In the summer of 2013, the Presbytery of Philadelphia provided funds to Presbyterian Community Ministries of Delaware Valley (PCMDV), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that provides support to community organizations performing charitable services in the Delaware Valley, to conduct a needs assessment and program design for new or improved John Gloucester House services, which could be beneficial to the Point Breeze neighborhood it served.
Stirred by the death the preceding year of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed young African-American young man shot on the streets of Sanford, Fla., PCMDV leaders looked for ways to address the underlying issues in America that are often hostile to African-American males. This was the genesis of the Rearing Successful Sons program.
Following planning, community engagement and assessment of need which originated in January 2014, Rearing Successful Sons program began in April 2015, with an enrollment cohort of 10 youngsters, many of whom had never traveled beyond their Point Breeze community.
Rearing Successful Sons began with engagement and exposing the participants to history. Docent-guided museum tours and formal instructions were given on American history, Philadelphia history and African-American history with emphasis on the contributions of African ancestors in the building of America.
The second phase of Rearing Successful Sons was delivered in a summer program structured to increase skills in reading, mathematics, personal health, community and home safety, and decision-making. Participants were engaged through journaling, music, and positive engagement with police in the Point Breeze community.
The year-round program begins each fall and will be conducted four days a week after school, building upon and advancing the development of personal resilience. Mentors familiar with the program and those with whom the youngsters have been engaged will be encouraged to become individual mentors.
Rearing Successful Sons is supported by the Presbyterian Community Ministries of Delaware Valley and governed by its board of directors.
Delores F. Brisbon, President
Paul Stavrakos, Secretary
Curtis Haynes, Treasurer
Hon. Jacqueline Allen
Harry G. “Skip” Dittmann
H. Ray Welch Jr.
The Board's work is complemented by a coalition of community members who contribute their invaluable time, talent and insights to the Rearing Successful Sons initiative. The Presbyterian Community Ministries of Delaware Valley is indebted for their pledge of continuing input.
Maria Pajil Battle
Hon. W. Wilson Goode
Paula Scott Gross
David F. Huting
Hon. Anthony Hardy Williams