Speaking Out

Kudos for WEPIC

I was pleased to read Sandy Smith's informative article in the September 3,1996, Compass features. Highlighting the visit of a group of South African youth workers' tour to WEPIC's school-based community programs at the Turner Middle School is yet another sign of the important collaborative work being done by the Center for Community Partnerships.

I think it is important to cover events like this and other efforts that the Center and WEPIC have in motion. For example, the important work done at University City High School stands as a model of University/Community/ Public School collaboration, while the ongoing cooperation between the West Philadelphia Empowerment Zone and the Center serves as a reminder of how the powerful resources of the University can be utilized in rebuilding the inner city.

I am privileged to be a small part of this collaboration and was struck by the enthusiasm and committment of the South African delegation. During a lucheon meeting we discussed our mutual concerns and problems, especially the continuing need for community-based education with active involvement by University students and faculty. Particularly noteworthy during the South African delegation's tour was the Burger King/WEPIC summer camp, an outstanding example of private industry-community collaboration and a potential model for the developing multiracial society of South Africa.

I think it is important for the University of Pennsylvania to report on the significant work that the Center for Community Partnerships in cooperation with a host of local community organizations, agencies,and institutions is doing and will be doing in the near future. It is more than just being a "good neighbor," but an active partnership whose goals and objectives remain the rebuilding of West Philadelphia. A strong, vibrant, prosperous, and well-educated West Philadelphia will benefit the University of Pennsylvania, and that, in a nutshell, is what an active parternship should do.

-- William Eric Perkins
Faculty Fellow & Adjunct Professor of Afro-American Studies


Volume 43 Number 5
September 24, 1996

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