Captaining A Village In Overbrook
By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Yvonne Gaskins is part of the village of homeowners on Wynnewood Road in Overbrook who clean the streets, parent the kids, and work with police to keep the area between 63 and 64th Streets a safe haven.
“Our block is policed every day, from 63rd and Lansdowne to 64th and Media,” says Gaskins. “Our folks walk the streets picking up the litter, picking up the trash. We care.”
The caring among this mixed block of professionals has kept out the drugs, blight, and litter, while bringing in the fun.
“We have a ‘Family and Friends’ day in May,” she says, smiling. “In October we have a Halloween fest for the kids. It was cold last year, so we brought it inside.”
Gaskins, now retired, worked at the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for 27 years. She’s been the block co-captain on Wynnewood Road for 11 years. And this mother of four grown children and ten grandchildren is serious about her job.
“There was an alleyway on Lansdowne and there was a bush growing there, and people were just throwing trash there,” says Gaskins, “so I got up early before the trash men came and cleaned it out. It’s a lot of hard work. A lot of hard work.”
But Gaskins admits she doesn’t do it alone.
“We work as a team on this block,” she says. “It’s just that cohesiveness and togetherness that we have.”
She says co-captain Alma Butts and the 64 other homeowners help keep Wynnewood Road like new. And the results keep everyone boasting. The block won second place in the Philadelphia Most Beautiful Block Contest in 2003. And many of the kids who grow up on the block, go on to bigger and better feats.
“Every kid on this block has graduated from high school,” says Gaskins, “and last year we had 21 graduates on this block– some from high school some from middle school. We had a big celebration.”
Gaskins also works with the Philadelphia Most Beautiful Block Committee as a judge. And she does it all because she loves her community.
“It’s a good feeling,” she says smiling, “it’s just a really good feeling.”
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