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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Joe DeFelice's Written Testimony Before the School Reform Commission

FRIENDS OF MAYFAIR MEMORIAL PLAYGROUND

C/O THE MAYFAIR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

To: The School reform Commission

From: Joseph J. DeFelice, Esq., President Mayfair Civic Association

Re: $80,000 Grant from Kaboom, Inc. to the School District of Philadelphia

Date: Wednesday August 24, 2011 2PM

Thank you for having us today; let us speak briefly on this topic:

1. The Friends of Mayfair Memorial Playground (“the Friends”) was founded in April 2008 for the purpose of rebuilding the Mayfair Memorial Playground (“the Playground”) after it was abruptly removed.

2. The Friends are a branch of the Mayfair Community Development Corporation (“CDC”) of which I am a Board Member and the Mayfair Civic Association (“MCA”) of which I am the President.

3. We have currently raised $23,000 from mostly neighborhood residents via door to door solicitation, our Easter Egg Hunt which brought in over $6,000, two beef n beer fundraisers, our Annual Mayfair Fallen Heroes Run honoring Police and ire that succumbed in the line of duty, and many other efforts.

4. This Playground is necessary to our community because there are no other playgrounds solely for small children (read under the age of 7) in the nearby community nor are there any playgrounds within walking distance that does not require one to cross a four lane highway (specifically Cottman Ave. and Frankford Ave.).

5. Our goal is to build a playground that can be used by all children, including those with special needs. On our Board, we have included Cyndi Hinchey, who runs the Holy STARS program which is a sports and social program dedicated to children with special needs.

6. We have set up our organization to last in perpetuity which seems to be why the last group did not fair well. Our organization has a structure that includes recruiting a minimum of two parents with a newborn to 2 year old child every year so that we may last even after our children are too old to play in that space.

7. We have also set up a system within our board for maintenance as well as securing the playground in off hours.

8. The community and businesses (through the Mayfair Business Association) has truly rallied around our efforts as have our local elected leaders. This project has made our organization tighter and our neighborhood stronger.

9. Therefore, we respectfully ask that you approve this gift and help continue to make Mayfair and our surrounding neighborhoods a great place to live, work and play.

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