Philly awards grants to Kensington groups tackling opioid crisis

Ramon Cruz, who has lived in Kensington “since the day I was born” and has seen it “at its best, at its worst, and now through its struggle,” said serving on the committee has been a gratifying experience.

“This grant is giving hope and opportunity to the many lifelong residents of Kensington,” he said. “The fund is a great start in the process to revitalize Kensington. We need to understand that recovery is a process, not an event, and we will recover one day at a time.”

The grants target six priorities: public safety and gun violence, youth development, workforce development and training, beautification and blight removal, connecting residents to resources, and community trauma.

The latest round of grantees includes By Faith, Health and Healing, which helps community members heal from the trauma of losing loved ones “to gun violence, addiction, and incarceration,” said founder Brenda Mosley.

The funding will enable her program to continue providing everything from music therapy workshops and nutrition classes to peer specialists focused on mental health and addiction, Mosley said. Her group also plans to open a re-entry program for youth returning from prison this spring.

“I am truly overwhelmed with joy,” she said.

In July, the city awarded its first round of $10,000 grants to 20 grassroots organizations, including the arts-focused nonprofit Taller Puertorriqueño and Kensington Soccer Club, an afterschool sports program focused on youth empowerment.

“These groups provided critical after-school programs for neighborhood children, connected community members with their neighbors, transformed vacant lots into community gardens, helped immigrants become citizens, helped families put food on their tables, enriched residents through the arts, and much more, ” said Damaris Feliciano, Director of Community Relations and Strategic Initiatives for the City of Philadelphia.

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