New Executive Director for ACHIEVEability

ACHIEVEability is pleased to announce the appointment of Jamila Harris-Morrison as its new Executive Director. Jamila has been part of the organization for more than 10 years. “We are thrilled to welcome Jamila into the role of Executive Director. She has been a tremendous leader at the organization for more than a decade,” says Tim Thornton, President of the Board of Directors for ACHIEVEability and Director at Philly 311. “Jamila is committed to deepening our commitment to West Philadelphia residents and her experience and focus on the work is a perfect fit as we continue to expand our self-sufficiency services.”

whosnextcommunity-march2017-jamillaharrismorrison-1024x683Jamila previously held roles as ACHIEVEability’s Deputy Director and Director of Self-Sufficiency. A lifelong Philadelphian and advocate for vulnerable families, Jamila has dedicated her career to helping vulnerable families to reach their full potential as contributors to a vibrant community. “This community means so much to me - I am excited to represent our work and advocate for the values of ACHIEVEability,” says Jamila. While the poverty level in Philadelphia is an astounding 26%, the community served by ACHIEVEability sits at 37%. “Our work is needed now more than ever – we have to do better for the families of Philadelphia. Let’s step up and work together to solve poverty – one family at a time.”

Jamila graduated with honors from Clark University with a degree in Psychology and is a Master of Social Work candidate May 2017 at University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. Ms. Harris-Morrison has over 15 years of experience in counseling, educational and evaluative services for children and adults. Billy Penn recently featured Ms. Harris-Morrison as one of Philadelphia’s Upcoming Community Leaders.

 “Our future is bright!” notes Jamila as she speaks of their strategic alliance with Mission First Housing Group, formed in 2015 to enhance ACHIEVEability’s operations and management of its 144 affordable housing units. In fact, Mission First and ACHIEVEability will be closing on a new housing project, Haddington III Preservation Initiative, in the coming months, which will preserve 48 housing units for program participants. 

Jamila also lends her expertise and compassion to other organizations outside of ACHIEVEability. She is a mentor for Philadelphia Futures, and is a member of Women’s Way – Young Women Initiative, as well as the National Association of Black Social Workers.


60th Street Corridor Impact

As neighbors, it is important that we all play a part in creating a healthy, thriving community by maintaining clean streets. ACHIEVEability is committed to playing our part in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and the Department of Commerce.

In partnership with PHS’s Community LandCare program and Cherry Blossoms Landscaping,150 addresses receive monthly care and maintenance throughout Haddington and Cobbs Creek. According to research done by Dr. Charles Branas, Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, neighborhood greening is linked to significant reductions in certain crimes, such as gun assaults, as indicators linked to stress.


Additionally, ACHIEVEability works with ‘Brothers of Nature’ and the Department of Commerce, to provide cleaning and sweeping services along the 60th Street Commercial Corridor. In January alone, Brothers of Nature picked up more than 150 bags of trash. It’s our goal to empower residents to take ownership over the well-being of the neighborhood.


Drexel Side-by-Side

Drexel University is hosting a free side-by-side course for residents of West Philadelphia at ACHIEVEability’s offices. This unique course format brings college students and community residents or organizations together in classes taught by distinguished Drexel faculty. The goal of the courses is to create a mutually respectful learning environment where everyone can learn from each other and benefit from the experiences and perspectives of their classmates. We welcome members of our community to join these classes to learn and to share in this active learning model so we may work together to co-create solutions to social problems. There is no cost or education requirements for community students and all materials will be provided. The only requirements are simply registering for the course and making a commitment to attend every class.


Here is information on the next class:

ENGL 323: Storytelling Through Mural Arts (Wednesdays from 5:30-8:00PM; April 3, 2017 through June 12, 2017)

Murals tell stories: about neighborhoods and communities, about individuals and their families, and about significant events in our histories. Students will research the context of a series of murals in Philadelphia, explore the process of community and artistic collaboration that produced them, and participate in a guided tour. Please call Special Projects Manager Griffith Ridgway at 215-557-8484 ext. 8826 for more information. Registration is open through March 31, 2017 on a first-come, first-served basis.


Pay What You Can Dress Rehearsal at The Arden Theatre Company

Thank you to all who attended the Pay What You Can Dress Rehearsal at the Arden Theatre Company on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. The event, which included the production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, was a great success raising essential funds for the ACHIEVEability families and community.


The event included a wonderful pre-show reception which was catered by Food for Thought featured chef/restaurant, David Simms and Eatible Delights Catering. A special thanks to Board Member Shannon Farmer and The Arden Theatre Company for helping to bring this opportunity to life.




Need in Deed

For the first time this year, ACHIEVEability Senior Coach Harold Barrow participated in Need in Deed, an organization connecting the classroom with the community. On Wednesday, February 1, 2016, Harold provided his expertise on homelessness and poverty by speaking to a classroom of more than 30 fifth grade students at General George McCall Elementary School in Philadelphia's Washington Square neighborhood. The students were enthralled by Harold's presentation and said that he was the best speaker they've heard!


Need in Deed works with over 80 public school teachers around Philadelphia, helping to bring real world learning and resources to their students about social issues selected by the students. ACHIEVEability and Harold Barrow are proud to support such a great program and classroom.


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