Celebrating 30 Years of Amazing FOMP Volunteers

February – 2020

Tom Williams (left) and Keith Schively were the original volunteers of Friends of McMichael Park

What did you love about volunteering in McMichael Park? 
Getting to know our neighbors from all parts of East Falls and making the Park appear cared for then and continuing for many years.

What volunteer moment are you most proud of?
Getting started by Tom and Keith painting benches by themselves and overcoming feeling like a dweeb.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome regarding being a park volunteer?  
Forcing ourselves to work with and be polite with some administrative persons we did not like and coming to realize that our ideas were not always the best.

How many years did you volunteer in McMichael Park and what inspired you to keep participating?
From the beginning of the FOMP Group (1990) until 2000 when we moved to Bala Cynwyd.  It has been our observation that a more cared for public place will attract more responsible people to use it.  Both of us were also discouraged – – perhaps taken aback that the judges, lawyers and city employed professionals living in East Falls did not see or comprehend what was happening to their park. We did not want to live across the street from a derelict city property so I/we worked to change it with Alexis. Eventually some of the categories we mentioned did come round.  It is so easy to criticize people who live in run down, trash strewn areas and there we were, more educated, and social professional standing and WE were letting that happen to our Philadelphia neighborhood.  Someone had to get the ball rolling and it fell to us to do that.  A lot of thanks should go to Herb Henze and the late Sallie Maser for their help

What advice do you have for other friends/volunteers?     
Don’t feel self conscious about your interest to improve your neighborhood.  If you build it eventually they will com to help.  Be tenacious.  People will stop looking at you like you are strange and eventually join you.


2 thoughts on “Celebrating 30 Years of Amazing FOMP Volunteers

  1. Your mention of Judges, etc. brings back an amusing memory of the late Judge Stanley Kubacki, who in the days before we formed the Friends, use to walk his dog, Cher, in the park and light the pieces of trash on fire with his Zippo lighter. There were many. He’d move from clump to clump and if your timing was right, you’d see a series of small flames following the judge as he and Cher moved through the park. He and Sophie lived on Netherfield Rd.

    Liked by 1 person

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