by Ola Solanke

Planning for a more economically sound and vital future for Chester cannot be accomplished without having organizations and building partnerships with organizations that are focused on developing Chester’s youth. 

We are encouraging Chester’s youth to write the Biden-Harris Administration – by April 30th, 2021 – about what they would like to see changed in Chester and subsequently their future. We look to the youth to ask for more tangible and measurable help for Chester and for the critical services our respective organizations provide for the youths and residents of Chester. 

Some have wondered, why now? and why April?  Now because the needs are greater and the resolve remained largely unmeasurable. There’s also something magical about the month of April that made me think, perhaps, once a year in April the men and women organized to do good work for Chester should make it a point to apprise our elected officials, particularly the Biden Administration (and for as long as the Administration remain in office) of the great need and the resources required to move Chester forward.  It also follows that, in this hemisphere, April is the month of new growth.  Crops germinate from the ground; plants awaken from winter dormancy.  The days become longer; the sun shines brighter.  Bears open their eyes after long months of hibernation and emerge from their dens; migrating birds return to the north to sing their beautiful songs. Spring arrives; we celebrate Earth Day.  April ushers in the Summer months when the needs for our Youths even become greater.  It is a month of awakenings.

Now more than ever, Chester needs all of our help to keep the City on the Biden Administration’s radar and for all that would listen and all that can help.  The letter should simply ask for continued support for our respective organizations and a list of action items for the types of Philanthropic supports or donor partnerships to make our organizations stronger and better at meeting the needs of the community we serve. 

For example, Chester’s Economic Development Authority agency needs a dedicated, paid grant writer to help identify, write, submit, manage and develop services for several of Chester’s public service initiatives. The City is in dire need of funding to attract and retain staffers that understand and can help develop multi-generational programs that aim to address the needs of both children and parents to create opportunities and better outcomes for families. Such programs should intentionally identify, elevate, and address the specific challenges of residents and businesses. 

Post the migration of the Chester industries, and the largely unabated EPA issues stifling the wind of change for the City, Chester remained the biggest promise on the East Coast.  Chester’s only setback seems to be the shortage of support and the energy to help bridge the gaps of what seems a racial and socioeconomic inequity that permeates the levers of power. 

Government and Philanthropic partnership and support at all levels can empower the next generation of leaders with cutting-edge youth education, technology, and financial support that allows Chester to become successful. 

I hope you are as convinced as I that by embracing a pro-active mindset for Chester, we can undoubtedly bring about change much more quickly united than based on our individual efforts. Strength is in numbers as history has bore out.  So let us once again commit to yet another ordinary act for an impressive win for Chester by joining together to thank President Biden for his official visit to our City and ask that he continue to keep Chester on his radar.

We plan to exhibit copies of these letters later in the summer, so please be sure to share a copy of your letters with CMI (Chester Mentoring Initiative, a collective of ordinary people doing and accomplishing extraordinary works with Chester youth) so that it can be included in the gallery exhibit.   

Also, please be sure to copy your local elected leaders when writing the White House. They like to be in the “know” in order to support our ideas and efforts. While we can not directly email the White House, you can use the USPS address

Joseph R. Biden

President of the United State of America The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW , Washington, DC 20500.

You can then email a .pdf copy of your letter to CMI and me, using  the email addresses shown below.  In the Subject line, please indicate – POTUS letter – April 2021.  

CMI / Jeannine Fallon Anckaitis and Jamar Daniels    jeannine@chesteruplandyouthsoccer.org

Ola Solanke, Youth Advocate Strategist       oosolanke@yahoo.com

We ask that you also send a copy to the following elected officials that serve the Chester/DELCO constituent. Please email .pdf copy of your letter to the following contacts, and so that it can be included in future exhibits:

Hon. Robert Casey Jr., Senator 117th Congress  

Amanda_Toth@casey.senate.gov

Hon. Mary Gay Scanlon, House Representative, PA 5th District       malcolm.yates@mail.house.gov

Hon. Patrick J. Toomey, Senators of the 117th Congress     Lindsey_Weaver@toomey.senate.gov

Hon. Tom Wolf, Governor, Pennsylvania 

jswails@pa.gov

Hon. Senator John Kane, State Senator, 9th District 

Abby.Diebold@pa.senate.gov

Hon. Brian Kirkland, State Representative, 159th Legislative District

bkirkland@pahouse.net

Hon.  Mayor Thaddeus, Mayor, City of Chester

tkirkland@chestercity.com