January 2021 Newsletter
Cheers to a New Year: January 2021 Newsletter
In this newsletter, you'll find information on community service events, COVID-19 vaccination resources, and get to know our Neighborhood Based Program (NBP). Continue reading to hear the latest on our role in the South Philadelphia community.
Honoring the Legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.”
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 18, Victim Advocate Caroline Kirchner participated in the Young Chances Foundation's Martin Luther King Jr Community Celebration. The celebration included a neighborhood cleanup, a BBQ cookout with grab & go food, giveaways of personal protective equipment to help others stay safe from COVID-19, and painting.
At the event, they passed out food, clothing, shoes, household items, children's toys/books, and personal protective equipment to community members.
"Events like this are important to the community because they strengthen it from within," said Caroline. "Meeting each other's needs is an act of solidarity and compassion, supporting each other in not just surviving- but thriving!"
The Young Chances Foundation shares information on free meals and other community resources every week on their social media. To learn more about the Young Chances Foundation, visit their website here.

Gentle Gratitude Winter Coat & Blanket Giveaway

If you need help staying warm this winter, visit Gentle Gratitude's giveaway at Malcolm X Park (5200 Pine St.) on Jan. 30 from 12PM to 3PM. At the giveaway, there will be coats, blankets, and other goods for any community members in need!
What is Neighborhood Based Program?

The Neighborhood Based Program (NBP) is a VWSSP program that works with victims of crime in South Philadelphia. What makes this group of advocates “based” in the neighborhood they serve?

NBP advocates (left to right) Asha Collins, Terry Parker, Benjamin Gamarra, Tanes'ja Jackson, and Caroline Kirchner see their work as interwoven with the overall wellbeing of the South Philadelphia community. 

South Philadelphia is being deeply impacted by twin pandemics-violence and COVID-19. “It’s uplifting to see how resilient people are, not only in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the violence pandemic,” said Asha, noting how gun violence rates have surged in 2020.
NBP advocates at the VWSSP 30th Anniversary Event, February 2020
An article from NBC reports that this violence has disproportionately increased in predominantly black and brown communities, both in Philadelphia and other cities throughout the nation. “We try to help by finding community support,” said Caroline. “Being a victim of crime can be isolating, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 
Benjamin and Terry at the Stop the Violence Rally, October 2020
Through their work, advocates center the relationships they build, both with their clients and the other organizations they collaborate with to provide resources to those in need. Some of the services provided by VWSSP advocates include court accompaniment, emotional support, and assisting with filing for Victim Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) claims. During 2020, VWSSP advocates helped victims receive a total of $235,000 in VCAP funds. Other types of services include providing referrals for counseling, healthcare, and other valuable services. Throughout the past year, VWSSP served over 1,400 clients. After the COVID-19 pandemic afflicted Philadelphia neighborhoods, NBP Victim Advocates began constantly expanding their repertoire of resources to help crime victims with their needs. 
“Some of my clients have been out of work, or can no longer afford their rent,” said Terry, discussing the ways which the pandemic has interrupted the daily lives of clients. “Even finding food can be a challenge, because the lines for food banks are so long.”
Whether it’s through phone conversations, meeting on Zoom, or community socially-distanced events, NBP is eager to continue strengthening their connections with South Philadelphia neighborhoods through service. They try to provide a supportive presence while attending events such as the Stop the Violence Rally on 18th and Moore, Rally Against Poverty in Lanier Park, We Are Family! March Against Gun Violence, and other events such as the Love Your Park event in Gold Star Park and Community Love Circle in response to a devastating fire.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by violence, get in touch with an advocate by leaving a message at our office number 215-551-3360 or by calling the NBP mobile number
267-323-5456. All of our services are free and confidential.
COVID-19 Vaccination Resources
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If you are in a group eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination you can sign up to get the vaccine through the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health website, or through the Black Doctors Consortium by visiting their website or by calling 484-270-6200.

To learn more about the vaccine and determine if you're eligible, visit the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's website and take their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility quiz.