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Providence Center was founded in 1993. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Providence Center was founded in 1993. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Celebrating 30 years of service and impact at Providence Center

On Thursday, April 27, the advocacy organization will be celebrating its 30th anniversary during an event at the Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova.

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It was 1993 when Providence Center first opened its doors to the community in the Fairhill section of North Philadelphia.

Founded by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, the organization’s mission from the beginning has been to address the most pressing needs of the community, which is predominantly Latino.

This year, the organization will be celebrating 30 years of service to the community.

Providence Center has endured several challenges over the past three decades, most recently, having to navigate the pandemic.  

The period of unprecedented times that ensued starting in March 2020 is a barometer for Siria Rivera, executive director of Providence Center, who first came on board the organization in September 2019.

“Six months into my tenure, we had to shut down,” Rivera reflected during an interview with AL DÍA.

The years that have followed have served as a display of resilience and determination for the organization.

“It kind of forced us to force me, the staff, and the board to focus on sustainability of what we’ve already built instead of how to grow it, or how to expand upon anything,” Rivera added.  

For the team, the first step was sticking to its roots and finding new ways to engage the communities it serves, keeping the mission at the forefront.

Whether it was transitioning its programming to a virtual format, or adjusting the way the organization could engage, the goal has always been to ensure the community obtains the services it needs most. 

Three years later, the organization is back to functioning on-site, bringing its annual event in-person for the first time since prior to Rivera’s arrival. 

“This 30th-anniversary celebration is a perfect time to celebrate new beginnings and a refreshing of what Providence Center has been,” said Rivera. 

For her, this milestone means going into a fourth decade of intentionality. 

In addition, with this being Rivera’s first in-person Anniversary Event, it will mark the first time she will have the opportunity to meet many of the donors who help Providence Center succeed.

“What comes to mind rather than just a really important celebration is the opportunity to connect with people face-to-face,” she said. 

Siria Rivera is the executive director of Providence Center. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Siria Rivera is the executive director of Providence Center. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

At this year’s anniversary event, Providence Center will introduce The Peg Healy Award.

The award is named after the late Margaret “Peg” Healy, a prominent higher education leader and staple of Rosemont College and Bryn Mawr College for nearly 40 years. 

She joined Rosemont College as a lecturer in philosophy in 1964. From 1969 to 1976, she became Rosemont’s Academic Dean and associate professor of philosophy.

Healy then went on to begin a 19-year career at Bryn Mawr College, where she was director of financial planning, acting treasurer, and then treasurer.

In 1995, she rejoined Rosemont as a member of its Board of Trustees, later being named the college’s interim president and then President in 1996. She served as the college’s president until retiring in 2001. 

In a statement obtained by AL DÍA, Bryn Mawr College’s President Emeritus Mary Patterson described the late Healy as “the best kind of friend to so many people in institutions… known by all for her intelligence, her multiple interests, her kindness, and her generosity.”

The latter adjective was often displayed as Healy donated much of her salary to good causes. 

“She was a supporter and really generous donor of Providence,” said Rivera of Healy. 

The Meg Healy Award will go to someone who holds some of the same qualities she did — selflessness, leading by example, generosity, thoughtfulness, and consistency, as Rivera described. 

This year, Providence Center will introduce the award, and next year, someone will be named the inaugural recipient of the award. 

Providence Center’s 30th Anniversary Event is set for Thursday, April 27, 2023, at the Overbrook Golf Club, located at 799 Godfrey Road in Villanova, Pennsylvania. 

To purchase a ticket and confirm your attendance, click here.

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