Childs “One Love” Garden Part of Tour

On Saturday September 12th the South Philly Food Co-op hosted their annual South Philly Garden Tour. This year the tour focused on gardens west of Broad Street. Childs’ “One Love” garden was on the tour and dozens of folks visited the garden to admire the hard work of teachers, students, and community members. On that same day a group of volunteers from NICE, City Year, Town Watch, and Neighbors Action, as well as school staff gathered to spruce up the garden for the tour. Volunteers cleaned, trimmed greenery, spread mulch, planted flowers, and secured tiles made by students with a fresh coat of grout. We regularly gather to help maintain the “One Love” garden! Email to get involved. photo 1 photo 2

Where you’ll find us for the rest of the summer

One of the best parts about living in Philly is that there is always something going on. And what better way to engage neighbors then to meet at a street fair or music festival in our ‘hood?

We are taking our show “on the road” and will be tabling at a variety of events this summer. Here is a quick look at where we’ll be, so come by and say hello!

Soul School Festival, Saturday, 8/8
12:00 – 8:00 PM @ Chew Playground

School District Fundraiser, Saturday, 8/15
Time TBD @ Point Breeze Pop-up Garden

South Philly Sausage Fest, Saturday, 9/12
12:00 – 8:00 PM, @ West Passyunk and Broad

South Philly Garden Tour, Saturday 9/12
Time TBD, @ Childs Elementary School Yard Garden (one of multiple stops)

How does our garden grow?

Extremely well!

On Saturday, April 25 Childs was the host site of Comcast Cares Day – where 200+ volunteers from Comcast, City Year corps members, and the Point Breeze community came together to tend to the school’s cosmetic needs – such as “painting murals and inspirational quotes in the school’s hallways and classrooms, remove litter on the grounds and in the neighborhood, as well as landscape, clean up and complete minor repairs to the school’s interior” (read more on Comcast’s blog).

Part of this awesome day of volunteerism included planting flowers, fruits and vegetables in Childs’ play yard. With the end of the school year not far behind the event, NICE took charge of caring for the plants during the hot summer months. Volunteers from the neighborhood are signing up for different days to water the plants and harvest the fruits and vegetables June through September.

And so far, so good! With the help of building staff members Terrance and Russ, we’ve been able to gain easy access to the water equipment and take care of the beautiful plant life, ensuring a welcoming, lush play yard when the students return to classes in the Fall.

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Save The Date! NICE Progressive Dinner Sat. March 21st

On Saturday March 21st NICE is hosting a neighborhood progressive dinner to raise money for the Auditorium Overhaul project. Guests will enjoy delicious food and get to learn more about NICE and the folks who are driving the work! NICE members will host guests in their homes for appetizers, main course, and dessert!

All proceeds will go directly to purchasing a new professional screen and projector for the G.W. Childs Auditorium.

email to get involved! 

A NICE night for an Art Show

On Monday, June 16, NICE hosted a art show and auction at The Pharmacy in an effort to raise awareness to the #bringbackourgirls campaign and fundraise for art supplies for our school.

About two dozen neighbors came out to mingle, drink wine and bid on pieces created by both local artists and students from Childs. The night was a huge success: we raised $350 and brought awareness to the community around important child wellfare issues.

You can read more about the event and it’s tie in to the #bringbackourgirls campaign in the South Philly Review, here.

#bringbackourgirls art from Childs Student

NICE members speak at Ignite Philly

Jen Devor and Megan Rosenbach presented about NICE and connecting with neighborhood schools at Ignite Philly last night! We promised a little cheat sheet for how to engage your neighborhood schools.

1. Figure out what your neighborhood catchment school is. The best tool for this is the School District’s school finder. Type in your address and it will show you which school (or schools) are in your catchment.

2. Connect with an existing grassroots group that is supporting your school (and if there isn’t one, think about starting one!). Many civic groups have education committees, others have independent “friends of” groups like NICE, and some have very active Home and School Associations.

3. Start with a small gesture like dropping off school supplies or bringing in something to show appreciation for teachers (food is good). This will help make the connection. (Making friends with the office staff cannot be underestimated!)

4. Form relationships with school staff or parents of current students (also known as your neighbors). This will help ensure that whatever efforts you put forth are informed by people who know the school and its needs much better than you do! This could look like a formal meeting with the principal, but I bet it will look more like grabbing a drink with one of the awesome teachers or having someone on your block over for dinner.

5.  Ask others to join you in caring and advocating for your neighborhood school. Whatever level of support you can offer, you don’t have to do it alone!  Engage friends, neighbors, co-workers, and other local groups. This includes reaching out to groups like NICE who have been doing this work for a few years. Email us at

*If you want to relive NICE’s Ignite Philly talk or if you couldn’t make it, check it out here. (Warning, the last 10 seconds contain explicit language for the sake of making a point!)



NICE Block Party Saturday November 2nd

Saturday November 2nd is a NICE day for community building!! Neighbor’s Investing In Childs Elementary (NICE) invite parents, children, teachers, and community members to join us for an afternoon of fun. Meet neighbors and other parents from G.W Childs Elementary School and learn about the work NICE is doing.

Our Elected Officials, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and State Representative Jordan Harris are scheduled to join us for this event.

We hope to see you there.

** Children MUST be accompanied by an adult



Childs Back to School Night

Childs has a new crew of City Year corp members this year!

Principal Dr. Eileen Coutts addresses a packed auditorium at Back to School Night.

Childs Back to School Night was heavily attended by parents and students on Thursday September 26th. Community organizations and school programs gathered in the lobby to hand out information about programs, promote the School Advisory Council elections, and recruit new parent volunteers. The smell of hot dogs and popcorn filled the hallways.

Attendees gathered in the school’s auditorium for several presentations, emceed by Principal Dr. Eileen Coutts. The school’s Eat Right Now representative got everyone excited about the nutrition an garden programs at the school.  Parents heard about the new PRAISE (Preventing Relational Aggression in Schools Everyday) program, which is conducted by CHOP. The new team of City Year Corp Members paraded into the auditorium clapping reciting their chant about spirit, discipline, purpose, and pride. The eight corp members will work with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students during the school day as well as after school. Kim Smith, a long time parent at Childs, and Megan Rosenbach, founder of NICE, addressed the crowd last. They encouraged parents to get involved this year by becoming a room parent, helping establish a Home and School Association, or running for a seat on the School Advisory Council. After the program, parents and students followed each teacher up to their classroom for smaller gatherings!  All and all, it was a fun, educational evening!

NICE’s work to revitalize the library pays off!

For over a year, NICE and Circle of Hope have been coordinating hundreds of volunteers to revitalize the Childs Library. When we began in June 2012, the space was cluttered, books were sitting unused in boxes, and the space was seldom used by students. Last summer was spent organizing the books into the Dewey Decimal system, weeding out old and torn books, and giving the room a good clean!  We have come a long way!

Due to NICE’s work, the school’s principal prioritized hiring a full-time librarian teacher for this coming school year! Students will visit the library on a weekly basis for a library prep class. There are now hundreds of books entered into the electronic catalog, which will make it simple for students to check books out and read at home. This can makes a significant impact on students! Research shows that children with access to printed books have higher literacy rates, better behavior, and positive psychological outcomes. Not only is the library functional, it is also a fun room with bright colors, a reading corner, and a mural painted by Childs Alumni.

NICE will continue to work in partnership with the school librarian to improve the Childs library. We need volunteers to enter more books into the catalog system and we need funding for high interest books that children are excited to read!