Staff Stories | Project HOME

Staff Stories

I am Project HOME | Leonard Buckner

This story originally appeared in our summer edition of News from HOME.

Leonard Buckner was six years old when his family came to Rowan Homes. His mother, Tanya, and her three children —Tanisha, Leonard, and Latanya—were among the first families to move into Project HOME’s residence for families in the St. Elizabeth’s neighborhood of Philadelphia. “She was excited to have a place to call our home,” Leonard remembers, “and the apartments were  beautiful—bigger than some houses.”

I Am Project HOME | Alexis Pugh

This story originally appeared in our winter edition of News from HOME.

With the grand opening of our Stephen Klein Wellness Center fast approaching, we asked members of the Project HOME community to speak to the importance and impact the facility will have on its North Philadelphia neighborhood.

I am Project HOME | Scarlett McCahill

When Project HOME decided to launch a new Social Enterprise program, it was clear that it would require a special jolt of energy. Scarlett McCahill was the person for the job.

Miss Tee (right) with Vernette Jones (left) and Helen Brown.

Several members of the Project HOME community participated in “100% Philadelphia,” a theater piece that was part of the Philadelphia Fringe Arts Festival.  One hundred different Philadelphians, representing the overall demographics of the city, shared their stories.  One of the participants was Priscilla "Ms. Tee" Bennett, who is teacher of the 2nd and 3rd graders at our Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs.

Gwendolyn Young-El works with our Outreach Coordination Center.

In this new way of life, I am taught to strive for progress

Not perfection.

And so far I want to think I am headed in the right direction.

When I look back and see how far I’ve come.

I realize in my heart that just when I thought my life was over,

It really had just begun.

After I put down the drugs, and didn’t know how I was going to cope.

Amazingly, I was given two things, Faith and Hope.


Will O’Brien has been a member of the Project HOME community for almost 25 years.  He serves as Special Projects Coordinator.

Sometimes, upon making a new acquaintance, I get the typical question about what kind of work I do.  And I obligingly give a brief description of Project HOME.  Not infrequently, the response carries with it a subtle or not so subtle insinuation that such work must be hard, challenging, and even depressing.


During this Easter week, we share this spiritual reflection, written several years ago by Will O’Brien. Will has been a member of the Project HOME for over 23 years. A version of this article was originally published in Sojourners magazine.

It was Easter Sunday, and I was in the mental ward.


Rosie Dillon is a Haverford House Fellow who works with Project HOME's Employment Services program. 

My mom was my home. She was my roots, my role model, my protector, my friend. She was the bearer of truly unconditional love in my life. When I lost my mom seven months ago, I was set adrift in the world with nothing to anchor me. I came back to work at Project HOME because I didn’t know what else to do, and because I knew that my mom had been proud of the life I was embarking on.


Carolyn Placke is Project HOME’s Director of Housing and Community Development. Much of her work takes place in the lower north central Philadelphia neighborhood, where we do community development work – as reflected in her blog entry.


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