Monday, January 31, 2011

A Holiday to Remember at PathWays PA

(reprinted from the PWDC Newsletter)
by Roxanna Green, Case Manager EYPtE

PathWays PA EARN Center, December 23, 2010

The PathWays PA Empowering Young Parents through Education Program (EYPtE) and EARN Center hosted their annual Adopt-a-Family project during the holiday season. This past December, the event was truly a season of giving and caring. In addition to the Adopt-a-Family project, customers received a visit from Philadelphia Eagles cornerback, Ellis Hobbs.

For years, PathWays PA has sponsored their Adopt-a-Family project during the Christmas holiday season to match participants and their families with generous donors. This year, over 300 families were adopted within PathWays EARN system, including all active and some transitioned EYPtE students. It took over five days to distribute thousands of beautifully wrapped presents to participants. Each EYPtE student averaged three large bags of individualized gifts from their list. The gifts ranged from microwaves and Bed in a Bags to clothes and cameras to books and electronic games. All pregnant students received newborn necessities, clothes and toys for their unborn child. The students were very appreciative.

One student reported that she would not have had anything for her toddler son and unborn child had it not been for the Adopt-a-Family program. She said her whole family cried at the Christmas tree as they thought about how someone who didn't know them cared about them enough to make sure they had a great holiday. The next day, this student's grandmother baked delicious homemade cookies for the staff to show her appreciation.

A few days after the Adopt-a-Family project, the Philadelphia Eagles organization sponsored a catered dinner hosted by Cornerback Ellis Hobbs and his family. Over 50 families from EYPtE and the EARN Center, all of whom had excellent attendance and program participation, were invited to the dinner. On the menu were bacon-wrapped shrimp, three kinds of gourmet pizza, white macaroni and cheese, champagne chicken, and a tasty beef stew with rice. There were more freshly prepared items on the menu as the caterers had a full kitchen on a truck parked outside the building. Participants received gifts, Eagles paraphernalia, and autographs from Mr. Hobbs. According to Mr. Hobbs, "It is important to give back to the community. I want to provide positive encouragement to people trying hard to make ends meet during these economically hard times." Mr. Hobbs also expressed that he cared for our participants in a "real" way. The participants and their families were delighted and appreciative, especially the children. Both events left a lasting impression with staff and participants, and the holiday was certainly one that will be remembered.

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 31, 2011

State Policy Update

Pennsylvania State CapitolUPCOMING BUDGET EVENTS

Pennsylvania's state budget fight is shaping up in Harrisburg. The state Senate has introduced a TABOR spending caps bill as one of its top priorities (Senate Bill 7), and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai has indicated the House will pass a budget at $26 million, which is $2 billion less than the budget this year.

The Better Choices for Pennsylvania coalition is already at work, making plans for a coordinated, proactive campaign to highlight the impact of proposed cuts and to push for a balanced approach to the budget.

Mark your calendar for these two upcoming events
  • STATEWIDE BUDGET CALL - Thursday, February 10, 2011, at 10 a.m. Call-in Number: (760) 569-7676 Access Code: 453547
  • PBPC'S ANNUAL BUDGET SUMMIT - Monday, March 14, 2011, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Hilton Harrisburg, 1 North Second Street, Harrisburg. Registration is free and lunch is included. Register today!

SUPPORT WOMEN’S ACCESS TO COMPREHENSIVE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE

Last week the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee passed SB3, a bill which will ban abortion coverage in the exchanges set up as part of healthcare reform, out of Committee. Please contact your members of the General Assembly and urge them to support the full range of reproductive health care. Without abortion coverage, more women will lose access to safe, legal abortions.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the ability to decide whether to offer abortion coverage through their state health insurance exchanges, a marketplace for people to buy individual and small business insurance coverage at competitive rates. SB 3 would ban abortion coverage in the exchanges except in cases of rape or incest (in which case the woman must report the crime to the police and identify the assailant, if known) or when the life of a woman is in danger. There is no exception for situations such as paralysis, organ failure or infertility.

If a state chooses to allow abortion coverage, women must purchase the coverage separately and pay for it out of their own pocket - there is no federal funding for this insurance. SB 3 goes beyond the federal regulation by preventing women from purchasing insurance through the exchanges to cover an abortion with their own money. By banning coverage for abortion in the exchanges, women are denied access to a safe and legal service which they might need. For low-income women, banning access essentially denies them the ability to receive a safe, legal abortion.

Taking away insurance coverage does not reduce the number of abortions - but it does create additional barriers to abortion and moves the procedure into a marginalized system away from medical and insurance oversight. Many women need abortion services when a wanted pregnancy goes horribly wrong - banning access to coverage in the exchanges would prevent them from receiving medically needed services.

Please contact your members of the General Assembly and urge them to support the full range of reproductive health care.

Thank you to Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and Raising Women's Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania for providing important information used in this alert.

Federal Policy Update

HELP PROTECT HOMELESS FUNDING

Over the next couple of weeks, the new Congress will be preparing FY 2011 funding bills. The current stopgap funding measure expires March 4. Although a concrete, official proposal has not yet been created, many programs are likely to be cut back to 2008 levels. This would result in cuts to both the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) and Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) programs.

In order to prevent these cuts and preserve the increases proposed by the Senate last month, we must act now. Please contact your Representative and let them know how important the above programs are for communities working to end homelessness. For more information about these important issues please visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ website.

Information/Events

JOIN HALF IN TEN FOR A WEBINAR ON ANTIPOVERTY ADVOCACY IN THE 112TH CONGRESS


The 112th Congress presents a challenging political landscape for advocates concerned about reducing poverty. With deficit reduction dominating the conversation, several proposals have already been set forth to slash critical services helping those struggling the most in this recession.

While these developments pose new challenges, advocates can take action to reduce poverty and fight for economic security through effective grassroots advocacy. In this webinar, members of Congress and policy experts will offer an overview of the most important policy battles this year, what's at stake for low-income families, and provide concrete action steps we can take together.

WHEN: February 2, 2011, 3:00 - 4:00 PM EST

Half in Ten is honored to have Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Al Franken (D-MN) speaking at the webinar. Both senators have been passionate advocates for low-income families during their time in Congress and will highlight the important role of grassroots advocacy in winning policy victories that promote economic security and opportunity for all.

Join us to ensure the voices of low-income Americans are heard during the upcoming budget debates. Register for Road to Shared Prosperity today!

PENNSYLVANIA HEALTH ACCESS NETWORK’S CALL SERIES

PHAN's Policy Call Series is back on Tuesday, February 1st from 6:00-7:00 PM.

Special guest speakers from Community Legal Services will talk about potential cuts to Medicaid that could impact tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

For those of you new to the PHAN Policy Call Series, the expert speakers start from the very beginning and then dive into the 'nitty-gritty' of the issue. It's a great way to learn more about health care issues from the comfort of your own home.

Dangerous cuts to Medicaid are being proposed that could leave thousands without health insurance. At the same time, there is a potential solution that could save peoples' health insurance and save the state money! Learn about this and how it relates to the Affordable Care Act's provisions on Medicaid expansions.

Email Athena at aford@pahealthacces.org for dial-in number.

Special PathWays PA Information/Events

FINANCIAL PATH$

Financial Path$, a new program from PathWays PA, helps individuals and families build paths toward economic self-sufficiency through financial education, asset building and economic empowerment. This program provides one-on-one financial counseling and financial education workshops. Financial Path$ is committed to assisting everyone carve their path to self-sufficiency.

If you or your clients would be interested in learning more about this program please contact wrahemtulla@pathwayspa.org.

For more information become Financial Path$ friend on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Stay turned as we will also be launching a blog very soon!

FREE TAX PREPARATION

PathWays PA offers FREE certified tax preparation at our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Free tax preparation is for taxpayers with an annual gross household income less than $50,000.

Keep your full refund and save your money:
  • No tax preparation fees
  • No E-filing Fees
  • No check cashing fees
  • Open a no-fee savings or prepaid debit card account
  • Purchase a risk free US Saving Bond
  • Find out it you’re eligible for SNAP (food stamps)
Taxpayers must being all necessary identification and required tax statement for taxpayer, spouse, and dependents.

Locations:
  • Philadelphia County – 3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia PA
  • Delaware County – 310 Amosland Road Holmes PA

Call 610-543-5022 or 1-800-209-2914 to schedule your FREE tax appointment today!


PATHWAYS PA OFFERS LANGUAGE/CIVICS COURSES

PathWays PA is offering a course meant for those interested in learning and improving their English while also covering:
  • United States History
  • Work Skills
  • Citizenship Process
  • Employment
  • Math
  • Reading

WHEN: Mondays & Wednesdays - 9:30 - 12:00 OR Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:00 - 7:30
WHERE: Darby Borough Hall, 821 Summit Street, Darby PA

For more information about the class, please contact Kelly Binder at 610-543-5022 X 227 or kbinder@pathwayspa.org.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PathWays PA Special E-Alert: Vote on Abortion Ban in PA Public Health Exchanges Happening Today

Pennsylvania State CapitolAt 12:30 today, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will hold a vote on SB3, a bill which will ban abortion coverage in the exchanges set up as part of healthcare reform. Please call members of the Banking and Insurance Committee this morning and ask them to vote no on SB 3. Without abortion coverage, more women will lose access to safe, legal abortions.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the ability to decide whether to offer abortion coverage through their state health insurance exchanges, a marketplace for people to buy individual and small business insurance coverage at competitive rates. SB 3 would ban abortion coverage in the exchanges except in cases of rape or incest (in which case the woman must report the crime to the police and identify the assailant, if known) or when the life of a woman is in danger. There is no exception for situations such as paralysis, organ failure or infertility.


If a state chooses to allow abortion coverage, women must purchase the coverage separately and pay for it out of their own pocket - there is no federal funding for this insurance. By banning coverage for abortion in the exchanges, women are denied access to a safe and legal service which they might need. For low-income women, banning access essentially denies them the ability to receive a safe, legal abortion.

Taking away insurance coverage does not reduce the number of abortions - but it does create additional barriers to abortion and moves the procedure into a marginalized system away from medical and insurance oversight. Many women need abortion services when a wanted pregnancy goes horribly wrong - banning access to coverage in the exchanges would prevent them from receiving medically needed services.

Please call members of the Banking and Insurance Committee this morning and ask them to vote no on SB 3.

Thank you to Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and Raising Women's Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania for providing important information used in this alert.

Monday, January 24, 2011

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 24, 2011

Special Event

ANNUAL TAX SEASON KICK OFF AND EITC AWARENESS DAY

A consortium of agencies, educational, and financial institutions dedicated to promoting financial literacy in Delaware County, including PathWays PA, are hosting an event to kick off their work this tax season.

WHEN: Friday January 28 at 1:30
WHERE: Chester Housing Authority Booker T. Washington Community Center, 611 Central Ave, Chester PA

This tax season volunteers will file federal and state income tax returns helping low wage workers access the Earned Income Tax Credit of up to $5,666, making it one of the largest anti-poverty tools in the United States.

Please RSVP by Tuesday, January 25th at www.delcoadkickoff.eventbrite.com or calling Georgia Julius at 610-543-5022.


Federal Policy Update

CONTACT YOUR SENATORS TODAY TO SUPPORT HEALTH CARE REFORM

Last week the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act despite the many benefits people are and will see as a result of the bill. Many have spoken out against repealing this law and we must continue to as a vote on repeal may now be taken in the Senate.

Your Senators need to hear from you. Urge them to stand strong and focus on building better care.

When contacting your Senators remember that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would:
  • take away the protections that will make it easier for women to find comprehensive health insurance that covers maternity and mental health care by requiring all plans sold to individuals and small employers to cover these essential health benefits.
  • give insurance companies the green light to continue charging higher rates to women and denying coverage if they have had breast or cervical cancer, a Caesarean section delivery or received medical treatment for domestic violence.
  • reinstate co-pays and deductibles for preventative care women need like mammograms and pap smears.
  • increase premiums and charges for prescription drugs.
  • ban parents from covering their kids up to age 26.
  • add nearly $2,000 more annually to each family's insurance premiums.
  •  take away the tax credits to 179,000 small businesses in Pennsylvania that would help them cover employees.
  • cause taxpayers to lose the $143 billion savings on medical spending over the next decade projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Urge your Senators to prioritize better care — rather than trying to unravel reform — so we can finally ensure that all Americans get the high-quality, affordable, well-coordinated health care they need and deserve.


State Policy Update


THIS WEEK IN HARRISBURG

Last week Harrisburg saw a flurry of activities, with Inaugural events kicking off on Monday, January 17. Harrisburg Inaugural festivities for Governor Tom Corbett and Lt. Governor Jim Cawley began with a Family Program at Harrisburg’s Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, showcasing the Commonwealth’s performing arts. The festivities wrapped up with the Inaugural Ball held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center on Tuesday, January 18. Members of both the House and the Senate resumed their duties in the Legislature on Wednesday, January 19.

The Swearing-In Ceremony was held at 11:30 am on the steps of the East Wing of the Capitol Complex, and hundreds were present to witness Tom Corbett’s Inauguration as Pennsylvania’s 46th governor. He is set to give his 2011-12 budget speech in the beginning of March. Governor Corbett did outline priorities such as is interest in changing the way education is provided, including pushing for tuition vouchers for students in public school districts that perform poorly.

Information/Events

HEALTH CARE REFORM: ARE WE READY?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) aspires to
  • increase access,
  • lower cost, and
  • improve quality.

Health care delivery system reform is an important component to achieve these objectives. Come Learn how Bucks County health care providers are preparing for the implementation of these reforms on with a presentation and question and answer being held by the League of Women Voters of Bucks County.

WHEN: February 9 from 9:15 AM - 11:30 AM
WHERE: Pearl Buck Room at the Doylestown Library - 150 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, PA

Panelists include:
  • Dennis Walsh, President, BCPHA - BCPHA (The Bucks County Physician Hospital Alliance) is a partnership between the nearly 400 physician members of the Doylestown Independent Practice Association and Doylestown Hospital. Under PPACA, its mission will be to contract for and provide coordinated care in the Doylestown service area with accountability for cost and quality.
  • Ken Coburn, President, HQP - HQP (Health Quality Partners) has been in the Medicare Coordinated Care Demonstration Project for over 8 years and is the only program of the original fifteen nationwide models tested in the Medicare Coordinated Care Demonstration that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is continuing to support and evaluate.
  • Peggy Dator, Executive Director Ann Silverman Community Health Clinic and President, Free Clinic Asso. of Pennsylvania. Ann Silverman Community Health Clinic has provided free health care for uninsured residents of the central Bucks County area for 15 years.

If you have any questions about the event please contact twstclaire@verizon.net.

TEEN DATING VIOLENCE: A TRAINING FOR PROFESSIONALS WORKING WITH TEENS

Do you work with teens? Do you want to learn more about Teen Dating Violence?
Then sign up for this informative training brought to you by Women Against Abuse that will explain the dynamics of teen dating violence, and equip you as an advocate.

WHEN: February 4, 2011 from 8:30 AM—12:30 PM
WHERE: Congreso de Latinos Unidos, 2800 American Street, Philadelphia, PA 19133

There is a registration fee of $20 which covers training materials, certificate, and continental breakfast.
Please register by January 28th, 2011 by contacting Sarah Johannsen at 215.386.1280 x 148 or sjohannsen@womenagainstabuse.org.

GRINNELL COLLEGE YOUNG INNOVATOR FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIZE

Grinnell College has announced a new program called the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize. Three $100,000 awards will be given, each to be split in half, with an organization related to the winner or doing similar work. Nominees can be persons anywhere in the world under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.

Please circulate this announcement, or nominate somebody that you think is deserving.  The nomination form is on-line and fairly brief. More information and the nomination process can be found here: http://www.grinnell.edu/offices/chaplain/socialjusticeprize

SAVE THE DATE: WHAT ABOUT THE FATHERS?

Overall, most children benefit from a relationship with their father. “What About the Fathers?” training is being offered to update participants on current fatherhood research and discuss innovative and practical strategies to engage nonresident fathers with their children. In addition, participants will hear from a panel of fathers and their path in developing a relationship with their child(ren). You don’t want to miss this exciting training opportunity!

WHEN: February 23, 2011 – 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
WHERE: Temple University Philadelphia, PA
Registration Fee: $30

For more information or ifyou have any questions contact team@temple.edu. CECs for social workers will be offered for this course.

Special PathWays PA Information/Events

FINANCIAL PATH$

Financial Path$, a new program from PathWays PA, helps individuals and families build paths toward economic self-sufficiency through financial education, asset building and economic empowerment. This program provides one-on-one financial counseling and financial education workshops. Financial Path$ is committed to assisting everyone carve their path to self-sufficiency.

If you or your clients would be interested in learning more about this program please contact wrahemtulla@pathwayspa.org.

For more information become Financial Path$ friend on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Stay turned as we will also be launching a blog very soon!

FREE TAX PREPARATION

PathWays PA offers FREE certified tax preparation at our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Free tax preparation is for taxpayers with an annual gross household income less than $50,000.

Keep your full refund and save your money:
  • No tax preparation fees
  • No E-filing Fees
  • No check cashing fees
  • Open a no-fee savings or prepaid debit card account
  • Purchase a risk free US Saving Bond
  • Find out it you’re eligible for SNAP (food stamps)

Taxpayers must being all necessary identification and required tax statement for taxpayer, spouse, and dependents.

Locations:
  • Philadelphia County – 3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia PA
  • Delaware County – 310 Amosland Road Holmes PA

Call 610-543-5022 or 1-800-209-2914 to schedule your FREE tax appointment today!


PATHWAYS PA OFFERS LANGUAGE/CIVICS COURSES

PathWays PA is offering a course meant for those interested in learning and improving their English while also covering:
  • United States History
  • Work Skills
  • Citizenship Process
  • Employment
  • Math
  • Reading

WHEN: Mondays & Wednesdays - 9:30 - 12:00 OR Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:00 - 7:30
WHERE: Darby Borough Hall, 821 Summit Street, Darby PA

For more information about the class, please contact Kelly Binder at 610-543-5022 X 227 or kbinder@pathwayspa.org.



Images courtesy of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PAState_Capitol_Back_a_Bit.JP;  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Putting the Act into Action - Fourth Webinar "What You Need to Know About Summer Food"

Tomatoes plain and sliced“What You Need to Know About Summer Food”
Thursday, January 27, 2011
1 – 2 p.m. EST

In this webinar, speakers will discuss the improvements that have been made to Summer Food through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Speakers also will explore how the changes can be used to help increase the number of children served and the number of programs participating.

The webinar is being co-sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, the National Recreation and Park Association, National Summer Learning Association, and the YMCA of the USA.

About "CNR: Putting the Act into Action"
FRAC is hosting a series of Webinars that will examine the provisions of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act that the President recently signed and steps to make the provisions of the Act a success. Click here to see and hear the previous Webinars in our series.

This Week in Harrisburg

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania State Capital BuildingLast week Harrisburg saw a flurry of activities, with Inaugural events kicking off on Monday, January 17. Harrisburg Inaugural festivities for Governor Tom Corbett and Lt. Governor Jim Cawley began with a Family Program at Harrisburg’s Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, showcasing the Commonwealth’s performing arts. The festivities wrapped up with the Inaugural Ball held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center on Tuesday, January 18. Members of both the House and the Senate resumed their duties in the Legislature on Wednesday, January 19.

The Swearing-In Ceremony was held at 11:30 am on the steps of the East Wing of the Capitol Complex, and hundreds were present to witness Tom Corbett’s Inauguration as Pennsylvania’s 46th governor. Also present were three former Republican governors, Dick Thornburgh, Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker, and Democrat Ed Rendell. Governor Corbett’s 15-minute speech was general in nature and didn’t touch much on his priorities as governor. He is set to give his 2011-12 budget speech in the beginning of March. Governor Corbett did outline priorities such as is interest in changing the way education is provided, including pushing for tuition vouchers for students in public school districts that perform poorly. A few more priorities were outlined by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who was sworn into office an hour earlier. Cawley said, “Make no mistake – jobs are our No. 1 priority. We will send a message that Pennsylvania is open for business.” He mentioned the huge potential for job creation in areas of the Commonwealth which contains large amounts of Marcellus Shale, holding natural gas. Around 150 protestors staged demonstrations a couple hundred feet from the Corbett swearing-in ceremony, calling for a moratorium on natural gas drilling, and increased protection of water supplies from chemicals associated with drilling into shale.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

DelCoAD Launches Free Tax Service Throughout County


Delaware County, PA – At a time when many working families and individuals are struggling to pay their bills, there is a strong need for effective strategies to help these families meet their financial goals. While many working families are eligible for tax refunds through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits, many are unaware they are eligible for refunds or receive a reduced refund through filing with commercial preparers.

Today, Delaware County Asset Development Group, a member of the National Community Tax Coalition, is proud to announce the launch of free tax preparation services as a celebration of the national EITC Awareness Day on Friday, January 28th 1:30pm at their premiere site, Chester Housing Authority’s Booker T. Washington Community Center, 611 Central Avenue in Chester. DelCoAD, sponsored by Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND) and the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, is a coalition of agencies, educational and financial institutions dedicated to building the financial health and stability of individuals and families in Delaware County.

Through the IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, volunteers electronically file federal and state tax returns, helping low wage workers access the Earned Income Tax Credit of up to $5,666, making it one of the largest and most effective anti-poverty tools in the United States.

“This wonderful opportunity will enable DelCoAD partner organizations to spread the word about the benefits of free tax preparation,” said Georgia Julius, VITA Coordinator. “We are excited about this celebration as we launch our free tax program in 2011.”

The Philadelphia area is among the nation’s leaders in low-income population. This year, DelCoAD partners, including fiscal sponsor PathWays PA, Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Darby Borough Community Development Corporation, Delaware County Family Centers and Chester Housing Authority will provide free tax preparation and other financial services at nine sites in Chester and the surrounding county. PathWays PA also runs a mobile tax preparation service, organizing temporary sites at places of employment and other centralized locations throughout Delaware County. The combined efforts of DelCoAD partner organizations will reach over 2,000 low-income working families to build economic security in our most vulnerable communities.

Those wishing to attend should RSVP online or by calling Georgia Julius at 610-543-5022. You can see a comprehensive list of sites and hours at www.delcoad.org.
# # #
About DelCoAD:
DelCoAD, founded in 2002, is a coalition of agencies, educational, and financial institutions dedicated to building the financial health and stability of individuals and families in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Partners provide free income tax preparation as a component of a year-round campaign, linking individuals and families to asset-building resources.

Each year, DelCoAD has increased the scope of our VITA program, bringing in new partners and locations to expand VITA reach and help EITC-eligible filers access their full tax refunds. This past filing season, our partners prepared more than1,800 tax returns, returning 2.7 million in federal refunds to the individuals and families most in need. Additional information can be found at www.delcoad.org.

About PathWays PA: PathWays PA, founded in 1978, has a consistently strong record of outreach and service to low income, underserved populations. Throughout its history, PathWays PA has provided low income populations of Southeastern PA with access to benefits, counseling, job training, and asset building strategies. All of PathWays PA's diverse programs and initiatives are designed to aid low income, underserved, and at-risk populations. We are committed to promoting client self-sufficiency which leads to the fulfillment of our mission: to help women, teens, children and families achieve economic independence and family well-being.

About PHENND: The Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND) is a consortium of 36 colleges and universities in the greater Philadelphia area. PHENND works to build the capacity of its member institutions to develop mutually beneficial, sustained, and democratic community-based service-learning partnerships. The consortium actively seeks to revitalize local communities and schools and foster civic responsibility among the region's colleges and universities.

About UWSEPA: The mission of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania is to improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of donors, volunteers and communities. We are committed to treating entire communities, providing the tools, services, and expertise that can enable those communities to become stronger and more independent.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Map Your Community

Map Your Community” is a mapping interface developed by PolicyMap and provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia that allows users to easily create custom maps for user-defined locations. These custom maps provide a snapshot of current and historical economic and demographic conditions and can be used to conduct data analysis for community development activities. Information is available for many socioeconomic variables, including, but not limited to, poverty levels, census tract income levels, post office vacancies, and educational attainment.

PathWays PA E-Newsletter - January 18, 2010

Federal Policy Update

HELP STOP THE REPEAL OF HEALTH CARE REFORM

Congress has rescheduled the vote to repeal health care reform. It is now scheduled to take place on Wednesday, January 19.

Join PHAN and sign the petition against repeal.

Have a story about how the Affordable Care Act has helped you, your business or family member? Share it today! Email Athena at aford@pahealthaccess.org.

As always, PHAN is continuing education efforts around the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Do you know of a local organization that would like someone to explain what's in the new law and it's impact? PHAN can send staff anywhere in the state for presentations ranging from 20 minutes - 3 hours. Contact Athena for more info.

On Facebook? Sign up for the Cause: Say NO to Repeal! Protect the Affordable Care Act!


UscapitolindaylightURGE YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO ENSURE CHILD CARE FUNDS ARE NOT CUT

The battles over funding for FY 2011 are still not settled. In December, the omnibus bill that included significant increases in child care, Head Start, and funding for an Early Learning Challenge Fund was pulled in the Senate and Congress instead enacted temporary funding measures that expire on March 4, 2011. If Congress does not significantly increase funding levels for child care and Head Start, which are expected to face deep cuts, as many as 300,000 children and their families could lose access to these critical programs.

Please take a moment to call your Representative and Senators and urge them to protect, sustain, and maintain critical funding for early childhood programs.

It's the new year, time is ticking and we must do everything we can to keep the increases that we won in the Economic Recovery Act for child care, Head Start, and Early Head Start.

Below are some talking points put together by the Women of Color Policy Network that you can use during the call:
  • Protect funding for child care, Head Start, and Early Head Start to help us build a smarter, healthier, and stronger America
  • Sustain the $1 billion funding for Head Start/Early Head Start as well as the $1 billion funding for child care during FY 2011, and
  • Maintain these levels into FY 2012.
Families and children are depending on this funding, which is at immediate risk. With your help, we'll make sure decision makers can't ignore these families and children.


State Policy Update

Stethoscope-2HELP SAVE ADULTBASIC

adultBasic is the only affordable health insurance program for adult Pennsylvanians making just a little too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health coverage. 42,000 Pennsylvanians who otherwise would slip through the cracks currently receive health care through adultBasic.

Most of the adultBasic funding comes from the state's Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies, this funding was supposed to come to an end December of 2010 but the program was meant to be extended until June of 2011. Despite the agreement adultBasic is close to running out of money due to a cut in funding from the state Tobacco Settlement and lower-than-expected payment rates from insurance companies who fund the programs.

To continue the adultBasic program, Blue Cross and the new Administration must reach an agreement. The state's Blue Cross plans, which have built up a surplus of over $5.6 billion, have been using some of that surplus to fund adultBasic, a low cost health plan for adult Pennsylvanians.

Please sign this petition to help encourage continued funding for the adultBasic program.

In a Commonwealth where people die every day from lack of health insurance, Pennsylvania cannot afford to add another 42,000 to the ranks of the uninsured.


PENNSYLVANIA LOBBY DAY TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Did you know that human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, and it is a crisis taking place right here in Pennsylvania? It is a horrific crime that drastically impacts women as 80% of transnational human trafficking victims are women and girls.

Please join the Philadelphia Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition as we head to Harrisburg to raise awareness around human trafficking, and build support for important state legislation that would assist victims and help put an end to this brutal crime.

Please RSVP Today!

WHEN: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM (registration starts at 8:30 AM)
PLACE: Room 8 E-A East Wing, Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120

This lobby day will provide an opportunity for us, as constituents, to educate legislators about this serious crime and urge them to take steps to address it. You do not need to be an expert or have lobbying experience to take part in this day. We will provide you everything you need to advocate for this important issue! Please join us in Harrisburg for an exciting day of advocacy to help end human trafficking in Pennsylvania! RSVP Now!

You can find more information here. If you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Foley, WOMEN'S WAY's Director of Education & Advocacy Initiatives.


Information/Events

HELP SUPPORT EARNED SICK TIME IN PHILADELPHIA

Did you know that 41% of workers in Philadelphia are forced to choose between going to work sick, or sending a child to school sick, or losing their pay or possibly their job? The majority of workers without paid sick days are those preparing and serving our food and caring for our children.

Philadelphia's City Council has the opportunity to ensure that all workers in the city have access to earn paid sick days. Please urge your members of City Council to support workers their families and their communities, by supporting the Promoting Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act (Bill No. 080474).

Workers should have the opportunity to earn a minimum amount of paid time. Please take a few moments to write a letter to your members of City Council. For more information visit the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.


HELP CELEBRATE THE 38TH ANNIVERSARY OF ROE VS. WADE

Please join the Raising Women's Voices Coalition, of which PathWays PA is an active member, and Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania as we celebrate the 38th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade!

We will be hosting an outdoor visibility event in Philadelphia to urge our incoming legislators to protect women's continued access to safe and legal abortion!
WHEN: Friday January 21st - 12:00 - 1:00 PM
WHERE: Center City, Philadelphia (exact location TBD)
Please RSVP today!


Special PathWays PA Information/Events

SAVE THE DATE: ANNUAL TAX SEASON KICKOFF AND AWARENESS DAY

A consortium of agencies, educational, and financial institutions dedicated to promoting financial literacy in Delaware County, including PathWays PA, are hosting an event to kick off their work this tax season.

WHEN: Friday January 28 at 1:30
WHERE: Chester Housing Authority Booker T. Washington Community Center, 611 Central Ave, Chester PA

This tax season volunteers will file federal and state income tax returns helping low wage workers access the Earned Income Tax Credit of up to $5,666, making it one of the largest anti-poverty tools in the United States.

Please RSVP online by Tuesday, January 25th or by calling Georgia Julius at 610-543-5022.


FREE TAX PREPARATION

PathWays PA offers FREE certified tax preparation at our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Free tax preparation is for taxpayers with an annual gross household income less than $50,000.

Keep your full refund and save your money:
  • No tax preparation fees
  • No E-filing Fees
  • No check cashing fees
  • Open a no-fee savings or prepaid debit card account
  • Purchase a risk free US Saving Bond
  • Find out it you're eligible for SNAP (food stamps)

Taxpayers must bring all necessary identification and required tax statement for taxpayer, spouse, and dependents.

Locations:
  • Philadelphia County - 3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia PA
  • Delaware County - 310 Amosland Road Holmes PA

Call 610-543-5022 or 1-800-209-2914 to schedule your FREE tax appointment today!


Flag of the United StatesPATHWAYS PA OFFERS ENGLISH LANGUAGE/CIVICS COURSES

PathWays PA is offering a course meant for those interested in learning and improving their English while also covering:
  • United States History
  • Work Skills
  • Citizenship Process
  • Employment
  • Math
  • Reading
WHEN: Mondays & Wednesdays - 9:30 - 12:00 OR Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:00 - 7:30
WHERE: Darby Borough Hall, 821 Summit Street, Darby PA

For more information about the class, please contact Kelly Binder at 610-543-5022 X 227.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Some Ways the Health Care Reform Law Affect You in 2011

Information provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Kaiser Health News

This year a number of policies from the new health care reform law will be implemented. Below is a description of just some of health changes that will go into effect in 2011.

Insurance Rebates and Limitations on Premium Increases: Starting this year, health insurers must spend at least 80 percent of their premiums on medical care, or face the possibility of giving rebates to consumers. Rebates will not be sent to everyone as this new rule does not apply to all plans. The goal is to pressure insurers to restrain profits and administrative costs, such as overhead, marketing and executive salaries.
Another check on insurance companies is that regulators have proposed that beginning July 1 premium increases of 10 percent or more be subject to additional review by states and the federal government. The review would determine if the increase is considered unreasonable. The proposed rule would affect policies sold to individuals and small businesses.

Lower Prescription Costs for Seniors: Prescription drug costs could shrink $700 for a typical Medicare beneficiary in 2011, as the law begins to close the notorious doughnut hole – the gap in prescription coverage when millions of seniors must pay full price at the pharmacy. Starting in January, drug companies will give seniors 50 percent off brand drugs while in the gap, excluding those low-income people who already get subsidies. Generics will also be cheaper.

Healthy Eating: Beginning soon after the Food and Drug Administration finalizes rules in 2011, chain restaurants with 20 or more locations, and owners of 20 or more vending machines, will have to display calorie information on menus, menu boards and drive-thru signs. Restaurants must also provide diners with a brochure that includes detailed nutritional information, like the fat content of their dishes.

Staying Healthy: Several provisions of the law promote prevention of disease, especially for seniors. Medicare enrollees will be able to get many preventive health services – such as vaccinations and cancer screenings – for free starting in January. Specifically, the law eliminates any cost-sharing such as copayments or deductibles for Medicare-covered preventive services that are recommended (rated A or B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force). Also starting in January, Medicare beneficiaries can get a free annual "wellness exam" from their doctors who will set up a "personalized prevention plan" for them. And people working for small employers will get some help. The law authorizes the federal government to issue grants totaling $200 million for companies with fewer than 100 workers that start wellness programs focused on nutrition, smoking cessation, physical fitness and stress management.

Image courtesy of:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Press Release: Nation's First Paid Family Leave Program a Success with Businesses, Employees

A new study released today finds that California's Paid Family Leave program - the first of only two state programs in the country that offer paid leave to workers when they take time off to care for a new child or sick family member - has received high marks from employers and employees alike since its implementation six years ago. The study, by researchers from UCLA/CUNY and the Center for Economic and Policy Research, is the first to examine the California program and finds that initial business concerns over the costs or potential abuse of the program were unfounded, and that the economic, social and health benefits of paid family leave have been extensive. As a national model for how states can adopt work-family policies that meet the needs of 21st century families, the California study offers valuable insights as policymakers in Pennsylvania consider similar proposals.

"California's experience shows that paid family leave is a win-win for employers and employees," said Carol Goertzel of PathWays PA. "Policymakers in Pennsylvania should take note of this study and the great potential of paid family leave policies to bring the workplace into sync with 21st century families."

"Paid Family Leave has been remarkably successful in California since the state first created it six years ago," said co-author Ruth Milkman, professor of Sociology at UCLA and the City University of New York. "It has helped hundreds of thousands of workers - especially in low-wage jobs - balance the costs and challenges of tending to family and work, and it has begun to close the gap in access to paid leave benefits. More men are taking paid parental leave now than five years ago, for example, and Paid Family Leave has doubled the average length of time new mothers are able to breastfeed. Despite the fears of critics when it was first enacted, Paid Family Leave has been well received: the employers and employees we surveyed overwhelmingly give the program high marks, and for those who use it, the result has been better economic, social, and health outcomes."

"Paid Family Leave has disproved opponents' claims that the program would be a 'job killer,'" said co-author Eileen Appelbaum, former Professor and Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University and now a Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "Almost all employers found the program had positive or neutral effects on areas such as productivity, turnover and morale. If anything, the single biggest problem with Paid Family Leave in California is that not enough people know about it. The workers who need the program most - low-wage, immigrant and Latino workers who often lack employer-provided benefits - are the least aware of it. California will not realize the full potential of Paid Family Leave until all residents know it's there to be used. We hope this report shines a light on the great accomplishments of the state's program - and why it needs to further capitalize on its success."

Leaves That Pay: Employer and Worker Experiences with Paid Family Leave in California analyses surveys conducted in 2009-2010 of 253 employers and 500 individuals across the state about their experiences with the California PFL program. The law provides eligible employees up to six weeks of wage replacement at 55 percent of their usual earnings to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member. Funded solely by employees paying into the program, the maximum payment is indexed to the state's average weekly wage and is $987 per week in 2011. According to California's Employment Development Department, in FY 09-10, 167,253 Californians used Paid Family Leave for bonding with new children and 23,220 used it to provide care for seriously ill family members. (More details on the program available at California's Employment Development Department.)

The employers surveyed - spanning a diverse and representative sample of the state's industries and regions - overwhelmingly reported that paid family leave had either a "positive effect" or "no noticeable effect" on productivity (89 percent), profitability/ performance (91 percent), turnover (96 percent), and employee morale (99 percent). Small businesses were less likely than larger establishments (more than 100 employees) to report any negative effects, and the vast majority of employers (91 percent) said "No" when asked if they were aware of any employee abuses of the program.

Many employers (60 percent) also reported that they coordinated the state Paid Family Leave program with benefits they already provided - meaning employers saved money when their employees used Paid Family Leave instead of, or in combination with, the paid leave supports these employers would otherwise have paid for.

The 500 workers surveyed had all experienced a life event that the Paid Family Leave program is designed to cover. About 30 percent of them had what the researchers defined as "high-quality jobs" - those that pay more than $20 per hour and provide health insurance - while the other 70 percent held "low-quality jobs" which failed to meet that standard. These two groups sharply contrasted in regard to access to employer-provided paid sick days and/or paid vacation: nearly all respondents with high-quality jobs (94 percent) had access to such benefits, compared to only 62 percent of those with low-quality jobs.

Consequently, the impact of Paid Family Leave on workers holding low-quality jobs was pronounced: 84 percent of those in low-quality jobs using PFL received at least half of their usual pay while on leave, whereas among those in this group who did not use PFL, 59 percent received no pay at all while on leave.

The study also found that Paid Family Leave contributed to fundamental shifts in work-family dynamics. The proportion of bonding claims filed by men has gone up steadily and substantially since the introduction of PFL, and many employers reported that the number of men taking paid parental leave is higher than it was five years ago.

Paid Family Leave also doubled the median duration of breastfeeding for all new mothers who used it, from five to eleven weeks for mothers in high-quality jobs and from five to nine weeks for those in low-quality jobs.

Despite the general satisfaction participants in the program, "Leaves That Pay" finds that public awareness of Paid Family Leave remains limited. Half the workers interviewed did not know the program existed, despite having had a qualifying circumstance for which to use PFL; low-wage workers, immigrants, and Latinos were least likely to be aware of the program. Among those who were aware of it, concerns over the level of wage replacement, fear of employer consequences for using the program, and the ineligibility of some public-sector workers also limited use of the program.

The authors recommend building on the success of California's Paid Family Leave by expanding outreach, particularly to low-income and immigrant communities; increasing the level of wage replacement provided by the PFL program from its current 55 percent of weekly earnings to two-thirds; and extending job protection to everyone who takes a PFL leave.

As the authors argue, the California program is a model for paid leave programs that is gaining increasing attention in other states and at the federal level.

###

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Challenge of Feeding our Diverse Communities in Delaware County

Join concerned members in our community for a day of learning, networking and exploration of issues related to hunger.

Widener University
University Center, Webb Room
One University Place
Chester, PA 19013
8:30 am - 4:15 pm

Objectives
  • Learn how food insecurity contributes to health disparities across the lifespan
  • Explore how cultural and ethnic differences may affect food security
  • Network with others addressing hunger to find solutions to your clients' greatest needs
  • Learn how to tailor your message to address the needs of your clients
To learn more and to register, please download the brochure for the event. For more information, you can also visit http://delaware.extension.psu.edu or call 610-690-2655.

PathWays PA Job Postings - January 10, 2011

Residential Worker
Part-time and Full-time - need caring and motivated individual to provide support and supervision for Delco group home serving women and children; HS/GED, Associates Degree and experience preferred; driver’s license required. Includes nights and weekends. Fax resumes to: LD/CFF 610-328-2807.

Childcare Worker
Child Learning Center at Delco Group home. Must have knowledge of early childhood development and ability to nurture and promote positive growth in pre-school age children. AA in Early Childhood Ed. Preferred. Salary $12/hour. Fax resume to LD/CFF 610-328-2807.

Cook
Experience in bulk food preparation. The cook/kitchen coordinator shall possess the skills necessary to prepare meals for large groups of people (40-50) and shall have knowledge of nutrition and nutritional meal planning. She/he shall have the ability to understand and follow the USDA mandated guidelines. The cook/kitchen coordinator shall possess the ability to manage food and kitchen supplies. The ideal candidate will have the ability to interact with people and will be flexible and tolerant in dealing with our residents. Prefer GED/HS Diploma. Certification in food handling and preparation required. Please fax resumes to: LD/CFF at 610-328-2807.

Truancy Case Manager
Maturity and ability to handle pressure, flexibility, detail-oriented, good organizational skills, and familiarity working with at-risk families. Provide own transportation and hold flexible hours. Bachelor or preferably Masters Degree in Social Work or related field Valid Driver’s license required. Fax resume to JL/BD 610-543-6483 EOE

Live-in Advisor
Full-time and Part-Time positions available. To provide guidance, direction and supervision to older adolescent teen mothers and teen girls residing in our Supervised Independent Living Program including conducting some life and parenting skill groups. Live in a house with 3 to 4 girls and their children. Must be available during critical hours-5:00 PM to 8:00 AM- can work part-time during off hours. Must be mature and have an understanding of teen parent and teen girl issues and must have knowledge of basic life skills. Rent and utilities paid by agency plus small stipend and scheduled time off. Location: Philadelphia; Fax resumes to LD/SIL at 610-328-2807.

Financial Educator
Innovative program that promotes economic well-being in low-income families seeks a BS/BA level Financial Educator. You must be comfortable with people, computers and TANF system and have the ability to discuss basic financial planning and budgeting. Must be able to work some evenings and Saturday mornings. Independent transportation required to multiple work sites. Bilingual a plus. 4 year degree required - no exceptions - prefer BSW, background in education, understanding of personal finance, or related field. Counseling experience also preferred. One position will be based in Philadelphia and one in Delaware County. Please indicate which location you are interested in. Grant-funded position. Fax resumes to LD/LK/FE at 610-328-2807.

Part-time Income Tax Preparer
Would you like to have a P/T job that can help save people in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area thousands of dollars? Working as a Tax Consultant with PathWays PA’s VITA Program you can prepare taxes for low income individuals helping them receive hundreds of dollars in earned tax credits without incurring any fees.

This is a P/T position requiring hours up to 25 hours of work per week between January and April 2011. Applicants for this position should have an Associate or Bachelor’s degree, relevant tax experience, knowledge of and sensitivity to issues concerning low income individuals, and the ability to pass the IRS VITA exam at the basic intermediate & advanced levels. As a tax consultant you will also serve as a resource for other preparers. Tax preparers are needed for sites in Philadelphia, Delaware County, and some travel to Bucks County and Pottstown may be requested at a higher hourly rate. Your own reliable transportation is also required. Interested parties should submit a resume by fax at (610) 328-2807, attn: LD/LK

Fund Development and Communications Coordinator
PathWays PA, a non-profit Social Services agency seeks a Fund Development and Communications professional sought by PathWays PA to work with a small team of dedicated professionals to manage special events, donor procurement and relations, and communications. Ideal position for a mature professional who is seeking a long-term secure position with a well-regarded non-profit. Public speaking experience and excellent writing skills are mandatory. Flexible hours are fine and there are occasional speaking engagements/events on weekends and evenings, but this is an office-based position based in Ridley Township so work from home will not be possible. Please respond in confidence with resume, cover letter and two press releases developed by you. Also we request that you provide salary requirements that reflect the reality of working in a non-profit environment during a protracted economic downturn. Please fax resumes to: LD/DEVELOP at 610-328-2807

PathWays PA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 10, 2011

Federal Policy Update

SPECIAL NOTE 

Our thoughts and condolences go out to all who were injured and to the families of those that were killed in Tucson at an event held by Representative Gabrielle Giffords. It was an unspeakable tragedy. We look forward to the recovery of Representative Giffords and all those injured on Saturday.
Due to this tragedy, scheduled votes at the federal level have been postponed. We will keep you updated on any federal events or action alerts on our Policy Blog.

State Policy Update

GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS BACK IN SESSION Pennsylvania State Capitol House Chamber

Pennsylvania’s legislators returned to Harrisburg on Tuesday, January 4 for swearing-in day and to kick off day one of the 2011-2012 legislative session.
  • In the Senate, 25 members elected this fall, including three new Democrats, were sworn in. Senator Joe Scarnati (R – Jefferson) was voted in for a third term as president pro tempore.
  • In the House, 21 Republican and eight Democratic freshmen took office while Republican Sam Smith, who held the position of minority leader last session, was unanimously elected Speaker of the House.
  • Governor-elect Tom Corbett will take office on January 18.
Last Tuesday consisted of various activities and receptions throughout the Capitol complex. Speaker Sam Smith advised new members to “keep your feet on the ground and be mindful of why you wanted to be here and why the voters elected you.” The new House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, said he hoped both parties would seek “common ground” to restore fiscal stability and be more responsible about how taxpayer money is spent.

The only piece of business conducted during the day in the House was the passage of House Resolution 1, which made internal rule changes spelling out the mandate not to engage in campaign work on legislative time.


PENNSYLVANIA LOBBY DAY TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Did you know that human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, and it is a crisis taking place right here in Pennsylvania? It is a horrific crime that drastically impacts women as 80% of transnational human trafficking victims are women and girls.

Please join the Philadelphia Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition as we head to Harrisburg to raise awareness around human trafficking, and build support for important state legislation that would assist victims and help put an end to this brutal crime.


WHEN: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM (registration starts at 8:30 AM)
WHERE: Room 8 E-A East Wing, Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120

This lobby day will provide an opportunity for us, as constituents, to educate legislators about this serious crime and urge them to take steps to address it. You do not need to be an expert or have lobbying experience to take part in this day. We will provide you everything you need to advocate for this important issue! Please join us in Harrisburg for an exciting day of advocacy to help end human trafficking in Pennsylvania! RSVP Now!

You can find more information here. If you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Foley, WOMEN'S WAY's Director of Education & Advocacy Initiatives.


Information/Events

COMMIT TO ADVOCACY IN THE NEW YEAR! Summerfest 2008 fireworks 7109

Please take a look at the ideas below to help inspire yourself to commit to advocacy in the New Year (and thanks to the National Coalition for Literacy's 11 Ways to Recommit to Advocacy, which inspired this article!)
  1. Remember what inspires you: 2010 was a hard year for many advocates, especially as we dealt with budget deficits, program cuts, and increased waiting lists for those in need. 2011 promises more challenges with new legislators coming into office and new budget cuts looming, but it can also be an opportunity. Take a moment to remember why advocacy is important to you, whether it is a sense of justice, a personal story, or a client's success, and share that story with legislators and with friends. And if 2011 starts getting you down, continue remembering these stories and the people that you care about in your advocacy.
  2. Commit to responding to 5 alerts this year: We stole this right from the National Coalition, and with good reason - it is a great idea. Many alerts take just a minute to respond to, but your response could make a real difference with a legislator, especially if you add a personal note. If you are looking for alerts to sign up for, PathWays PA has an Action Center you should check out. You can find others by googling the advocacy issues you care about.
  3. Share important stories with friends, families, and colleagues: Social media has made it easier than ever to share information. Many websites allow you to share stories directly through Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Take the time to let your friends and family know what is important to you.
  4. Learn about a new issue: When advocating, it is important to know how your issue interacts with other topics and needs. This year, commit to learning about a new issue and taking action on it. Looking for ideas? You can read our posts on earned sick days, education, health care, and Industry Partnerships.

SAVE THE DATE: PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTIONS FOR CHILD HUNGER -A CONVERSATION WITH USDA UNDER SECRETARY CONCANNON AND LOCAL LEADERS

Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, will be speaking along with a panel of local experts at Drexel University.

WHEN: January 18th at 1:00 pm
WHERE: Mitchell Auditorium in the Bossone Research Enterprise Center (Market Street between 31st and 32nd Streets)

The Under Secretary will be discussing the public health implications of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization, as well as what Philadelphia can do right away to implement the new law. The session will be followed by a reception.

HELP CELEBRATE THE 38TH ANNIVERSARY OF ROE V. WADE

Please join the Raising Women's Voices Coalition, of which PathWays PA is an active member, and Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania as we celebrate the 38th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade!
We will be hosting an outdoor visibility event in Philadelphia to urge our incoming legislators to protect women's continued access to safe and legal abortion!

WHEN: Friday January 21st - 12:00 - 1:00 PM
WHERE: Center City, Philadelphia (exact location TBD)

Please RSVP here: http://www.ppaction.org/site/Calendar?id=100314&view=Detail.

GRANT OPPORTUNITY FROM BREAD & ROSES

The Lax Scholarship Fund was established in 1994 by the late entrepreneur and inventor Jonathan R. Lax for the purpose of encouraging out gay men to be active leaders in their communities and to obtain higher education.

The Lax Scholarship for Gay Men is open to out gay men who are from the Philadelphia area or who attend school here. The deadline is right around the corner, on Tuesday, January 18th.

If you or someone you know qualifies for this scholarship, click here for more information or to begin an application.

Lax Scholarships are intended for tuition and can be awarded in amounts up to $20,000. This scholarship is available to both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in accredited programs of higher education. Since its inception, the scholarship fund has awarded more than $600,000 to students in the five-county greater Philadelphia region.

Bread & Roses Community Fund administers this scholarship fund as a part of our larger mission for social justice in the Delaware Valley.

For more information about the Lax Scholarship visit the website or email lax@breadrosesfund.org or call (215) 731-1107 x 204.

8TH ANNUAL WOMEN & INFLUENCE CONFERENCE: COMMUNITY VOICES: TAKING ACTION FOR WOMEN & GIRLS 

Women & Influence is a FREE conference that allows women to come together to focus and voice their opinions on issues of importance to women, girls, and their families in our region.

This year's conference, Community Voices: Taking Action for Women and Girls, will provide the tools, skills, knowledge, and resources to enable individuals and nonprofits to participate in and lead grassroots advocacy efforts to create meaningful, positive change in our communities. By educating ourselves to enhance our community outreach work, together we become a stronger voice for women. Kate Scully of PathWays PA will presenting be information on how to non-profits can use social media.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

WHEN: Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
WHERE: Moore College of Art & Design, 20th Street and the Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103



Conference attendees must register by Thursday, February 3, 2011 for one morning workshop and one afternoon workshop.

Special PathWays PA Information/Events

PATHWAYS PA HONORED BY FORMER CONGRESSMAN JOE SESTAK

This week, Congressman Joe Sestak presented a proclamation to PathWays PA on behalf of the work they have done for the past 32 years. The outgoing Congressman took the time to come to the PathWays PA office in Holmes to personally give the proclamation to Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA, and other PathWays PA staff. The text of the proclamation can be viewed by visiting our Policy Blog.


SAVE THE DATE: ANNUAL TAX SEASON KICK OFF AND EITC AWARENESS DAY

A consortium of agencies, educational, and financial institutions dedicated to promoting financial literacy in Delaware County, including PathWays PA, are hosting an event to kick off their work this tax season.

WHEN: Friday January 28 at 1:30
WHERE: Chester Housing Authority Booker T. Washington Community Center, 611 Central Ave, Chester PA

This tax season volunteers will file federal and state income tax returns helping low wage workers access the Earned Income Tax Credit of up to $5,666, making it one of the largest anti-poverty tools in the United States.

Please RSVP by Tuesday, January 25th at www.delcoadkickoff.eventbrite.com or calling Georgia Julius at 610-543-5022.


FREE TAX PREPARATION

PathWays PA offers FREE certified tax preparation at our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Free tax preparation is for taxpayers with an annual gross household income less than $50,000.

Keep your full refund and save your money:
  • No tax preparation fees
  • No E-filing Fees
  • No check cashing fees
  • Open a no-fee savings or prepaid debit card account
  • Purchase a risk free US Saving Bond
  • Find out it you’re eligible for SNAP (food stamps)

Taxpayers must being all necessary identification and required tax statement for taxpayer, spouse, and dependents.

Locations:
  • Philadelphia County – 3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia PA
  • Delaware County – 310 Amosland Road Holmes PA

Call 610-543-5022 or 1-800-209-2914 to schedule your FREE tax appointment today!


PATHWAYS PA OFFERS LANGUAGE/CIVICS COURSES

PathWays PA is offering a course meant for those interested in learning and improving their English while also covering:
  • United States History
  • Work Skills
  • Citizenship Process
  • Employment
  • Math
  • Reading

WHEN: Mondays & Wednesdays - 9:30 - 12:00 OR Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:00 - 7:30
WHERE: Darby Borough Hall, 821 Summit Street, Darby PA

For more information about the class, please contact Kelly Binder at 610-543-5022 X 227 or kbinder@pathwayspa.org.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Congressman Sestak Presents Proclamation to PathWays PA

This week, Congressman Joe Sestak presented a proclamation to PathWays PA on behalf of the work they have done for the past 32 years.  The outgoing Congressman took the time to come to the PathWays PA office in Holmes to personally give the proclamation to Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA, and other PathWays PA staff.  The text of the proclamation is below.


In Recognition of Pathways PA for 32 Years of Service in the Greater Philadelphia Area
Hon. Joe Sestak
OF PENNSYLVANIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
December 7, 2010

Madam Speaker,
I rise to honor Pathways PA which this year celebrates 32 years of service to low-income women, children and families in the Greater Philadelphia area by helping them achieve economic independence and wellbeing. In these times of extraordinary economic hardship, this organization had stood tall to better equip disadvantaged families with the skills and tools needed to succeed in the workplace and create a safe and secure home.

This dedicated group also offers job skills program wherein participants receive career counseling, computer and job training, and job placement services. For those transitioning from temporary assistance programs to the workforce, Pathways PA’s EARN Center offers free services and incentives to prospective employers and employees. In addition to offering General Adult Education and Adult GED classes, Pathways PA is also a founding member of Families That Work, an organization that offers adult literacy classes.

In addition to offering support and services, Pathways PA also publishes reports on issues important to Pennsylvanians such as Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania, Ready to Compete? Pennsylvania's Community Colleges, and Elder Economic Security Initiative for Pennsylvania. These reports help raise awareness about issues that are imperative to the well-being and success of working families throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.

This superbly led organization provides invaluable services to more than 6,000 displaced and disadvantaged families in Southeastern Pennsylvania every year. They provide a prescription drug discount program, which offers discounts of up to 85%, to help people who don’t have prescription drug coverage or who take prescription drugs not covered by their insurer.

The work that Pathways PA has dedicated 32 years to is absolutely vital and ensures that all Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to become self-sufficient. I speak for all residents of the Seventh Congressional District of Pennsylvania in thanking Carol Goertzel, President and CEO, and the remarkable staff of Pathways PA for their unyielding and compassionate dedication to helping working families in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Joe Sestak
Member of Congress