NSP Helps Communities...
- National Student Partnerships Help CommunitiesGive back to the Kids, Give a hand to the Parents!By Ben Bryant, Americorps VISTA NSP-Philly NW
Kensington – In the converted belly of an old chapel on North 2nd street, volunteers from National Student Partnerships and parents of children who attend La Salle Academy are making a connection that just might be called spiritual.
La Salle Academy (LSA) is an independent Catholic grade school in North Philadelphia whose mission is to educate underprivileged and at-risk children in grades 3-8 who have a desire to do better in school, and whose families cannot afford a Catholic school education.
National Student Partnerships (NSP) is a national non-profit that operates as a drop-in resource center staffed by student volunteers in North, Northwest, and West Philadelphia. NSP's mission is to assist residents with employment, housing, child care, legal services, or as Site Coordinator Mali Petherbridge puts it, "basically, we help anyone with anything".
Though most assistance is provided in-office, NSP-Philadelphia volunteers recognize the benefit of providing services off-site to residents in need. NSP-Philadelphia has hosted several off-site events, including a resume workshop at a community center and intakes at public housing units, and now NSP is reaching out to another group in need of a hand; parents.
"It was an exciting connection to make, simply because in helping the parents you're able to help a whole family", said volunteer Mike O'Donnell, who spearheaded the partnership with La Salle Academy. By providing supportive services to parents, NSP volunteers are able to strengthen the parents' ability to provide support to their children at home. Providing adult-oriented services in schools benefits parents by creating a stronger link between the families and the schools they attend, enabling the educational institutions to be a vehicle of positive change not just for kids, but for the entire community.
In one room a bilingual volunteer is working with a Spanish-speaking parent looking for employment. In another room a volunteer is consulting with a parent about affordable educational opportunities. In this initial meeting students speak with the client, develop a working relationship, and make a plan with the client to accomplish the goals they both agree on. Afterwards, the process continues, and both parties begin working on taking the steps necessary to help that client achieve their goals, and check-in with each other at subsequent meetings for support and follow-up.
Life often presents us with challenges that are magnified when you have children that rely on you to provide for them. NSP volunteers are here to make sure parents in need don't have to face these challenges alone.
NSP has three offices in the city, targeting neighborhoods that could most benefit from the services. Contact your local office today!
North – 215-787-3238
Northwest – 215-329-7990West – 215-471-2216
In Logan, Hunting Park, or Nicetown-Tioga and olney communities, contact NSP's NW Philadelphia office.
NSP Philadelphia - Northwest
c/o Indochinese-American Council
4936 Old York Rd.
Philadelphia, PA 19141