Sharswood’, each site will be an interactive play space that will celebrate the history and vibrancy of Sharswood while promoting play and literacy.
The Play Everywhere sites in Sharswood are set to be completed in the spring of 2021. Committed to healthy, vibrant communities where all can thrive, Habitat Philadelphia is excited to support the Brewerytown Sharswood Neighborhood Coalition. The development of these sites will help children of Habitat families and Sharswood residents make play an integral part of every day!