In our 2nd week of our #GiveBackBuildUp campaign we are focused on the organizations in and around Philadelphia that support the wellbeing and advancement of Philadelphians in some way. Each week of our efforts during #GiveBackBuildUp we have chosen an intentional project aimed at living out our mission to do more than build buildings. This week we partnered with Aquinas Center as the recipient of our #GiveBackBuildUp efforts on the organizational level.
The Aquinas Center is located in South Philly and is used by “over 550 people weekly” with the mission to “build unity in diversity, support learning, and inspire thoughtful action.” We have tried in small ways to offer ongoing support to Aquinas Center for numerous reasons, however their authentic commitment to, “hospitality, solidarity, responsiveness, and transformation” is one we not only admire, and appreciate, but that we hope to advocate and mirror ourselves within our work.
The holidays encouraged us to do something special and in particular as we challenge ourselves to #GiveBackBuildUp. So with the help of Executive Director, Bethany Welch, we teamed up with I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA and ESOL (English as a Second Language) Program Manager at Aquinas Center, Mara Imms-Donnelly to pick out and purchase books for her English students that would be given at their end of the semester Christmas party.
This is a meaningful event on many levels for the instructors and adult ESOL students. She shared with us that,
“All semester, students have been working at their English, which we are celebrating tonight. But we’re celebrating more than just a class completed or a language learned.
We’re celebrating a shared space, occupied by people with a varied array of experiences, cultures, and languages. We’re celebrating the co-learning of our students, volunteers, and teachers in communicating, and more importantly, connecting, with one another.”
We were honored to be invited to the celebration and witness the students receive their books, but beyond that to witness that connection. While at Aquinas Center Raza Properties’ CEO Rahil Raza and his family got a glimpse of a community that respects differences, celebrates hard work, welcomes all, and is building a different type of foundation than we find on our construction sites, but a foundation that is high quality and enduring nonetheless. That is a community we want to support and an energy we want to spread throughout Philadelphia. Thank you Aquinas Center and congratulations to ESOL students on the completion of their semester. #GiveBackBuildUp
To learn more about how you can support the mission of Aquinas Center visit their website or call today.