I can't remember when I first became aware of the organization PhilaSoup. Probably through one of my colleagues and friends from my short time at Germantown High School. Her former roommate is now heavily involved as the vice president of the organization. Regardless, I wanted to highlight them as a thriving organization that centers on improving education in Philadelphia in a unique but simple way. Although I am not a member myself, I have attended one of their events and was extremely impressed and left with all around good vibes about Philly, education, and the work that is being done across the city.
For those of you unfamiliar, their mission according to their website is as follows:
Mission: To bring together diverse sectors of the Philadelphia education community as the convener of innovative ideas and mutual support, ultimately enhancing the learning experiences of our students.
Vision: To create a positive professional environment that values and convenes educators from diverse backgrounds, and brings creative and exciting ideas to life in classrooms across the city.
This mission and vision are achieved through monthly dinners that happen all over the city. Wherever help is needed. Schools, teachers, or students can apply online to PhilaSoup with a kind of "grant proposal." Any way that a school needs funds is a reason to apply. It might be a student or teacher project, a student who wants to attend a conference, or renovating part of a building. Pretty much anything. The proposals are considered and a dinner is held. The PhilaSoup team advertises said dinner through social media, word of mouth, and I'm sure many other ways I am unaware of!
The dinner is simple. SOUP!...well and bread, drinks and some dessert too. All donated from what I understand. When I went to the Soup event at Penn Treaty Middle School, I heard inspiring and forward thinking proposals coming out of the mouths of high school students. Each presents their proposed idea for how they would use the money. The money they are vying for comes from the $10 attendees pay to get in (which you can pay online before arriving). Half of this entrance fee becomes the "microgrant" for the dinner. Those in attendance then choose the project they would like to see funded. When I attended, the funds raised were enough to fund all of the proposed projects! There is a raffle, maybe some entertainment. An all around positive, productive, and inspiring way to spend an afternoon or evening.
Even if you do not have time to get involved in the organization itself, attending a PhilaSoup dinner is an excellent way to network with other teachers, support schools in need, and eat some delicious food! And the organization makes it so easy to attend. Just pay online and show up! I promise you will be left with a satisfied stomach and spirit! :)