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A day for Penn – a day for giving

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Photo above: 1862 Circle Gala in 2013. Live art auction with the artist Amiri Farris, his artwork won by Deborah Peterson (on left) and for Penn Center PACE Program participant, Christopher Smalls (in middle).

By Monica Tanouye

Tucked away on Saint Helena Island lies the site of Penn School, one of the nation’s first learning centers for formerly enslaved West Africans, and the organization that calls it home today, The Penn Center. Dedicated to promoting and preserving the history and culture of the Sea Islands, Penn Center’s busy and successful year has led them to start the first annual “A Day For Penn”, a Giving Tuesday (Tuesday, December 1st) campaign.

Penn Center Campus on Saint Helena Island.
Penn Center Campus on Saint Helena Island.

2015 marks 153 years since the Penn School was founded. This year, the organization has saved 115 acres of heirs’ property, helping local African-Americans keep their land and their homes, and hired a new executive director, Dr. Rodell Lawrence.

However, it was Lowcountry Giving Day in May that encouraged Penn Center to kickstart Day For Penn. Victoria Smalls, the organization’s new Director of Development and Marketing, explained “Our participation [in Lowcountry Giving Day] provided the needed training, skills and experience to launch Penn Center’s very own “A Day For Penn.”’

Beyond fundraising for Penn Center, “A Day For Penn” will include a volunteer breakfast and an evening reception with live music by Mahoganee Amiger plus art on display from Saundra Renee Smith, among others. The reception will take place at the York W. Bailey Museum from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1st.

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