A wonderful organization that truly goes all out for their community. We work really hard to raise the funds for our free annual Arts Fest that is growing larger every year. In addition, we have created new partnerships to expand the services and experiences of the community we serve.
West Park provides the best educational and arts program ever. The best part is that it is all free! As a former teacher, I can't tell you how wonderful it was to have help during school time and after school time. What ever I needed appeared magically. As a former WEPIC teacher from Turner Middle School, I know the difference between an organization whose main purpose is to help children and teachers achieve their goals, and not use them to benefit their college or university. For example, why have kids learn about dental hygiene, bring in students from a dental school, identify cavities in their mouths but not fix them? Service was uneven and benefited the dental students and university to secure grants. Without community by in and involvement they just fade away.
However, West Park is different. They are the community and are committed to making a difference in the lives of the children from their community. This is why it is successful and a sustainable force of energy within the school and surrounding community.
I met the director of West Park at the School of the Future. Their program was outstanding. I did not have to find them, they found me. They were instrumental in providing artists in residence volunteers for many service learning projects I designed. For example, when my students were working on the Presidents House project in Philadelphia, they provided not only the resources I needed, but made the arrangements to bring them right into my classroom. My docents who were training for the Belmont Mansion, worked with two artists and created a wall mural about Eden Cemetery, the first private black cemetery in the nation. It suffers from vandalism and the students worked on eliminating this problem by creating videos, art and educational web quests to educate and share with students who live near Eden.
I cannot explain how my students felt to meet one of the last Buffalo soldiers from WWII AND a film producer all the way from Italy who created a film about these heroic men. This is the kind of educational experiences West Park provides. It was also a back door way of exposing my students to opera, because an opera about these men is being created.
They exposed students to plays, music and had the. Involved in making the West Park festival, a yearly event grow to include all of the other historic homes and museums within its boundaries. They know how to build consensus and this quality is essential to their continued success. My five years of receiving and giving back to this non-profit. Has been quite a ride.
By chance, we happened to stumble across the West Park Cultural Center. We were hesitant to enroll because the program was located about an hour and a half away from home. We took a leap of faith and enrolled in the after-school ceramics class and LOVED it. On the very first day, Janice gave my daughters the gift of loving ceramics. Ron and Betty are incredibly encouraging and supportive of all the students. As a parent, I was excited to participate in an environment that fostered positive role-modeling, encouragement, and creative fun. I wish this organization would grow and start another branch in the NE section of Philadelphia.
This unbelievably affordable program, from caring staff members Betty, Donna, Janice & Dominick, has been extremely vital in my daughter's lives. Their Ceramics classes, led by the relentlessly creative Ms. Janice, has become necessary for my children throughout the school year. I can't stop recommending this program & the summer camp to family, friends, co-workers, fellow school parents & passerby erst who are in search of creative outlets for their children. These folks are continuously committed to sparking our children's imagination through art & music exploration. We adore & thank them!!! Peace
I have been taking ceramic classes at West Park for a year. It is an excellent program with a hard working instructor and volunteers. Classes are very organized and frequent firing schedules promptly visualize student's efforts. Specially at the time Art Education is cut off at many schools, I highly recommend this program for youth as well as adults.