Celebrating 30 Years, Opening a New Chapter in Kensington
On the afternoon of Friday, October 25th, many Esperanza Health Center staff, patients, community members and friends gathered to celebrate 30 years at Esperanza Health Center and the Grand Opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new Kensington health center.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony included remarks from Dr. Susan Post, executive director, State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione, State Rep. Angel Cruz and Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez. Special remarks were delivered by Rev. Bonnie Camarda and Rev. Leonard Dow, and jazz vocalist Ruth Naomi Floyd sang a moving rendition of “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Juan Pérez, operations director, was the master of ceremonies, and opening and closing prayers were offered by Pastor Jamie Centeno of In The Light Ministries and Pastor Titus Buelna of Victory Outreach-North Philadelphia
Designed by Brawer & Hauptman, Architects and built by Target Building
Construction, the new 35,000 s.f. health center was created through the
renovation of the former Kensington Trust Company bank building that has
stood at the corner of Kensington & Allegheny Avenues for nearly 90 years. As
noted in a recent article by Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga
Saffron, the health center renovations have transformed the former bank into
“a glowing beacon for the neighborhood.”
Esperanza’s staff led guests on guided tours of each of the building’s five floors,
including: medical and dental clinical areas; patient education rooms and
meeting spaces; the 2nd floor space that will soon become the home for a
branch of Everence Credit Union; former bank vaults in the first floor and
basement that have been converted in to a chapel and an employee break
room; and, the second location of Esperanza’s Phoenix Café adjacent to the
entrance lobby, which provided refreshments for the event.
Special exhibits featured Esperanza’s Department of Community Health and
Wellness, Nutrition and Diabetes Education services, Centering Pregnancy
prenatal groups, and Medication-Assisted Treatment program for substance
use disorder. An entire room was dedicated to Esperanza’s history, which
included a display of photos from Esperanza’s past, the original “Wall of
Faithfulness” and copies of Dr. Carolyn Klaus’s book, Prescription for Hope,
which tells the story of the early years of the health center.
Guests also saw the new electronic photo mosaic that depicts the painting “Forever, God is Faithful” (“Por siempre, Dios es fiel”) by local artist Stephanie Soto, on a large video display. The photo mosaic is comprised of hundreds of photographs from Esperanza’s past and present that continue to be submitted electronically; you can submit your own photos to the mosaic by visiting https://mosaic.esperanzahealth.com/.
The event was a time to gather together as a community and to give thanks to
God for His great faithfulness to Esperanza over 30 years—and to look forward to the next chapter in Esperanza’s history. As Susan Post noted in her remarks: “Our cornerstone says it well: this building has been established as a health center, to the glory of God, and for the people of Kensington.”
30 Year Partnership Benefit Reflects on
Esperanza’s Past, Present and Future
The Grand Opening and ribbon-cutting
celebration for our new Kensington health
center was preceded on Thursday evening,
October 24th by our 30 Years Partnership
Benefit. Held in the first floor lobby of the
new site, the Benefit was attended by many
friends and supporters, community partners,
staff and family members.
Among those who shared remarks were: Dr.
Carolyn Klaus, Esperanza’s founding physician
and Dr. Bryan Hollinger, Esperanza’s medical
director (photo, top); Dr. Susan Post,
executive director; Janneza Roane,
Kensington site manager (photo, lower R); Dr.
Coz Crosscombe, Esperanza’s Board chair;
and Shane Claiborne, a Kensington neighbor
and activist/speaker/author. The evening’s
master of ceremonies was Dr. Tim Leaman
(photo, upper R), who serves as Esperanza’s
Kensington site medical director.
Documentary Video Highlights 30 Years of God’s Faithfulness at Esperanza
One of the higlights of the evening was the premiere of a new 30 year documentary video produced by videographer Gerald Kolpan (click link above to view). The new video tells the the story of Esperanza Health Center’s ministry through interviews with current and former staff members, volunteers and patients. For more than 20 years, Gerald was a features reporter for Philadelphia’s WTXF-TV and received eight Middle Atlantic Emmy awards. In 2013, Gerald created The PHILO Project, which provided professional video for over 80 nonprofit agencies. Esperanza’s 30 year video was generously funded by a grant from local philanthropist Bruce M. Brown through The HBE Foundation; Bruce previously served on Esperanza Health Center’s Advisory Board.
The evening’s program concluded with a musical selection by Esperanza’s Kensington dispensary coordinator, Valerie Lopez (photo, L). Opening and closing prayers were offered by Rev. Luis Centeno, pastor of Barnabas Ministries and former Esperanza Board member, and Rev. Efraín Díaz, pastor of Alcance Victoria (Victory Outreach) church in Kensington.
Thanks to our many financial supporters and partners for your generous gifts and for your prayers, as by God’s grace we move foward into our fourth decade of ministry in North Philadelphia!
Thanks to the following companies for their generous funding that made
both the 30 Year Partnership Benefit and Grand Opening events possible:
Become a Part of the Esperanza Team!
We’re seeking qualified professional individuals to join our Esperanza Health Center team! Open positions across a range of departments are updated on a regular basis—please click the link below to learn more about our current openings and to apply!