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The growth of Queenie's Pets wasn't just happenstance. Silberstein is one of 251 Philadelphia business owners who have graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Community College of Philadelphia.

The 10KSB program, as it is known, started three years ago, said Margaret Berger Bradley, the executive director of the program at CCP until this week. Through the program, business owners get an education, expert advice, networking, and sometimes access to business loans. It has been described as a mini-M.B.A., where owners learn about accounting, financial reporting, and writing business plans.

"One of our owners said he was trained as an architect, but he was never trained to run his own business," Bradley said. Silberstein said of 10,000 Small Businesses: "It took my success and kicked it into high gear. "It gave me this enormous access to all these other entrepreneurs who were having some of the same challenges I was having despite being in different industries."

After completing the program in April 2014, Silberstein moved from her home-office to the store in February 2015. Philadelphia has a great record of people starting small businesses, said John Grady, president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which teamed with CCP and the city to bring the program here. But the region lags in the businesses' rate of growth.

Lynette M. Brown-Sow commands the room. She’s a stately woman with a regal bearing, a cool eye, and a winning smile. Vice President for Marketing and Government Relations at Community College of Philadelphia, for the last 20 years she has helped it grow into a major institution and take its place on the national stage. She calls her job positioning and promoting. But, this doesn’t come close to describing the scope of her power.

One of the most surprising aspects was how students themselves engaged with those nudges. At Community College of Philadelphia and SUNY Brockport, students began texting back to messaging services designed to help them balance school and life stress or avoid academic trouble. "We ended up uncovering a really useful delivery channel for college administrators to reach and positively impact students that may have been underestimated in the past," Fishbane says.

Photo: ACHIEVEability participant Tracey Morris, of West Philadelphia, holds her daughter Kristyn after her graduation from Community College of Philadelphia in May 2014. Morris recently graduated from St. Joseph is University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. (Photo courtesy of Tracey Morris)

The 2016 class valedictorian said she looked forward to the future — a future that didn’t always look as bright. Montgomery’s life, and her outlook, changed for the better after she arrived at Camelot Education Academy three years ago.

“I’m really proud of myself,” said the 18-year-old South Philadelphia graduate who plans to earn degrees in criminal justice from Community College of Philadelphia and Central Penn College in Harrisburg en route to becoming a homicide detective. “It was a challenge. If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. It was a challenge but I fought through it.”

Two years ago, in an effort to lose weight, Bill McDowell began taking daily lunchtime strolls around the indoor walking path on the second floor of the Mint Building — one of Community College of Philadelphia’s many wellness activities which promote a culture of fitness.
Fifty pounds and five waist sizes later, McDowell understands the power of a fit-friendly work environment.
“I was surprised quite a bit at the results,” said McDowell, an employee in the registration office on the Main Campus. “I definitely enjoy it, especially in the winter when the weather is bad. There’s no excuse not to do it.”
The half-mile walking path, along with many other campus health initiatives, have earned the College national recognition as a gold-level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for the fourth consecutive year. The honor acknowledges the College’s “Your Wellness Matters” initiative, which encourages and places special focus on weight management, physical activity and smoking cessation to help employees comply with a smoke-free campus in January.
Additionally, the College has implemented incentives for employees for wellness points earned. All employees will receive a booklet explaining when and how they can accrue points for over $100 in prizes.
For McDowell, the walking path served as his road to wellness. During the winter, he walked four to six loops on the path depending on how much time he had. He also gave up processed foods, but walking the path was the only exercise he did. Not only did it pay off in pounds lost, but in relationships gained.
“I consider it part of the many benefits the College offers to their employees,” McDowell said. “You get to walk through the various buildings and see what’s going on at the College and see your colleagues that you otherwise might not get to see, which makes it nice if you haven’t seen anyone for a while.”