Photo Credit: NNPA

Special to the NNPA

By Steven N. Larkin 

On a cool star-studded evening at the Arden Theater Company, one of Philadelphia’s premier theaters, hosted the Blues Babe 16th Foundation Anniversary.  The Blues Babe Foundations (BBF) is the brainchild of soulful sultry (sensuous) singer / poet, Jill Scott.  The life she has lived has inspired her to help young children make dreams happen through education and the arts. 

The evening began with a lobby full of Ms. Scott’s colleagues, the Board of Directors for BBF, kids and many of the students who have received scholarships along with many that attended Camp Jill Scott through the years.   A room full of Philadelphia’s movers and shakers were on the scene.

They were all smiling, bubbly and full of joy in Philadelphia!  To say the atmosphere was festive would be a huge understatement!  Not that anyone was hungry, but the food catered by Eatible Delights was tasty! Lots of green salad, loaded with 5 major cheeses, topped off with a side of sliced roast off the bone!  Just picture a lobby full of an array of beautiful people looking like a rainbow.  There was a complete mixture of good-looking ladies, dapper men dressed to impress and of course a host of the young kids, who Ms. Scott has inspired to live their lives to the fullest! Education is the key.

We talked with Miss Parker Scott (no relationship to the singer) one of the kids, who is a member of Camp Jill Scott. The 7th grader, shared that she is going to be a Biomedical Engineer, and the help that the BBF provides the kids is invaluable!   She along with her girlfriend Londyn Hayward, look forward to laughing and learning all they can throughout the year in class and especially, when they go to Camp Jill Scott!

A packed group of supporters then entered the auditorium to learn more about the Blues Babe Foundation as Dr. Val Gay, member of the Board of Directors, who happens to be a classically trained soprano, came on stage sharing with the audience all of the dynamic work the foundation has been doing for underserved children in the Philadelphia and Camden area. They begin working with youth from grades 4th through 7th.  She went on to share the foundation keeps track of the participants all the way through High School. The BBF also provides summer youth employment opportunities for young people.  Another member of the BBF Board of Directors, Brandon Pankey, Vice President Live Nation Urban, then came on to discuss how the BBF is sensitive to the needs of the community. He talked about how thankful that they are for the community along with the fantastic work many corporate supporters/ partnerships have provided. Much of the work that the BBF does couldn’t be done without these resources especially from Amtrack and Peco. 

Photo Credit: NNPA

BBF Director, Ms. Aisha Winfield, then came on to expound on how meaningful the work that they do which is really making a difference in young people’s lives.  In addition, the BBF also provides mentoring programs for the area’s youth. 

Since 2008, the foundation has provided over 300 kids a week of pure fun at Camp Jill Scott! They swim, race, basketball / volleyball where they play hard, laugh and just have fun! The main focus of the BBF is to help young children develop strong learning skills, provide financial help for them to continue their education and not be stalled for a lack of funding. Going to school is not easy; the BBF recognizes this fact, while enjoying the opportunity to give back to the community!

Of course, the highlight of the evening was when Jill Scott and her band strolled on stage! Jilly from Philly was in the house! She simply walked in with her beaming smile and began to do her thang!  Singing ….Is it the Way…the crowd went to a whole brand new level, with a soulful clap!  Following up with I am living my life like it’s Golden! Big fun on a cold night. She then went on to thank all of her supporters and the difference that they make by providing resources and support to help the kids continue their education.  She also shared that she faced so many obstacles, while attending Temple University and simply trying to live! While in school, she actually worked at the Arden Theater in a variety of roles from the ticket office to learning how to build sets for stage productions! That experience created a movement in her soul to help young people facing the same kind of life challenges; thus she created the BBF. The Board of Directors for the BBF is a group of unique, hard working group of professionals, that are committed to help the youth in the North Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ areas to excel in education, fun and life.

In this short journey we call life; The Blues Babe Foundation is, indeed, The Real Thing!

If you have an opportunity to donate and support the Blues Babe Foundation, it would be wonderful and very much appreciated!  You can make a meaningful difference by investing in our community.  For more information, please visit