The Captains

Sarita Broadnax and Alberto Serrano

Broadnax and Serrano, 1800 N. 4th Street. Ask Alberto Serrano about being a block captain and he immediately begins to praise his newest neighbor, Sarita Broadnax. Sarita moved to the block four months ago after a fire destroyed her family’s former home on North 6th St. Alberto has been living here for 38 years, a […]

Elizabeth Waring

Elizabeth Waring – 4000 Powelton Avenue Elizabeth has been known to hug the trees she’s planted. And, as a volunteer for UC Green, she has planted hundreds of trees.  She is also a member of the UC Green Pruning Club. “That’s my therapy,” she says. “If I had a stressful day, I get to be […]

Renée McBride-Williams

Renée McBride-Williams – 5100 Webster St. I met Renée at the WPEB studio, with it’s windows facing 52nd Street. She remembers 52nd Street in it’s glory days, when it was called the Golden Strip. She remembers being drawn to the excitement around famous theaters like the Locust, the Nixon, the State, the Capital, the Belmont, […]


Pat Jamison

Pat Jamison – 1600 Rowan Walkway At 8:30 A.M. on a Saturday morning last September, Pat Jamison carried her speakers outside and serenaded her neighbors with the warm tones of Teddy Pendergrass to wake them for the fall clean up. ” It kind of gets the adrenaline going, you know?”  says Jamison, referring to the […]

Chester Williams

Rev. Chester Williams – 6200 Chew Avenue Reverend Chester Williams places a green washcloth on his head for protection from the hot sun. He just finished leading a two-hour volunteer cleanup crew on Chew Avenue and is still wearing his orange safety vest. The 68-year-old block captain looks worried as he stands in the parking […]

Sigrid Craig – Mother of Philadelphia Block Captains

Sigrid Craig, the founder of the “Clean-up, Paint-Up, Fix-Up” campaign — initiated an urban environmental partnership between the City of Philadelphia and its residents. (Photographer and date unknown. The photo is part of the PMBC archive) In honor of Mother’s Day… In 1938, Sigrid Craig saw a woman throw garbage out of a third-floor window […]


Rena Graves

94 and ‘Working, As Usual’ Deacon Rena Graves wants you to vote. If you live in her Germantown neighborhood, she may have called you to invite you to attend  the “All Candidates Forum” tonight at 6pm in the Wissahickon Charter School gymnasium. And if Graves convinced you to attend the event, she will greet you […]

Andrea D. Carter

Fresh Strawberries at 100 N. Peach St. Andrea Carter’s regrets planting too late for strawberries last year. “There is nothing like the taste of a strawberry off the vine,” says Carter. Carter created a container garden in a vacant lot on N. Peach St. The lot was filthy. “I knew no one would want to […]

Leonia Johnson

Leonia Johnson – 200 S. Millick Street Last March, Leonia Johnson stood up at the Cobbs Creek Block Captain Association’s monthly meeting to speak about the murder of her neighbor and friend, Gregory “Chop” Scott, two weeks earlier.  Scott had been shot seven times, at point blank, in front of his home on South Millick […]


Freda Egnal

Freda Egnal – 4800 Osage Avenue “Stop Bitching, Start A Revolution,” reads the Zendik Farm bumper sticker on the Prius parallel-parked between handicap parking signs. The sign poles are decorated with beads, fabric, earrings and ribbons. This is Freda Egnal’s spot. Freda is a funky lady. She dyes flashes of blue, green, yellow and purple […]

Jeff Lutzner

Jeff Lutzner – 4900 Cedar Avenue Jeff Lutzner has served as block captain for 23 years. It’s been smooth sailing. But he would consider handing over the title to the next generation. If you live on the 4900 block of Cedar Avenue and are interested, Lutzner could share how his laid-back approach helped him reduce […]

Rebecca Metraux Canna

Rebecca Metraux Canna – 4600 Hazel Avenue They call themselves the Hazelnuts. And Rebecca Metraux Canna is their captain. Canna, soft-spoken with a friendly smile, took over as block captain four years ago. “I love to plan events. I love West Philly. I thought I could contribute.” The Hazelnuts love to party. They apply for […]


JoAnn Manuel

JoAnn Manuel – 5200 Pennsgrove Street Stoop culture is big on Pennsgrove. Climb the eleven steep steps up to JoAnn Manuel’s front porch, pass through a small iron balustrade gate at the top, look left and right, you will see through every one of her neighbors’ identical porches. Look across the street for an eye-level […]

Lisa Barkley

Lisa Barkley – Haddington Homes – 55th Street & Vine Lisa Barkley shows me the view of her fruit tree orchard from the window of her bright yellow kitchen. “We have apple trees, pear trees, plum trees, cherry trees, peach, apricot and nectarine trees,” Barkley says. She sounds surprised by the bounty she helped create. […]

Angie Coghlan

Angie Coghlan – 4800 Springfield Avenue Coghlan has planted hundreds of trees in West Philadelphia and she wants to plant more. A retired nurse, Coghlan has been the block captain of 4800 Springfield Avenue for 32 years. During that time, she was also active in  Cedar Park Neighbors and in the revival of the Firehouse […]


Juanita Hatton Delivers Newsletter

Juanita Hatton, 72, steps out of her house on a cold morning to deliver her monthly newsletter to the residents of 3900 Poplar Street in Philadelphia PA. Hatton is a block captain and uses the newsletter to connect the residents to news, opportunities and resources.

Anita Harris

Anita Harris – 5300 Wyalusing Ave Anita Harris’ inspiration to become block captain didn’t seem particularly ambitious when she started. “I needed something to do,” she explained. Anita was already working fulltime as a secretary and raising her two daughters.  She simply wanted to make her block of 5300 Wyalusing safe and clean. But I’ve […]

Maureen Tate

Maureen Tate – 4800 Florence Ave Maureen Tate became a gardener because of a killing. In the 1980s, during the era Maureen calls the “The Crack Period,” Cedar Park neighborhood residents organized drug vigils on the corner of 49th Street and Baltimore Avenue where they would stand in shifts all night and ‘stare down dealers’ […]


Gregory Pac Cojulun

Gregory Pac Cojulun – 5000 Osage Ave Thirty years ago Gregory Pac Cojulun walked into his first neighborhood meeting. He walked out a block captain. “I was ambushed,” Cojulun said with smile that hinted that all was forgiven.  “I just wanted to see how things were going and they nominated and voted for me.” Now […]

Juanita Hatton

Juanita Hatton – 3900 Poplar St Juanita Lewis Hatton leans over the thick black back-support belt, noisily adjusting the Velcro clasp. “Oh God!” she says. “I suffer with this back pain. It’s not as bad as yesterday, mind you,” she tells me. Ms. Hatton was preparing to step outside and distribute her monthly newsletter door-to-door […]