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Growing Together

Grantee Information

Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-1600 (Phone)
(215) 573-2799 (Fax)

The University of Pennsylvania is a major research university located in West Philadelphia, a predominately low-income, African-American community. The project draws upon the University's significant infrastructure devoted to organizing educational partnerships with schools and community organizations. Penn's Netter Center has organized partnerships with the West Philadelphia community and the School District of Philadelphia since 1992.

Grant Project Information

Growing Together: University Community School Partnerships and Community Food Systems as a Context for Youth Empowerment
Danny Gerber
(215) 898-1600


Growing Together: University Community School Partnerships and Community Food Systems as a Context for Youth Empowerment will directly involve 150 student interns from West Philadelphia High School in a variety of after-school and summer activities. West Philadelphia is home to some of the largest and most prestigious hospitals and research institutions, yet few residents are prepared to take advantage of the many skilled jobs. Only 19 percent of residents who are 25 and older have a high school diploma, 4 percent hold a bachelor's degree, 80 percent score below basic in math and 68 percent score below basic in reading. A high percentage of residents are also unemployed. These circumstances have led to many health-related problems, including lack of health insurance and disproportionate rates of obesity. Violence also continues to be a problem, with a large percentage of homicide and gunshot victims in the target population. The project will create an after-school and summer internship program at West Philadelphia public high schools focused on improving individual health and community food systems, mobilize substantial Penn resources through Penn's Netter Center and its UNI program to provide curriculum and implementation resources for effective peer, family and community outreach program as well as academic, financial literacy and life skills supports, have positive, measurable impacts on academic achievement, school activity participation, graduation rates, postsecondary achievement, participation in postsecondary achievement, community development and overall reduction of risky behaviors. It will have positive, measureable impacts on both the interns and community members who participate in the programs. Strategies, practices and interventions include nutrition education, including peer and community outreach to high school students, parents, and community residents that incorporates hands-on shopping, healthy cooking and label-reading lessons. It will improve food access, including organizing a school garden and a community farmers markets and improve opportunities for exercise, including organizing family fitness nights at the high school and additional activities for high school youth. It will include community food systems organizing, including working with neighborhood business to introduce health foods. These activities will develop positive academic and health outcomes of the interns as well as seek to improve overall community health status, including families, the schools and the neighborhood. Performance measures include increase percentage of interns demonstrating competency in leading educational workshops, increased student participation and attendance at school, and increased knowledge among youth about how to access integrated health services at schools. There will be important qualitative evaluation components examining the process as well as their impact of the project. However, the emphasis of the evaluation will be on quantitative techniques, including comparisons with similar groups of non-participants. The formative evaluation will assess ongoing project activities and have both implementation and progress evaluation components.

OMH objective(s) toward which the project's results most contribute:

  • Increased awareness, education, & outreach to address racial/ethnic minority health & health disparities problems

Content Last Modified: 4/26/2011 3:35:00 PM
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