Jim Peterson

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Donald M. Black, Sr.
Barbara Bloom
Stuart Bogom
Doris L. Clinkscale
Julie Cox
Kate and Thomas Deahl
Fred Dedrick
George C. Draper
Bob Elfant
Fran Emery
Ann and Bill Ewing
David Fellner
Robert Fluhr
Dorothy Guy
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Pat Henning
Lucy Hill
The Johnson Sisters
Andre Johnson
Esther Kahn
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Kimbleton and Miller
Andy Lamas
Martha Kent Martin
The Moraks
Robert N.C. Nix II
John and Mary Nolan
Jim Peterson
Debby Pollak
Shirley Ransome
Daisy Reddick
Harold Rush
Steve Stroiman
Tim Styer
Yvonne Thompson-Friend
Mabel Williams
Dr. William Winston
Dan Winterstein

Jim Peterson

Jim Peterson’s work and his volunteer activities all center on children. He is best known to Mt. Airy residents for his work as the camp director at Allens Lane Arts Center, for his supervision of the Teen Café at the Sedgwick Cultural Center, and for his contributions to Mt. Airy Day.

Jim’s enthusiastic coaching and encouragement at Allens Lane are legendary among both his staff and his campers. Jim works with a group of counselors and campers that exemplifies the social, economic, religious, and racial diversity of Mt. Airy. He is most proud of receiving a grant from the Philadelphia Foundation in 1999 that enabled 25 kids from the Stenton Manor shelter to attend camp. “It is great to see these kids come in, mix right in, and become friends with the other kids. It is great to see the sense of community that gets developed in only eight weeks.”

Friday nights were special to the kids who attended Jim’s Teen Café at the Sedgwick last year. The Café showcases teen talent and provides a safe, healthy neighborhood hangout for teens from all parts of Mt. Airy. The Teen Café started last fall with about 20 kids. But by May over 80 were coming by on Friday nights. At the Teen Café, Jim serves as entertainer, chaperone, counselor and chauffeur. Jim says, “It was nice to see it grow and become a place where teens from all groups showed up. There were nights we had a rock band, a hip-hop group, and a cellist. So it was a nice mix, which is one of Mt. Airy’s strengths.”

 Jim teaches social studies at Simon Gratz High School where his favorite class is a service learning course in which his students volunteer to do community work. Some of Jim’s students help him run the children’s games at Mt. Airy Day. “I have students that come and volunteer at the Sedgwick. They also helped at the Reel Ball. And some of my students work at Allens Lane.” Jim always tries to “include my kids in whatever I do.” “I try to take kids from one part of the city to see another part.”

Jim enjoys his efforts on behalf of the community because he “gets a sense that I am helping teens make it through a transitional period in life. I had a bit of a rough time as a teenager, although not anything like what some of these kids face. And I had adults that came into my life and helped me out. I hope to give kids a vision of how things can be different. I try to show them that they do have power to change things and be what they want to become.”