Germantown’s Brenda Jamison knows first-hand about the benefits of holistic healing. After trying many medications and visiting numerous physicians her hypertension could not be stabilized. It was only after addressing her diet, exercise regimen and hormonal imbalances through herbs that she now has normal blood pressure.
Jamison recently joined many Northwest Philadelphians in attending the annual Heal Thyself Garden Party.
Though the event has relocated to West Philadelphia, it still drew many residents from Mount Airy, West Oak Lane, Germantown, and East Falls.
“I told so many of my neighbors, family and friends about this, so Northwest Philadelphia is here in full force,” Jamison said.
On hand once again was a familiar face to Northwest Philadelphians, best-selling author Queen Afua. The CEO of the Queen Afua Wellness Institute in New York was a headliner at the 2010 “Grow a Little Love!” event at the Seva Retreat House at Elkins Estate.
Her appearance came on the heels of her European book tour promoting her book “Overcoming an Angry Vagina: Journey to Womb Wellness.”
Queen Afua returned to tell about how emotional hurts from the past and negative feelings towards men can result in a wide range of female-related health problems from menstrual cramps and fibroids to the need for hysterectomies and miscarriages.
“So many women underestimate the role and power of their wombs as they try their utmost to fit into a stress-ladened lifestyle that undervalues their roles as women,” she said.
“In fact I think it safe to say that most women forget that they have been blessed with the enormous capacity to not only love unconditionally but also co-create life itself,” she said.
Local youth sports group Athletics Academy made a trip to the Junior Olympics in Houston recently and won big.
No one was more excited about the dozen Germantown students participating in the event than Kenroy Wallace, the director and coach of the Athletics Academy.
For Wallace, the initiative he started in 2007 was about more than just teaching boys and girls ages 8 to 14 about sports.
The reason the team has “academy” in its name is the program also includes learning — nutrition, reading and math.
“This is a permanent track and field program that includes academic enrichment,” Wallace said. “We train out of two schools: Emlen Elementary School serving the Germantown and Mount Airy areas, and Roxborough High School. We have a total of 50 young people. I am proud of the fact that we have several who made it to the 2012 AAU Junior Olympics in track and field.”
Among the Junior Olympic honors of the Athletics Academy track stars were three major medals and eight students finishing in the finals of several events.
“This is truly the culmination of everything that we’ve worked for recently,” Wallace said. “We have a talented group of youngsters. I believe that by combining athletics and academics it shows them that if you harness your talents and mold them you can achieve. It shows them that hard work does pay off. That’s something that our children need to hear today, and if you can harness that talent it makes a difference.”
Parent Darien Swift agreed.
“It is one thing to compete with kids around your own area or state, but it’s taking it to another level to compete against the best around the country,” he said. “I think it was remarkable.”
Darien Swift was among those who chaperoned the entourage of students in Houston. His son, D’Andre Swift, 13, was among the students who competed.
“I felt proud of my team mate who won two medals and another who won one,” he said. “I think running track is positive because it gives you something to do to stay off the streets. The Athletic Academy just has great coaches who really (steer) you in a better direction.”
Northwest Philadelphia and Cheltenham gardeners are excited about a short documentary film spotlighting the LaMott Community Garden.
The film, titled “Sacred Soil,” is set to premiere at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, in Center City, Sunday, Aug. 5 at 2:30 p.m. The doors open at 2 p.m. There is no admission charge.
“Sacred Soil” tells the story of Diane Williams, the interim president of LaMott Community Garden.
It traces the journey that began when Williams, a retired mortgage banking professional, was approached by an elder in the Cheltenham Township community about plans to sell and develop their garden. Homeowners from East and West Mount Airy, East and West Oak Lane, and LaMott grow organic vegetation there.
Among those planning to attend the historic screening will be many of the African-American, mature adults who are regulars at the LaMott Community Garden. Bob Thomas and Robert Davis, both of Mount Airy, are avid gardeners. Davis, a native of Petersburg, Va., said his daughter, Nicole, had some patients who gardened at the venue. When she told him about it he immediately joined others growing fresh crops.
“At first they were telling me there were no plots,” Davis said. “Then I cleared out this rocky patch. I grew up on a farm so I know that you can bring life to any space. We are able to grow healthy vegetables here. We even get to share what we have.”
Corrine Jones of Fox Chase was among the special guests who took a tour of the garden when they held their annual barbecue on July 14. Her uncle, 93-year-old Eugene Williams of Northwest Philadelphia, is among the loyal, longtime gardeners.
“This is the life blood of this community,” Jones said. “Uncle Eugene is originally from South Carolina and this puts him in touch with the land. He grew up in a time when people lived from gardening, and they knew how to can and preserve what they grew. I think it’s just wonderful for people to be able to see a garden in the middle of all these homes.
“That’s why I am outraged that there are some who want to take this garden away from here,” Jones added. “So many people are talking about saving the environment. What better way to help the environment by developing our green spaces with gardens? Everything my uncle grows is organic. We don’t need any more cement.”
Williams noted there is a new generation who is learning about gardening from the more experienced elders.
Area schools and youth organizations are welcome to take supervised tours of the garden. Currently among the crops are turnips, butter beans, peppers, okra, yams, string beans, squash, white potatoes, cabbage, onions and carrots.
“We want the entire community to come out to hear the story,” Williams said. “It has been an ongoing struggle to save this garden. So, please pass the word and bring a friend. We are excited about “Sacred Soil” produced by Matthew Marencik, Jason Furrer and Stephen McWilliams.”
Folk aspiring to serve the community as religious and spiritual servants attended Ministry Day at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) in Mount Airy recently. The session was held at the Brossman Center on Germantown Avenue.
Leading the session were the Rev. Dr. Wayne E. Croft, Sr., the Rev. Dr. Mark K. Tyler, the Rev. Jocelyn K. Hart, the Rev. Keon A. Gerow, and Bishop Ernest McNeart.
Eight members of the Chosen Generation Church of God in Christ from Southwest Philadelphia were among the participants.
“I really want to learn more about how women can grow in the ministry,” said Andrea Gillis, a member of the Church of the Redeemer Baptist in South Philadelphia.
LTSP Master of Arts in Religion student Philip Harris, a South Philadelphia native who has lived in Mount Airy for 15 years, said he grasped an appreciation for the African-American’s community’s communal approach to service through ministry.
“There was a time when people looked down on what the old folks said about religion,” he said. “They would say that grandmom’s worship was not [authentic] because she was uneducated. Now we understand that she had a grasp on ministry that was theological…it just was not from the European point of view.”
After registration, the Rev. Dr. Quintin Robertson, director of the Urban Theological Institute, and the Rev. Dr. Kiran Sebastian, the academic dean, led the praise and worship.
The morning workshop topics included women in ministry and missions in a global community —to name a few.
After lunch there was another series of workshops with the morning themes. Musical group Catalyst for Change Worship Team led the crowd through the closing praise.
It was announced at LTSP that a new grant is available for part time students. There are still grants available for this fall in the Leadership Grant for Part Time Students program.
Those interested must be newly admitted to one of the master’s degree programs and enrolled in two or more courses per semester to qualify.
Each recipient will receive $765 for the first two semesters of study. There are 10 leadership grants still available for the 2012-2013 academic year.
For more information contact the Rev. Louise N. Johnson at admissions @ltsp.edu or call (215) 248-7302.
Residents of six blocks in West Oak Lane have be chosen to be part of a pilot program that partners the city of Philadelphia with InSinkErator, the world’s largest producer of food waste disposers.
New disposers are placed in 100 West Oak Lane homes, free of charge. The city will then test the volume and composition of waste generated during the pilot phase.
The blocks that are part of this pilot initiative are the 1900 blocks of Ashley Street, 73rd Avenue, Elston Street, Plymouth Street, and 72nd Avenue as well as the east side of the 7200 and 7300 blocks of 19th Street. The community partner for the initiative is the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation.
“This is the first time, that we’re aware of, that a major city is embarking on a program to reduce the waste it collects, encourage the use of disposers, and to measure the results,” said David MacNair of InSinkErator. “The city of Milwaukee encouraged disposers, but they had to be purchased. This will be cost effective for Philadelphia by reducing tipping fees for 68 tons. We’re glad Mayor [Michael] Nutter sees that this will be beneficial.”
The pilot program is also serving residents of Southwest Philadelphia. Those who live on the 1800 blocks of S. 19th Street, South 20th Street, and South 21st Street as well as the 1800, 1900 and 2000 blocks of Moore Street, McClellan Street, Sigel Street.
The community partner in Southwest Philadelphia is Diversified Community Services.
Volunteer energy coordinators Delores Harper and Verdell Peterson are already giving the program high marks in their Point Breeze neighborhood. The 100 waste disposers have already been installed in 100 homes in their community.
“I was a little skeptical because I have old pipes and old cabinets,” said Peterson“I have been freezing my trash for over 50 years, so this has been great. I love it and have been using it all the time.”
Harper, who is a renter and cannot get the disposer, said it was an easy sell for her neighbors who own their homes.
“It’s easy to operate, and all the homeowners are now telling me now that they have it they will never go back to freezing their trash,” she said.