Elevating the scope of its commitment to community involvement, the University appointed Ira Harkavy as director of the new Center for Community Partnerships, to be run through the President's office, last week. Ira Harkavy, vice dean of the college and director of the Penn Program for Public Service, was named the director of the center. Harkavy, who has long had University-wide plans involving community service, will now be able to coordinate all of the University's community activities through one office. "One of my first tasks at the Center will be to create a 'map' of all that's going on in community service at Penn, so that these programs can work in concert more efficiently," Harkavy said. "With the map in hand, I will be actively looking for new areas where the University's intellectual resources can help solve Philadelphia's problems." Frances Walker, president and executive director of Parents Against Drugs, has worked extensively with different departments within the University. One of the most successful projects is the West Philadelphia Collaborative for Child Health, which works in conjunction with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the School of Social Work. Walker said that the creation of the new center should help coordinate all of the activities, and added that she is looking forward to working with Harkavy. "The University is providing a variety of services to the community," Walker said. "I dont think it has been in a coordinated fashion until now. I think this is a good idea." Through PPPS, Harkavy has organized the West Philadelphia Improvement Corps, a program which centers the community around area schools. University students volunteer at J.P. Turner Elementary Middle School and West Philadelphia High School, tutoring students during the week and teaching a Saturday school program. WEPIC has received national and international recognition for its design and implementation. President Sheldon Hackney first announced the formation of the center in 1990, during the 250th Anniversary. More than 4,000 Penn faculty, staff and students are involved with community service, ranging from tutoring public school children to advising small businesses.Comments powered by Disqus
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