First BPN Pembroke Resident Dinner is tomorrow night!

Attention Marvine/Pembroke residents – join BPN this Thursday night 8/25 at The Northeast Ministry for our first Bethlehem Promise Neighborhood Resident Dinner in your community!
This free event is open to the public and fun for the whole family, so bring the kids!

Pembroke Resident Dinner August


BPN Staff draws winners’ names for Pembroke block party prizes

Our Bethlehem Promise Neighborhood (BPN) team is picking the raffle prize winners from last month’s Marvine-Pembroke Block Party.

If you attended that event, then you need to attend this coming Thursday night’s Resident Dinner at The Northeast Ministry to find out if you are among the winners!

See you on 8/25 at 5:30 pm. Free event!

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Guardian volunteers at EPN Block Party


We’d like to thank the team of volunteers for Guardian who helped us with last month’s EPN Block Party at Cottingham Stadium in Easton’s West Ward neighborhood.

We recently interviewed Laura Accetta, Claims Case Manager, Group Claims – Long Term Disability, about the experience she and her fellow volunteers had at our event:

1. How did Guardian become connected with PNLV so that your team could volunteer at the EPN block party?

My role since 2009 was as community organizer in the city of Easton/Weed and Seed Coordinator. I became familiar with PNLV when I met Yamil at the Community School Conference in Cleveland and then worked collaboratively with the organization during their introduction into Easton and forward.

2. What did your team think of their experience working with PNLV and interacting with the families at the block party?

Everyone enjoyed the opportunity of volunteering especially as many if not all of them live in Easton.

3. In what other ways does Guardian volunteer in the community? Is there a special office/department/team that coordinates community volunteerism for the staff? Why is community involvement important to the company?

Guardian feels strongly that supporting communities and giving back are essential. Guardian volunteers can be found in large groups such as locally at Musikfest and in smaller areas such as supporting local issues through raising funds by having dress down days. Guardian volunteers span the country and are coordinated through the Community Involvement Committee, the offices of Human Resources and Corporate Communications. In giving back to our communities it underscores Guardian’s corporate philosophy; people count, doing the right thing and holding ourselves to very high standards.


Get to know the PNLV Staff: Ammar Sharif, Easton Promise Neighborhood Manager

Ammar Headshot1. How long have you worked for PNLV and what do you do there?

I’ve worked at PNLV for a year and 12 days, but who’s counting?  I am the Easton Promise Neighborhood Manager, which up until this point has involved creating relationships with potential partners and residents in Easton, and learning all I can about the Easton community.

2. What did you find most interesting about the research you did on Easton and the quality of life of the city’s residents?

I found it all interesting and I loved wading through all of it. I especially enjoyed sharing it and getting the residents’ input, analysis, and reactions.  The most interesting piece of information didn’t come from my presentation, but instead the experience itself.  It was incredible seeing all of these residents of Easton turning out at the town hall meetings because they cared about their city. We saw residents ranging from students to senior citizens and all races who were eager to share their opinions and insights.

3. How do you think establishing an Easton Promise Neighborhood will help residents in the West Ward neighborhood?

I thin hope that establishing the Easton Promise Neighborhood in West Ward will help the neighborhood in whatever ways it most needs. The beauty of our work is it is data driven. We’re not coming in with an already-established agenda. We’re coming in with our survey based around our nine Promises to identify the needs in the community. Then we will work to address them. Identifying the needs, then connecting the service providers with those who need their services will be where we can help residents the most.

4. What’s your favorite part of the work you do for PNLV?

I’ve really enjoyed just about all the work I’ve done so far. My coworkers are great, the people we work with from other organizations are great, and I really believe in what we’re all coming together to accomplish. If I had to pick one thing, I think it would be the contact we have with the residents. I will always fondly remember Earth Day 2014 when I stood on our old office’s doorstep calling to residents to ask if they’d gotten their free potted tulip from PNLV yet.


Meet our Resident Liaison, Banessa

Banessa1) How long have you lived in the APN? What do you like most about living here?

I have been an Allentown resident for approximately six years. What I enjoy most about living in Allentown is its suburban communities. Before moving to Allentown, I was a New York resident and it was very noisy and it lacked communal atmosphere. A lot of parts of Allentown still have strong communal energy.

2) What made you want to get more involved in your neighborhood?

I have always wanted to get involved in my neighborhood; I think that I just didn’t have the right resources or know the right information to get started. Now that I work with Allentown Promise Neighborhood I have motivation and more goals to reach and complete, and that is very exciting to me.

3) Why do you feel that you are a good candidate to represent APN? What qualities or abilities do you possess for this role?

I feel that I am a good candidate to represent APN because I am very professional and have leader qualities. I am able to work effectively in a team and get the job done. I have taken a public speaking course and feel that I am a very good speaker. In addition, I am very compassionate and I know that this is critical when speaking to APN residents.

4) What are you most looking forward to in your role as a member of the APN Community Engagement Team?

I am looking forward to seeing change and more community involvement in our residents. Our goal is to bring information and services to our community and I am looking forward to see great impact in doing so.

5) What do you think of APN and what it does for our community?

I think that the work that APN does is phenomenal. I take great pride in working with this team because the services it offers to its residents are very beautiful.


Job opening – we’re hiring a Manager for the Allentown Promise Neighborhood

Position Announcement – Manager, Allentown Promise Neighborhood

Posting Date: September 5, 2014


Department: Allentown Promise Neighborhood

Supervisor: Dr. Yamil Sanchez, Executive Director

Status: Exempt, Full-time

Location:  Allentown Office



Allentown Promise Neighborhood is excited to share a job posting for a Manager.  The Manager for the Allentown Promise Neighborhood will lead effective and efficient coordination of services related to the 9 Promises for students and families living in the Promise Neighborhoods.  As a member of the Promise Neighborhoods team, the Manager will work closely with the Executive Director, other Managers, the Administrative Support Staff to provide seamless, in-neighborhood access to resources to children and families.  This position is an Exempt, Full-time position.



  • Bachelor’s degree in Education (Elementary or Early Childhood)
  • 5 plus years of experience in early childhood program planning, implementing and/or management of programs
  • Ability to lead collaborative efforts
  • Skilled in working with collecting, interpreting and managing data
  • Demonstrated ability in the composition of compelling written communication
  • Computer Skills:  proficient in Microsoft Windows, Outlook, Word, PPT, and Excel
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) speaking skills (required)


Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals to perform the essential functions.  Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley is an equal opportunity employer.



Interested candidates may e-mail, fax or mail a resume and/or cover letter to:

Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley

Attn: Yamil Sanchez, Executive Director

347 N. 8th Street

Allentown, PA  18102

Phone 610-351-4288

Fax 610-351-4275


Deadline to apply will be September 30, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.


Mental Health Awareness Month

We invite you to join us this Thursday 5/22 from 5-6 p.m. for a program on mental health stigma.

Find out how you can help and support someone you love who is living with mental health issues.

Mental health Awareness back of flyer pdf Mental health Awareness front of flyer pdf



In order to help more families and children throughout the region in the coming years, the Board of Directors of Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley has filed Form 1023 with the Internal Revenue Service to become its own tax-exempt non-profit 501c3 organization.

Since its start, PNLV and its Allentown Promise Neighborhood have been a subsidiary of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. But the long-term plan for the organization’s growth necessitated that it eventually become independent of United Way and the PNLV Board of Directors began the non-profit application process last year.

Earlier this year PNLV hired new Executive Director Yamil Sanchez-Rivera. Its staff has also grown with the promotion of Dawn Robinson-Weldon to Manager of School Readiness and Family Health Initiatives, and the hiring of two new part-time employees – Marisol Arribas as Coordinator, and Ammar Sharif as Research Analyst.

“We are excited to be part of the synergy of efforts that are building up and working together to improve the quality of life for residents in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley,” said Sanchez-Rivera.  “Establishing our 501c3 status is the next phase of ensuring the full delivery of coordinating services across our 9 promises in Promise Neighborhoods. United Way’s foundational support has resulted in the creation of a well-established agency that will lead collective impact work with United Way and throughout the Lehigh Valley.”

The Allentown Promise Neighborhood serves a nine-square-block neighborhood of the city’s downtown, known as Old Allentown Historic District. Conversations are taking place with leaders and residents in Bethlehem and Easton to see how PNLV can be of the most help to families in those cities.

The Promise Neighborhood program operates under four tenets: Children are ready to learn in school from Kindergarten through 12th grade; they are safe and supported in school, at home and in their community; the schools they attend have the tools they need to help children to transition successfully from one grade to the next; and that children are poised to graduate and succeed in a career or college.

In 2007 Harlem Children’s Zone Founder & CEO Geoffrey Canada visited the Lehigh Valley and inspired local leaders to create a similar program for children in the region. In 2008 the Allentown Youth Success Zone was started with United Way as the leading member of the regional working group.

In 2010, an effort to establish Promise Neighborhoods programs across the country was launched with education of children as its cornerstone, and the Success Zone renamed itself to better align with the its work with the growing national movement.

Today PNLV unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career, and accomplishes its work through place-based, collective impact efforts, like Allentown Promise Neighborhood. Its office is located at 347 N. 8th Street in Downtown Allentown. For more information, visit



Allentown School District Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration will be happening April 28 – May 9. If your child will be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2014 make sure they are registered with your neighborhood elementary school. Please see the dates, times and locations below.

For detailed questions, please contact the Allentown School District at or 484-765-4000.

Kindergarten, as well as pre-school, are important stepping stones in a child’s social and academic development. Don’t let them miss out!

Also, for families registering their children for kindergarten that will attend Central, Cleveland, or McKinley Elementary Schools, you will receive a Kindergarten Readiness bag full of books, crayons, games, and materials to help promote kindergarten readiness for your child.

ASD 2014 Kindergarten Registration


New “A Brush with Kindness” program from Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley is proud to introduce “A Brush with Kindness” program to the Allentown Promise Neighborhood. This service is an exterior home repair program that provides exterior maintenance assistance for low income homeowners. Projects will include painting, porch repair, accessibility and minor exterior repair services for homeowners in need. Projects will address areas of safety, security, accessibility and code violation.

A Brush with Kindness projects will help local low income homeowners who are affected by age, disability or family circumstances who struggle to maintain the exterior of their homes. Through these projects, families are able to reclaim their homes with pride and dignity. Habitat will focus resources in Jordan Heights and the Allentown Promise neighborhood to help residents transform their community into vibrant, safe, and inviting places to live for both current and future residents.

Eligible applicants will meet the following criteria:

·      Own and reside in a home in need of repairs within the Lehigh Valley (no rental properties)

·      Provide proof of ownership with a copy of the deed or mortgage statement

·      Maintain active homeowner’s insurance

·      Annual household income below 80% of area median income

·      Be up to date on property taxes and mortgage (if any)

·      Be willing to partner with Habitat by contributing sweat equity hours by helping with the repairs, serving lunch, or volunteering at the ReStore or Habitat office

·      Homeowners will pay a nominal fee upon completion of the repairs

·      Repairs will not include emergency maintenance or interior repairs

To apply for A Brush with Kindness project please submit a completed application to Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley at 245 N. Graham St. Allentown, PA 18109 or fax to 610-776-7569.

Applications and brochures are available at under the NRI page, at the Habitat office and the Allentown Promise Neighborhood office. 

How the program works: Apply by submitting an application with a description of all requested repairs and required documentation.  Once verified as eligible, a member of our construction team will contact you to assess the requested repairs. If repairs are covered in the program and you agree to the terms of the services you will be placed in our program schedule for repairs. Volunteer teams lead by professionally trained construction staff will make improvements to the home at your scheduled repair date.