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Vote Now – NBC10 Philadelphia

Vote Now – NBC10 Philadelphia

Wawa honors nonprofits serving the Philadelphia community with the 2024 Wawa Foundation Hero Award.

As I plant this seed, the Philadelphia Fire/EMS Explorer Career Youth Development Program and Project 440 are the 2024 finalists.

“What does it mean to be a hero to our communities? The Wawa Foundation Hero Award honors a nonprofit organization and its volunteers, who serve Philadelphia by providing services that build stronger communities by maintaining our independence, protecting our safety and provide mentorship and inspiration to our youth,” the Wawa Foundation said on its website.

The prize includes a grant of $50,000 to the winning organization and $10,000 to each of the other three finalists. The public vote runs until June 28, 2024.

The winner will be announced at the Wawa Welcome America Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at Independence Hall in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood on July 4.

Here are the stories (according to Wawa) of each “Hero” nonprofit:

As I Plant This Seed promotes the positive development and advancement of urban youth through intergenerational access to education, information and training in a safe space. After completing improvements to the space earlier in 2024, the organization continues to expand its 12-year history of providing local teen programs designed to help every child reach their full potential. The organization’s vision is to provide the Hunting Park community, its youth and families with the tools and skills necessary to transform their outlook on life and equip and empower them to ultimately control their own outcomes to decide.

Leveling the Playing Field (LPF) provides free sports equipment to schools, recreation centers, Boys & Girls Clubs and other youth programs in the Philadelphia area. In 2023, LFP distributed nearly $1 million in equipment to 262 under-resourced schools and youth programs, enabling thousands of children to learn, grow and have fun through physical recreation. The new equipment has encouraged their active participation in various sports and also provided them with an opportunity for positive involvement and personal growth. LFP knows that sport has a huge impact on children’s mental and physical health, social-emotional development, school performance and more. Entering their third year of being a great teammate to our community, FLP equips our children to play the sports they love.

The PFD Fire/EMS Explorer program serves more than 100 young adults from all socio-economic backgrounds in the city who have first-hand experience of response efforts in various emergency operations. More than 400 alumni researchers from the program have gained general knowledge of emergency operations, fire science/suppression, first aid and resuscitation, mass casualty, hemorrhage control, and trauma response. The vision of the program is to help bridge the communication gap in delivering public safety messages about prevention and preparedness. Explorers relate to the ever-changing environments that challenge our communities, becoming the agents capable of building stronger environments.

Project 440 provides free after-school, music-based programs for high school students in Philadelphia to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, gain skills in leadership and service, and learn about opportunities for their next steps. Project 440 makes challenging and inspiring music programming accessible for youth to collaborate and be creative as part of their efforts to serve our community and remove barriers to arts participation. Project 440 is the perfect pitch for students who are just starting to find their way.

Click here to vote.

Previous winners include Students Run Philly Style (2023), Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School (2022), the Veterans Group (2021), Broad Street Ministry (2020), Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports (2019), Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia (2018), Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey (2017) and SPIN (2016).