The 48th annual PAL Day at City Hall Presented by Toyota will take place on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018. During this special event, 38 high school juniors and seniors who are recognized as PAL MVPs (youth with high levels of participation) in their respective PAL centers, have been nominated by their PAL Police officers and selected to shadow Philadelphia City officials. These deserving PAL students will run City Hall for the day, and work side by side with some of Philadelphia’s top City leaders, including Mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Richard Ross, Jr., City Representative Sheila Hess, and many more.
This year, Wynnefield PAL MVP Jordan Newsome-Little has been honored with the opportunity to hold Philadelphia’s top office; she’ll be shadowing Mayor Jim Kenney. A 17-year-old high school senior, Newsome-Little is nothing short of a PAL all-star. She has been an active member of her PAL center for 10 years, and is a role model and leader in her neighborhood. She has taken part in mentoring programs like Positive Images and she actively participates in after-school educational programs such as Homework Club and Computer Club, and is a proud member of PAL’s 100 Book Reading Club. She also takes part in dance, basketball, double dutch and dozens of other programs. She is the definition of a PAL MVP.
Outside of PAL, Jordan is a member of her school’s Big Buddy Program, Community Service Corps, Broadcasting Club, Link Crew and she serves as a member of Student Council. Through Community Service Corps, she has directed her support to Philadelphia’s homeless community, and plans on using her time with Mayor Kenney to learn more about Philadelphia’s plans to combat homelessness.
What does it mean to you to be selected as Honorary Mayor during PAL Day At City Hall Presented by Toyota, and to represent PAL and all of your peers?
I’m excited, but I’m a little nervous, though excited is the go-to word to describe my emotions right now. I was waiting for the phone call to find out who I’d be shadowing, and I was hoping to shadow Mayor Kenney. I was nervously talking to my mom and we called my PAL officer to see if she knew what position I had been selected for. I’m honored to be Mayor and excited for the day, for what I can learn, and what can be learned from me. I look forward to inspiring my fellow PAL members.
You’ve taken part in dozens of PAL programs throughout the years. Is this the highlight of your PAL experiences?
Is this the highlight? It’s definitely in the running! I have had a ton of fun doing a ton of things, especially learning to play tennis. But this is up there.
As Philadelphia’s Mayor for the day, what do you hope to accomplish with Mayor Kenney during your time in office?
As Mayor for the day, I would like to accomplish some things related to homelessness in the City, and public safety, as they are two of my passions. I’d really like to learn more about the City’s involvement in homeless shelters, and education.
What do you hope Mayor Kenney learns from you as Honorary Mayor?
I hope he learns to listen to my perspective as a young person in Philadelphia!
What do you hope your peers get out of their experiences during PAL Day at City Hall?
I hope they listen. A lot of times as young adults and young people, we don’t listen. I hope they realize this will be us in a few years, and that they really take note and try to be the change they hope to see in the world.
What do you plan on taking away or doing after your experience with PAL Day at City Hall?
I plan on starting my own non-profit to benefit the homeless. It will provide food, meals, and basic needs – toothbrushes, soap, food and more. I’d like to learn more about what the City is doing and how I can help.
If there is one other dignitary you’d like to meet, who would it be and why?
The District Attorney! When I was younger, I wanted to be a lawyer. I’ve since decided to study Bio-Pre-med. But I still have a yearning to learn more about law. So definitely the DA.
If you had a message you wanted to share with all of your peers and other PAL kids, what would it be?
You’ve made it this far, so don’t go back! Through PAL, you’re learning to be beneficial, helping members of your community. Continue doing what you’re doing now! You may be making small change, but you’re making a change! If you’re not involved, get involved! It’s one of the best things you can do.