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Meet some of the people who make Parkside a great place to live! These neighbors are thoughtful, dedicated, talented and steadfast in their commitment to the community.
Click here to check out photos of Parkside residents and events.
Parkside is Alaysia. As a toddler, Alaysia used to ride her tricycle in front of her grandmother’s house as she watered and tended to the flourishing flowers along her front porch. Alaysia is now a middle school honors student who has grown up with her grandmother’s tremendous example of dedication to keeping her surroundings beautiful.
Parkside is Ty. As a little boy, Ty Israel was fascinated by the buzzing of his dad’s electric clippers when he gave haircuts to friends and neighbors.
“He set the path for me,” said the lifelong Langham Avenue resident. “Though he just cut hair on the side. Today I have a rule of thumb that there’s a difference between a barber and a person who cuts hair.”
Ty is a barber. He turned his father’s hobby into a career by training at a barbering school in Philadelphia and earning both a barber’s license and cosmetology license in New Jersey.
At his shop on Haddon Avenue, however, he is much more than a barber, mentoring the young men who come in for haircuts. “I try to instill morals and values in the young folks around here,” he said. “Somebody has to step up to the plate and talk to these guys.”
Ty, 42, learned business skills early on working for Ali’s Barber Shop. As years went by, Ty opened Next Level two doors down and ended up hiring his former boss, who worked for him until retirement last year.
“I threw him a retirement party, and he moved to Georgia,” he said with a laugh.
Ty will be one of several barbers donating services during PBCIP’s Haddon Avenue Street Festival on October 1.
Parkside is Tawanda. In the early years, practice was at Tawanda Jones’ Park Boulevard house. Seventy-some kids regularly arriving to practice drumming and stepping because someone cared enough to welcome them in. That meant 70+ hungry kids at the end of the night, and 70+ kids who needed uniforms if the Camden Sophisticated Sisters were to make a name for themselves.
And that’s why Tawanda credits her late grandfather, Walter (Dynamite) Green, Jr. , with believing in her dream to provide a positive activity for youth with an underlying goal of encouraging them to go to college.
“I didn’t have a clue how to go about this,’ she said. “My grandfather encouraged me and was my very first sponsor. He purchased more than 70 uniforms and our first set of drums.”
That was November 12, 1986 (“That’s my anniversary date and I celebrate it every year!” she said.)
Today Camden Sophisticated Sisters is still a family affair, with her husband and children helping with choreography and drum instructions and extended family still contributing the majority of operating expenses to the group, which has grown far beyond the boundaries of Camden.
With six levels ranging from tots to college-age, the group performs throughout the region and emphasizes college visits, where the youth realize they can succeed, possibly through finding a “home away from home” with step teams on campus.
Youth who join make a year-round commitment to practice three days a week plus tutoring, and an extensive travel schedule. They must also maintain a C average in school. But the discipline and Tawanda’s positive message bring great reward.
The drill team can be found on Facebook by searching for Camden Sophisticated Sisters. Tawanda can be contacted at (856) 870-3032 or by stopping by 1314 Park Boulevard.
Parkside is Rev. Keeton. The Parkside community welcomes Pastor James A. Keeton, Jr., who this year was appointed as the 25th pastor in the history of Parkside United Methodist Church on Kaighns Avenue. Pastor Keeton, 32, has roots in Georgia but through friendship with another minister in Camden is happy to say that “God was able to lead me here to Parkside.”
Pastor Keeton, his wife Leslie and two young sons have been part of the church since July. The family moved here from the Macon, Georgia, area where Rev. Keeton served as pastor of the Mt. Zion Circuit (AME). “I heard a lot of good things about Parkside. I came here and met the people and they were really nice – we clicked,” he said.
Parkside Methodist’s strong connections within the community are impressive, Rev. Keeton said. “We have our food ministry, various Bible studies, a lot for the children on Wednesdays and two worship services on Sundays.”
Twice a year, Rev. Keeton travels to Dallas where he is enrolled in a doctorate program at Southern Methodist University in Texas. It is an intensive program geared toward clergy already engaged in ministry and focusing on community ministry settings, he said.
Rev. Keeton grew up in Cairo, Georgia, and has also lived in North Carolina and Dublin, Ireland. In his spare time, Reverend Keeton enjoys reading, traveling, and listening to jazz.
Parkside is Eugene. He purchased a PBCIP home in Parkside eight years ago and has become an active block captain. He is also active in his church and sees being neighborly and friendly as his personal ministry. Eugene’s wife makes sure there’s a beautiful wreath on their front door for each season, and their teenage son keeps the grass trimmed. Both Eugene’s home and his family are warm, friendly and inviting.