PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - It's an area that's regularly in the news as an example of Philadelphia's growing heroin epidemic. Kensington residents tell us there's much more to their neighborhood. FOX 29's Bill Anderson was there as dozens of volunteers tried to change the perception of their community and bring in some hope... For Goodness Sake
“This morning I got up, got dressed, get myself together to take my grandkid to school and once we open the door I see a guy sitting on the step and then I notice a needle hanging out of his arm.”
It's probably cliché to say but it has been a long time since the area around Hope Park has had very much hope. But Thursday, the city, salvation army, volunteers and neighbors spent hours painting, cleaning and picking up needles trying to show that even in tough circumstances they’re not ready to give up.
“I’ve lived over here for almost 35 years. I’m the oldest over here in this block. I want my community back," the block captain said.
If you know the area you know that it’s a struggle for neighbors, often surrounded by drugs, but what made the biggest impact on me was Joseph. A boy FOX 29's Bill Anderson met in between cleaning and his curiosity about TV shared the harsh influences a child his age shouldn’t have to deal with.
“What do you wanna be when you grow up?" Anderson asked, Joseph replied, "A cop!" "Why do you wanna be a cop?" Anderson asked "I can take everybody to jail who sells drugs," Joseph said.
A tribute to his parents, he already has developed the protective instincts.
“So are you helping clean up today? Yeah. Why? Because, So that the other kids don’t get hurt.”
And that goal for the day was largely accomplished as the new sign of hope emerged and the work of the day was complete.
For a short time, the presence of so many people provided the kids the freedom to wander, play and the community.