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Staff Blog: What Do You Care About? Answers from the Trenton Ave Arts Festival

By Shannon Collins |

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When my co-worker Monica told our staff at Generocity about the Trenton Ave Arts Festival, which has been happening right in her backyard in Fishtown for the past six years, it didn’t take any convincing for us to sign up as a community vendor. We knew we wanted to start getting out there more in Philadelphia neighborhoods to find out what causes people care about.

On Saturday, my fiancé Pete and I made our way to the intersection of Norris Street and Trenton Avenue, where crowds of people were browsing tables filled with art and chatting with community vendors. We soon arrived at the Generocity table, where Monica was found steadily filling balloons with helium alongside the newest addition to the Generocity team—our editorial intern, William. Pete and I came with miscellaneous last-minute supplies in tow, most importantly sunscreen and water.

Our table was sandwiched between two nonprofits I have grown very familiar with during my past six months as Content Manager at Generocity: The Resource Exchange (where we had our first social good meetup) and PAWS. I was quickly greeted by Austin, a panting 9-year-old, black cocker spaniel that wore an “Adopt Me” vest and kept our tent neighbors at PAWS company for the afternoon.

579276_10150858481508778_176952938777_9969930_1160672636_nOur staff planned to get passersby involved by asking them to share the causes they care about by writing their responses on hundreds of green, blue, and purple balloons. I was surprised by how honest strangers were being when I approached them to ask what local issues they cared about most.

Teachers were anxious to share their frustrations about Philadelphia’s school system. Parents were hopeful for cleaner streets and parks. Teens were ready to dive into conversations about transportation efficiency, LGBT awareness, or their musical experiences at nonprofits like Rock to the Future. Friends came by to start new conversations about things like equal access to art, digital illiteracy, cleaner water, and sustainability. Children half the size of me expressed concerns about bullying in school and healthy eating in the cafeteria. Of course there were also some entertaining responses from the younger kids who cared about things like “balloons,” “lions,” and trucks.”

I’ll admit, prying myself away from my laptop is no easy feat, but being able to interact with the community members I try to reach on a daily basis through content was just what I needed to get even more pumped about the work week ahead. I might have missed the main feature of the festival, the Kinetic Sculpture Derby, but for me, the most valuable part of the day was without a doubt getting to know the people who make up our community and finding out how we can make Philadelphia an even better place to live.

For those of you who weren’t able to join us, we posted and shared the photos on our Facebook page. As always, feel free to comment below with the causes that are most important to you.

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