Charity Foster Reflects on Her Experience with PHILADELPHIA250

PHILADELPHIA250
4 min readFeb 8, 2024

This past January, Charity Foster, PHL250’s Community Engagement Fellow, concluded her internship at PHILADELPHIA250. In this blog, Charity reflects upon her time with us.

In the spring of 2023, I joined the PHILADELPHIA250 team as a Community Engagement Fellow, diving headfirst into an exciting role. From handling our social media presence and supporting external affairs research, to tabling at neighborhood events like Strawberry Mansion Day and 2nd Street Fest, my time here has been truly unforgettable. It has been an honor to help support the commemoration of the United States’ 250th anniversary here in Philadelphia.

During my nine-month experience, one unique memory happened in September when I joined Danielle, our CEO, and Rae, our Share Your Stories Program Manager, to represent PHILADELPHIA250 at Strawberry Mansion Day. The day was full of music, good food, and engaging conversations. Young kids stopped by our table to color Philadelphia-themed coloring pages and create chalk art on the pavement while numerous community members expressed interest in supporting our organization. The park was abuzz as there were countless tables offering free resources and supplies for the neighborhood. The community’s care for one another shone through as they came together to provide free food and entertainment for everyone involved. If it had not been for this internship, I would have never gotten to experience the vibrant community within Strawberry Mansion. Connecting with Philadelphia’s residents and getting to put a face to the people of Philadelphia has been one of my favorite parts of this experience.

Another memorable moment during my time here was interviewing and photographing the Miller Family, one of Philadelphia’s most accomplished and storied African American families. This took place over the July 4th weekend, when I was introduced to Joyce Mosley at her family’s 70th annual reunion. The event was nothing short of a spectacle. The turnout of family members, each signifying their family ties through colored shirts, was beautiful and remarkable. I filmed as Rae and Jane, our Director of Programs, interviewed family members about their accomplishments and thoughts about their family’s legacy. Capturing this historic gathering on camera was truly an honor.

Throughout my time with PHILADELPHIA250, I’ve had the privilege of participating in conversations with our staff and board and helping to brainstorm community engagement strategies. These discussions have enhanced my communication skills, showing me how to articulate ideas effectively and how to find common ground when addressing important matters. Having a behind-the-scenes perspective of this organization has also allowed me to consider the effort, time and planning that goes into our work. From the work calls with partners, to the multitude of meetings, I gained a better understanding of the preparation and promotion that goes into orchestrating everything. In the future, I will be able to take my knowledge of how each staff member’s role contributes to the overarching mission in any future teams I collaborate with.

A key part of my position involved consolidating the submissions we received from our Program Community during events. These submissions included suggestions for what individuals might like to see in 2026 as well some of their favorite past Philly memories. Whether it was live shows, community events or a championship win from their favorite Philly sport’s team, there were countless memories shared. What stood out were the numerous overlaps of memories, showcasing the events that have brought together the individuals in this city. My hope is that 2026 continues to unite the city’s 1.5 million residents in a way that has never been done before.

My favorite thing about PHILADELPHIA250 is that our mission is by the people, for all people. Philadelphia and the United States have provided opportunities for people of all backgrounds, but when we consider our nation’s history, it is essential to acknowledge the pain and injustice that have affected so many. Over the course of my work, I have connected with the people of Philadelphia, both past and present. PHILADELPHIA250 aims to celebrate the diverse stories that contribute to the community of Philadelphia, and I appreciate that it is a goal of the organization to have an inclusive and community-powered 250th commemoration.

As we approach 2026, it is exciting to consider the celebrations and fun activities that will occur that year. However, amidst the celebrations, I believe it is important to acknowledge the stories and accomplishments of those who have yet to be highlighted. I hope that the diversity and tenacity that runs deep in this city is admired too. Recognizing the untold legacies of those who came before us is critical in understanding the city we live in today.

I’ve lived in the Greater Philadelphia Area my entire life, and there is much about Philadelphia and its people that I am still uncovering. Although my time with PHILADELPHIA250 has come to a close, I am certain that no matter where I end up, the city and people of Philadelphia will always feel like home.

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PHILADELPHIA250

Coordinating the United States’ 250th anniversary in Philadelphia. Creating a commemoration that is truly by the people, for the people.