Saint Michael has supported and collaborated with the St. Philip’s School and Community Center in numerous ways for decades. St. Philip’s, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in South Dallas, originated through the active interest of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and local African American Episcopalians to start a black Episcopal church in South Dallas in the late 1940s. In striving to fulfill the needs of the local community, the burgeoning church began offering programs, especially after school activities, specifically targeted to meet the needs of youth in the community. The school has grown into a highly competitive, independent PreK2–8th grade institution with a rich reputation for educating children to be confident, morally strong, intelligent, and caring leaders. St. Philip’s Community Center provides a wide array of social services to families in the neighborhood, with special focus on sports and after school programs for community children, support for health and nutrition, and needs of senior citizens. St. Philip’s also is at the forefront of providing quality, affordable housing, and economic development to South Dallas.
Our good friends at St. Philip’s School and Community Center offer an extensive summer program this year, supported in part by SMAA. This summer St. Philip’s had approximately 200 students ranging from PK2–8th grade, registered for six weekly sessions, from June 12–July 28. 62% of the campers live in the St. Philip’s neighborhood; the balance are students enrolled in the St. Philip’s School.
During its summer camp St. Philip’s seeks to:
- Stop summer learning loss
- Spark the interest in science and engineering
- Create career interest in technology
- Provide experiences of academic achievement in a fun environment
- Use art to motivate achievement and brain development
- Explore creativity
- Give opportunities to play, create, and learn in non-traditional ways that emphasize real-world collaboration skills; and
- Build friendships that last beyond the summer.
The summer program focuses on academic lessons in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (“STEAM”) with a common thread of reading. Each session will also provide sports and exercise activities and crafts projects. Weekly enrichment lessons focus on physical, mental, and emotional wellness, and on STEAM education. At St. Philip’s STEAM is more than just a buzzword or an add on to STEM. It is an educational model that builds the creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills students will need in the 21st Century workforce. It may also be a key to solving humanity’s biggest challenges in the years to come.
During the first week of St. Philip’s 2023 camp, the PreK 4 class worked on the difference between diffusion and osmosis. The kindergarten class explored engineering, specifically how to build stable towers using toothpicks and marshmallows. First graders considered a “sink or float” science experiment, to observe and pre- dict whether different objects will sink or float in water. 5th and 6th grade students demonstrated eight phases of the moon using Oreos.
Saint Michael and the Saint Michael Episcopal School reached out in the spring to St. Philip’s to inquire how SMAA can support the St. Philip’s summer camps. In response, SMES has delivered several dozen books and assisted in arranging small libraries in each classroom during the summer programs, when the St. Philip’s librarian is off duty. Additionally, SMES provided a large number of reusable water bottles, lots of Legos, several dozen board games, and writing supplies for use in the summer camp.
Prominent among St. Philip’s social service offerings, Aunt Bette’s Community Pantry is a client-choice food pantry located in the heart of South Dallas. Aunt Bette’s Pantry provides quality food items to hungry individuals and families. This program supplies critical nutrition to households experiencing food insecurity. SMAA has supported Aunt Bette’s pantry since its creation; many SMAA parishioners volunteer at the pantry. Summer camp students enrolled in the 5th–8th grades work alongside volunteers (including volunteers from SMAA) at Aunt Bette’s Community Pantry on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays during the summer program.
St. Philip’s appreciates the abiding support for its programs, especially these summer programs, from SMAA and SMES.
For more info or to volunteer, contact the Rev. Robin H. Hinkle, Associate for Mission & Outreach, at [email protected].
**This article was written by David Cowling and was featured in the 2023 Fall Archangel.