After a two-year hiatus a popular stained glass project is back at Kendrick Recreation Center.

“The Stained Glass Project: Windows that Open Doors” is a free after school program. It teaches local youth how to design and build stained glass windows. The program takes place on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Kendrick Recreation Center in Roxborough.

Program organizers are currently seeking youth from across the city to take part. No previous art experience is necessary. Everything is free. Students also receive healthy snacks.

The project began in 2005. Since then, hundreds of city youth have learned specific skills including:

  • How to design and make stained glass windows.
  • Safely working with sharp pieces of glass and glass cutters.
  • Proper handling of hot soldering irons, acid, flux, and lead.

Artists Joan Myerson and Paula Mandel started the project. Paula is a glass artist and therapist. Joan is a digital artist and retired school teacher.

Since it began, the project has donated 120 windows to sites around the world. These include:

  • A South African center for AIDs orphans.
  • A New Orleans school rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina.
  • An Ojibwa native reservation in Minnesota.
  • A school for impoverished students in Ibanda, Uganda.
  • Covenant House for homeless youth in Philadelphia. 
Stained glass window created by program members and installed at the Kendrick Rec Center.

Joan said the program isn’t about making kids into stained-glass artists. The organizers seek to create a safe space where youth can:

  • Find one-on-one mentoring from an adult.
  • Discover their creativity.
  • Find their voice.
  • Build their confidence.
  • Share their talents and gifts with other students around the world.

The project also seeks to expand the students’ world by exposing them to a variety of experiences. Students take trips to art exhibitions, theatres, movies, and concerts.

A measure of the program’s success is that many former students return as volunteers.

Joan feels the program is a gift to everybody, and she is always amazed at the students’ generosity. Many students will work on a window for an entire year. She explained it’s difficult to give away something so beautiful that you created.

Paula said the program “creates community and is…an international and national connector.”

Or call Kendrick Recreation Center at 215-685-2584.
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