Cleanup 09The City of Allentown is one of 23 cities to receive a “Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund” grant, which will help to launch “Love Our City,” a program which will focus on removing graffiti, removing litter and illegally dumped garbage.  The money from the grant will support volunteers with extra help when they identity and start improvement projects.

“Faith-based leaders, neighborhood watch groups, and community organizations will be asked to assist the city in identifying blight in their neighborhoods and recruiting volunteers to eradicate blight where they live, work and worship,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

More than 60 cities across the country applied for the grants, which range from $25,000 to $100,000.  Among the other 23 cities receiving the funding grants were Philadelphia, Buffalo, NY, and Washington, D.C.



YouthWinners6The “Catch a Young Person Doing Something Right” campaign, first launched in 2012, is an opportunity to recognize and applaud young adults who have positively contributed to the City of Allentown. The winners of this year’s campaign were honored recently at a reception at Life Church on E. Cedar St.

“Allentown is fortunate to have many committed individuals and that desire extends to our young residents. I am proud to recognize these young people and thank the adults who took the time and effort to nominate them,” said Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

Local residents who catch youths “doing something right” can submit names to the Allentown President’s Council. They received 16 nominations, and nine became winners, including one youth group.

The St. John’s Inspire Youth Group was recognized for their volunteerism. The group provides care-package-inspired backpacks for children who are entering the foster care system for the first time. Rian Ramos and Austin Wilburn were also recognized for their volunteer efforts. Ramos assists local senior citizens with chores around the house, including running errands and walking their dog, and organizes neighborhood cleanups with other teens. Wilburn actively volunteers at Midway Manor, helps at his annual neighborhood yard sale, and volunteers his assistance with local sports programs. Wilburn also helps with neighborhood landscape maintenance.

Jacob Wiesner and Genesis Dejesus were recognized for their scholastic achievement. Wiesner is known for assisting his peers and being a team player. He is kind to everyone he meets, and has one of the highest math grades in his class. Dejesus is being recognized for her level of maturity. She follows all the rules and focuses on her studies rather than falling in with a bad crowd. She has a genuine respect for everyone and works well with her peers. Katrina Maniscalo is recognized as a model student. She is a hard worker who takes initiative and always gives more than 100% on her projects. She has a knack for encouraging others and seeing only the positives in a situation.

Beangi Hidalgo Watts was nominated by her neighbor for her level of maturity and her one-track mind. She stands up against bullying and doesn’t let others stop her from obtaining her goals. She plays classical piano and volunteers to play at events in her spare time.

Yaritza Rodriguez and Isaccar Rivera are known for their hard work ethic and constant excellence. Instead of hanging out with friends, Rodriguez spends her free time volunteering in her high school’s guidance counselor’s office. Guidance counselors know they can come to her with any task and it will be completed with efficiency. Rivera graduated from his Charter School, but chose to stay with the program as a Transition Student to explore the work based program. There, he works well with others and efficiently solves conflicts among his peers with his warm attitude.

The City of Allentown is proud to see so many young adults who are making a difference in their neighborhood with selfless acts of kindness, and they deserve to be recognized. You can contact Neighborhood Coordinator Phyllis Alexander at 610-437-7679 for more information.