coding with ozobots

Name:  Evaleen DeMarco
School: Pan American Academy Charter School
Total Grant: $600
Grantee Winner:  Spring 2018
Project Description: Evaleen used the funding for a program called "Genius Hour," to be led by Pan American Academy Charter School's Director of Information Technology.  During Genius Hour, students learn to code using Ozobots - small robots that require coding and programming in order for them to activate and move.  Evaleen purchased 6 Ozobots with the grant.

where's my story?

Name: Kathleen Melville
School:  The Workshop School
Total Grant: $600
Grantee Winner:  Spring 2018
Project Description:  Kathleen used the funding to create a program that brings together her ninth grade students with first graders at the elementary school down the street, Lea Elementary, and highlights culturally relevant children's literature.  To begin, about 40 ninth grade students will research who is represented in children's literature by race, gender, ability, sexuality, etc., and then the ninth graders will pair up with the first graders to select a culturally relevant book, read the selection to the first grader and then write a review of the.  The ninth graders will curate a selection of culturally relevant children's books and donate the collection to the library at Lea Elementary.

building a story with clay

Name:  Constance Kane
School: Sharswood Elementary
Total Grant: $567
Grantee Winner:  Spring 2018
Project Description: Constance used the funding to bring the Clay Studio to her classroom.  The Clay Studio provides students with an opportunity to try their hands at using another material to fine tune literacy skills or engage them in the writing process with a new pliable material: clay.  The Clay Studio will provide Constance's students with a series of clay lessons.

above ground

Name:  Madeia Jacobs
School: Laura W Waring Elementary School
Total Grant:  $447
Grantee Winner: Winter 2018
Project Description: Madeia used the funding to start an above-ground garden for students to learn how to grow healthy foods and make and eat healthy snacks.


drums alive

Name: Caitlin Ciorletti
School: Samuel Pennypacker
Total Grant: $298
Grantee Winner: Winter 2018
Project Description: Caitlin used the funding to purchase fitness balls, drum sticks and bases for the balls to rest on to implement a fitness and music program in her physical education classes.

(can) stand to learn

Name: Lori Samson
School: Fox Chase
Total Grant: $500
Grantee Winner: Winter 2018
Project Description: Lori used the grant to purchase 3-5 stand-up desks for certain students with ADHD/ADD/other diagnoses to use in the classroom.

eat right now

Name: Theresa Woodard
School: Andrew J. Morrison Elementary
Total Grant: $261.25
Grantee Winner:  Fall 2017
Project Description: Theresa used the funding to purchase a refrigerator and a microwave for use by her 3rd - 5th Grade Autistic Support Class.  Theresa's students are participating in a healthy eating program in partnership with Drexel University which provides food, recipes and lessons focused on healthy eating.  Theresa needed the refrigerator and microwave to store and use the healthy ingredients her students receive as part of the Drexel Eat Right Now program

books like me

Name: Nicole Ehrdardt
School: Global Leadership Academy Charter Schools
Total Grant: $363.75
Grantee Winner:  Fall 2017
Project Description: "I want a book with people who look like me." This was a phrase Nicole often heard from her students.  Nicole used the grant to purchase books for her classroom library featuring characters that reflect the diversity of her students.

autism sensory room

Name:  Melissa Vanacare
School: Hartranft Elementary
Total Grant: $625
Grantee Winner:  Fall 2017
Project Description: Melissa used the funding to create a sensory room to support the diverse needs of the students in her school’s four Autistic Support classrooms. A sensory room is a quiet room with soft carpets, gym mats, calm music, swings, bouncy balls, rocking chairs, bubble tubes, and rotating projector lights.

school store

Name:  Liza Meires
School: First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter High School
Total Grant: $800
Grantee Winner:  Fall 2017
Project Description: Liza used the grant to add a school store component to her school’s “Skills for Success” program for students receiving special education services. Students sell school supplies and other school pride accessories during lunch periods. The grant was used as start-up money, and the school store is now self-sustaining.

coding the CURRICULUM

Name:  Kevin Donley

School: Temple University & Belmont Charter School

Total Grant:  $599

Grantee Winner: Spring 2017

Project Description:  As part of his dissertation study, Kevin explored the impact of teacher computational thinking on other academic areas.  Students at Belmont Charter School will take part in a Creative Computer Course that teaches the Scratch programmatic language.  The grant will cover the cost of printing student workbooks and to pay for assessments and field assessors.  Belmont Charter School will cover the costs of a teaching assistant.


physics olympics

Name: Greg Schanne

School:  Independence Charter School

Total Grant:  $250

Grantee Winner:  Spring 2017

Project Description:  Greg seeks to establish the first ever science/engineering olympics at Independence Charter School.  This event will allow 6th and 7th graders to compete in engineering and science tasks to win an overall physics olympics trophy and personal gold medals for their own achievements.  Greg will use the funding to purchase supplies for the competitions and medals/trophies for the winners.

build a monster

Name:  Hollis Citron

School: Belmont Charter School

Total Grant:  $250

Project Description:  What does a first grader think the scariest or silliest monster looks like? Two fourth grade classes will interview two first grade classes to find out.  Then, each fourth grader will make the monster come to life for a first grader by cutting fabrics and sewing them adding details using buttons, glue and other supplies.  Hollis will use the grant to purchase supplies like felt, fabric, thread, and other materials for making the monsters.

8th Grade Social Impact Trip To DC

Name: Darien Headen

School: Alliance for Progress Charter School

Total Grant:  $105.00

Grantee Winner: Winter 2017

Project Description: Darien will use the funding to take his 8th grade class, of 46 students, to Washington, DC to visit the United States Holocaust Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as Howard University. 


Name: Ameila Schwarzman

School: Olney Charter

Total Grant: $280.00

Grantee Winner:  Winter 2017

Project Description: Amelia will use the funding for a mentorship program at Olney Charter High School that would pair 9th grade students who are struggling with teachers who will help them set goals and succeed in school with behavior tracking, grade monitoring, and weekly lunch meetings. The grant would go towards a culminating event similar to those of Outward Bound where students and teachers would participate in activities out in nature to bring them closer together and build skills outside of a traditional classroom environment.

Keeping The Drama On The Stage: Stage Combat Training for OCHS Actors

Name:  Emily Guck-McGuigan

School: Olney Charter

Total Grant:  $210.00

Grantee Winner: Winter 2017

Project Description: This grant will be used to bring in a certified stage combat teacher to work with students in Emily's drama program. The spring play, “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon,” will be the third and largest main stage production in OCHS history. The play requires stage combat—a skill most effectively and safely taught by a professional. Bringing in a professional fight director will provide students with the opportunity to develop an important theatre skill while enhancing our production and fostering our program’s continued growth.

Expand Your Knowledge Using Your Finger Tips

Name: Constance Kane

School: John Moffet Elementary School

Total Grant:  $105.00

Grantee Winner:  Winter 2017

Project Description: Constance will use the funds to purchase a classroom rug to fit thirty, second grade students on comfortably during shared reading, read aloud, classroom meetings, small group center activities, whole group math instruction, etc.

Fresh Artists Palates to palettes 

Name: Deva Watson

School: Norwood Elementary 

Total Grant:$213.75

Grant Winner:  Fall 2016

Project Description: Deva will use the money for development of a highly innovative four-month pilot program - Fresh Artists Palates to Palettes program. This multifaceted curriculum exposes middle school students to masterpieces in fine art and fine cuisine while introducing them to a variety of career paths in the creative economy. Deva will begin by teaching her students about the art of the still life. Students will then visit restaurants in Philadelphia. At each restaurant, students meet and interview the chef and discuss the design and concept of the restaurant. The students, as guests of the chef, are served the chef’s signature dish for lunch, then sketch a stylized tableau of the meal in preparation for their final artwork project. Renowned photographers Michael Persico and Neal Santos style and photograph the menu tableau and document the students' restaurant experience. A final exhibition of the students' artwork will be held at Drexel University's Culinary & Hospitality program, where the ""Chef's Choice"" winner will be selected.



Name:  Maria Mirenzi

School: Paul L Dunber Promise Academy

Total Grant:  $427.50

Grantee Winner Fall 2016

Project Description: Maria will use the funds to build the music program at Paul Dunber Promise Academy from the ground up by purchasing ukuleles to enrich her students' education. All students will learn basic chord progressions and melodies on the ukulele. Younger students (K-4) will use the instrument as a means to play popular tunes as soloists and in small/large ensembles while older students (5-8) will use the instrument to compose original songs about personal experiences and current issues surrounding inequality and sustainability. The result will be an end of the year gala featuring K-8 student performances of the songs they learned and composed throughout the year. This concert will not only give students the opportunity to perform for an audience, but it will also give local businesses, such as food co-ops and sustainable gardens, the chance to promote their organizations to the families of North Philadelphia. The event would be a celebration of the students’ musical accomplishments and expose the community to sustainable ways of life. 


pack your suitcase

Name: Sarah Beverly

School: The Lea School

Total Grant:  $500.00

Grantee Winner:  Fall 2016

Project Description:  Sarah will use the funding to create a classroom library for her students so that our classroom library helps ignite a lifelong love of reading within each of her students.  Sarah's classroom is especially in need of multicultural books featuring protagonists from countries around the world because to ensure her classroom library reflects her students’ rich multicultural heritages.  The funding will also help cover the transportation costs for the students to meet John Lewis, U.S. Representative and civil rights leader, and Angela Davis Pinkney, award-winning author and publishing executive, through the Free Public Library Teen Author Series. In other words, this project will bring multicultural books into Sarah's classroom and bring books to life as the students have the opportunity to meet authors of color who represent diverse perspectives. 

Sarah's students meeting Rep. John Lewis

Sarah's students meeting Rep. John Lewis


Friendship bench

Name: Donna Fannelli

School: The Lamberton School

Total Grant: $213.75

Grantee Winner:  Fall 2016

Project Description: Donna will use the funding for the building of a friendship bench which her students can design, build, and paint.  The friendship bench will be utilized as a safe place for students to sit (preferably with other students) wherein they have the opportunity to share experiences, support one another, and basically form relationships through adult mentoring.


Name:  Sheila Myers

School:  Julia de Burgos Elementary School

Total Grant: $460.00

Grantee Winner:  May 2016

Project Description: Sheila will use the funding to revitalize green areas in the front and back years of the school building, including growing grass, planting flowers and building benches.  Sheila will also purchase asphalt paint to create ground games for the children to use at recess.  All 860 students in grades K-* will benefit from these improvements to their recess area.


Classroom cafe

Name:  Kathleen Anderson


Total Grant: $345

Grantee Winner:  May 2016

Project Description: Kathleen will use the funding to buy ingredients and supplies to relaunch a Classroom Cafe which prepares students for transitional vocational, social and functional skills by running a cafe.

loving to read in spanish

Name: Antonia Jauregui

School: Independence Charter School

Total Grant: $172.50

Grantee Winner:  May 2016

Project Description: Antonia will use the funding to add Spanish language books to her classroom library on the reading level of her 6th and 8th grade students in the Spanish Immersion program.



Criticisms of "street angel"

Name: Alina Taylor

School:  Kensington Urban and Business High School.

Total Grant: $172.50

Grantee Winner:  May 2016

Project Description:  Alina will use the funding to order 40 copies of Rob Baptista's novella, "Street Angel" for her students to read and then to write a literary criticism, which will eventually be incorporated into a magazine produced by the students.

Shakespeare in-Residence

Name:  Christina D'Emma

School: Cristo Rey High School

Total Grant: $769.57

Grantee Winner: February 2016

Project Description: Christina will use the funding for an Artist in Residence program provided by the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre.  An actor will teach five consecutive classes of 9th grade students who have read Romeo and Juliet.

A Garden grows in kensington

Name: Alessandra Villella

School: John B. Stetson Charter School

Total Grant: $461.74

Grantee Winner: February 2016

Project Description: Three years ago, a community garden was born at John B. Stetson Charter School.  This year, the students in the club, ranging from 6th through 8th graders, will use the funds to diminish the littering in their community as well as show people how to eat better.  The students will place trash cans and signs around the gardens so that people will become more aware of their bad habits.  They will also create a cook book of recipes that showcase the vegetables and herbs they grown in their garden.

Responsive classroom training

Name: Rachel Frankford

School: Southwark Elementary School

Total Grant: $307.82

Grantee Winner: February 2016

Project Description: Rachel will use the funds to attend a Responsive Classroom sampler workshop at Temple University.  This full-day training covers the foundational principles of the Responsive Classroom approach to discipline, academics, creating a classroom community and promoting social and emotional learning.  Rachel will then implement these practices in her classroom of 27 third grade students.  Virtually all of the students are considered economically disadvantaged, with more than half English Language Learners, coming from a variety of countries, including Mexico, Burma/Myanmar, Nepal and China.

Fairy Tale Re-tellings

Name: Jordan Hager

School: John Barry Promise Academy

Total Grant: $622.50

Dinner Grantee Winner: November 2015

Project Description: At John Barry Promise Academy, we know that “Achieving Starts with Believing”; the dilemma with this motto, however, is that students have no idea what can be achieved because of lack of vision and acquisition of cultural capital. The most important part of The Writing Process, Publishing, is so often left behind, and students never see the fruits of their labor. In order to help students visualize the possibilities when it comes to writing, their writing must be published. With a grant from PhilaSoup, the seven students who have been identified as “Gifted” learners, will be given the chance to complete The Writing Process through publishing their Fairy Tale Retellings. Inspired by The True Story of The Three Little Pigs, students will retell classic fairy tales through the perspective of the tale’s antagonist. The students have already begun learning about The Writing Process, and the Fairy Tale Unit will begin in time to be completed and receive personalized books before Holiday Break. Prior to PhilaSoup’s Grant Dinner, students will have already completed the beginning stages of The Writing Process. Without this grant, students will still create less-professional grade publications. Local Philadelphia Illustrators will be contacted in order to have students’ projects professionally illustrated as well.


Designing and Creating an Autism Support Sensory Room

Name: Elizabeth Richards


Total Grant: $343.50

Dinner Grantee Winner:  November 2015

Project Description: Our Designing and Creating a Sensory Room Project to serve our 22 students’ with Autism, is a joint endeavor with the five special education teachers at our school. With respect to each of our classrooms and grade levels that we serve, we're working collaboratively to renovate an empty classroom into a nurturing, safe, and healthy sensory environment that will provide opportunities for movement, stimulation and communication.  Our goal this current school year is to paint the classroom, stock it with therapeutic sensory materials, and open it up for families to interact with their child, along with the child's teacher.  During the school day, and throughout the after school programs, the room will also be used for parents to interact with their child utilizing the equipment that they may not have per their personal resources. 
Here is an informal list of items that we are looking for: Sensory tubs, sensory balls, Bop bags, Sootheze stuffed animals, weighted puppets, pounding bench, parachute, wall panels, roller coaster table, Zen garden, play therapy sets, Rock a Rounds, body swings, sensory pea pods, spin discs, Sit and Spins, and glitter sticks. 


Name: Ed Turner

School: Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School

Total Grant: $229

Dinner Grantee Winner:  November 2015

Project Description: At Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, we require our students to take Latin, a so-called "dead language", for three years. This year we have several seniors who miss taking it. That's where the Classics Club comes in - an extracurricular club for 8-10 students - upper and underclassmen - interested in the ancient world - its languages, culture, mythology and history. We meet, we talk, we laugh but we want to create. That's where the idea for a podcast comes in. The Classics Club at CRPHS wants to produce a podcast for the 2015-16 academic year rather than a newsletter to showcase our students' creative and technical abilities.


The Legacy Project

Name: Corey Michener

School:  Youth Empowerment Services (YESPhilly)

Total Grant:  $275

Dinner Grantee Winner: 

Project Description:  Students were required to complete an introductory cycle at YESPhilly.  In RELA class, students completed a "legacy" unit where they were introduced to various poems, short stories, novels, and other texts that centered around the theme of "legacy".  The goal was to re-engage them and keep them connected to their work as a student.  The school mostly contains students that have dropped out or been pushed out of their original high school.  Therefore, this emotional engagement was necessary to foster student learning.  Students were required to end the 10 week cycle by writing a three minute "What will your legacy be?" speech.  These speeches were then entered into a virtual alumni network and students watched them at the end of their journey on graduation day.

Literacy to the Max: Ramping Up Small Group Instructions, A Literacy Teacher Circle

Name:  Annie Huynh

School:  Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School

Total Grant:  $300 PCTC

Dinner Grantee Winner February, 2015

Project Description:  This project is for the K-8 literacy teachers, a total of 9, to participate in after school meetings to analyze student work, discuss, and develop strategy and small group instruction.  Literacy instruction for over 450 students will be the target students.  The ongoing meetings will take place for an hour bi-weekly after school and for the rest of the school year starting in February.  The funds will be used as stipends for teachers' time after school.  Currently, we use the reading and writing workshop model from the Columbia University's Teachers College.  These after school meetings will serve as critical ways for teachers to work together to meet the needs of diverse learners.


Safe Places to Play

Name:  Manna Selassie

School:  Lewis C. Cassidy Academics Plus School

Grant:  $150

Dinner Grantee Winner:  October, 2014

Project Description:  The project's missions is to allow for children to have a playground that engages them in safe and appropriate play.  The grantee painted games on the ground, which are geared toward encouraging inclusivity, safe play, and diverse types of play.

Grantee Says:  This project has allowed the students to have much more structured and safe play.  Teachers have brought students out for educational games; and community members appreciate the change to their children's play space.

Developing Cultural Competency Among Staff Through Teacher Book Club

Name:  Elizabeth Kim

School:  John B. Stetson Charter School

Total Grant:  $137.59

Dinner Grantee Winner:  June, 2014

Project Description: The Teacher Book Club used a training module created through an Inquiry to Action Group, one of the many social justice-oriented action items created by Teacher Action Group Philly.  The training module was created by a group of teachers from different schools in Philly, including the grantee, as a means to open the conversation surrounding cultural competency among staff.  We wanted teachers to be able to evaluate their own instructional approach and reflect on how to strategically plan for more culturally relevant curricula.

Grantee Says:  The teachers in Book Club benefited from the safe space created in these discussions.  We were able to freely express our daily frustrations and struggles that centered around what our students needed in terms of anti-racist education.  The Book Club became a space to brainstorm ways to confront biased, racist language we encounter on a daily basis from our students and staff in all areas of the building.  It also brought teachers from different grades and disciplines together, creating a professional community that would otherwise be difficult to develop.

Alphabet of Hope and Justice

Name: Joshua Kleiman

School: Kensington CAPA

Total Grant: $237.92

Dinner Grantee Winner: October, 2013


Project Description: Our "Alphabet of Hope and Justice" is a public art and literacy project based on the work of photographer Wendy Ewald and the Literacy Through Photography program. Since the beginning of this school year, students in my photography class have been digging deep into the current budget crisis in the Philadelphia schools. The class has brainstormed words relating to the crisis for each letter of the alphabet and written creatively about these themes. The words they have chosen are words of struggle, neglect, resistance, hope and justice. Our final project will consist of 26 outdoor panels printed on vinyl, each measuring 3'x5'. The final installation will be over 100 feet in length along Front Street, outside of our school on a fence along the sidewalk.

The Grantee Says: When we first began exploring the idea of a large scale art project, my students and myself truly had no idea how we'd be able to pay for something so large. With help from PhilaSoup, my students were able to express their anxiety about the districts' budget in a big way. They all worked hard to turn their original thoughts into a 150-foot long photo mural, and truly feel that their voice is being heard. When I am able to help amplify the voice of teenagers in this way, it is the most important lesson that education can accomplish.

Earth to Pizza

Name:  Pete Merzbacher

Schools: Multiple schools

Total Grant: $178

Dinner Grantee Winner: May, 2013

PhilaSoup provided Earth to Pizza with an opportunity to further test its method for youth oriented food education. In theory, making pizza is the perfect way to teach children about food topics like nutrition, culinary arts, agriculture and culture. But in practice, is it feasible to make pizzas with groups of students while teaching them crucial skills and concepts? After running three PhilaSoup funded Earth to Pizza classes, the answer is clearly yes. Moving forward, Earth to Pizza will continue refining its approach until a model emerges that allows the educational efforts to be repeated in more places by more people.


Building Leaders


Name: Hayley Harrison

School: Samuel B. Huey Elementary School

Total Grant: $500 (Marcy Resnick Fund)

Dinner Grantee Winner: April, 2013

Project Description: Our school has a fledgling debate program. It is our first year, and although we are still trying to build up our numbers, we have a lot of eager students participating. We have attended several different debate events this year, and are looking forward to future competitions. It is our hope to hold an invitational event at our own school later this spring. To do this, we need funding for resources - a bus to bring the other school(s) to the event, participation certificates and awards, supplies for our own debate team, and team t-shirts. My children are very excited about the prospect of having team shirts to show unity. Debate is such a great opportunity for them. A lot of students on our team are under my department (special education) and have special needs. Debate allows them to practice public speaking, build confidence, and hone their critical thinking skills. It gives them the chance to feel successful. Even when we don't win, we still feel accomplished. We are hoping to host the event in the late spring (May), after all of the PSSA testing for the year is done. Looking forward to this event would be wonderful for my students, motivating them to stay engaged through the end of the school year. And we just need some funding to help make it possible!

Philly Smart


Name: Jason Huber

School: Eastern University Academy Charter School

Total Grant: $330

Dinner Grant Winner: April, 2013

Project Description: 215 Smart is a dual-purpose project that encourages PSSA success while fundraising for the participants in the Global Classroom Project. Close to 200 students will be participating in standardized testing in April. Sixteen students are working to earn the experience of a lifetime traveling to Costa Rica in May. 215 Smart is an entrepreneurial project that hopes to sell 100 "Test Success Toolboxes". These gift-wrapped care packages include granola bars, bottled water, gum, inspirational pencils, erasers, buttons and a few other helpful "tools" for successful test taking. Purchased by parents for their child, the Toolbox also acts as a reminder to parents to take this time of year very seriously and encourage their child to do his or her best. The students of the Global Classroom Project promote success on the PSSA's while getting closer to the service learning, cultural immersion, and adventure travel program that makes the classroom content relevant. But most importantly, students work to earn their spots on a trip that opens their eyes and hearts to a whole new world of possibilities.

Poetry & Artwork

Name: Sydney Coffin

School: University City Promise Academy

Total Grant: $252

Dinner Grant Winner: March, 2013

Project Description: We have been invited by WragsInk Publishers to publish a book of University City HS poetry and artwork over the summer. As this is possibly the last year of University City HS's 41-year lifespan, representing the West Philadelphia area, Mantua, and University City communities, as well as the rest of Philadelphia, we want to document more than just this year's poets. Instead, we would like to reach out to past poets from the school as well and do so before the end of the school year in order to give copies away as presents to students, who can rarely afford the typically $75 cost of a yearbook. I believe that the project will reinforce students' faith in the power of their own voices to reach beyond scraps of paper into publishing a more permanent record and represent an effort towards encouraging an appreciation of the written word. Furthermore, they will see themselves as writers. Surely, they will read it cover to cover and cherish it as a memento to their time in this building under adverse conditions.

The Grantee Says: The magazine came out beautifully, and many students, alumni, and faculty were grateful for the effort. Nonetheless, we distributed only about 175 copies, due to our late publishing date, an early due date for turning in grades, and the business of closing school. I am hoping to connect with more of the former University City students at their new site, School of the Future, once school begins. Even so, I will share with you this one specific anecdote.

Tiara was a senior who was not guaranteed a cap and gown, but she presented her senior project at 6:30pm the day grades had to be entered. She had been one of the students who attended every SRC meeting in an attempt to prevent the closing of the school, so when it came, being a member of the last graduating class at University City HS was an emotional day for her. Maybe she was on the tipping point already, but I think when I handed her a copy of the magazine and opened it to her poem, one that until that moment she had no idea I'd saved, or published, it sent her into tears of joy.

There were a great many students surprised and delighted by the magazine's publication, even some who were not published in it, because they had something with which to walk away from school, something full of friendship and memories, of art they'd seen in the halls, and poems they'd only heard about. In all, I was as elated as my students, because we had something that brought us together for the last time, and yet was something that would last as long as our memories of each other. Thanks to PhilaSoup for getting me started!


Paper for Show


Name: Justine Nicholson

School: Potter Thomas Promise Academy

Total Grant: $120

Dinner Grant Winner: February, 2013

Project Description: With the funds raised from PhilaSoup my students can now draw and paint in the art room! We received no budget this year for art supplies so we used this grant to purchase paper. This paper is being used to create artwork for our 2nd Annual All Arts Showcase. The Showcase will feature over 500 works of art and musical performances by the students. Art has provided my students the opportunity to express themselves and this showcase has been made possible through this grant. 

The Grantee Says: My students are so excited about this year’s art show. This grant has provided my art room with enough paper so that my students can create artwork to realize our school-wide art show dream! Creative expression is so important for my students and this grant touched many lives. Not only did it reach my 400+ weekly students but also my after school art program. This program is for 4th-8th grade students preparing art portfolios for high school. My students and I cannot thank you enough for providing this amazing opportunity for us to continue our art program.




Name: Monique Curry

Organization: ARTISTRY at the De Paul Catholic School

Total Grant: $305

Dinner Grant Winner: February, 2013

Project Description: ARTISTRY is an arts education after school program designed to (1) engage young people by teaching math, science, reading, writing, and communication through project-based learning (2) teach young people how to become critical / out-of-the-box thinkers, (3) encourage a creative entrepreneurial mindset so young people can succeed whether they pursue higher education, enter the workforce, or become entrepreneurs, and (4) provide a medium of expression. ARTISTRY at The De Paul Catholic School has been making a significant impact on the students we encounter and we are looking to share their progress and the program’s impact with the community through, “HerStory, HisStory, Our Story – a tour of our Youth’s Future.” As the current theme of the 2012- 2013 ARTISTRY program, students created multi-disciplinary stories about their history – past, present and future. The PhilaSoup Grant provided supplies and resources that allowed students to develop, display and present interactive stories in a First Friday Exhibition on May 3rd. 

The Grantee Says: On May 3rd the ARTISTRY students gave an interactive gallery-style First Friday performance. Since the students interacted with the crowd, utilizing funds from the PhilaSoup microgrant, we purchased shirts that allowed for them to be distinguishable in the crowd but also gave them a keepsake. Additionally, we purchased drawing pads and markers for a design challenge that was implemented that evening. All additional funds went to videography and post production of the event. Each student as well as the school will receive a copy of the evening so that they can share their stories and art with their friends, family and community.





Using Technology to Connect Kindergartners with History


Name: Rachel Kamens


School: Alliance for Progress Charter School
Total grant: $425.00
Dinner Grantee Winner: October 7, 2012

Project Description:
I used my PhilaSoup grant money to purchase a projector and Apple TV for my kindergarten classroom.  I am now able to stream what’s on my iPad to the projector via the AppleTV.  My kindergarten class is now able to use my iPad in a whole-group setting to engage with lesson content in a visual, dynamic way.

In particular, the PhilaSoup grant has enabled me to expand and enrich our Black History unit.  Over the past two weeks, my students conducted interviews with older family members and neighbors to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement.  This week, my students will begin to prepare presentations about the Civil Rights Movement and the particular experiences of the people they interviewed.  Using an iPad app called VoiceThread, we will create a dynamic, multimedia presentation that will include photographs and video footage from the interviews, as well as audio recordings of the students sharing what they have learned.  The AppleTV and projector purchased with the PhilaSoup grant will allow the entire class to view each student’s recorded segment and then respond with questions and comments.  These comments and questions will be recorded to add a dynamic, interactive element to the final presentation.

The Grantee Says:

Ultimately, this project, and the essential role of the projector, will expose my students to a rich cultural history.  Students were able to view and discuss videos of national, well-known historical events, such as Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech.  They will also be able to watch and listen to the local, little-known experiences of older friends and relatives.  By digitizing and then projecting the stories and lessons learned from their interviews, the students will have an opportunity to be part of the process of recording, sharing, and learning from history.

“First They Kill My Father” by Loung Ung

Name: Trisha Kwong

School: Germantown High School Promise Academy

Total grant: $360.00

Dinner Grantee Winner: April, 2012

Project Description:  With the generous funding provided by the PhilaSoup community I was able to purchase 33 copies of the novel
First They Killed My Father, written by Loung Ung, for my Honors English class.

The Grantee Says: By having access to this modern story about family, genocide, coming of age and survival my students have been exposed to many new things. We enjoyed classes of reading together and discussing connections between our personal experiences and that of the main character. As Loung battles difficulties surviving the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia our class researched other examples of genocide in history. We also learned about Buddhism, tried our best at speaking Khmer, and sampled some popular foods from Southeast Asia.


Break a Leg!

Name:  Jessica Deimel and Rich Widmann


School: Young Scholars Frederick Douglass

Total grant: $360.00

Dinner Grantee Winner: March 2012


Project Description: Last winter, we decided to start a drama program at our school for 6-8th graders.  After getting rights and auditioning students, we began rehearsals for Once On This Island, Jr. with a cast of approximately 20 students and 2-3 backstage helpers.  Since no drama program existed in the past, we needed to build up resources in terms of costumes, props, set pieces, and tech equipment, and the grant allowed us to do that.  Having these resources would help us to have a successful show and to set the foundation for continuing the drama program in the future.

The Grantee Says: The money we got from PhilaSoup went to help us purchase set pieces, props, and costumes, as well as rent technical equipment.  When our students saw their costumes and the set pieces we were able to purchase, it helped them see themselves as true performers.  Even more exciting was getting the microphones.  Students felt like stars onstage when they had the mics on.  When the day of the show came, it was a huge success.  Our students felt successful, including many students who don’t always find success in the classroom, and many other students who saw the show were excited to be a part of the drama program in the future.  PhilaSoup’s funding and support was integral in allowing us to provide students with an authentic experience onstage and to create a foundation for an ongoing drama program at our school.


Mitchell Mustangs Chess Team

Name: Jason Bui


School: S. Weir Mitchell Elementary

Total grant: $380.00

Dinner Grantee Winner: February, 2012

Project Description: My grant went to help support my chess team the Mitchell Mustangs.  The team plays in at least one tournament per month.  Going to these events require travel expenses, hotel fees, food, US Chess Federation dues, and tournament entry fees for the 10-20 kids I take to each event. The team also needs the appropriate materials to study and prepare for these events.
Ex: 5-10 sentences

The Grantee Says: We used this money to buy 5 chess clocks to use for practice and to bring to tournaments.  We also bought some chess books to help the team study.  We used the rest of the money for dinner at the state championships.


Aspiring Authors

Name: Lacey Boland

School: Independence Charter School

Total grant: $230

Dinner Grantee Winner: January, 2012


Project Description: With the funds raised from PhilaSoup, Alex Stadler, local author and illustrator, visited each of my four classes for a workshop on developing story elements and main characters for original short stories that “remixed” the classic fairy tale Cinderella from a new point of view. Working with Alex, students began to examine their main characters carefully as researchers.  They decided on personality traits and physical characteristics, what their character wanted more than anything, and the obstacles that might prevent them from obtaining it.  The resulting stories of each 7th grade class were published using the print on demand website Classroom Authors; students were responsible for editing, designing the cover art, authoring the introduction, back cover blurb, acknowledgments and about the author sections. The resulting publications were shared with our school community and families.

 The Grantee Says: Learning from an author and illustrator was invaluable for my students. Getting to know Alex, his problems as a writer and some tricks of the trade, helped empower my students to solve the problems that real writers face and prepared them for the stamina that they needed as they moved through the writing process. Thanks to Alex, and the ultimate publishing of their stories, my students began to see themselves as writers.


“All About Me” Books


Name: Annie Huynh

School: Folk-Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School

Total Grant: $263

Dinner Grantee Winner: December 2012

Project Description: Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” For third graders, it is a crucial time for identity development. To explore, identify and analyze how they are individuals as well as parts of groups, students will engage in a project called “All About Me” books. In the early grades, students develop their personal identities related to their families, peers, schools and communities.  Thus, students will create their own hardbound book about them, including their families, favorites, places and communities, among others. This book will be shared with the whole class as a way for students to get to know each other at deeper levels. It is also a great practice in writing and can introduce multiple languages and literacies.

The Grantee Says:  With the money from PhilaSoup, our class received beautiful blank books with plastic covers.  With the extra money, a digital camera was purchased for students to borrow for taking pictures.  The students are having a great time decorating their covers and writing chapters about themselves.  They are excited to take ownership of their writing, and they find their books very precious.  We are excited to be publishing them soon.  Our students appreciate this opportunity to reflect on their lives and learn about each other.


Name: Ali Stumacher

School: Independence Charter School

Total grant: $184.25

Dinner Grantee Winner: November, 2011

Project Description: ”In the Footsteps of the Lenni-Lenape”, was the culminating experience to ICS’s third grade’s three-month history study of the Lenni Lenape people who lived in this region. The money from the PhilaSoup grant allowed 95 third grade students the opportunity to hike the same woods that Lenape communities hiked, search for plants and materials that they may have used to create tools, medicines, clothing and shelter and take part in a Primitive Skills class, where they saw authentic demonstrations of how the Lenape used certain items from nature.

The Grantee Says: Without the money from PhilaSoup, we would not have been able to pay for this wonderful experience.  The money from the grant greatly helped to offset the cost of admission to the Pennypack Environmental Center’s Lenni-Lenape studies program as well as for transportation for all of our third graders .

Memory Boxes

 Name: Jenn Curren

Total grant: $113.25


Dinner Grantee Winner: October, 2012

Project Description:  Working as a school-based therapist a common thread amongst many of my students I work with is grief and loss. My project proposal is a memory box, which is made by a student to honor a loved one who they have lost (i.e to violence, illness, old age, abandonment, etc). 


It gives the student a way to remember and talk about their loved one, collect items from their past, and to write personal notes and memories while going through the grief and loss process.

The Grantee Says: The PhilaSoup micro-grant was used to purchase wooden boxes, painting supplies, and other craft supplies to help the students create unique, meaningful, and enduring memory boxes. Students worked individually on processing the loss of their loved ones and learned to deal with grief and loss in a positive and healthy way helps impact student achievement and behavior in the classroom.