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PNLV Blog

Under Construction!

In these continuously uncertain times, we are revamping how we assist our friends and neighbors within the community. To that end, we have begun the process of reconstructing everything from our website to processes within the office. You will see some changes on this site soon, a brand new PNLV site for an all-new way of sharing our work, as well as helpful information for all. We will continue to reach out and assist via our social media platforms, please follow us for updates on COVID responses as well as holiday and winter assistance as it becomes available.

Follow PNLV on FB: https://www.facebook.com/PromiseNeighborhoodsoftheLehighValley/

Follow PNLV on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/promiseneighborhoodslv/

Follow PNLV on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pnlehighvalley

If you are not familiar with Promise Neighborhoods, we are a non-profit community organization in the Lehigh Valley. We run mainly on grants, as well as the kindness of everyday persons such as yourself, and the generosity they extend to us. Every single person that lends a hand, a dollar, a lead to someone that is in need of assistance is an ally and we appreciate them greatly. We wish to continue to lift our community, all of us growing together.

If you would like to donate to Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, we have a few options available and as always, are incredibly grateful for those of you that allow us to continue our work in the community!

Checks can be dropped off and/or mailed directly to our office:

1101 Hamilton Street, Suite 102; Allentown, PA 18101. Alternatively, we have a Paypal donation button that can be utilized as well. If you are needing further assistance, please call us directly at 610-351-4288. Thank you for your support!

Also, Promise Neighborhoods participates in AmazonSmile. To support your favorite non-profit, simply shop on smile.amazon.com and choose Promise Neighborhoods as your charity and a small percentage of all your purchases will be donated to PNLV!

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PNLV Blog

Reimagining Entrepreneurship by Stefenie Sawyer

By Stefenie Sawyer, PNLV Project Manager – Entrepreneurship Without Limits

It’s that scene from Field of Dreams… you know it. Even if you’ve not seen the movie you know it. Let’s say it together, “If you build it, they will come”. It’s that moment in the movie where we were all inspired, watching the ghosts of baseball players creepily come out of the field, and watching the dreams of one man inspire an entire community.

I’ve often wondered if they’d follow up decades later to see if his dream really made any lasting impact. However, that line can sell a lot of dreams. This “field of dreams thinking” can inform strategies, create new programs, and cultivate a hero culture that at its core desires to create change, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

But what if this “field of dreams thinking” didn’t include everyone being able to built it? Do people who don’t live in the community that needs a new dream really know how to reimagine its new day? What if a community realizes that its best players are already found within and its not that it needs to be built so they will come, but that it needs to invite those players to join in the game and equip them for the work?

This is what PNLV is dreaming about as we begin our intentional work around cultivating the next generation of entrepreneurs in our schools, neighborhoods, and communities. We’re launching a new track called Entrepreneurship Without Limits. Removing limits on dreams and opportunities. Opening a pathway to the future. It’s this idea that our best future business leaders are right here waiting for an opportunity to live out their dreams.

Our question to you is, will you join us? What dreams are waiting to become reality? How would our community look different because those with dreams stay in Allentown? Be on the lookout for our new webpage, where you can take a next step. The future is bright and it’s right here in #OurAllentown.

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PNLV Blog

2017-2018 Leadership Institute Application

About us

Our institute will prepare residents to become the leaders we all need. We are thinking big and are reimagining neighborhood, city, county, state and federal government leadership. We are also reimagining new bold leadership within our local profit and non-profit institutions.

We essentially want to help ignite the innate ability of so many of our young-ish Allentown residents and equip and encourage them to provide the leadership our 21st Century, multiracial society needs.

Leadership Institute Registration

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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PNLV Blog

We’re hiring! PNLV Community Manager

POSITION: Community Manager

ORGANIZATION: Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley

POSITION LEVEL: Management

REPORTING STRUCTURE: Reports to Director of Operations

DESCRIPTION:

The Community Manager will be an effective leader in the development, implementation, management coordination, assessment and on-going administration of services provided by partners to children and families in the Promise Neighborhoods across the Lehigh Valley.

Responsibilities of the position include but are not limited to these duties:

  • Serve as lead staff on committee work related to the 9 promises
  • Supervise community organizers, case managers, resident liaisons, interns and volunteers.
  • Develop, lead, and facilitate cross-sector networks related to our work (early learning, youth development, health, housing networks)
  • Use data to inform practice and decision making
  • Actively participate in a collaborative process for addressing issues of social isolation, health disparities, early childhood education, racism, and poverty in the Allentown Promise Neighborhood.
  • Assist with volunteer recruitment, block level organizing and other resident leadership development.
  • Advocate for the best interests of the Promise Neighborhoods on issues of social isolation, health disparities, early childhood education, racism and poverty.
  • Help coordinate neighborhood improvement projects and volunteer service efforts.
  • Assist with the creation and distribution of communications on APN activities and issues, including website and newsletters.
  • Contribute to maintenance of APN calendar of events, organizational databases, and all records and reports for APN, and community stakeholders.

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Resident of Promise Neighborhood highly desired
  • Master Degree in social work, public health, education, sociology, criminal justice, or related field preferred.
  • Minimum of five years human service, social services, education, early childhood or healthcare leadership experience
  • Eagerness to establish relationships with neighborhood residents
  • Detail and task oriented
  • Community organizing principles
  • Group facilitation skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Good analytical, negotiation, and problem-solving skills
  • Strong time and task management skills
  • Genuine commitment and sensitivity to residents and community issues
  • Respect for economic and cultural diversity, experience working with diverse groups of people
  • Highly motivated and independent, yet team-oriented
  • Must be able to work long hours, weekends and evenings
  • Computer and other standard office equipment skills sufficient to prepare flyers and other communications, maintain databases, email, and website posting.

Bilingual English-Spanish is a huge asset and highly desirable

Salary: $35,000-$42,000 depending on education and experience plus competitive benefits package

Fax or email resume and cover letter to: Hasshan Batts, Director of Operations hasshanb@nullpromiseneighborhoodslv.org 610-351-4275.

 

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PNLV Blog

Honoring volunteers during National Volunteer Month – by PPL Electric Utilities

Time is a gift. And in April, we saluted those who give it. You see, April was National Volunteer Month.

It’s a low-key month that you might not have heard too much about. It’s not the kind of event with parades and fireworks — though, honestly, most people who give time to help their communities aren’t looking for attention anyway. Instead, it’s a more personal celebration. It’s a chance to thank people you know who give their time, and to appreciate the things they do.

And, if you haven’t gotten involved, it may be a time for you to look into opportunities to help others. (No matter how tight your schedule is, or what causes you think are most important, organizations in this area would love to have your help.)

Volunteering takes many forms. It can mean packing boxes at food banks, helping young children learn to read, leading a Scout troop, coaching a youth sports team, protecting a community as a member of a volunteer fire company, and so much more. Every gift of time makes a difference, regardless of the specific setting.

I’m proud to know and work with people who are committed volunteers. People like Steve Gelatko, director-Distribution Asset Planning for PPL Electric Utilities, who serves as a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley. These folks have challenging work responsibilities, but still make time to serve others.

Volunteering isn’t the only way to support the community. Financial donations make a difference too, of course.

At PPL, our employees and retirees raised more than $1.4 million this past year to support United Ways across central and eastern Pennsylvania. Matching funds given by PPL raised our campaign total to more than $2 million. Locally, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley will benefit from those gifts.

These donations translate into real programs and services for people who need help every day in the communities we serve. Things like preschool literacy classes, programs that support healthy lifestyles, and services that help seniors stay in their homes.

We’re proud of that support, but it’s only half the picture. It wouldn’t mean as much without personal commitment – the thousands of hours our employees give to support those agencies and other community groups.

So, we take this month to salute our co-workers, neighbors and friends who volunteer. The places where we live and work are stronger as a result of their generosity.

They deserve a parade. And fireworks.

 


 

El tiempo es un regalo, y en el mes de abril homenajeamos a todos aquellos que nos brindan su tiempo.

Como saben, abril fue el mes nacional del voluntariado.

Es un mes poco llamativo sobre el cual, probablemente, no haya escuchado demasiado. No es el clásico evento con desfiles y fuegos artificiales aunque, honestamente, la mayoría de las personas que dedican su tiempo a ayudar a sus comunidades no buscan llamar la atención de manera alguna.

En realidad, se trata de una celebración más personal. Es una oportunidad para agradecer a las personas que usted sabe que brindan su tiempo y reconocer las cosas que hacen.

Y, si aún no se ha involucrado, puede ser el momento de buscar oportunidades para ayudar a otras personas. (no importa cuán ocupado esté o qué causas le parezcan más importantes; a las organizaciones de esta área les encantaría contar con su ayuda).

Hay muchas formas de voluntariado; desde empaquetar cajas en bancos de alimentos, hasta enseñarles a leer a niños pequeños, liderar un grupo de exploradores, entrenar un equipo de deportes de jóvenes, proteger a una comunidad formando parte de una compañía de bomberos voluntarios y muchas cosas más. Cada tiempo brindado marca una diferencia enorme, sin importar el contexto específico.

Me enorgullece conocer a voluntarios comprometidos y trabajar con ellos. A modo de ejemplo, Steve Gelatko, Director de planificación de distribución de activos de PPL Electric Utilities, forma parte de la junta de Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley. Estas personas tienen responsabilidades laborales desafiantes, pero, aun así, se hacen el tiempo para servir a otros.

Ser voluntario no es la única forma de respaldar a la comunidad. Obviamente, las donaciones económicas también hacen una gran diferencia.

El año pasado, nuestros empleados y jubilados recaudaron más de $1.4 millones para ayudar a United Ways del centro y este de Pensilvania. Los fondos correspondientes aportados por PPL aumentaron el total de nuestra campaña a más de $2 millones. A nivel local, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley se verá beneficiada por estas donaciones.

Estas donaciones se invierten en programas y servicios reales para personas que necesitan ayuda a diario en las comunidades a las cuales servimos. Por ejemplo, clases de alfabetización preescolar, programas de apoyo de estilos de vida saludables, y servicios que ayudan a los adultos mayores a permanecer en sus hogares.

Estamos orgullosos de esta ayuda, pero esta solo es una cara de la moneda. No sería lo mismo sin el compromiso personal: las miles de horas que nuestros empleados dedican a ayudar a estas agencias y otros grupos comunitarios.

Entonces, dedicamos este mes para honrar a nuestros colaboradores, vecinos y amigos voluntarios. Los lugares donde vivimos y trabajamos son más fuertes gracias a su generosidad.

Ellos se merecen un desfile y los fuegos artificiales.

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PNLV Blog

ACHIP Community Health Worker Profile – Jamie Santana

The Allentown Children’s Health Improvement Project (ACHIP) was launched in 2016 thanks to a $1.91 million, 30-month grant from The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust. The new program brings together Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Department of Community Health and Women and Children’s services along with the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, and Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley in a partnership. The program’s primary goal is to improve the health of pregnant women and young children in Center City Allentown through home visits for early intervention. A staff of bilingual community health workers from the neighborhood surrounding the Neighborhood Improvement Zone operates out of PNLV’s Allentown Promise Neighborhood office in downtown Allentown. APN uses its strong relationship with downtown residents to connect parents with young children and pregnant women to the ACHIP services.

The health workers are embedded in the community they serve in order to better cultivate relationships with residents, leading to trust of the local healthcare system, which is a critical component to the program’s success with this at-risk population. Here is a profile on one of them – Jamie Santana.

 

Santana_Jamie1. What made you want to work on the ACHIP program?

For the past five years I have worked as a Community Health Worker with the Department of Community Health at LVHN on an asthma program that assisted families and children ages 1-14 years old. I provided families with education on asthma medication, and assisted in the referral process to local organizations depending on the need.

What made me want to work with ACHIP is because it assists pregnant women and families with children from birth to age 5. I had already been familiar with this population and recognized that there are many young parents in Allentown in need of parenting education and guidance. I thought this would be another opportunity to continue making a difference in family’s lives. There are so many families that are broken and in need of guidance, as well as someone to trust.

 

2. What interests you most about the work you do in the community through the ACHIP program?

I enjoy listening to people’s life story. Each person has a story to tell about their life and the things they have experienced, both negative and positive. Each story is unique and I have the opportunity to take their story and express to families how some of the struggles they have encountered still have a purpose and could be used for good. These families have real struggles in their day to day life. Most feel like their stuck and can’t move forward. Others have been labelled, rejected and told they have no worth. My job is to help them see past all of that and find their purpose if not for themselves than for their children. Ultimately its empowering families to make changes to have better outcomes and look back to see how far they have come and they worked hard and can say “I did it!”

 

3. Since the home visitations started, what types of things have you been able to help the new moms and moms-to-be about with when it comes to caring for themselves and/or their child?

There are so many needs that families have. One is not having enough baby formula. I had to assist a mom who just had her newborn and WIC was not answering their phones for a week. I had a stock in my office that had been given to me before the program began because I knew this would be an issue for families.

 

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PNLV Blog

ACHIP Community Health Worker Profile – Kelly D Brown

The Allentown Children’s Health Improvement Project (ACHIP) was launched in 2016 thanks to a $1.91 million, 30-month grant from The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust. The new program brings together Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Department of Community Health and Women and Children’s services along with the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, and Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley in a partnership. The program’s primary goal is to improve the health of pregnant women and young children in Center City Allentown through home visits for early intervention. A staff of bilingual community health workers from the neighborhood surrounding the Neighborhood Improvement Zone operates out of PNLV’s Allentown Promise Neighborhood office in downtown Allentown. APN uses its strong relationship with downtown residents to connect parents with young children and pregnant women to the ACHIP services.

The health workers are embedded in the community they serve in order to better cultivate relationships with residents, leading to trust of the local healthcare system, which is a critical component to the program’s success with this at-risk population. Here is a profile on one of them – Kelly D. Brown.

 

Kelly D Brown1. What made you want to work on the ACHIP program?

I love helping people. ACHIP promotes helping pregnant moms and their young children, a population which is near and dear to my heart.

 

2. What interests you most about the work you do in the community through the ACHIP program?

To provide community resources, to empower families to become self-efficient, and to promote a healthy way of living.

 

3. Since the home visitations started, what types of things have you been able to help the new moms and moms-to-be about with when it comes to caring for themselves and/or their child?

I’m able to provide resources such as breast pumps, information on WIC, and make sure they have health insurance. I also can connect the family with childcare services if needed.

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PNLV Blog

ACHIP Community Health Worker Profile – Denisette Irizarry

The Allentown Children’s Health Improvement Project (ACHIP) was launched in 2016 thanks to a $1.91 million, 30-month grant from The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust. The new program brings together Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Department of Community Health and Women and Children’s services along with the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, and Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley in a partnership. The program’s primary goal is to improve the health of pregnant women and young children in Center City Allentown through home visits for early intervention. A staff of bilingual community health workers from the neighborhood surrounding the Neighborhood Improvement Zone operates out of PNLV’s Allentown Promise Neighborhood office in downtown Allentown. APN uses its strong relationship with downtown residents to connect parents with young children and pregnant women to the ACHIP services.

The health workers are embedded in the community they serve in order to better cultivate relationships with residents, leading to trust of the local healthcare system, which is a critical component to the program’s success with this at-risk population. Here is a profile on one of them – Denisette Irizarry.

 

Denisette Irizarry1. What made you want to work on the ACHIP program?

I know the importance of, and am passionate about, the health and quality of life for children, young mothers and families. These are exactly the community members that the ACHIP program is designed to help. I love the idea of being able to work with mothers from pregnancy and into the early years of life for their children.

2. What interests you most about the work you do in the community through the ACHIP program?

I am able to work closely with families and our community partners while serving as a role model for our clients (especially the young mothers). I am happy to serve as an advocate to our families and be involved in helping to identify and address some of the needs of our community. I am also interested in how the work we do with the ACHIP program today will benefit the families and other community-based programs tomorrow.

3. Since the home visitations started, what types of things have you been able to help the new moms and moms-to-be about with when it comes to caring for themselves and/or their child?

Our team has succeeded in connecting our families to resources for parenting and prenatal support, rental assistance programs, furniture, early education programs and child care services. With the help of the nurse navigator and counselors on our team, we’ve provided referrals to services that address physical and mental health as well any child development concerns.

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PNLV Blog

PNLV names APN Manager Amanda Raudenbush as Interim Executive Director

Regional nonprofit organization Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley has named Allentown Promise Neighborhood Manager Amanda Raudenbush as Interim Executive Director following the departure of Yamil Sanchez Rivera earlier this month. Sanchez Rivera recently took a new position with the United Way of Berks County.

Raudenbush of Kutztown joined the organization in 2014. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey, she holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American Studies and Urban Studies, as well as a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from Kutztown University, and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers. She’s also earned certificates in Geomatics and Urban Planning from Rutgers.

Most recently she had worked in education as a mathematics teacher at the I-LEAD Charter School in Reading. Prior to that she worked in community planning as Director of Planning and Building for Palmer Township; as a Senior Planner for Somerset County Planning Board in Somerville, NJ; and owned her own business, Jensen Planning, for two years in Kutztown.

“I am excited about this new opportunity to lead the staff of our nonprofit community organization and to work with our many partners and funders to continue moving the needle on the Nine Promises that impact the quality of life for our residents,” said Raudenbush. “I am passionate about the work our team does in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton Promise Neighborhoods, and am committed to building upon the framework Yamil created for us and moving it forward in 2017.”

Initiated by the United Way and developed by community leaders, PNLV was envisioned and planned as a regional organization to address challenges facing families and children in select neighborhoods across the Lehigh Valley. PNLV’s first neighborhood is in the Old Allentown Historic District downtown. The success of Allentown Promise Neighborhood has led the organization to expand its model to the valley’s other cities, launching the Easton Promise Neighborhood in the city’s West Ward last year and the two Bethlehem Promise Neighborhoods on Southside and in the Marvine neighborhood earlier this year.

About Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley
Founded in 2007 by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career. Promise Neighborhoods accomplishes its work through place-based, collective impact efforts. Its office is located at 1101 Hamilton Street, Suite 102 in Downtown Allentown. For more information, visit www.PromiseNeighborhoodsLV.org.

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Early Childhood Dialogues by Family Connection of Easton

Kindergarten Connection holds two-to-four Early Childhood Dialogues per year. We invite preschool and kindergarten teachers, administrators, school board members, city government officials, parents and community partners, and have begun to invite participants from across the Lehigh Valley with our understanding that successful transition cannot succeed without the support of all.

This is a professional development event and attendees are able to acquire ACT 48 or PQAS. These events are held at various locations from 6-8 pm. A light dinner is provided. We are now initiating an optional last hour for coffee, cake and discussion.

The purpose of the dialogues is to educate, and participants are surveyed after each one. The survey asks attendees for ideas for topics for future presentations. In addition to education, dialogues are a means of connecting the many partners to the transition work being done in Easton.

Initially our presentations attracted a group of about 20 and our presenters were preschool/kindergarten teachers. We have grown in number to nearly 70 attendees and our recent presenters have come from institutions of higher education. Each dialogue opens with a few words from a community partner in order to familiarize the group with the work of these transition team members.

A review of some of our topics and presenters includes: Ken Smythe Leistico from the Reddy Freddy/University of Pittsburgh who spoke on the importance of Kindergarten Transition work. We had a presentation by the IU on fine motor skills. The Director of NYU’s preschool program presented the Reggio philosophy. Northampton Community College has been an invaluable partner, presenting on The Importance of Play and two recent presentations (back a second time due to teacher request) on Reading and Writing Skills (Portfolios) for Preschool and Kindergarten students.

On March16, Lehigh University will provide some help with behavior issues, which is a growing problem in classrooms everywhere.