Meet a Health Hero: Chera Kowalski

» You can vote for Chera here from August 22nd through September 18th.

Chera Kowalski

Role: Librarian turned lifesaver at McPherson Square Library, who brought Narcan training to the staff at the library where she works to help combat the opioid epidemic.

What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place?
The community I serve as a librarian at the McPherson Square Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is what motivates me. This community is resilient and strong, especially in the face of all it experiences. The entrenched poverty, food and housing insecurities, and being at the center of the city’s drug use and trade for years, along with being the epicenter of the city’s opioid crisis, impact this community, affecting both the mental and physical health of its residents. And so, what we strive to do at the library is create a safe, welcoming, and responsive space that meets the needs of the community, which takes form through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) and literacy programming, connecting residents to resources and services like Prevention Point or Community Legal Services, offering the Federal Lunch program year round, being trained on Narcan, and more.

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Meet a Health Hero: Cheryl Janssen

» You can vote for Cheryl here from August 22nd through September 18th.

Cheryl Janssen

Role: Founding executive director/CEO of Kids Smiles, which provides children in underserved communities in Philadelphia with preventive and restorative oral health care along with offering innovative health education programs.

What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place?
In order for a child or any person to thrive they need to be healthy. Tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood disease and millions of children have pain that causes them to miss school, not chew properly (causing nutrition issues), have poor speech, and suffer from esteem issues due to the impact of poor oral health. Tooth decay is also linked to other health issues and children must be healthy to focus, learn, and grow. However, with proper care, a healthy smile is one of our greatest assets in communicating and demonstrates confidence. The desire to help Philadelphia one smile at a time stems from how important children are to our future.

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Tell Us: What’s the Absolute Best Order at Blackbird Pizzeria?

Blackbird Pizzeria slices | Photo via Instagram

Good news, vegan friends: The folks at Blackbird Pizzeria, the spot known for its vegan menu of pizzas, wings, cheese fries and the like, had the soft opening for their new Northern Liberties location, at 614 North 2nd Street, last night. And if you missed it, not to fret: As reports, the new location officially opens for regular hours today at 11 a.m. Say it with us: HECK yes.

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Meet a Health Hero: Stephanie Ford

» You can vote for Stephanie here from August 22nd through September 18th.

Stephanie Ford

Role: Founder of Pedal Posse Divas, a Philadelphia-based community for women who share a passion for cycling, hosting weekly rides; women’s biking advocate.

What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place?
I am motivated to try to make Philadelphia a healthier place because a healthy community is a thriving community. So many of the illnesses that people are affected by are curable. If people would put time and effort into making healthier food choices, exercising daily (even if that means walking), we would begin to see how those simple things can make a huge difference in how we feel and look and to the overall quality of our lives.

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This Is the Ultimate Trader Joe’s Grocery List

Photo by Flickr user Christopher Long

Celebrations are in order, my friends: Trader Joe’s just turned 50 years old. And to celebrate, they asked for customers and crew members to dish on their favorite items and narrowed what they say was a very long list down to the top 50 favorites, in no particular order. In other words, they’ve compiled your grocery-shopping list for the weekend.

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Goodbye, Boring Veggie Wraps: 6 Philly Food Trucks Vegans Should Know About

The Chilly Banana | Photo via Instagram

Ah, food truck-lined streets: A grub-filled wonderland for most foodies, but for vegans, walking up to a window can be daunting. Dietary labels don’t always show up on dry-erase board menus, meaning you can end up waiting in a forever-long line, only to, come time to place your order, find out the the item you had your sights set on isn’t actually vegan. Say it with me: NOOOOOOOO.

My friends, family and S.O. are all barbecue junkies, so at food truck-filled festivals, I always get stuck at the barbecue truck, which is often the least vegan-friendly truck on the scene. Meaning I usually, erm, stick to booze. But despite what it can seem, there are vegan food truck and food cart options out there, my fellow vegan friends. Here six food trucks and carts — some completely vegan and some very vegan-friendly —to look out for around Philly for some good vegan eatin’. Read more »

Meet a Health Hero: Dr. Ted Corbin

» You can vote for Dr. Corbin here from August 22nd through September 18th.

Name: Dr. Ted Corbin

Role: Medical director of Healing Hurt People, a hospital-based violence intervention program with the mission of decreasing violence and trauma through public health policy, practice research and training.

What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place?
I am a native Philadelphian and I see all the untapped potential in our youth. In our program Healing Hurt People at Drexel, we work with youth who have been victims of violence and we help them rebuild and mobilize their talents. As is true for all of us, healing for these young people starts with a healthy mind — figuring out what we need to do to be safe, not just physically but also socially, morally, and psychologically, managing emotions, dealing with loss and envisioning a future. Not an easy thing for anyone but once you’ve gotten there, it’s a beautiful space to heal, own, occupy and build.

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