Organizers Unveil Plans for Community Education and Tennis Center In North Philadelphia

New Althea Gibson Center to Provide

After-School Educational Opportunities for 2,000 Youths Annually



Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Community Education and Tennis Association

    PHILADELPHIA, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials from the Community
 Education and Tennis Association, joined by elected officials, community
 leaders and a host of supporters, gathered in City Hall today to formally
 announce details for the opening of a $2 million tennis and educational
 facility at 1000-1038 Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia.  Construction on
 the Center, which organizers said will be named the Althea Gibson Community
 and Education Tennis Center, will begin next month and is expected to be
 completed in the summer of 2002. Once in operation, the facility is expected
 to provide much-needed after-school educational opportunities and recreational
 outlets for 2,000 youths each year in a community wherein six in 10 young
 people fall below the poverty level.
     The project is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by the Community
 Education and Tennis Association (CETA), a nonprofit group founded by former
 banking executive Bronal Harris, which operated an eight-week, pilot
 educational tennis program for city youth in the early and mid-1990s.  As a
 result of the pilot's overwhelming success, CETA officials, in 1995, undertook
 a mission to expand the program to a year-round format and to move the program
 from its outdoor location in Fairmount Park to an indoor, permanent facility.
      At the news conference, officials unveiled a concept model of the
 permanent, indoor facility, including the Althea Gibson Community Education
 and Tennis Center, a 17,280-square-foot tennis pavilion, complete with two
 tennis courts, a mezzanine level, men's and women's locker rooms and a small
 reception area. The development also includes a detached, 4,155-square-foot
 Education Center to be named "Bebe's Place," in memory of noted Philadelphia
 arts and education advocate Felicity (Bebe) Benoliel.  Bebe's Place will house
 a computer lab classroom and additional classroom space for Center-related
 instructional programming.
     According to Harris, CETA's president, the completed Althea Gibson
 Community Education and Tennis Center will offer youths, ages 8 to 17, an
 innovative mix of skills-building and personal development activities, such
 as:
 
     --  Instruction, self-development and skills enhancement in three main
         programming areas - education, sports and cultural arts
     --  Educational field trips and off-site visits
     --  Instruction in leadership development and community leadership
     --  After-school tutoring
     --  Assigned reading and discussion in a "Book of The Month" club format
     --  Conflict resolution
     --  Proper nutrition counseling
     --  Entrepreneurship/business skills development
     --  Technical skills development (i.e., computer/Internet)
 
      "Our objective is to provide a safe and constructive haven for young
 people who might otherwise have limited options and to build healthy bodies
 and minds among those youngsters who utilize the Althea Gibson Center," said
 Harris.  "This Center has been my dream, and the dream of the many committed
 supporters we've had leading up to this day.  It's gratifying to see the dream
 becoming a reality today."
     Sign-ups for the Center will be obtained through outreach to schools,
 community tenant associations, churches, social service organizations and
 through walk-ins.  The Center will also place a special emphasis on getting
 parents involved with their children in Center activities, Harris added.
     Joining CETA officials for the announcement was Councilman Darrell L.
 Clarke, in whose Fifth Councilmanic District the Center is being erected.
 Clarke commended CETA for its efforts in bringing such a "significant
 community resource" to an area of the City that could benefit greatly from its
 services.
     According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 52 percent of households,
 73.5 percent of children under five years of age, and 65.2 percent of children
 ages 6 to 15 in CETA's service area fall below the Federal poverty level.
     The Althea Gibson Center is situated on land donated to CETA by the City's
 Redevelopment Authority and is within an area (Spring Garden Street to Cecil
 B. Moore Avenue, Sixth Street to Broad Street) designated within the North
 Central Philadelphia Empowerment Zone.  The project's development partner is
 Universal Community Homes, the South Philadelphia-based Community Development
 Corporation formed in 1993 by Kenneth Gamble.  Since its formation, Universal
 Community Homes has renovated more than 120 homes, developed more than 70,000
 square feet of commercial real estate space and managed real estate activities
 valued at more than $300 million to revitalize distressed areas within the
 South Philadelphia community.
     Ernest E. Jones, chairman of CETA's Board of Directors, said the project's
 success to date reflects the depth of commitment of the Board members and the
 broad-based support the project has received from the North Central
 Philadelphia community. "The level of support and counsel provided at the
 Board level has been simply amazing. That, together with the productive input
 we've received from various community and service organizations and the
 generous financial commitments we've received from our public and private
 funders, have been invaluable as we move through our development and
 construction process for the Althea Gibson Center."
     To date, $1.6 million in commitments have been made toward construction of
 the $2 million project, with an additional $550,000 secured for the operating
 budget.  CETA's major financial supporters include First Union ($790,000);
 Samuel S. Fels Foundation ($20,000); Safeguard Scientifics ($270,000); North
 Central Philadelphia Empowerment Zone ($200,000); William Penn Foundation
 ($440,000); Pennsylvania State Department of Community Affairs ($400,000) and
 Peter Benoliel ($50,000).
     For more information on the Althea Gibson Community Education and Tennis
 Center, contact CETA President Bronal Harris at 215-235-7379.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X87036488
 
 

SOURCE Community Education and Tennis Association
    PHILADELPHIA, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials from the Community
 Education and Tennis Association, joined by elected officials, community
 leaders and a host of supporters, gathered in City Hall today to formally
 announce details for the opening of a $2 million tennis and educational
 facility at 1000-1038 Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia.  Construction on
 the Center, which organizers said will be named the Althea Gibson Community
 and Education Tennis Center, will begin next month and is expected to be
 completed in the summer of 2002. Once in operation, the facility is expected
 to provide much-needed after-school educational opportunities and recreational
 outlets for 2,000 youths each year in a community wherein six in 10 young
 people fall below the poverty level.
     The project is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by the Community
 Education and Tennis Association (CETA), a nonprofit group founded by former
 banking executive Bronal Harris, which operated an eight-week, pilot
 educational tennis program for city youth in the early and mid-1990s.  As a
 result of the pilot's overwhelming success, CETA officials, in 1995, undertook
 a mission to expand the program to a year-round format and to move the program
 from its outdoor location in Fairmount Park to an indoor, permanent facility.
      At the news conference, officials unveiled a concept model of the
 permanent, indoor facility, including the Althea Gibson Community Education
 and Tennis Center, a 17,280-square-foot tennis pavilion, complete with two
 tennis courts, a mezzanine level, men's and women's locker rooms and a small
 reception area. The development also includes a detached, 4,155-square-foot
 Education Center to be named "Bebe's Place," in memory of noted Philadelphia
 arts and education advocate Felicity (Bebe) Benoliel.  Bebe's Place will house
 a computer lab classroom and additional classroom space for Center-related
 instructional programming.
     According to Harris, CETA's president, the completed Althea Gibson
 Community Education and Tennis Center will offer youths, ages 8 to 17, an
 innovative mix of skills-building and personal development activities, such
 as:
 
     --  Instruction, self-development and skills enhancement in three main
         programming areas - education, sports and cultural arts
     --  Educational field trips and off-site visits
     --  Instruction in leadership development and community leadership
     --  After-school tutoring
     --  Assigned reading and discussion in a "Book of The Month" club format
     --  Conflict resolution
     --  Proper nutrition counseling
     --  Entrepreneurship/business skills development
     --  Technical skills development (i.e., computer/Internet)
 
      "Our objective is to provide a safe and constructive haven for young
 people who might otherwise have limited options and to build healthy bodies
 and minds among those youngsters who utilize the Althea Gibson Center," said
 Harris.  "This Center has been my dream, and the dream of the many committed
 supporters we've had leading up to this day.  It's gratifying to see the dream
 becoming a reality today."
     Sign-ups for the Center will be obtained through outreach to schools,
 community tenant associations, churches, social service organizations and
 through walk-ins.  The Center will also place a special emphasis on getting
 parents involved with their children in Center activities, Harris added.
     Joining CETA officials for the announcement was Councilman Darrell L.
 Clarke, in whose Fifth Councilmanic District the Center is being erected.
 Clarke commended CETA for its efforts in bringing such a "significant
 community resource" to an area of the City that could benefit greatly from its
 services.
     According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 52 percent of households,
 73.5 percent of children under five years of age, and 65.2 percent of children
 ages 6 to 15 in CETA's service area fall below the Federal poverty level.
     The Althea Gibson Center is situated on land donated to CETA by the City's
 Redevelopment Authority and is within an area (Spring Garden Street to Cecil
 B. Moore Avenue, Sixth Street to Broad Street) designated within the North
 Central Philadelphia Empowerment Zone.  The project's development partner is
 Universal Community Homes, the South Philadelphia-based Community Development
 Corporation formed in 1993 by Kenneth Gamble.  Since its formation, Universal
 Community Homes has renovated more than 120 homes, developed more than 70,000
 square feet of commercial real estate space and managed real estate activities
 valued at more than $300 million to revitalize distressed areas within the
 South Philadelphia community.
     Ernest E. Jones, chairman of CETA's Board of Directors, said the project's
 success to date reflects the depth of commitment of the Board members and the
 broad-based support the project has received from the North Central
 Philadelphia community. "The level of support and counsel provided at the
 Board level has been simply amazing. That, together with the productive input
 we've received from various community and service organizations and the
 generous financial commitments we've received from our public and private
 funders, have been invaluable as we move through our development and
 construction process for the Althea Gibson Center."
     To date, $1.6 million in commitments have been made toward construction of
 the $2 million project, with an additional $550,000 secured for the operating
 budget.  CETA's major financial supporters include First Union ($790,000);
 Samuel S. Fels Foundation ($20,000); Safeguard Scientifics ($270,000); North
 Central Philadelphia Empowerment Zone ($200,000); William Penn Foundation
 ($440,000); Pennsylvania State Department of Community Affairs ($400,000) and
 Peter Benoliel ($50,000).
     For more information on the Althea Gibson Community Education and Tennis
 Center, contact CETA President Bronal Harris at 215-235-7379.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X87036488
 
 SOURCE  Community Education and Tennis Association