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Swarthmore Supports Chester Community by Reaching Out Through the Arts

By Delores Freeman-Clybourn 

As we approach the end of another year, we often take time to reflect and give thanks for persons who have made a difference in our lives. As Executive Director of The Nia Center, Inc., I am proud to announce that we will be recognizing a few of these people, who have made outstanding contributions by assisting us in the promotion of cultural and educational programs in the city of Chester. The Nia Center’s 4th Anniversary Celebration is scheduled to be held on Friday, December 12th at Widener University’s Lathem Hall and will be hosting a distinguished list of honorees, such as: Yvonne Clark and Mary Clark-Lomax, caretakers of the Ruth L. Bennett property where The Nia Center is now located, Patricia Trippley-Demiranda, founder of the Trippley Foundation, Darrell Jones, Nia board member and President of Chester’s NAACP and Debby Yoder, who will represent the Community Arts Center, recipient of our “Arts Organization of the Year Award”. Unfortunately, we are unable to honor all of the deserving persons that we would like to at this event; therefore I hope this public acknowledgement may serve to inform you of the efforts of a few additional outstanding supporters, before this year passes! 

First of all, I will highlight some of Swarthmore College’s Lang Center’s efforts, and I will not only reflect on behalf of The Nia Center, but also as founder of Freeman Cultural Arts. Administrator Cynthia Jetter was a 2007 honoree, along with Debbie Kardon-Brown and Lang’s amazing team have established a longstanding record for reaching out to the Chester community in support of the arts. They have ushered many gifted students through our doors and these students have shared their talents by engaging the children in numerous creative projects, ranging from creating murals to hosting a giant puppet parade. Lang has also supported us by providing resources for grant writing, coordinators for summer camp, year-round volunteers as well as furniture donations that were needed! Of course we cannot mention Swarthmore College without acknowledging their commitment to the renowned Chester Children’s Choir through the years! 

Secondly, I would like to recognize the administrators of the Dew Drop Inn. This charming group of ladies, headed by Putty Willetts, allowed Freeman Cultural Arts to exhibit our diverse collection in February for the celebration of Black History month. They were so enthused and encouraging throughout the exhibit, they even extended the showing for an additional month. We were extremely grateful for the exposure and for the sales! One of the highlights of the exhibit was being featured on the front page of “The Swarthmorean”, a distinguished publication of the region!! 

The final organization to be acknowledged recently opened in September of this year at 15 South Chester Road - “The Creative Living Room”. Just in case you are not aware, the administrators of this new space offer creative classes for the entire family! Before they officially opened, Allison DeSalvo and her team reached out to The Nia Center by sponsoring a fundraiser in coordination with the Swarthmore’s Fun Fair. These donations were used for our scholarship fund, allowing children of Chester to benefit from a fun-filled summer camp experience. This team has also pledged continuing collaborations and be are extremely grateful. 

In addition, I would also like to thank Dianne Butera and Frank Masterpasqua, both Swarthmore residents and longtime Nia board members, for their continuing support. In closing, I thank these individuals and organizations on behalf of The Nia Center and Freeman Cultural Arts of Chester, PA., for enriching lives in our community through the arts and pray that they all be blessed during this season and throughout the New Year!!! 

FYI – The Nia Center, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that provides cultural and academic programs for children, youth and families of Chester, PA and vicinity. For more information contact: The Nia Center, 214 Reaney Street, P.O. Box #11, Chester, PA 19016, telephone # 610-485-2236.




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