Penn4kids is owned and operated by Espresso Yourself.
To empower, support and enlighten children in foster care, or those in need, through direct community involvement and interaction, as well as, provide tangible resources necessary to hone their skills and cultivate independent, critical thought.
Distributing coffee machine parts is our business; however, bettering our community, specifically helping children in need, is our motivation. We believe the phrase “children in need” knows no socioeconomic background. This is apparent with the increase in unfathomable, violent events that have plagued our country over the last two decades. Unfortunately, the current responses to combat these societal issues have been to find a person or group to blame, enact more laws and preach tolerance (for those with a similar mentality). It’s not working; by design. Information is purposely convoluted and marketed to divide us, distract us, drive ratings and keep the players at the top safe. We have embarked on this journey to inspire people to try a new approach rooted in the idea of acting, instead of talking.
Penn4Kids is a registered charity, but it is only to gain increased access and capabilities inside the community. In our opinion, many charities have become institutionalized, tax shelters and havens for a multitude of unethical practices. It is disheartening to see the gross misappropriation of funds, mismanagement of resource allocation and sheer time wasting that occurs, to name a few.
Penn4Kids is more powerful than a charity; it is an idea. We replaced the word "charity" with "community" in our mental dictionaries. Charities often fall short on what is required, whereas, a community has no limitations on what it can accomplish.
As a society, it seems we have forgotten the notion of a community and are focused solely on the individual. Ironically, we are “connected” to the world, via technology, more now than ever before, yet we are growing exponentially detached from one another in an empathetic sense. This is not to imply people are becoming less caring and generous, but rather technology has made it easier to be a member of society from the sidelines, as opposed to engaging in the fight. We love the convenience and benefits of technology, such as the ability to raise millions of dollars world wide through text messaging when a disaster strikes. Amazing. However, here is the flipside: The local community little league fields are overrun with weeds, most of the dirt has been eroded, the dugouts are crumbling and so on. The members of the little league petition the township to renovate the entire facility in an effort to renew interest in baseball. Unfortunately, the township rejects the petition, citing a lack of funds even though it supports the efforts of the league. The league tries fundraising within the community, but fails to generate enough money required for the renovation. With no foreseeable options left, the league posts their plight on a website designed to fund projects through donations by strangers throughout the world. Long story short, the league acquires the money rather quickly and is able to pay for the renovations. Happy ending, right? Your answer depends on how you view the world. Neither answer is wrong, as there are arguments to support both, so we would like to present our philosophy to better explain what we hope to accomplish.
The above scenario is a brief synopsis of a true story with the same end result, but by different means, as the internet was not quite as prevalent 20+ years ago. The story changes after the community fundraising failed. Not to be defeated, my father grabbed the keys to the utility shed and we began the renovation process ourselves. We went to the fields several times a week to rake, weed, fertilize etc. After a few weeks, word spread about what we were doing and other members took notice to small, steady progress we were making. My father started receiving calls from other parents offering their help. The numbers quickly grew and people became increasingly invigorated to build something incredible. Several local contractors donated their time and materials to build new dugouts; Landscapers pitched in with new sod to replace the weed infested grass. As more people got involved, more ideas were introduced. What started as an attempt to simply make the fields playable, resulted in, not only the nicest field in the county and the only complete with an announcer's booth, a new sense of pride amongst all of us. The facility was incredible, but it was the journey and the sense of "we are in this together" that were most rewarding. People were friendlier to one another because of the mutual respect that was built. Even after the renovations were complete, parents and kids continued to rake and maintain the fields before and after games.
We made the most progress in 2017, which was highlighted in December. For years, we discussed having a Christmas party for families in need and we were determined to make it happen. We called countless number of organizations to offer our idea. Unfortunately, we did not get the responses we anticipated, as there were concerns about transportation, location, etc. It was 4 days before Christmas, so we had to accept our grandiose plans of a party were not going to come to fruition. Then, we received a phone call from the child services event coordinator in Philadelphia. She explained, most of the Christmas parties in Philadelphia had been cancelled due to lack of funding and coordination. That’s all we needed to hear. She gave us an initial estimate of 20-30 kids. No Problem. We bought 30 gifts, secured a local pizza shop to provide the food, purchased all the decorations and even convinced Santa Claus to stop by. The coordinator called us the next day and asked if we would mind if the number of kids was increased to 50. Not a problem. Then it went to 75. Then 135, and so on. By the day of the event, we were expecting 200 people. We believe the pictures best tell the rest of the story.