The United Communities Southeast Philadelphia and the Southeast Philadelphia Collaborative with Scribe Video Center
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 3 compilation DVD
The Houston Community Center carries on a long and illustrious tradition of social service in this ethnically diverse South Philadelphia neighborhood. Founded in 1901 as St. Martha’s House, the organization functioned as a settlement house serving the predominantly Italian and Eastern European immigrant communities of the area. St. Martha’s provided education and health services and emphasized “integration and assimilation” programs for immigrants intended to ease their transition into an unfamiliar city and culture. Changing its name to the Houston Center 1966, the settlement house evolved with the changing neighborhood. The center developed a strong youth orientation, with after-school programs thriving as neighborhood kids took advantage of the Center’s recreation and education offerings. The center became, as Maitlon Russell remembers his time there as a child, like “a giant babysitter” to the neighborhood. The youth focus has continued into recent times: in 2003 a collaborative founded the Youth Leadership council, sponsoring a “teen lounge,” dances, and games. Youth and the Houston Center: Growing Up Together tells the story of this vital South Philly community space through the memories of several generations of its patrons.
Oxford Circle Mennonite Church with Scribe Video Center
Videomaking Consultant - Huixia Lu, Humanities Consultant - Karen Gloyd, Post Production - Ellen Reynolds
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.1 compilation DVD.
Oxford Circle had been a predominantly white neighborhood for decades before the 1990s. Once a suburb of Philadelphia known as "Old Village," Oxford Circle is a neighborhood in the Northeast section of the city that is in the midst of a demographic transition. Oxford Circle Mennonite Church is at the forefront of the community's efforts to come to grips with the changing landscape as African American, Indian, and Latino families have increasingly come to call the neighborhood home. The area is "at a crossroads," says Leonard Dow, the church's pastor. "Something good could happen, in that this community can be a place where those differences are there but people can live beside each other—or a crisis can happen." However, Dow and the Oxford Circle Mennonite church members interviewed for this video do not see a crisis anywhere on the horizon. The church is, they say, a primary reason that the community has come together, choosing to embrace the new face of the increasingly diverse community instead of resisting it. Although the neighborhood will likely continue to change, residents both old and new are finding a new sense of community in Oxford Circle.
We The People Living with Aids of the Delaware Valley & Scribe Video Center
Janet Williams & Cindy Wong
$20 for individuals / $35 for Community Institutions ie: libraries, schools, non-profits / $50 for Universities & Businesses
"I just love that place. It's a haven," a woman says with a joyous smile as the video opens. Featuring exuberant testamonials from HIV positive members of the We The People "family," this doumentary short lovingly documents a unique HIV and AIDS-themed social service agency located within shouting distance of City Hall. We The People, an organization run by and for people with HIV, has produced a moving video which documents the organization's efforts to emotionally, socially and economically empower people with the HIV-virus.
<"http://www.peoplewithaids.org">We the People Living with AIDS of the Delaware Valley is the only Philadelphia-based organization created and run by people living with HIV disease and AIDS. This organization serves as the major link to the larger medical and social services for the growing number of people with HIV/AIDS, many of whom are disenfranchised because of their own behavior or because of discrimination based on race, mental illness, substance abuse, income status, sexual preferences, lifestyles, etc. We The People does this by offering practical support services that our target population tells us that they need: diagnostic and medical services, meals, clothing, social connections, peer and professional substance abuse and mental health counseling and referrals, culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS risk reduction education, referrals to other services, and now a housing and recovery house.
Janet Williams works as a digital video artist and graphic designer in the Philadelphia area.
Cindy Wong has been a production facilitator for other Scribe projects including Face to Face and To the Point.