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A Small Non-Profit in 2009 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •



~ growing and sustaining a community of readers, writers, and thinkers in north central philadelphia ~


“Make books your companions ; let your bookshelves be you r gardens: bask in their beauty , gather their fruit, pluck the ir roses, take their spices and myrrh. And when your soul be weary, change from garden to garden , and from prospect to prospe ct.”


— Ibn Tibbon, c.1120-1190, Medieval Spanish Jewish Sch olar —

Letter from the President of the Board of Directors Letter from the Executive Director Program Report Timeline 2009 : SURVIVOR


Statement of Activities


Board of Directors and Staff


Thank You to our Donors and Partners


Volunteer Staff


How You Can Help


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Hello, friends! This has been a memorable year, exemplified by one of Tree House’s greatest strengths – reaching acr oss borders by bringing together North Philadelphia residents, their childre n, undergraduate students, gradua te students, writers, university profess ors, social activists, filmmakers, journalists and many others. We acknowledge that Tree House has become a vital community center for many people. This is very gratifying. Beyond that, we are pleased with Tree House’s strong focus on building leaders. Darcy and her team focus diligently on creating many opportunities for people to become leaders. We have the Jun ior Staff Member program for motiva ted middle schoolers and The Roo ts Committee of volunteer leaders. We encourage anyone with an inte rest to come in and help Tree House grow. A third accomplishment that we are very proud of is Tree House’s success at producing tangible, cre ative work. Tree House has now produced or hosted many perform ance events, open mike nights, and poetry readings. And our most tan gible, and most creative work, is the third edition of our inspiring childre n’s magazine, The Ave. We had many other accomplishm ents—large and small—that we cou ld discuss. But that’s what the rest of this Annual Report is for. I thin k I can speak for the entire Board of Directors that we each are proud of and inspired by our growth in 200 9. We hope that your experience s with Tree House leave you equally exc ited. Of course, the only way tha t Tree House can sustain its wonderful accomplishments is by the continu ed support and involvement of the peo ple reading this report. With you r help, we remain confident that Tre e House Books will continue its growth, continue having an impact on many people’s lives, and continu e to grow and sustain a community of readers, writers, and thinkers.

Jonathan Weiss, President

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Jonathan Weiss, President, with a copy of The Ave.

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me: The Ga s a w is And th e team row th g t s u that, We m much o s e e ous e entir Tree H wn, th o d around e s s lo s lo ad to c out the h b a e t w e if ups uld be ks. city wo se Boo u o H e of Tre


A volunteer assists a young man at Tree House’s Tutoring Time.


staff gine the materials: one full-time It was 2009 in Philadelphia. Ima ent rec of , the worst financial moment person, two part-time staff people hin walking distance, one block from America, hundreds of children wit glue blocks, and only two half-empty one of the country’s most violent lves. Or were they half full? bottles on Tree House’s supply she sion matched up with Tree House’s mis These challenging materials were in of readers, writers, and thinkers to grow and sustain a community we fail? North Central Philadelphia. Could t we m Coordinator) and I decided tha Michael Reid (Tree House’s Progra w this was The Game: We must gro needed a game for the year. And the n, dow ch that, if we had to close the team around Tree House so mu the loss of Tree House Books. entire city would be upset about volunteers played that game. So we played that game. And our tners at Phi Sigma Sigma and the Our Temple University student par e. Our board members played; Progressive NAACP played that gam ue friends had a fundraising barbeq donors talked to their friends; our e tickets; we sold books. We for Tree House Books. We sold raffl squeaked by. l in the financial element of the But, as we were pursuing surviva ving, passionate team surrounding game, what we gained was a thri Our volunteer staff body grew to and upholding Tree House Books. a base more than tripled! And, as 26 regular members; our donor 9, re kids than ever before. In 200 direct result, we began serving mo was ily adults. The Tree House fam we served 211 children and 189 expanded and strengthened. this: Michael Wright (age 12), said it like One of our Junior Staff Members,

nition is n of Tree House Books. The defi I am going to tell you the definitio r and love ther all as one and help each othe where family and friends come toge of Tree House Books. each other. That is my definition

as nds coming together in 2009, all We are grateful for family and frie could we fail? one. With a family like this, how Warmly—

r Darcy Sebright, Executive Directo


Tutoring Time

Tutoring Time is held Tuesdays through Fridays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. During Tutoring Time, our adult volunteers and JSMs (see pg. 6 for more info on JSMs!) assist children with their homework. When homework is done, we engage the children in reading time and creative activities from playing games such as chess or trivia, to learning Spanish or knitting. Our afternoons end with a healthy snack around our round table. One of our favorite round-table activities is “One Good Thing, One Bad Thing” – we go around the table and each child shares one good thing and one bad thing that happened that day. Today our good thing is that we were able to share Tree House with you! 144 children were served in 2009.

Magazine Workshop

Magazine Workshop is held every Wednesday night from 5:30 to 7:00pm. During the workshops, we work on pieces to be included in The Ave. – our community’s literary magazine. In 2009, we focused on two themes. The first was archiving the work produced during our summer camp. The second theme was studying various African-American art forms and creating work in those styles. Students wrote their own blues, jazz, and rap lyrics, designed African masks and countries, and created art collages in the tradition of Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. Once every 6 weeks Magazine Workshop hosts International Night. During this time we get to “travel” to another country, learn about their language and culture and even try ethnic foods! This year our passport includes stamps from Mexico, Spain, Italy, and Japan. In 2009, we distributed 500 copies of The Ave. We served 91 children and 10 adults—and we hosted over 200 guests at our Open Mike Community Nights! At magazine workshop, Tree House kids work on a tribute project for children’s illustrator Jerry Pinkney.

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Executive Director Darcy Sebright sharing her guitar at the end of an open mike night.



Whic “visit”h countries did TH during B Intern a) Sp ain, Th ationastudents e Philip b) So l Nigh uth Af pines, t? rica c) Jap

, Cana The N da, Lu an et xe Antille herlands, N etherla mbourg s, Fr d) Tr e nds n c inidad h Antil Repub and Tobago les lic , Turke y, Cze See ba ch ck cov e r for th e answ er


Trying sushi for the first time at International Night!

RhouIrsVwIerAe loggaendd in3 T s2 ny

e a How m tion of volum a e r the c Ave.? of The

0 a) 20 0 b) 73 7 2 5 nswer! c) r the a cover fo k 4 c a b ) d See


ks were House Boo ld it be Q: If Tree ou hat book w a book, w ? y h and w ous le of a Fam A: “The Ta ecause a lot of ,” b Bookstore day. me every o c le p o , e 2 p 1 JSM right, age Michael W

Above: Roots volunteer Lauren Macaluso with one of her best Tree House friends. Below: Young Tree House women pose in Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens!


What Sta t Members es did the Junior Staff visit in 2 009? a) Monta

n b) Alask a and Idaho a and Ha waii c) Virgin ia and M assachus d) New etts York and Maryland

See back cover for the answ er!


Junior Staff Member (JSM) Program

The mission of the Junior Staff Member (JSM) program is to serve as an avenue of support for the youth of North Central Philadelphia as they grow into readers, writers, thinkers, and future leaders of their neighborhood. The program encourages active exploration while building and fostering personal relationships and a sense of community within Tree House Books. To be a JSM, you must be in the 6th grade or older. Our application process includes writing an essay, having an interview, and getting recommendations from community members and teachers. Junior Staff Members can often be found tutoring younger children or helping them with problems. JSMs are also found at the front of the room, helping lead community events and workshops. Our JSMs participate in their own special reading group and writing workshop with their mentor leaders, and they are rewarded based on the number of hours that they volunteer. In summer 2009, four of our JSMs who worked 90 hours went on their first beach trip to Ocean City, Maryland. And in the fall, four of our JSMs went on their first trip to New York City! To see our pictures of these reward trips, please visit our Facebook page! In 2009, we trained 10 JSM leaders.

In the second camp unit, Voice of Creativity, we found artistic inspiration in our neighborhood. We traveled to the Wagner Free Institute of Science, to the Uptown Theater, and to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens to uncover ways in which our own creativity could be stirred. Our final unit, Voice of Me, took everything we learned throughout the program and applied it to our own lives and to the future of our community. Campers wrote and performed monologues, mailed postcards from their future selves, and created a mural of what they envision for the future of their neighborhood. All artwork and writing created during the Tree Shade program was shared at a community multi-media event. And our work was published in the 3rd edition of The Ave.!

Tree Shade Summer Program

In summer 2009, students embarked on a 9-week journey exploring the surrounding Philadelphia community in the Tree Shade Summer Program: The Neighborhood Speaks. Our summer program had over 25 participants, as well as 9 adult counselors and 7 special guest artists. Our goal in summer 2009 was to explore the surrounding neighborhood and, in doing so, explore what it means to live in this particular place. The program was divided into three units, each with its own unique focus. The first unit, Voice of Philadelphia, was spent capturing the voices of our community. We focused on the sounds we heard in the community, everything from the birds chirping, to babies cooing, to the cars speeding past. Campers used digital recording equipment to capture sounds. We also had the opportunity to travel to Center City and interview Sharif Street, a former Diamond Street resident and son of the former Mayor. Campers created their own podcast from the digitally recorded interview coverage. Listen to our podcast on our web site!

Project Voice: A Duckrey In-School Workshop

Project Voice was a podcast workshop that focused on personal narrative as a way to explore and improve reading and writing skills. Tree House ran this workshop at nearby Tanner G. Duckrey School with 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students. For their podcasts, students interviewed family members and community members; these interviews served to improve parent-school relationships and to capture recent and personal histories. In 2009, 36 students completed Project Voice projects.

Our Bookstore

Community Events

Our bookstore is stocked with new and lightly-used books. We specialize in children’s books and African-American literature. We offer books at affordable prices to encourage literacy and an appreciation for reading. Consistently, we give away more books than we sell. In 2009, we gave away 2,500 books.

Our community events provide a space where members of the community can share their ideas, artwork, concerns, and writing with one another. Some of our monthly events include holiday parties, open microphone readings, film screenings, round-table discussions, and writing and art workshops.

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Summer campers interview Sharif Street.

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Books e House e r T n a c ? Q: How improve h I knew e. I wis reat r o m e rtis ag A: Adve it sooner. It’s unity. t m u om abo in the c ge 13 Asad, a program

ib dur-Raq er of Ab th o m , d sa Renee A

A young man reads his work published in The Ave. at our Magazine Release Party.





7.9% 11.1%


55.0% 21.4%




Jonathan Weiss, President

January 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009

Managing Partner TempleTown Realty 


Barbara Easley-Cox, Vice-President




Donor Contributions



Program Income and Fees



Fundraising Events



Book Sales



Space Usage Fees


Excess Cash Carry Forward from 2008



Liability Income: Bridge Loan

Walter Jordan-Davis, Ph.D., Secretary

Mobilization and Outreach Director National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 

Robert Balazs, Treasurer President Renova Homes 



Total Revenue:

Tree House Books Volunteer & Community Advocate Community Resident 

David E. Baugh


Principal Tanner G. Duckrey School

Star Bocasan

Marketing Manager TempleTown Realty


Eli Goldblatt, Ph.D.

Payroll & Staffing






General Operations





Professional Fees



Volunteer Board and Staff Development




Total Expenses: Year End Balance:

$90,163.00 $353.00

Notes: Tree House will be completing its first audit in 2010. Cash Carry Forward and Liability Income are not reflected in 2009 Revenue graph and percentages

Executive Director New City Writing Temple University, Associate Professor Temple University, English Department 

David Kasievich

Director of Development Community Partnership School

Yvonne King, Ph.D.

Academic Coordinator College Achievement Partnership Community College of Philadelphia


Darcy Sebright

Executive Director

Michael Reid

Program Coordinator

Danielle Mancinelli

Junior Staff Member Coordinator Summer Camp Coordinator

Elizabeth Earnshaw

Junior Staff Member Coordinator

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2.3% 4.0%


Presenting the final results from a Magazine Workshop writing game.

Learning origami at International Night!

Waiting for the subway, on our way to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens!


THANK YOU to our DONORs and PARTNERs All of the magic Tree House Books helped cause this year was the direct result of the strength and commitment of our team of donors and partners. We are grateful for the support of our remarkable, growing team.



The Coleman Foundation Grant from New City Writing, funded by a gift from Verizon Foundation to Temple University The Samuel S. Fels Fund Wachovia Regional Foundation

Anonymous Beech Community Services: HERB program Robert Balazs Mary Francis Baugh Eric Berley Star Bocasan Constance & Michael Bova William Brimberry David & Kim Bushnell Dwight & Linda Carey Cedar Park Presbyterian Church Christ’s Evangelical Lutheran Church The Church of the Redeemer Jim & Colleen DiRaddo The Do-Gooders Club Kevin Duffy and F.X. Duffy & Co. Lawrence & Marsha Dworkin Barbara Easley-Cox Esther Ellis Franklin Fountain Nancy Geryk Eli Goldblatt & Wendy Osterweil Great Oak Capital: Pete Statz & Brad Sinrod Scott & Brenda Gustafson Marie Hoguet & Kyle Sundin Brian Hostetler John & Mary Ann Judge David Kasievich & Andrew Kellner Yvonne King Suzanne Latham Amanda Lisle

[gifts of $5,000 or more]



gifts of $1,000 -

The Barra Foundation George & Stephen Dail Walter & Jackie Jordan-Davis The Alfred & Mary Douty Foundation The Allen Hilles Fund Anthony Magoch Philadelphia Commercial Development Corporation Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) Union Benevolent Association Wachovia Wells Fargo Community Partner Program Jonathan & Jacquelyn Weiss The Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial



of $100 - $999]


How m House any books year? Books give did Tree away a) 40 this

00 b) 25 00 c) 13 00 d) 12


ity mun rve m o c e s THB many How bers did mem 2009? g durin 00 a) 4 0 0 2 ) b 00 c) 5 7 1 d)


How ma were many wrestling mas Books? de at Tree Hous ks e

a) 4 b) 3 c) 2 d) 1

See back cover for the answers!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Michael & Linda Luetzow Sandy Martin Robert Mason, Jr. Scott & Kim Meyer Allen & Prue Miller Joseph & Nancy Nath Phi Sigma Sigma Chapter at Temple University Chip Pressman Prince of Peace Ministries, Inc. & Pastor Robert Shipman Eugene & Brenda Reid Carolee & Tim Risk Ruins Recycled: TR, Marcie, & Jagger Risk Yvonne Shipman Greg & Lynsey Silvesti Howard Sitron Will Smith, Sr. & PTME Productions Rochelle & James Solomon Sydenham Commons & Chris Vecchiarelli Temple University Honors Program TempleTown Realty Patricia Thomas Alan Wohlstetter, Jr. Lori Yamashita


of $50 - $99]

Ben Adams Donna & Jerome Allender Art Sanctuary Tibor & Edith Balazs Michael Bartolo Julia Blumenreich Bill & Jody Charles Joan E. Clarke Tracy-Elizabeth Clay Fai Coffin Desiree Nicholas Cox Bonita Cummings Mary DeJong Kevin & Beth Dougherty Scott Geryk

Terry & John Hannon Amy & Lee Huang Paul & Lisa Jendrek Jay Kamin Salvatore & Carrie Macaluso James Marr, Jr. Kimberton & Joy Messner Adrian Moody Nicole Necoechea Chelsea Newton Mary Faith Puskar Lillie Reid Jane Rose Linda Sall David Seidler Darcella Sessomes Richard & Gloria Shiavi Roberta Sloan Craig & Patricia Swanson John Turner

FRIENds [gifts of $1 - $49]

Stephen Ampofo & Joyce Amoako Lawrence & Joann Baietti Timothy & Khristina Barnes Lemont Bell Charlie & Kristen Brown Daman Camara Demetrius Carroll Denise Carter Michael Costa Omari Dyson Lucy Edwards Josina & Michael Guess Jaime Howard Rachel Buchman Howe Emily Inlow-Hood Carolina Huaranca Adam Lang David & Hertha Lange Robert & Dorothy Larson Mr. & Mrs. James Lynch Wendy & Matthew Mahlik Matthew & Bonnie Marshall James & Dianne McCloud Helen Menges

Yve-Car Momperousse Kathleen O’Donnell & Deborah Zubow Taryn Ortlip Joyce Platfoot & James Caccamo Phyllis Roberts Sue & Harold Rosenthal Cindy Ross Jeff Salkowski Kristen Schier Bill Sloyer Carli Steiner Meghan Stephens Melanie Taylor Veronique Valcu Ken & Sandie Vossler Naeemah Wilson Paul E. Wright & Kerri Lynn Kennedy

The Progressive NAACP of Temple University Robin’s Bookstore & Paul Hogan Safe Place & Kofi Smith Stimulant Design Tanner G. Duckrey School Temple University’s College of Education & Dean Kent McGuire Temple University’s Community Relations Department & L. Harrison Jay Temple University’s Geography and Urban Studies Program & Andrew Buss Temple University’s New City Writing: Institute for the Study of Literature, Literacy and Culture

These Extraordinary Friends provided TREE HOUsE BOOKs ACKNOWLEDGEs creative vision, time, and support THE CONTRIBUTIONs OF THEsE beyond reason: Evangelista Castro COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Alpha Phi Alpha of Temple University Art Sanctuary Banana Republic & Rashima Sonson Donna & Otis Bullock Children of the New Era Coo’s Sports Bar & Lounge and Tom & Mike Fario Delta Sigma Theta of Temple University The Franklin Fountain & Eric Berley Hewlett-Packard’s U.S. Employee Product Giving Program The Junior League of Philadelphia North Philadelphia Arts and Culture Alliance Taryn Ortlip Phi Sigma Sigma of Temple University

Sean Chambers City View Pizza Cassandra Oryl Elizabeth Parks Sharif Street Lori Yamashita


Q: If Tree H ouse Books we a superhero , which supe re rhero would it be and why? A: Wordgirl, because she is smart and h elps people. M eajah Trice, age 8

Learning about African maskmaking with Program Coordinator, Michael Reid.

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Book ouse

VOLUNTEER sTAFF Nearly 70 volunteers contributed 2400 hours of work to support the work at Tree House Books in 2009.  Several of our volunteers come to us from Temple University and are studying a variety of disciplines, such as Political Science, English, Journalism, Elementary Education, International Business, Spanish, and Art Education.  We have hosted teams of volunteers from the Junior League of Philadelphia, Phi Sigma Sigma, Alpha Phi Alpha, and the Progressive NAACP.  Some of our volunteers are neighborhood residents. Our volunteers are extraordinary people; their investment of time and energy is causing growth at Tree House that would not happen, apart from their commitment. We acknowledge the following individuals for their steady and powerful work at Tree House.  These individuals contributed 50 or more hours of their time to support the mission of Tree House Books in 2009. 

Volunteer Staff:

Junior Volunteer Staff Members:

Hali Baumstein

Shaqujan Fowler

Rebecca Bleznak

Christian Holmes

Star Bocasan

Zalika Moore

Elizabeth Earnshaw

Nyseem Smith

Barbara Easley-Cox

Terron Wallace

Melissa Itidiare

Candace Watson

Satia Koroma

Nona Watson

Lauren Macaluso

Khala Wharton

Peter Maganas

Ijshayna Williams

Danielle Mancinelli

Michael Wright


It’s amazing how the smallest thin gs can have the biggest impact. After Tutoring Time, one of the residents of the community came by to pick up her two grandchildren, and she asked me if they had shown me their report cards. Before they could respond, she enthusiastically sta rted talking about their school year. It’s been amazing. I went to pick them up from school, and their teachers were saying how the ir reading has improved, and how much their writing has improved. I’m telling you. They were telling me about the diff erence they can see in them. They asked me what I’m doing different. I told them about y’all: ‘I’ve been sending the m to this after school program where they really work with them. They work with the kids.’ I’m saying every kid in the neighborhood should go here. Send them all here. This conversation was just one of the many little miracles that occurred throughout the year, and these miracles are the direct res ult of everyone who has ever suppor ted us. I am always amazed tha t whenever I feel that Tree House is missing something, that exact thing somehow appears. You have cre ated miracles for us and can con tinue to do so, which is why we’ve incl uded this wish list. Everything tha t happens here belongs to all of the people who give themselves, the ir money, or their time. Sincerely,

Michael D. Reid Program Coordinator

Elizabeth Parks Lily Sitron David Starr


Volunteer staff member Sharon Turner stands with a recent middleschool graduate!

Add your card to the Tree House! Books deckr Support ou 0 1 work in 20 r — It’s you move!



Q: Wh notice at differenc es d comin in him sinc have you e g to Tr ee Ho he started u A: He se Boo w ks? resista ants to read n m t when o Renee I ask h re and isn’t Asad, mothe im to read r of Ab dur-Ra . qib A

Sharon Turner

ree H can T rove? w o Q: H imp ttle n a li ys. e p o da tay Satur ers ybe s nd A: Ma r open on ni Sa ro f Mala and 8 e o g r n e h lo 13 , mot ages Trice rice, Dawn Meajah T d an

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Core Tree House volunteer Danielle Mancinelli smiles with her young friends.

Showing off our Magazine Workshop projects!

sad, ag e 13


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rove? ooks imp B e s u o H can Tree ks Q: How ouse Boo H e e r T sa n there wa e childre A: I wish ner so that all th cor need. on each elp they h e h t t e nd can g Quymir a er of randmoth g , y e ff o 7 and 8 Daisy C ey, ages ff o C h a y An

Children from Tree House stand with members of Alpha Phi Alpha at the Constitution Center.

TRIVIA A nswers Pg 5, Q 1: A Pg 5, Q 2, B Pg 6: D Pg 12: B Pg 13, Q Pg 13, 1: A Q2: D


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1430 W. Susquehanna Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19121 (215) 236-1760

Tree House Books Annual Report 2009