2557 N. 5th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19133
Siria Rivera, Executive Director
Providence Center was founded in 1993 to serve the Fair Hill neighborhood, a densely populated, mostly Hispanic neighborhood in Kensington. Today, Providence Center provides outreach programs to both students and adults needing a sense of peace; programs helping with academic and language skills while at the same time focusing on social and emotional needs; and leadership for “Friends of Fair Hill Square,” a neighborhood group devoted to reducing drug traffic and violence in the park by keeping it clean, safe, and filled with positive activities. Staff and eight teen leaders work in an after school program with 40 elementary school children, and there are programs in two elementary schools for parents. The afterschool program provides students with homework help as well as “social and emotional learning” to enable the children to better cope with a violent neighborhood and (often) unstable home lives. The program seeks to work closely with individual students, providing them with empathic mentors, and the capacity to solve problems non-violently. Academic success is stressed in an attempt to reduce the 50% school dropout rate among Latino students in Philadelphia. One student reported that the only safe place he knew was Providence Center’s afterschool program. ESL classes also are provided for adults: four levels of English, each with morning and evening classes offered. The ESL classes provide a connection to the community, and offer support and encouragement to those in the classes as well as language skills.