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February Volunteer Opportunities

Dear Penn Community,

Thank you for your continued support and thanks to the 550 volunteers who participated in the University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2004 Commemorative Symposium on Social Change Day of Service activities. Volunteers painted and spruced up West Philadelphia High School, worked on "Helping Hands" projects for local shelters and elder care programs. Children learned about Dr. King's life by creating banners and by having volunteers read to them. West Philadelphia students participated in a one day mentoring program with Penn students. Volunteers participated in Philadelphia Reads training to put books on tape.

Following is our monthly posting of community service opportunities. Please contact me via e-mail, or at (215) 898-2020 to volunteer for any of the programs.

--Isabel Mapp, Associate Director,Faculty, Staff and Alumni
Volunteer Services, Director, Penn Volunteers In Public Service,
Center for Community Partnerships

Your Help is Needed: The Youth Golf & Academics Program is a non-profit organization founded by former Phillies centerfielder Garry Maddox. Our mission is to address the academic, socialization, and recreational needs of at-risk youth who live in the poorest sections of Philadelphia and Camden. Using golf as a recreational tool to teach life skills, we provide services afterschool five days per week all year-round at the Murphy Recreation Center in south Philadelphia. We need your help: it's important that we expand our team of tutors, reading room leaders, computer instructors, and golf instructor volunteers. Committing 2.5 hours per week can change a life.

Volunteer! Adult volunteers are needed to tutor middle school students in the SquashSmarts program. SquashSmarts is a Philadelphia youth enrichment program that combines the game of squash with academic tutoring and mentoring of middle school students. Squash serves as the hook that pulls students into the program. Upon their first introduction to the game in 6th grade, the students are curious, inquisitive and excited about learning a new sport, and so willingly sign on for the extra academic work required by all participants. Students attend practice two afternoons per week--1 hour 15 minutes of squash followed by 1 hour 15 minutes of tutoring--and then two hours on Saturday mornings for squash play only. The 3-days per week schedule continues through the school year. Each team member benefits from one-to-one tutoring with college students and adult volunteers as well as one-to-one mentoring with college student athletes. This personal attention, tailored to each student's needs over the course of a three-year-long commitment to the program, is what makes SquashSmarts so unique.

Join the Penn VIPS Scholarship Committee! Help plan the 12th Annual Penn VIPS Scholarship Program where we select and honor outstanding students from Bartram, Parkway, Overbrook, University City and West Philadelphia High Schools. Planning is underway for the June 2004 program.

Help Out at the VA Medical Center. Volunteer to write letters for and read to the elderly veterans. Do you have a valid driver's license? Your help is needed to drive a van to transport Disabled American Veterans to and from the hospital.

March Preview: Annual Penn VIPS Penny Drive March 1-19, Penny Drive to benefit a local West Philadelphia nonprofit organization. Send suggestions for a beneficiary to: Dropsite Committee c/o Isabel Mapp, Center for Community Partnership, Suite 519, 133 S. 36th Street/3246.



  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 20, February 3, 2004