PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In recognition of Black History Month, we are honoring GameChangers who are making a positive impact on communities of color in our area. This week’s spotlight is on Carmella Recreation Center in the Frankford section of the city where a group of high school buddies are making change.
“We call ourselves degenerate do-gooders,” said Tommy Rouch.
Three years ago, Tommy Rouch teamed up with some of his Lincoln High School buddies and decided to make a difference by feeding those in need.
“We wanted to raise $200, well, we ended up raising $1,200,” said Rouch.
It was a hit.
“We got to talking, why don’t we make this bigger?” said Rouch.
So they founded The Block Gives Back, a nonprofit working to revitalize the city block by block.
Neighborhoods nominate their block, the group raises money and brings in volunteers to clean up and throw a block party.
The effort expanded to park clean ups, anti-violence events, back to school drives and more.
They sell merchandise to raise money and the guys pay dues.
“If you’re five minutes late, that’s $2,” said one of the members.
All the money and effort is reinvested in the block.
“It’s always important to give back,” added another member.
And, while these guys come from different neighborhoods, they are brothers changing the game by empowering the community, one block at a time.