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‘Crafting a better world, block by block

“Quality pre-k has profoundly impacted the lives of Sam and his family for the better.” Melissa Blatz, director at Beautiful Beginnings.

Here’s a quick story about how high quality pre-k can change the lives of families in our region and why continued expansion is so important to Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware counties.

Until the major expansion of quality pre-k in Philadelphia, one family just couldn’t catch a break.

Their son, whom we’ll call Sam, had been expelled from 3 previous centers for problematic behavior and they were stuck. You can imagine the stress this not uncommon dilemma Sam’s family faced, and the chaos it brought to their lives and jobs.

But thanks to PHL Pre-K, the pre-k expansion made possible by the City’s much vaunted (and coveted) beverage tax, Sam’s parents enrolled him in one of the 11 new seats at Beautiful Beginnings, a high quality (3 Star) child care center in Northeast Philadelphia.
Sam’s family knew PHL Pre-K didn’t allow for expulsions…and that’s how this 4-year-old’s destiny was changed forever.

Beautiful Beginnings’ director Melissa Blatz quickly realized that Sam needed special supports thanks to her training. She worked closely with his parents to get him quickly evaluated for Early Intervention, where he was diagnosed with autism. He gets additional therapies now and is doing amazingly well in a classroom with typically developing children.

That’s the difference high quality pre-k makes in the lives of families.

It’s a proven poverty-fighter, it prepares them for success in school by giving them tools that they’ll use for their entire academic careers, and it helps parents in the workplace. That’s why parents across Pennsylvania are demanding greater access to affordable, quality pre-k.

And that’s why PCCY continues to advocate for these critical investments at the state and local levels of government, seeking innovative, sometimes groundbreaking approaches to affect change that makes our communities stronger, block by block.

Mayor Kenney often credits PCCY as critical to the success of the implementation of the beverage tax, the landmark campaign that made international headlines.

We’re about to make headlines again, but this time we’re using Redstone, Ender Dragons, and Enchanted Pick-axes. You may not know what those are but we guarantee that you know a young gamer who does.

Minecraft is one of the most popular video games ever and just happens to be a game that encourages creative thinking, exploration and collaborative play and has been embraced by educators all over the world as a new tool to engage with their students.

How Minecraft is played  is entirely up to who is playing, whether you want to build structures or sculptures using cube building blocks or explore the ‘open’ world and embark on adventures alone or with friends.

On September 16-17, PCCY is holding a first-of-its kind fundraiser combining a safe, kids-only video gaming event for players and a Philly-style, Minecraft-themed block party for friends and family. It’s called the Block By Block Party, hosted by the University of the Sciences at their beautiful and modern West Philadelphia campus.

Proceeds of the event will help bring hi-tech tools to Philadelphia public schools and support PCCY.

Here’s where you can help:

  1. Spread the word to families you know so they can grab their tickets before we sell out.
  2. Volunteer for any number of critical roles at the event and make it a success.
  3. Sponsor the first annual Block By Block Party at the corporate or personal level.

You’ll be hearing more about this very special event in the weeks to come. In the meantime, you can purchase tickets now or learn more on the Block By Block page.


Our members of the U.S. Congress took a stand to protect kids and vote against repealing the ACA.
Add your name to this powerful letter thanking them and urging them to stand up for kids again!



Sudden weekend State Senate Appropriations vote on massive, undefined charter school overhaul? Seriously?!





Know a kid who loves Minecraft? Tell your friends about PCCY’s Block By Block Party, September 16-17.

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“Final message: [Senator Anthony] Williams is on record as opposing the tax, but if he isn’t going to do anything about it he should step aside and keep quiet.” Editorial Board, Philadelphia Inquirier.