Picture above: Group picture of contributors on the Younger Nice Society Reunion in Mantua (Picture by Jim Brown)
by Jim Brown
Throughout a latest reunion of neighborhood gamers, coaches and directors on the Miles Mac Playground, Mantua residents mirrored on their 58-year-old previous, recalling a childhood few may think about.
In lots of African American neighborhoods on the time, youth organizations represented “dream fields” the place younger individuals participated in actions that would change their lives.
Dr. Herman C. Vries and neighborhood chief Rev. Dr. Andy Jenkins began the Younger Nice Society in Mantua within the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies, offering youth an alternative choice to poverty and violence.
Greater than 200 individuals attended the reunion and shared tales about their childhood and being a part of the group at “The Backside.”
“It is one of many best reunions I’ve ever had in my life,” Jenkins mentioned. “I thank God for letting us attain down to assist the youthful era. And I thank God that Donald Grady and I lived lengthy sufficient to see the greatness of the Younger Nice Society.
“That was nice, man,” mentioned JT, a former Younger Nice. “It was an honor to be there, belief me. It took me again to our first yr, 1972. I’ve seen individuals I have never seen in over 30 years. He was lovely.”
By way of afterschool, anti-gang violence and sports activities packages created by means of the Younger Nice Society, black kids play in a secure playground, be part of sports activities groups, main groups, cheerleading groups, be a part of Cub Scouts, different cities have been capable of journey. , states and even exterior the nation.
Wrice’s purpose was to offer the youth of Mantua hope for a greater life. A lot of them have been ready to do that.
Additionally celebrated on the reunion was Jean Vries, the late Dr. Herman C. Widow of Vries, Rev. Physician. Andy Jenkins, Donald Grady, Frida Williams, Invoice Thorpe and others who gave childhood to kids in Mantua won’t ever be forgotten.
“I believe the reunion is nice,” mentioned 82-year-old Grady, one of many coaches. “Extraordinary! I want extra individuals have been concerned. However, this can be a nice turnout that we had. We get to see all of the younger individuals we have skilled and the way they’ve grown up and their mannerisms, and I believe they did an ideal job placing it collectively.”
In the course of the occasion, Mayor Jim Kenney recalled the times when he performed towards a few of the veterans of the Younger Nice Society in 1972. Kenny was additionally capable of meet Keith Robinson, the most effective participant within the group.
Ronald “Ron Boo” Brown talks in regards to the staff and Robinson, who was its quarterback.
“It was actually, actually extraordinary[playing with Robinson],” Brown mentioned. “The staff itself had quite a lot of vitality, quite a lot of information and quite a lot of dedication. We have been effectively skilled by the late Jean Hope, and Keith Robinson was a naturally born chief. ,
Kenny, who nonetheless has his yellow soccer weight class ID from 1970, shared it with the individuals within the room. Everybody there mentioned I want they nonetheless had their playing cards.
“I first skilled Younger Nice Society within the ’70s taking part in soccer in South Philly with the Edward O’Malley Athletic Affiliation,” Kenny mentioned. “In actual fact, this was the primary group of African American athletes we ever encountered. [There were] Attention-grabbing lesson all of us discovered taking part in towards one another.”
Kenny mentioned the group offered an necessary basis for neighborhood kids, one thing that’s desperately wanted lately given the proliferation of weapons and violence within the metropolis.
As well as, council members Jamie Gauthier (d-3d Dist.) and Helen Jim (at-large) submitted citations and declared the day “Younger Nice Society Day in Philadelphia”.
There was an exhibit within the Miles Mac Assembly Room that advised the story of Dr. Herman C. Vries, his legacy, and the way he labored with others to handle the problems and considerations dealing with younger individuals throughout that point. .
It was good to be reunited with most of the individuals the group had touched, mentioned Jean Vries.
“I’m delighted to see that his legacy (Dr. Vries) carries on and this is essential,” she mentioned.
Your legacy in Mantua is deeply imprinted on every of us, Dr. Vries.