Please join Cedar Park Neighbors next Monday, April 20, 2015, from 6:30-9 pm for our annual meeting. Voting for CPN Board Members will begin at 6:30 pm. General membership meeting and presentations start at 7:00pm. To vote, you must be a current member of Cedar Park Neighbors at of April 1, 2015.
The meeting will take place at Calvary Center for Culture and Community in their chapel. Please enter through the doors on 48th Street.
This year’s annual meeting will provide brief presentations on neighborhood zoning/development issues, Philadelphia Water Department “Rain Check” program, park events, improvements to the neighborhood and various ways to support the community. Following these brief presentations, there will be an indoor fair with tables for various committees, businesses, community groups and individual programs to learn more, sign up for programs and become more involved in the community.
At the meeting, you will also get to meet the candidates for the CPN Board of Directors. If you’ve never been to a CPN meeting, the annual meeting is a great introduction to the organization and the work that it does throughout the year. An informal meet and greet will follow the meeting.
Below are the candidates who are standing for election:
Candidate for President
50XX Catharine St.
David moved to Philadelphia in 2006 and bought their home in Cedar Park at the end of 2007. He and his wife are raising their 6 -year- old daughter who attends Henry C. Lea Elementary School. They are actively involved on their block, assisting in the annual end-of-summer block party, block clean ups, etc. They love the neighborhood and are excited to see it brimming with activity and new businesses. David worked with Soccer Shots to bring toddler soccer program to Cedar Park in fall 2013 , which now offers their program to the community year round.
David is a licensed architect and leverages that knowledge and expertise to assist various community members. He has a particular interest in issues that impact the quality of life in the community, such as the vitality of neighborhood schools, zoning, development, safety, etc. David was the lead volunteer on the Baltimore Avenue Community Corridor design study, completed in 2010. He also represented the communities interests at the visioning meetings for the Next Great City's 2015 mayoral platform, which focuses on healthy homes, nourished students and strong local businesses.
He is currently the chair of the Development Impact Task Force, which produced the “Future of the Neighborhood” survey in 2012. David’s goal is to assist CPN in achieving the Baltimore Avenue vision to re-extend prosperity further west along our main street corridor .
Candidate for First Vice President
Suzanne Banning Anderson
7XX S. 48th St.
Suzanne joined the board in 2013 after being active on the Zoning Committee for several years. She lives on the 700 block of S. 49th Street with her husband, Kelvyn, two teenage daughters and two Golden Retrievers.
Suzanne currently work as a psychiatric social worker at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital at 54th & Cedar Avenue, having earned her MSW from Temple University 20 years ago and her JD from Widener University School of Law in 2012.
An avid gardener, her particular civic interest is in greening and cleaning the community. Suzanne hopes to continue to apply her skills and interests to reduce blight and litter and increase the number of trees and amount of green space in the Cedar Park. She believes that a cleaner and greener neighborhood will enhance the quality of life for everyone in Cedar Park.
Candidate for Second Vice President
Renee McBride Williams
A native of West Philadelphia has become one of the leaders in her humble Cedar Park community. Ms. McBride-Williams received the 2014-2015 Dorothy I. Height Award from the National Council of Negro Women, Philadelphia Chapter for her community service and leadership.
Renee McBride-Williams is the General Manager to West Philadelphia’s only community radio station, WPEB 88.1 FM. While juggling her responsibilities to the broadcasters at the station, Renee is the Project Manager for the 2014-2015, “Arts On Air” projects spearheaded by Scribe Video, Inc. and sponsored by PNC Bank Arts Alive Project. She is also the director of the “Youth On Air” project at WPEB. With all that, Renee McBride-Williams is a mentor and educator to middle to high school students in the Philadelphia school community while still volunteering in the Arts and Broadcasting, Today, Renee is the Senior Executive Producer of a public affairs program called, “The Shed Kitchen” with Karen Dunn.
Above all, she is committed to her 14-year marriage to her best friend, George E. Williams and mother to 4 time Grammy winner, Bassist Christian McBride.
Candidate for Treasurer
50xx Catharine St.
Amara Rockar has lived in West Philadelphia for over a decade, most of it in Cedar Park. She and her husband bought their home in 2010, and are raising their family here. Amara is a board member of the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools. During the day, she works as an admin for the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.
Candidate for Secretary
50XX Cedar Ave.
Far McKon is interested in working with CPN to improve the community for everyone, and sees joining CPN board as one of the clear paths to accomplish that. Specifically, Far is interested in enabling/supporting programs for the following:
• Neighborhood Work-swap program, where neighbors can sign up, to swap tasks/skills or assistance around the house, yard, etc. Extra or spare work-time donated to neighbors that need more than usual assistance.
• Work on Soft-scaping streets for walk-ability (more bump-outs like at 48th St.), finding out if streets want speed-bumps.
• Talking to blocks and finding out if or which would be willing to host community notice/post boards to post paper announcements for those that do not frequently use email or the internet.
• Assisting where he can in using his skills as a programmer and as an outreach coordinator.
Mostly, Far is interested in taking on some responsibility for a few projects and helping out where he can.
Candidates for At-large Board (vote for up to 10)
50xx Hazel Ave.
Alon has been a resident of the Cedar Park neighborhood since late 2012 when he purchased a home on the 5000 block of Hazel Ave with his girlfriend. The home he purchased - a historic Victorian, like so many in the neighborhood - is a reflection of Alon's values. It had seen better days with considerable structural damage and serious flooding issues. Now, after enlisting help from friends, the occasional contractor, and an incredibly supportive and patient girlfriend, Alon is in the process of a 5-6 year restoration. He knows that important work may take a long time, but it is still worth pursuing.
Alon has been an active member of the community in West Philly. He founded the running club, West Philly Runners, in 2010 and has grown it from two runners to a group that draws over 50 runners each week and brings much appreciated business to local establishments (in the form of food and beverages - it is a beer running group). As part of West Philly Runners, Alon has become involved and now sits on the board of the Friends of Cobbs Creek and helps to coordinate their annual 5K run/walk fundraiser. While unrelated to running, Alon also sits on the board of the Cloud 9 Rooftop Farms non-profit, which promotes rooftop gardening and food access in the city.
Alon brings with him a strong sense of community and an eagerness to continue the growth and prosperity of Cedar Park, a neighborhood he considers his long-term home.
Thanks and I look forward to seeing you on April 20.
51XX Catharine Street
Robert Arters has lived in West Philadelphia for over 20 years. Currently residing on the 5100 block of Catharine Street with his girlfriend and three cats, Rob has witnessed the neighborhood's profound transformation over two decades and, like many long-term residents, is committed to keeping what works and changing what doesn't. From concert promotion to restoring Victorian homes in Cedar Park and Spruce Hill, to his current position managing the kitchen and menu at Green Line Cafe, Rob is a lifelong supporter of positive neighborhood growth in West Philadelphia.
My name is Laura Brestelli and my husband and I purchased our home on Hazel Avenue in Cedar Park in May 2014. Our household recently joined Cedar Park Neighbors. We were drawn to the area because of its strong sense of community and family, diversity, and proximity to center city. We also appreciate that there is some green space and trees (compared to other areas of the city). I am enjoying exploring our new neighborhood, meeting our neighbors, and looking for ways to get involved and give back to the
community.It is our intention to stay in the neighborhood for decades to come.I have a career in commercial real estate working for a national real estate firm that is headquartered in Philadelphia. I specialize in mortgage finance for office, industrial, retail and multi-family properties located throughout the U.S.. Previous to this position I served as a Community and Economic Development Volunteer in the Peace Corps in Panama. In this role I had various responsibilities including organizing community wide seminars, working with youth with groups, and establishing the school’s first technology center. I have a bachelor of science from the University of Delaware and an MBA from George Washington University.I believe that I can contribute to Cedar Park Neighbors and would like to participate as a board member. While I am open to helping in any number of ways, I am most interested in the zoning and/or scholarship committees. Thank you for your consideration.
I grew up in Redondo Beach ,California where I was active in my community as the manger of a food pantry for those with food insecurity. With family in Cherry Hill, I visited the area often and moved to the region in 2007 to attend Swarthmore College. Graduating in 2011, I decided to stay in Philadelphia where, apart from one year in Germantown, I have made the Cedar Park neighborhood my home. While in college I worked as an RA and community organizer and have since worked numerous jobs including with University City District where I worked as a Public Safety Ambassador. I look forward to helping serve and support the community and hope to focus on cleaning and maintenance of our neighborhood as well creating new opportunities for community involvement and social activities.
50XX Catharine St.
I have lived in Cedar Park since 2000 and live on Catharine Street with my wife, Emily, and our daughter, Nora. My wife and I own VIX Emporium at 50th and Baltimore. VIX, besides featuring handmade gifts by local residents, is a co-sponsor of the GO WEST Craft Fest in Woodland Cemetery. I’m an advocate for a diverse and active commercial corridor on Baltimore Avenue and very interested in neighborhood history. I helped to design and re-launch CPN’s website on a more interactive, user-driven model and participate on CPN’s Development Impact Task Force and on the Membership Committee.
50XX Baltimore Ave.
I have worked for Philadelphia Federal Credit Union (PFCU) for 13 years and at the 50th and Baltimore location for 8 years and am the Branch Manager. I do not live in this community, although I spend most of my days here, which makes it my home away from home. PFCU cares about the community and its people and we want to see them thrive. We donate money and staff through the year to help communities and less fortunate by collecting winter coats, and collecting for our troops overseas. PFCU also sponsors Friday Night Jazz in Cedar Park every summer.
I was born and raised in former Yugoslavia, now Serbia, and came to the USA as an exchange student my senior year in high school. I returned to Serbia to attend the University of Belgrade for one year when my host family invited me back to attend school here. I came back in 1993 and have been here ever since. I graduated from Temple with the degree in International Business. I have been in banking for over 18 years and it is my 13thyear at PFCU.
I did a lot of volunteer work in Serbia where the unemployment rate has always been high and there are not really paying jobs for young people. I used to volunteer with the younger kids as a tutor, help the gym teacher with activities and organize fund raising activities in the elementary schools. Now that I am married and have a family and two wonderful kids with busy lives, it is more difficult to do voluntary work, but I volunteer at my kid’s school and participate in fundraising and community service.
I come from a diverse culture and have been exposed to a variety of situations and issues that I had to deal with. All of my banking experience, customer service experience, leadership and management experience make me a great candidate for your board. I have been happy to have had the opportunity to serve on the CPN Board and I look forward to continue my service during the coming years.
50XX Cedar Ave
I moved to West Philly in 2008 after seven years of volunteer work in Asia. Currently, I am pursuing my doctorate in Sustainability Education and work for The Bridge Fund. In 2012, I founded the Ahimsa House, a center for nonviolence, through my nonprofit, the Pureland Project. Ahimsa house offers 20 free yoga, meditation, dance, non violent communication and gardening classes to the community right at 50th and Cedar. I also help coordinate a free after school program, community garden and Food Not Bombs (a weekly food share program) right here in Cedar Park. As a CPN board member, I have co-ordinated the Block Leaders Committee and as the block captain for the 5000 block of Cedar Avenue.
5XX S. 48th Street
Michael lives in Cedar Park with his partner, Susanna, and six-year-old daughter, Zora. He is has served as the president of Cedar Park Neighbors for the last three years and is now running for an at-large board member position. During the day, Michael works as a managing attorney practicing consumer and housing law with Community Legal Services. Michael is the co-founder of the West Philly Tool Library, is a Democratic party committeeperson in the 46th Ward, and has previously served on the boards of UC Green and Shakespeare in Clark Park. Michael is excited about the opportunity to continue to work together to improve Cedar Park for long-time residents and newcomers, seniors and school children, and everyone in between.
Rev. Eric Goode
50XX Baltimore Ave.
Reverend Eric Goode, a native of Duval County in Jacksonville, Florida, was born on December 2, 1986. Reverend Goode was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System. He attended and graduated from Morton Elementary School, Penrose Elementary School, Tilden Middle School, and Bartram High School. While in High School, Reverend Goode served on the Student Government Council. On October 15, 2004, Eric Goode preached his trial sermon and was licensed to preach the Gospel during the 4th Church Anniversary of the New Pentecost Christian Church, September 17, 2006. Eric Goode relocated back to New Hope Temple Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Reverend Dr. John Coger, where he served as the Youth Pastor.
Reverend Goode is a graduate with his Baccalaureate Degree in Pastoral Ministries from the Philadelphia Biblical University in May, 2012. He participated in a number of activities during his college career. For instance, he served as Board member of the Community Involvement, and the Leadership EducationAchievement Society Community College of Philadelphia. Reverend Goode served as President of the Christian Coalition Evangelistic Fellowship of Community College of Philadelphia. Finally, he served as an Associate Chaplin for Aristocare.
On March 22, 2014, Reverend Goode was elected the Pastor of The People’s Baptist Church. He was installed as Senior Pastor on Sunday, May 25, 2014, where his aim is to carry on the Church's rich legacy of community service.
Most of all, Reverend Eric Goode is a child of God, who preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ with power and conviction.
50XX Willows Ave.
I moved to Cedar Park in 1984 when I migrated from the island of Trinidad and Tobago. I attended St. Francis De Sales Elementary school, graduated from West Catholic Girls High and hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology from St. Joseph’s University. I am currently pursuing a Masters in Organizational Development and Leadership. I also work at St. Joseph’s University as the Assistant to the Vice President of Student Life/ Associate Provost. I am married with three children.
I am described by my colleagues and friends as the “organizer.” I enjoy event planning, promotions, creating itineraries, and working under pressure, while staying within budget. I also love researching ways to improve prior events and how to increase turnout.
I am passionate about my community. I have observed our residents’ desire to improve our neighborhood and I want to be a part of this transformation. I want to help foster a “sense of belonging” and encourage all to become engaged in their community. I want to hear people’s concerns and help them find solution. These are just a few of my goals I hope to accomplish while serving on the Board.
45xx Osage & 49xx Pentridge
JJ Tiziou is a photographer who is actively invested in the Cedar Park neighborhood. Although he lives outside of Cedar Park, he works out of a studio space in The Cedar Works at 4919 Pentridge. JJ is the creator of the largest work of public art in Philadelphia: the 85,000 square foot mural How Philly Moves at Philadelphia International Airport.
Philly has always been home for JJ, specifically West Philly and the Baltimore Avenue corridor. JJ supports communities working for positive change through his photographic work. He is now looking to broaden his experience by working as part of a team with a longer term focused vision, plugging into the facets of the neighborhood that he’s not yet familiar with, and bringing his communication skills to directly advocate for all of his neighbors. JJ is also an enthusiastic community cheerleader — much of his photographic work has involved advocating for artists, activists and communities that he’s wanted to support. He hopes to also bring some of those skills to help share CPN’s messages.
48xx Windsor Avenue
I have lived in Cedar Park for more than 25 years, both as a renter and, for the past 17 years, as a homeowner. My partner and I chose to live in Cedar Park for many reasons, primarily the racial and economic diversity of the community; its convenient location to both Center City and Delaware County; and the green and open space throughout the neighborhood. Those have remained very important to me throughout the neighborhood’s many changes in the past 25 years. We have built a very strong community of friends in West Philly. We have met them through community activities, through our daughter, and simply from around the neighborhood.
In my professional life, I have worked as a senior manager for non-profit organizations from various disciplines, sizes, and different parts of the city. I know city politics well and have worked on community organizing and community-based issues in different parts of the city. I am a good strategic thinker, planner, organizer, and problem-solver. My experience with community-based issues and non-profit management can be helpful to CPN and the Board.
As a member of the Cedar Park Neighbors board, I would hope to bring energy, enthusiasm, and lots of hard work to help make Cedar Park a better place to live for everyone. I love this place. I want it to continue to be one of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
9XX S. 48th Street
Hoot Williams has lived in Cedar Park since August 2013. He is a community organizer (Hands Across Philly), a Green Party advocate, and a founding member of the West Philadelphia Friends Meeting (Quaker) at 48th and Chester Ave. Hoot is a social entrepreneur, an Uber partner, and a five-star Airbnb Superhost! He is also an internationally certified alcohol & drug abuse counselor (CADC), and worked for several medical and human service agencies prior to setting his self-employed roots here in University City. Hoot moved to the area in 2012 while working on his practicum for a Masters in Divinity from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Before his graduate work, Hoot lived in Brooklyn, NY from 2000-2010, where he was active as a financial consultant and bookkeeper for several not-for-profit arts organizations, and managing sales director for Carole Shiber Designs. Hoot is also an accomplished musician and pianist, and he holds a BFA from Emerson College, Boston, MA. Hoot is committed to peace, stewardship, social justice concerns, and cultivating meaningful and diverse community relationships. He would like to work toward (re)building under-utilized green spaces as vibrant community resources. You can view his Airbnb profile at the following link (https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/14204224), which includes photos, guest reviews, and personal references.
At-large board members whose two-year terms will carry over until May 31, 2016: