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Joint Effort to prohibit Fireaårms from Recreation Facilities

Council President Clarke, Councilmembers, State Legislators announce Joint Effort to prohibit Firearms and 0ther Deadly Weapons from City Parks and Recreation Facilities


City Council President Darrell Clarke (5th District), flanked by members of City Council and the Pennsylvania General Assembly, announced a joint legislative effort  to prohibit firearms and other deadly weapons from being possessed at Philadelphia parks and recreation centers.

 Following several incidents of gun violence at city playgrounds in recent weeks, Council President Clarke announced a renewed effort to prohibit guns and other deadly weapons at city recreational facilities. This time, state legislators are part of the city’s efforts and promised similar efforts in Harrisburg.

 “We cannot sit idly by as gunfire erupts and disrupts the safe havens that our city rec centers and playgrounds are,” Council President Clarke said. “We’re taking legislative action in Philadelphia to prohibit guns and other deadly weapons at any recreation facility in our city, and our legislative delegation in Harrisburg is focused on similar action to enable our public safety efforts. We own and operate these rec centers and parks, and we have every right to set reasonable rules and regulations to protect our kids and adults from harm.”

Council President Clarke was joined at the Mander Recreation Center in Strawberry Mansion by City Councilmember Cindy Bass (8th District), chair of Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee and by state legislators – Rep. Donna Bullock (195th District), Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (190th District) and Sen. Vincent Hughes (7th District).

Rep. Bullock said her staff was planning to introduce state legislation in Harrisburg this fall that will enable Philadelphia to take this legislation action locally to prohibit firearms at city recreation centers.

“If the Commonwealth allows us to prohibit firearms in courtrooms, then it should permit Philadelphia to prohibit guns and other deadly weapons at city recreation facilities,” Rep. Bullock said. “Members of the Philadelphia delegation are working closely with Council President Clarke and all of City Council on a number of public safety initiatives to curb gun violence in our city.” 

City Council and the Mayor’s Office approved legislation in 2013 that prohibited firearms at city recreation facilities, but there was no similar legislative step in Harrisburg, and the city law was not enforced.  Harrisburg support in the form of enabling legislation is essential as Philadelphia takes action to protect its citizens from gun violence.

Two incidents of gun violence erupted at city playgrounds in the last month. In June, six people were shot, one fatally, at the Finnegan Playground in Southwest Philadelphia following a graduation party and cookout. Earlier this month, seven people were wounded by gunfire at the Baker Playground in Overbrook during a basketball tournament. 

A total of 526 crimes were committed – including 18 gun crimes – at city recreation centers in 2018, according to data supplied to City Council in May by the Parks and Recreation Department. Two murders were committed at city recreation facilities last year.

 Citywide, there have been 639 shootings so far in 2019, and 820 individuals have been arrested for illegal possession of firearms.

 “We’re going to do whatever it takes to stem this tide of gun violence in our city, and we’re going to make city recreation centers safe havens for every child in our city,” Council President Clarke said. 

Darrell L. Clarke represents the 5th Council District and serves as President of Philadelphia City Council, the 17-member legislative body of Philadelphia City government. A lifelong resident of North Philadelphia and an equitable housing and public education advocate, Council President Clarke works to ensure that every neighborhood in Philadelphia is a community of choice. 

Read more, Scoop USA Media, July 26, 2019 page 3

PhillySeeds awards college scholarships to 70 PHA residents

PhillySEEDS, Inc., a Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) subsidiary, has honored 70 PHA residents seeking higher education with $258,000 in scholarships.

PHA resident Amani Ball is going into her fourth year at the University of the Arts as a Dance major. She has won a $5,000 scholarship for the fourth straight year.

“I just stayed focused and determined on my goals, making sure to keep my GPA high,” she said. “The scholarships have helped tremendously. I don’t have to take out as many loans as other students and I can look forward to starting my career as a performer without having that debt burden.”

Another scholarship winner, Rasheeda Little-Herring, is entering her second and final year at Community College of Philadelphia with plans to work in behavioral health and human services.

“These funds are coming right on time to help me finish my education. I want to work with troubled youth and help them the same way someone helped me,” she said.    

The scholarships, given to both graduating high school seniors and students already in college, were handed out during the PHA Board of Commissioners meeting at PHA Headquarters in on Ridge Avenue.

Read more PhillySeeds, Scoop USA Media, July 26, 2019

Feature Articles July 2019

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Rabb says firing of officers involved in racist conduct is the ‘right thing to do’

Rabb says firing of officers involved in racist conduct is the ‘right thing to do’

Case shows the need for Rabb’s bill to enact interdepartmental law enforcement hiring reform

PHILADELPHIA, July 18 – State Rep. Chris Rabb said the move by the Philadelphia Police Department to fire more than a dozen police officers who made racist or offensive Facebook posts is the right thing to do.

“We rely on police officers to protect us, all of us, and to serve as an example of appropriate behavior in our community,” said Rabb, D-Phila. “Unethical, racist, inappropriate behavior or comments by police officers, like that exhibited by these officers from the Philadelphia Police Department, undermines the public’s trust in an institution that is supposed to serve us all.

“Sending the message that such behavior will not be tolerated in any police department is the right thing to do,” Rabb said. “But it’s not enough if those police officers are able to find employment in another community that’s unsuspecting of their past behavior.”

Rabb said his legislation, H.B. 1666, would ensure that officers like those being fired by the Philadelphia Police Department cannot just move on to another department without leadership and the community being aware of their past behavior.

Rabb said H.B. 1666 would not stop a department from hiring a police officer who separated from their last job after a pattern of allegations, complaints or charges for inappropriate behavior. But, it would ensure that the hiring departments are fully informed about whom they are hiring.

“This legislation would empower police chiefs and municipalities to make fully informed decisions about the officers who serve their communities,” Rabb said. “Accountability and transparency, which this legislation would promote, are assets in agencies and departments that strive for integrity.”

In June, the Plain View Project published a database of Facebook posts made by police officers, including those from the Philadelphia Police Department. Many of the posts included in the database depicted or included statements about race, religion, ethnicity and violence.

School District to Expand Pre-Kindergarten Registration Hours


PHILADELPHIA — The School District of Philadelphia will offer extended hours at its Education Center next week for families to enroll their children in school-based, full-day, free pre-Kindergarten for the 2019-2020 school year.

“I encourage all parents and guardians to enroll their children in pre-K,” said Dr. William R. Hite, superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “Research shows that quality early childhood education not only boosts students’ academic achievement and leads to them being better readers and overall learners, but it strengthens their social and emotional skills as well.”

The District’s Pre-K Office in the Education Center at 440 N. Broad St. in Philadelphia will be open to accept applications from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, July 15 through Friday, July 19, 2019. Staff members will assist parents and guardians in completing applications.

To be eligible, children must be at least 3 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2019, and must not be age-eligible for kindergarten; children and families must live in Philadelphia; and families must meet current Head Start or Pre-K Counts income guidelines.

Students enrolled in pre-K will have access to wide-ranging educational curriculum; state-certified teachers; extensive health services; and free daily breakfast, lunch, and snack.

Families should bring copies of the following documents to the Education Center: proof of child’s date of birth (birth certificate, court document, or passport); child’s health insurance card; proof of Philadelphia address in the primary parent’s/guardian’s name; current state or federal photo ID of the primary parent/guardian; and eight current and consecutive weeks of gross income received by the primary parent/guardian, secondary parent/guardian and all children; proof of child’s physical (with immunizations) and dental form. 

Parents or guardians should also bring the following if they apply: proof of TANF (DPW) cash, SNAP/food stamps, medical assistance, custody order, a copy of a child’s IEP, foster letter, and/or homeless verification letter/shelter letter.

More information about pre-K and a link to an application can be found online at philasd.org/prek

City of Philadelphia honor Legend Patti LaBelle with Street Naming Dedication, “Patti LaBelle Way”

Welcome America, Inc., in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, City Council and the Office of City Representative  honored Patti LaBelle on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, during the Wawa Welcome America festival with the ceremonial renaming of Broad Street between Spruce and Locust Streets to Patti LaBelle Way.

 LaBelle, the GRAMMY ® Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, bestselling author and Philadelphia-native bears a name that reminds people of the grace and elegance she has exhibited throughout her 50-plus year career in entertainment and as an advocate for causes including adoption, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS and more. 

 “We’re excited to celebrate the indelible mark that Patti LaBelle has left on the City of Philadelphia, the performing arts community and future generations of artists that our City will produce with the street renaming in her honor,” said Michael DelBene, CEO of Welcome America, Inc. “Patti LaBelle is a true trailblazer with a never fading passion for Philadelphia and its traditions and I'm humbled for us, as a City,  to play a small part in commemorating her legacy, in such a lasting way.”

 LaBelle will also make an appearance at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony on Thursday, July 4 at 10 a.m. to read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence. The event will take place in front of Independence Hall and will also include the presentation of two awards - the Mayor’s Magis Award, presented to an individual who demonstrates the spirit of the award through every day service, and the Wawa Foundation Hero Award, recognizing the recipient’s commitment to serving the Greater Philadelphia area.

Read More, Scoop USA Media Digital July 5, 2019

Keystone First Family of Health Plans host Tandem Health and Wellness Fair

Keystone First Family of Health Plans, which includes Keystone First, Keystone First VIP Choice, and Keystone First Community HealthChoices (CHC), is the premier sponsor of the 4th Annual Tandem Weekend, a series of events designed to strengthen relationships and access to opportunities for people within the City of Chester. 

Tandem Weekend was created by Orlando “Jahlil Beats” Tucker, a Chester native and music producer currently signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, as a positive way to bring people together. The free event was designed to offer inspiration to those living in the city. The partnership with the Keystone First Family of Health Plans was seen as an ideal way to provide Chester residents with additional resources to help raise awareness of ways to live healthier lives.

The signature event of the weekend was the Tandem Block Party that was held on Saturday, June 29, 2019 on the Avenue of the States between 4th Street at Chester City Hall.  The Tandem Block Party was a daylong festival that included a concert featuring platinum-selling rapper Rick Ross.  Also included were Keystone First Family of Health Plans at Tandem Health and Wellness Fair, where a variety of activities were available for the entire family, including face-paintings, massages and health screenings. Keystone First also offered workforce development support, providing assistance with job applications and resume writing for adults seeking career guidance.

Read More, Scoop USA Media Digital July 5, 2019

National Action Network hosts New Pennsylvania Secretary of Board of Pardons Brandon Flood

On Wednesday, July 10, 2019 the Philadelphia Chapter of National Action Network hosted the newly appointed Pennsylvania Secretary of Pardons, Honorable Brandon Flood here at our NAN Headquarters located at 1718 Cecil B. Moore Ave. Although there has been some significant milestones of reform taking place in the Criminal Justice System in Pennsylvania we believed it to be of the utmost importance to have the Secretary of Pardons and Expungement come to inform our residents about the process for such requests in obtaining information and a better understanding on how to assist a love one through the request process. This was a good thing because the audience had plenty of questions.

In advance of the evening forum an intimate reception for Secretary Flood was held at the office for those engaged in working within the criminal justice system. Sultan Ashley-Shah of Citizens United a co-sponsor of the event stated, “It is with this opportunity for families to once again have hope and belief in the changes proposed in the PA criminal justice system.”

At 6pm an Expungement, Clemency and Pardon Community Forum was held at the NAN Office to inform community residents, citizens of Philadelphia county, of free information about legal programs to help them be better educated on how to access these systems towards a second chance. It was a pleasant sight to see the crowd beginning to stream in an hour before the allotted start time. That made a statement as to how many are in need of this service. Matthew Smith, Sr., President of NAN Philadelphia said, “One mistake should not eliminate the opportunity for restoration.”

Keir Bradford-Grey, Chief Defender of the Philadelphia Defender Association was also in attendance at the forum and without fail gave an excellent presentation emphasizing, to the standing room only crowd, that “there is no charge to come to her office and seek quality legal service.” She and the secretary both participated in the Q & A session with dignity and patience. 

For more information you can contact the Secretary via email: bflood@pa.gov Or visit the website: www.bop.pa.gov

For help with expungements or sealing; 

Community Legal Services, (215) 981-3700, www.clsphila.org

The Defender Association of Philadelphia, (215) 568-3190, www.philadefender.org


For help with pardons:

The Pardon Me Clinic, (215) 335-0235, www.xoffenders.org

Community Legal Services, (215) 981-3700, www.clsphila.org

Philadelphia National Action Network Office, 1718 Cecil B. Moore Ave., (215) 769-1511/1512

Thanks again to Secretary Flood, and Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey who thought it was not robbery to give of their time to inform the community of what’s available to those seeking a new start in life.


Read more Scoop USA Media, July 5, 2019 page 5

City of Philadelphia Calls on Businesses to Support Hahnemann Employees with “HIRE HAHNEMANN” Fair

 In response to the impending closure of Hahnemann University Hospital, the City of Philadelphia, in collaboration with Philadelphia Works, Inc. and Hahnemann’s human resources department will host a comprehensive career and resource fair for Hahnemann employees.

 “Hire Hahnemann” will take place Thursday, July 25, from 1:00  to 6:00 p.m., at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The fair will provide opportunities for hospital staff to meet directly with local employers and provide transitional and supportive resources for laid-off and soon-to-be laid-off workers.

 “A closure of this magnitude requires an intentional and strategic coordinated effort from the public and private sector,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We are working very closely with our Workforce Board, Philadelphia Works, to engage local employers from a number of related industries who have open positions for these qualified, dependable workers. We are fully aware of our responsibility to city residents, businesses, and Hahnemann employees and are working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of this closure as much as possible.”

 Philadelphia Works is aiming to recruit a minimum of 90 local employers for “Hire Hahnemann.” Given the scope of employment opportunities for a fully functioning health system, employers from industries of all types are being recruited for the event. Interested companies are encouraged to register at http://www.sharedprosperity phila.org/hire-hahnemann-job-fair-july-25th/

“With this hiring event, we are trying to help as many Hahnemann employees as we can with other employment opportunities.” said H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works. “This closing will have far-reaching implications into our local and regional workforce system, which is why we are pooling all available resources to connect employers to this experienced pool of candidates. I’d like to thank Governor Tom Wolf and the PA Department of Labor and Industry for the emergency financial assistance to help these workers, as well as Mayor Kenney for his strategic support as we navigate through this difficult time in our city.”


Read More, Scoop USA Media, July 19, 2019

Featured Articles January - March 2019

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Senator Tartaglione, Gov. Wolf lead rally for long overdue raise to Pennsylvania’s minimum wage

State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf led a coalition of elected officials, labor leaders, worker advocates, and commuters at the bustling Frankford Transportation Center earlier this month to rally support for a long overdue raise in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.

It’s been 13 years since the legislature last raised the state’s minimum wage, and a decade since the federal government’s last minimum wage increase. Pennsylvania workers have been subject to a $7.25 minimum wage since then. At that rate, a 40-hour-per-week worker would earn just $15,080 per year. That’s barely above the federal poverty level for an individual, and about $1,400 below the poverty level for a two-person household.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 22, 2019

Community gathers for discussion on the State of Education in Philadelphia

Educational Opportunities for Families (EOF) held a town hall meeting earlier this month, at The Philadelphia Masjid on the state of Philadelphia’s K-12 schools and the effect that failing schools have on students and communities.

“I attended to help other parents know what’s going on in Philadelphia concerning the kids in our neighborhood,” said Taj Shabazz, an attendee of EOF’s town hall. “I was surprised to learn that 20,000 kids are attending bad schools, and I am just so shocked that kids can be in bad schools and nobody is held accountable.”

Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 22, 2019

Trial Begins in Challenge to State Prisons’ Legal Mail Policy

Harrisburg, PA - The trial in two lawsuits challenging the Pennsylvania state prison system’s policy of copying and storing mail between lawyers and their clients who are incarcerated began today in a federal courtroom in Harrisburg. The two lawsuits - one brought by four prisoners’ rights organizations and the other by a person who is incarcerated - ask the court to overturn the practice by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) as a violation of the confidentiality guaranteed between lawyers and their clients, as protected by the First Amendment.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 22, 2019

First African-American chemistry Ph.D. honored with landmark during Black History Month

WASHINGTON— St. Elmo Brady, the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry, was being honored by the American Chemical Society (ACS) with a National Historic Chemical Landmark. The designation will be celebrated on February 5, 2019 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which awarded Brady his doctorate in 1916. The event coincides with February's Black History Month.

'This landmark designation recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and leadership impact that Dr. Brady has had on the chemical profession,' says ACS Immediate Past President Peter K. Dorhout, Ph.D., an alumnus who presentthe university with a bronze plaque about Brady at the designation ceremony. 'I am proud to be an alumnus of the university that was part of his legacy — dreaming, designing and executing the creation of four outstanding and impactful chemistry programs that have each worked to ensure access to higher education and the chemical professions for so many young African-American men and women over the last century.'

Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 22, 2019

Sisters in Freedom spotlights trailblazing female abolitionists

Sisters in Freedom, the extraordinary story of the black and white women who together created America’s first organized female political force and their daring battle to abolish slavery, caps off Black History Month with a public screening at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library. The event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. on

Wednesday, February 27, will be followed by a panel discussion facilitated by the film’s writer Nathaniel Popkin with Dr. Emma Lapsansky-Werner of Haverford College and Dr. Kate Oxx of St. Joseph’s University. Directed by Wendy Cox and Andrew Ferrett and narrated by actress Sheryl Lee Ralph. The timely documentary on how the abolition movement of the 1830s led to the first wave of American feminism is screening as women’s movements across the nation dominate the headlines.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 22, 2019

South Florida’s 10-member Urban Inspirational Soul Band Sensere releases third independent project

Miami, FL -The electrifying, urban-inspirational soul band, Sensere, is back in a major way with their third independent full-length project, God, Family, The Band (WrightSound Records/IndieBlu - (https://smarturl.it/God-FamilyTheBand). Released a few weeks ago, this set is 35 minutes of energetic, musical brilliance that captures Sensere’s distinct, soul-ful sounds and God centered message. The album is currently sitting at #22 on the Billboard Gospel Album Sales chart.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 22, 2019

Featured Articles March - June 2019

Citizens Bank Contributes $150,000 to Philadelphia LISC for Workforce Development Initiatives

Citizens Bank announced a $150,000 contribution to Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) for an expanded partnership to fuel career-focused education and training throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region. The collaboration is part of a broader partnership between national nonprofit LISC and the Citizens Charitable Foundation. This partnership will fund a range of employment services designed to help people to find work, move up from minimum wage jobs and stabilize their family’s financial outlook.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 1, 2019

Attorney General Shapiro warns consumers to be cautious of fake IRS calls and scams

HARRISBURG — As tax season gets underway, Attorney General Josh Shapiro is warning consumers about fraudulent calls and scams from criminals impersonating IRS agents – and telling recipients they need to send money right away or risk arrest by the IRS.

“Scam artists are using new technology and highpressure tactics to get people to give out personal information. One popular tactic, especially during tax season, is scam artists impersonating the IRS and trying to scare you into paying them thousands of dollars,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “My Office is here to protect you, help you avoid being scammed, and go after these scammers anywhere we find them.”

Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 1, 2019

At the Barnes this March

First Friday! Black Pearl Friday, March 1, 6-9pm $28, Students- $10, Members- $10 Founded by award-winning artistic director Jeri Lynne Johnson, the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra champions ethnic diversity in classical music. This performance will spotlight talents including principal horn Larry Williams of the Lyric Brass Quintet, and flutist Julietta Curenton, who will be the featured soloist on Mozart’s Flute Concerto no. 2 in D Major.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 1, 2019

HeartSpace Community Healing Pop-up experience returns for second installment

Experiencing and creating art in all of its expressions is a powerful way to heal, learn, provoke, process, grow and connect. Creating space for such transformation is the inspiration for heARTspace, a free pop-up books, art and wellness experience taking place March 7 – 10 at UtilityWorks in Lansdowne.

Presented by Philadelphia- area independent content creation company NewSeason Books and Media (NSBM), heARTspace made its debut as a three-day pop-up experience last December. Crowds of visitors enjoyed artist-led workshops and readings, wellness talks, art installations, children’s storytelling, a unique, open mic titled “The Listening Station” and a retail location with inspirational apparel, a “well-read books” table and healthy refreshments.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 1, 2019

Girl’s T.R.A.C.K (GT)/Boy’s T.R.A.C.K (BT) and the Philadelphia Youth Leadership Council (PYLC)

A Year of Greatness!

The Girl’s TRACK(BT)/Boy’s TRACK(BT) programs and the Philadelphia Youth Council Leadership (PYCL) worked hard, worked together, worked to achieved and in turn, accomplished!  Closing recognition ceremonies were held at the Hard Rock Café for youth, with perfect attendance, academic achievements, participation of yearlong workshops, conferences, college tours, volunteerism, afterschool internships, with social and recreational rewards of their input and great efforts, a trip to Six Flags in Maryland on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.  One of the highlights of the year was the PYCL Annual Youth Empowerment Conference on Saturday, April 20, 2019 for youth from all over the City of Philadelphia and workshops covering a variety of hot topics addressing the youth today.  An outstanding, well attended, conference!

Another one of the highlights on behalf of these powerful and dynamic youth programs, was the trip to Harrisburg.  Yes, the youth ages 12 – 18 had an opportunity at the invitation of State Representative Joanna McClinton and Malika Rahman, “Be A Great You” organization to visit the Pennsylvania Capitol, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Monday, June 24, 2019. The you were given an excellent tour by a very knowledgeable tour guide who pointed out the history in the phenomenon paintings on each wall as well as the architectural structures of the building.  We all felt honored to be seated in the House Chambers of the Pennsylvania Senate and the Pennsylvania House; especially the Pennsylvania House Chamber, where we witnessed the opening of that day’s session with the House Speaker, prayer and the announcements.  One of the announcements was welcoming the Girl’s/Boy’s T.R.A.C.K. and the PYCL of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The organization was asked to stand following a thunderous applause from everyone. I believe it was a good feeling for our young folks!


Read More Scoop USA Media Digital July 5, 2019 

From the Root to the Fruit: Portraits of Black Fathers and their Children

Traction Company presents “From the Root to the Fruit: Portraits of Black Fathers and their Children” on view now at 4100 Haverford Avenue through December 14. 

In “From the Root to the Fruit,” Neighborhood Time Exchange Artist in Residence Ken McFarlane presents a series of photographs celebrating Black fatherhood while counteracting the false narrative of the absentee Black father. Through these pieces, McFarlane proposes, “We must take agency of our own image not only for us but for future generations as well. My mission is not to reimagine the Black male but to reclaim the image of the Black male. We have the power to shape our own collective image in our own authentic reality. We can amplify our voices with images of strength, dignity, pride and success to drown out the cacophony of negative imagery surrounding the Black body.” Transposed onto Traction Company's windows, the images become mirrors of change within the building and around the community.

Ken McFarlane is a West Philadelphia based documentary and portrait photographer, working from the vantage point of a community member. He has over 20 years of experience in commercial, editorial, documentary photography and filmmaking. His current body of work focuses on producing visual and audio histories of Philadelphians to preserve collective memory while encouraging future generations to remember, re-examine and realize their own potential.

Read More Scoop USA Media Digital July 5, 2019