Welcome to Providence Center!

Providence Center has been providing joy and hope to the Fairhill section of Philadelphia through educational programming since 1993. While we welcome the entire community, most of our students come from Fairhill’s substantial Puerto Rican and Latino population. Though our community has the highest poverty rate in Philadelphia, we are committed to helping hard-working families embrace futures filled with hope and opportunity. Join us, and be part of something truly meaningful!

Who are we?

Committed to North Philadelphia’s Fairhill community since 1993, Providence Center offers education programming for children, youth, and adults.  Our mission is to educate people to have the power and spirit to transform their lives and community.
Providence Center was founded by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in 1993 in response to the closing of St. Edward parish and school, where the Sisters had taught and worked for over one hundred years. From the beginning, when the Sisters went door-to-door asking neighbors what they needed, Providence Center has focused on addressing the pressing needs of our community. We are guided by the Sisters’ commitment to “meet the wants of the age”, and we carry out their legacy of being “a love full of action”.

Providence Center is located in the heart of Fairhill, a vibrant community in North Philadelphia. The people we serve are primarily from Puerto Rico or immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, or Central America. Our community faces many challenges, including the highest rates of poverty, violent crime, and drug use in the city of Philadelphia. At the same time, the spirit and resiliency of our neighbors inspires us, and together we are working hard to build better lives for community members and their families. Providence Center supports revitalization efforts in our community, and we accompany our students as they strive for futures full of possibility and grace.

Meet Our Team

Siria Rivera
Siria RiveraExecutive Director
Our Executive Director, Siria Rivera comes to Providence Center with over 13 years of community-based service delivery and management experience working with diverse populations, both at a regional and national level. As a first-generation Latina raised in a single parent household who struggled with mainstream schooling, she knows firsthand the obstacles many young people and families face in the city of Philadelphia. Siria’s passion for youth development, multi-generational services and advocacy on behalf of families in low-income communities is derived from her personal experiences and passion for giving back. As a former highschool dropout, she understands the importance of alternative routes and the power of enabling youth to see themselves beyond their current circumstances. Siria obtained a Masters in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University and also studied Bilingual and Bicultural Studies at LaSalle University. Her role as Executive Director at Providence Center is much more than a job, it has proven to be a calling or a ‘coming home’ as Providence Center is located just blocks away from where Siria was born. Her work with Providence Center has allowed her to come full circle, giving back to the community that symbolizes the start of her journey.
Shannon McGill
Shannon McGillDirector of Youth Development
Shannon McGill is responsible for ensuring a safe and nurturing environment that cultivates high quality youth programs in accordance with DHS standards. She has dedicated nearly two decades to supporting marginalized communities through local government, education, and the nonprofit sector. Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Shannon received her master’s in Human Services to guide her passion for empowering individuals through capacity building, identifying opportunities, mentorship, and advocacy.
Gretchen SpencerDirector of Adult Education
Gretchen has years of experience working with adult learners and teaching English as a Second Language. She earned her M.S.Ed. from Temple University and has been involved in research projects on adult education, language acquisition, and immigrant rights. She continues to work with Temple through Providence Center’s partnership with the Temple L.I.F.E. program, offering ESOL classes to parents in the School District of Philadelphia.
Carolann TorresDevelopment Director
Carolann Torres is the Director of Development at Providence Center. She studied Community Planning and Development, and Social Policy at CUNY Hunter College. Carolann became passionate about serving Latino communities while doing community development work in East Harlem. She developed an interest in fundraising and development while working with a mental health and housing services provider for people experiencing homelessness. Carolann also has experience teaching and mentoring at Fordham University, where she developed and implemented a social justice curriculum for high school students.
Jasmine WalandYouth Organizer
Jasmine Waland is a Jesuit Volunteer Corps Youth Organizer at Providence Center. She grew up in San Francisco, California, and graduated from Seattle University where she studied Education, Sociology, and Psychology. During undergrad, Jasmine taught preschool, elementary, middle, and high school, in both private and public spheres. After she graduated, she taught 1st-12th graders Spoken English in Kanchipuram, India. She works alongside youth, supporting and empowering them to create and build their vision of the future.
Shaakinaa DrakefordYouth Program Coordinator
Sister Peggy Doherty
Sister Peggy DohertyESL Teacher and Director of Prayer Groups
Sr. Peggy has many years of experience as teacher and a program director. She was the principal at St. Edward School and is a co-founder of Providence Center.
Joe WierzbickiHandyman
Peg WierzbickiBookkeeper
Peg has volunteered with Providence Center for more than a decade, and she serves as our bookkeeper and helps in the office.
Carmen VazquezMaintenance
Carmen is a long time resident of Fairhill and active member of the Legion of Mary at Visitation BVM parish. She provides indoor and outdoor facility upkeep for the center.
ESOL Teachers
ESOL Teachers
Our ESOL teachers have years of experience teaching English to and working with adults.

Teen Leaders

Tymir Bennett
Tymir BennettTeen Leader
Jelilah Cruz
Jelilah CruzTeen Leader
Brianna Hall
Brianna HallTeen Leader
Carlos Lugardo
Carlos LugardoTeen Leader
Aisha Morales
Aisha MoralesTeen Leader
Uriel Powel-Harrington
Uriel Powel-HarringtonTeen Leader
Wylmary GarciaTeen Leader
Stephanie Torres
Stephanie TorresTeen Leader
Jordan Truett
Jordan TruettTeen Leader
Aristides Velazquez
Aristides VelazquezTeen Leader

Board of Directors

Chair – Juan Lopez:  SVP Finance Shared Services – Independence Blue Cross

Sr. Mary Popit, SHCJ:  Business Office Coordinator, Cristo Rey St. Martin

Secretary – Chuck Stefanosky: Director Strategic Sourcing & Procurement – Independence Blue Cross

Treasurer – Sam Fleetman: Ret. Business Owner – Mustang Expediting

Ruth Capuzzi:  Ret. Director of Development, Society of the Holy Child Jesus

Teleicia Dambreville: Director, Counsel, Employment Litigation – Burlington Stores, Inc

Margaret Doyle, SHCJ: Ministry of Accompaniment – Society of the Holy Child Jesus

Dian Taylor-Pringle: Ret. Director of Human Resources – Society of the Holy Child Jesus

Carmen Torres, SHCJ: Pastoral Associate – St. Peter the Apostle Church

Peter Greenhalgh: Industrial Real Estate Broker- Avison Young

Palmer Dalesandro: Former Vice President – Capgemini

Otis Bullock, Jr., Esq.: Executive Director – Diversified Community Services