On Saturday, June 29, join us in Germantown's Vernon Park from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the inaugural Unity Day!
On Unity Day, the North Central Philadelphia community will to come together to recognize unsung heroes and celebrate our strengths. The event’s history is rooted in recent and vibrant collaborations happening in the six neighborhoods served by the Free Library of Philadelphia’s North Central Cluster of neighborhood libraries: Germantown, Logan, Nicetown-Tioga, Oak Lane, Ogontz, and West Oak Lane. A few years ago, community members, Free Library staff, and representatives from elected officials’ offices from the six neighborhoods formed the North Central Community Council, and since then, we have been gathering regularly to share resources and leverage our strengths.
The North Central Community Council’s mission is to develop, engage, educate, and empower our local communities. Further, we strive to fulfill the Free Library’s strategic plan of embracing creativity and innovation. We not only work across departments to devise collaborative, unique solutions and improved means of communication; we also work with community partners outside of the Free Library system. This in turn fosters leadership, partnerships, and creativity that can lead to new opportunities. Driving forces in this effort are Free Library staff members Toni Hoagland (North Central Cluster Leader) and Fred Ginyard (Community Organizer), whose energy and vision propelled the group to do this important work.
Last year, the culmination of the council’s efforts was the creation of a Community Champion Award, which celebrated people in each of the six neighborhoods who serve their communities without seeking recognition. Elected officials, community members, family members, and Free Library staff gathered last June to celebrate the winners with music, speeches, refreshments, and small gifts. At that event, held at Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library, we decided it could be even bigger the following year, and that's how Unity Day was created.
This year, we again sought nominations from our communities and received many worthy applications. After much deliberation, 12 hard-working individuals were selected to receive the Community Champion Awards. We will fête them at Unity Day, which will be held outdoors in Germantown’s Vernon Park on Saturday, June 29. Along with the award ceremony—hosted by Bill Anderson, reporter for FOX 29 News—we will enjoy music and refreshments, and over 40 community partners will have information tables throughout the area.
This year’s Community Champions are:
Join us in celebrating these community role models on Unity Day. We look forward to seeing you there!