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Photos: Scenes from the 2021 Philadelphia Christmas Tree Lighting

Last night was one of the first big events the City (in person) has held since the pandemic. With socially distancing in mind, the City closed streets on the north side of City Hall, so folks could spread out as they choose. AND IT WAS FABULOUS. I’ve experienced the tree lighting for many years, in City Hall Courtyard, at Love Park, on the West side of City Hall and now a few times on the North side, always kinda tight because the lighting of the tree is like watching fireworks but you can be close. The production was great, this year they had a sponsor, friends section to the left of the staging area, and Philadelphians still had the best viewing spot in front of the stage, spread out along the street, and at the elevated MSB plaza.

The MSB area was sponsor village, where guests enjoyed giveaways from generous sponsors, including Boston Market, (they had a cool photo booth) Wawa (I had a few too many cookies) , Primark had a spin the wheel where guests could win pens, stickers, ear buds or a tote bag, HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE WORLD gave out kisses,

NRG gave out really cute lit Santa hats *BTW the holiday tree is powered by NRG., aren’t those hats cute?

The folks behind the scenes – Brenda Goldsmith, hands on producer of Philly Holidays, as well as so many parades and activations in the country, Sheila Hess, City Representative who’s office produced the tree lighting and Michael DelBene, President & Chief Executive of Wawa Welcome America and Philly Holidays. 2nd photo Robert Nonemacker, City Reps Office, Events and Special Projects Manager

Thanks for posing for me!!
Cashman & Associates helping out Primark

Then on Saturday December 4, 2021: It’s the

Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade

The Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade is perfect event for all Philadelphians looking for some holiday cheer! This inclusive parade will feature floats representing Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, and Christmas, with performances by local marching bands, cold air balloons of your favorite holiday characters, and much more. The parade starts in Old City at 2nd and Market, and goes towards City Hall. Any spot is a great spot to watch from, but definite stop by Primark, do some early shopping, enjoy music spinning by DJ, and take a chance on winning gift cards for shopping at Primark. Look out for the Boston Market Unity Float, and for moi as I will be giving out $5 off Boston Market coupons for use in their stores in our area. Give me a shout out and I’ll take your photo and you might see if here, or in my column at CBSPhilly.

Charity, Philadelphia

IBX Foundation Collaborates with Temple University to Create a Pathway to Nursing for Students of Color

CEO Greg Deavens, (on right) Temple president Jason Wingard with IBC Foundation Healthcare Scholars, (l to r) Hannah Mahler Sakeesha Similien, Jamirah Branch, and Justine Jones.

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) announced new grant funding for a collaboration with Temple University’s College of Public Health and Department of Nursing to create a direct pathway to nursing from high school to college for students of color. The IBC Foundation Healthcare Scholars Pipeline Program will provide full four-year scholarships, which cover tuition and educational expenses, for students of color pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at Temple University.

Dr. Lorina MarshallBlake, President of the IBC Foundation

The program will:
 Provide full 4-year academic scholarships for up to 20 students of color to pursue a Bachelor of
Science in Nursing degree from Temple
 Support students through learning communities, tutoring, and additional academic resources
 Offer mentorship and experiential learning opportunities for high school students to raise awareness of
nursing as a career and help them meet Temple admissions criteria
 Provide job placements within Temple University Health System upon graduation

Gregory E. Deavens, Independence Blue Cross president and CEO. “Independence is a champion of health equity and social change, ta

“A diverse nursing workforce is essential to providing culturally competent care in communities of color, so we must make sure nursing education is an option for all who want to enter the career,” said Gregory E. Deavens, Independence Blue Cross president and CEO. “Independence is a champion of health equity and social change, tackling challenges through partnerships like the Healthcare Scholars Pipeline Program. We are proud to work with Temple University and Philadelphia-area high schools to launch this program and mark another milestone in our twenty-year journey of support for nursing.”

Dr. Jason Wingard, president of Temple University.

“We’re immensely grateful to have the Independence Blue Cross Foundation as a partner in this important endeavor,” said Dr. Jason Wingard, president of Temple University. “Through this collaboration, our College of Public Health will facilitate the development of a pipeline of highly-talented and diverse nurses. The importance of intentionally targeting these frontline practitioners is crucial given the current complexities of the healthcare system. So, we’re excited to collaborate with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation to enhance equity and access of training in support of preparing a best-in-class workforce.”

Steve Fera is executive vice president of public affairs at Independence Blue Cross (Independence).

Senator Christine Tartaglione, Councilperson Shariff Street, Councilperson Cindy Bass, with teachers, mentors, and students from Temple

In addition to full scholarships, students will receive academic support including paid internships, learning communities and mentorships to further support their undergraduate nursing experience and academic achievement. The initial cohort will include five students from north Philadelphia and surrounding neighborhood high schools and will later expand to additional schools and up to 20 students.