1.) Superstar country singer Carrie Underwood performed last night at the Wells Fargo Center. The show was said to be spectacular. Before Underwood hit the stage, however, she had a very special meet-and-greet with one lucky military family. The Martin family from Bucks County consists of parents John and Cara, as well as their two little girls. John has undertaken three overseas tours of duty during his time in the military, and after ten years of marriage, the Martins still have not taken a honeymoon. The family received a very special surprise from Underwood, in conjunction with Carnival and Operation Homefront: a free cruise in the fall, during which Underwood will perform a private concert for about 1,000 military families. Monday night’s show was the first of ten stops along Underwood’s tour during which she will meet with military families and thank them for their service.
2.) February is Black History Month, but the education about African American life goes on all year long at West Philadelphia’s Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School. The school’s students start every day with a pledge to become the new “leaders, teachers of the African world.” The school, established in 1997, was Philadelphia’s first African American charter school. School Chief Executive Officer Sandra Dungee Glenn says that other schools don’t give students an accurate perception of who they are or what their history happens to be. According to CBS Local, students are taught “ideals like confidence, justice, and independence.” Teachers are called mama and baba instead of Ms. or Mr., all the better to make the school feel more like a family. Students from all backgrounds are accepted, but the school is overwhelmingly African American in demographics.
3.) According to the American Community Survey, over half of the adults in Philadelphia have a high school diploma or less. Adult illiteracy is a bigger problem in our community than many realize. The Center for Social Policy and Community Development at Temple contributes to a bigger program in Philadelphia called myPLACE, which was developed by the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy in 2014. The commission works with over 80 programs to provide adult literacy education. Through CSPCD, adults can take part in literacy classes and GED training courses by way of a program called Workforce Education and Lifelong Learning. According to the Center for Literacy, some 550,000 adults in Philadelphia struggle to fill out job applications due to low literacy. These programs that help are plagued by funding issues, however. The Center for Literacy, for example, had 38.4 percent less revenue in 2013 than in 2010.