Clap Along if You Love ASB-Philadelphia 2014!
This morning, we here at Team Philly treated ourselves to a lazy morning breakfast of pancakes and eggs before venturing into what our friends at Overbrook called “Central City”, or downtown Philadelphia. This final day to play tourist has been a special treat to look forward to all week, and it had finally arrived. We began by following the Mural Mile, an impressive collection of gorgeous murals sprawled on brick buildings across the city. Each one was stunning in size, color, and unique aspect of city life that it captured. Our self-guided tour ended with a debate over where to try our first authentic cheesesteaks. With lunch decided and another item checked off our list, we hustled over 40 blocks back across the city to the Eastern State Penitentiary. There, our fabulous guide Ben lead us through the eerie abandoned prison blocks that once housed famous criminals like Al Capone. Lucky for us, Ben had worked prior in education and specifically at Overbrook! It was an insightful reminder to see just how many community members continue to be affected by the current state of public education in Philadelphia.
After an essential pre-dinner run to Insomnia Cookies, we met Mr. Naas and Mr. Demetrius for dinner at Marathon, a restaurant close to the center square. As we ate together for the last time in Philadelphia, I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate I am to have shared this experience with this specific group of individuals. Maybe it’s all the communal living, but when “Happy” by Pharrell came on over the speakers in the restaurant we all simultaneously began clapping along, much to the amusement or perhaps disturbance of fellow diners. How appropriate for that song to become our anthem for the week. Overbrook High School showed me some truly frightening things and revealed some unbelievable stories of hardship, yet here I was reflecting happily on the week. In all that we do, it’s important to remember why we do it. Do we do it to make us happy? Or to make others happy? In service, the answer should most certainly encompass both. The things we encounter as teachers, social workers, counselors, and overall active citizens won’t always be pretty. But we can chose to end our days happy by rejoicing in the tiny victories each day brings, and relishing in the company of good people. So long, Philadelphia!
-Tracy & Lauren