Kingsessing Heals

At the exciting June 4 gathering of community leaders, from left, Marcus Philpot, head of Logistics Moving and Hauling; Tim Massaquoi, director of Kingsessing Heals; and Dr. Stephan Jones of Villanova University.
At the exciting June 4 gathering of community leaders, from left, Marcus Philpot, head of Logistics Moving and Hauling; Tim Massaquoi, director of Kingsessing Heals; and Dr. Stephan Jones of Villanova University.

On June 4, some 60 community leaders and concerned residents came together at The Common Place to hear an exciting outline of the  purposes and plans of “Kingsessing Heals” by its director, Tim Massaquoi.   Kingsessing Heals is a new organization formed to deal with the trauma and stress of violence in our area – particularly that which causes and results from gun-violence.    

The community-wide  gathering included many concerned local resident and social justice advocates, plus representatives of churches, and healthcare organizations who are already providing mental health services to people undergoing stress in Southwest.     

“Kingsessing Heals” is described as a Community Resilience Center and has just been based at The Common Place (TCP), 58th and Chester Avenues.  It was chartered following the multiple murders over the July Fourth holiday in 2023.  Its approach to healing the effects of gun violence and reducing the likelihood of its occurrence parallels similar initiatives in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Nevada and Buffalo, New York, all of which were scenes of tragic multiple murders.

Following hearty refreshments, Pastor Cean James of Salt and Light Congregation introduced  Massaquoi who first characterized the purposes and forthcoming programs of Kingsessing Heals.   He briefly compared the plans of our local healing effort with those presently being pursued in the three other initiatives, above.  

Massaquoi proceeded to outline what “resiliency” means for a community – the ability to deal with and recover from violence and stress.  He then laid out a model for developing resilience for individuals and throughout Kingsessing – spiritually, emotionally, socially, intellectually, and very important for our area, environmentally!

From the start, a key component of this Healing function in Kingsessing will be helping connect people in stressful situations with trained, committed professionals (“Doulas”) where and when they are needed.  The term “Doulas’ ‘ was originally coined for people who came alongside new mothers and their infants… now extended to broader reaches of society.

 Summarizing his Healing approach, Massaquoi stressed his aims to find out what resources already exist in Kiingsessing, Southwest, and their environs; organize support for those care providers; and then filling in those areas where assistance is currently lacking.  

Massaquoi is a native of South Whitehall Township west of Allentown, PA, a Michigan Univ. graduate and a former Buffalo Bills tight end.  He has a masters degree in counseling and 10-years experience in that field.

In the Question and Answer portion of the meeting, one person queried “how much this program is going to cost us?”  to which Massaquoi responded, “On the contrary, the program is aimed at providing funding and support for your organization!”  

Persons seeking guidance and counseling to anticipate or deal with emergency behavioral situations can call the City’s DBHIDS Behavioral Health Crisis Intervention Services – 24/7 at 215-686-4420.

Kingsessing Help can be reached by contacting Tim Massaquoi by email at   khcrc@avpphila.org 

Salt and Light Congregation provides an array of counseling and religious services.  It is located at The Common Place and its informative website can be found at https://snlphilly.com

Ted Behr is a former editor and publisher of the Globe Times 

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