WPSi Alumni Newsletter
Hey Alumni - We hope everyone is in good health and spirits during this very weird time. With this month's newsletter the team just wanted to circulate some information and resources that the community can use given the recent spread of COVID-19 and the impact it's had on our everyday lives. It's important now more than ever that we stick together (but not physically of course)! #socialdistancing 🙏

Be sure to text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive city updates on the virus to your phone or visit this link for constant updates at noon.

For any questions or concerns, call the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Hotline to speak with a health care professional at 1-800-722-7112.
WPSI is Working Remotely 💻

In order to protect the safety and well-being of our community, the WPSI office is temporarily closed and the WPSI Staff will be working remotely until further notice. However, we are still here if you need us! Shoot an email to Tiffany Smith at tiffany@universitycity.org if there is anything we can help you with.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
Comcast Announces New Policies
For the next 60 days Comcast will be providing the following:
  • Free Xfinity WiFi
  • Unlimited Data for no additional charge
  • Complimentary Internet Essentials service for new customers.

PECO is Waiving Late Fees & Disconnections
PECO is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges through May 1, 2020. Read more here.
PGW is Waiving Late Fees & Disconnections
PGW is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges until further notice. Read more here.
The Philadelphia Water Department is Postponing Water Shutoffs.
All water services will be restored and water shutoffs will be postponed through May 15, 2020. Water restoration fees will be waived. Read more here.
Income Assistance
Pennsylvania Unemployment & Workers' Compensation 💵
If you are out of work or losing hours because of COVID-19, you may qualify for Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation. You may be eligible if:
  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts

Food Assistance
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Food Banks and Pantries 🍴
If you are out of work without pay, you are eligible to receive food sourced from the state and federal government from a food bank or food pantry in Pennsylvania. This includes service workers who are unable to get shifts or hourly wage employees of non-essential businesses that have voluntarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation. Click this link for more information on eligibility and locations.
The City & School District is Providing Meals During School Closures 🍎
The School District and City of Philadelphia is providing meal service and drop-in activity space for students until Friday, March 27th. Click this link for the list of locations and additional details.
Children & Families
Talking to Your Children About COVID-19
Kids LOVE to ask questions - and now a lot of us are stuck at home with them. The National Association of School Psychologists has provided a resource and guideline on how to inform your children on what's going on with the Coronavirus. Click here to read more.
Learning Guides from The School District 📚
The Philadelphia School District is providing learning guides for grades K-12. Click here for access to electronic copies and details on where to get paper copies. Students and families with general questions can receive assistance via the Learning Guide hotline at 215-400-5300, Monday - Friday from 9:30am - 11:30am.
Other Online Educational Resources
If you are looking for other educational resources that your children can access online, check out this link for a list of Free Online Resources.
Lunch Doodles 🎨
If your children enjoy art, Mo Willems hosts a virtual drawing session every weekday at 1pm. The drawings are very simple and easy to make! Set your kid up with some noodles, crayons, and paper and join in at this link.
Physical & Mental Health
COVID-19 Testing

CDC Mental Health Resource
The news around coronavirus can be anxiety-provoking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided a document on managing stress and coping with the pandemic . Check it out at this link.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online at this link .
Resources If You Are Quarantined with an Abuser

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline allows you to speak confidentially with trained advocates online at this link or by the phone - which they recommend for those who think their online activity is being monitored by their abuser. They can help survivors develop a plan to achieve safety for themselves and their children. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7. Call 1-800-799-7233 or if you are unable to speak safely text LOVEIS to 22522.

  • If you are seeking legal protections to protect you or your child from an abuser, you can seek assistance at the Emergency Filing Unit located at:
  • Criminal Justice Center, Room B-03 | 1301 Filbert St. | Philadelphia, PA 19107
  • The emergency Filing Unit will be open 24/7
Staying Connected
Stay Engaged in the Community
If you have the capacity to lend a helping hand during this time, below are a few links to stay engaged and exchange resources in Philly:

The West Philly Neighbor Support Network will be a focused place for residents to coordinate practical assistance for each other, especially neighbors in need, during potential COVID-19 quarantines, either self-imposed or otherwise. Of special concern will be elderly or disabled neighbors, neighbors with young children and others who face challenging logistics. This will NOT be a place for news or discussion, especially not rumors.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) is a Black, Brown, & Native-led group of community members & organizers involved with radical social justice organizations around the city. They are neighbors concerned about communities and helping to make sure those most vulnerable and affected by COVID-19 get the help they need. They are matching people in need with neighbors able to help. They offer support getting folks groceries, medicine, and supplies. They are volunteer run, not funded, and their aid comes directly from the community.
Quarantine Entertainment
Erykah Badu Quarantine Concert 
Erykah Badu is planning on conducting a series of live stream concerts live from her bedroom. The live stream is an interactive experiment from her “Badubotron” called Apocalypse One. Virtual attendees who pay $1 for their admission can choose which songs she will perform using a poll. Check out her Instagram for more details.
Netflix Parties 
If you have Netflix and Google Chrome - you can now watch movies with friends and fam online. Netflix Party is a Chrome extension for watching Netflix remotely with friends, e.g., for movie nights with that long-distance special someone. It synchronizes video playback and adds group chat. Visit this link for more info.
Opera Anyone?
The Metropolitan Opera has announced plans to stream some of its famous operas to online audiences with Nightly Met Opera Streams, recordings of previous performances all pulled from its Live in HD series. If interested, you can find the performances on the homepage of metopera.org at 7:30/6:30c each evening, where they’ll be available to stream for 20 hours once posted, free of charge. The series began Monday (March 16) with a 2010 performance of Carmen, and will continue with classic operas through March 22.
Art at Home 🎨
If you enjoy art check out this document on resources to stay occupied while you're inside.
Jobs & Professional Development Opportunities
Markets and Other Essential Businesses Hiring in the Philly Area
Many markets and other business are looking to hire during this high-volume period. Click here for a list of businesses that will be updated regularly.
AppleOne - Immediate Openings at Banks
AppleOne is a staffing company with the following current openings starting ASAP upon background clearance. All positions are at Banks and considered essential business/personnel:

  • Operations Clerk | Pay rate $11.33/hr | Sunday-Thursday 10:00 pm- 7:30 am (or completion)
  • Operations Clerk | Pay rate $11.33/hr | Friday and Saturday Night-8:00 pm -7:30 am (or completion)
  • Data Processing | Pay rate $12.00/hr | Sunday-Thursday 10:00 pm-7:30 am (or completion)
  • Equipment Operator | Pay rate $12.00/hr | Sunday-Thursday 10:00 pm -7:30 am (or completion)
  • Equipment Operator | Pay rate $12.00/hr | Friday and Saturday -8:00 pm-7:30 am (or completion)
  • Operations Clerk | Pay rate $11.33/hr | Monday – Friday 7:00 am -6:30 pm (or completion)
  • Data Processing | Clerk Pay rate $12.00/hr | Monday- Friday 7:00 am – 6:30 pm ( or completion)
  • Equipment Operator | Pay rate $12.00/hr | Monday- Friday 7:00-6:30 pm ( or completion)

Create an AppleOne account here to be considered. Please notify Tiffany once you have completed an application or if you need assistance at tiffany@universitycity.org .
Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
The Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a group of more than 2,500 volunteers who serve the City during public health emergencies and large-scale events. The Department of Public Health provides a variety of trainings, exercises, and real deployment opportunities throughout the year to build volunteers’ skills and keep them actively engaged with the unit. Volunteers may be deployed during major emergencies, such as natural disasters, as well as events like political rallies and marathon races. Click here to learn more or apply.
If you have any questions regarding these opportunities please email Tiffany Smith here
Be sure to visit the our Instagram @westphilaskills for additional resources shared on our story and
COVID-19 Highlight.
Meet three graduates of University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative who are on the path to realizing their career dreams with Philadelphia employers:
Matt Bergheiser
University City District

Patrick Bayer
Manager, Continuous Improvement

Caitlin Garozzo
Senior Manager, Learning & Development

Fontaine Gutierrez
Operations Coordinator

Mariya Khandros
Project Manager
Sarah Steltz
Executive Director,
West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

Joshua Park
Senior Manager, Employer Services

Diamond Poyer
Manager, Training & Evaluation

Tiffany Smith
Alumni Services Coordinator

Romaine Thrower
Manager, Employer Services
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