When John isn’t brightening the Wawa on Tyson Ave. in Northeast Philly with his trademark warmth and charisma, he is traveling across Philadelphia inspiring children to discover a love of words through the game of Scrabble. One of John’s regular trips is to the Juvenile Justice Center where he uses Scrabble to connect with teens who have been arrested.

These trips are deeply personal to John. Several bad decisions as a young man put John on an early path to nowhere. It was while incarcerated that John was introduced to Scrabble and he quickly distinguished himself as a skilled player. The confidence and camaraderie he discovered through the game motivated John to turn his life around. Since reentering society, John has led dozens of after school Scrabble clubs through ASAP and has coached kids all the way to the North American Scholastic Scrabble Championships. And each year John will mentor hundreds of students at the Juvenile Justice Center, encouraging them to find whatever it is that is going to help them get their life on track, often continuing to mentor the teens after they are released.

John is living proof to the saying that heroes aren’t simply born, they are forged out of adversity and powered by their compassion for others. It is ASAP’s greatest honor to work alongside John and the many heroes just like him eager to make a brighter future for our city’s children one after school club at a time.

Vote for everyday heroes — heroes like Johnny Scrabble — by voting for ASAP for the Wawa Hero Award. 
With your help, ASAP can win up to $50,000 to celebrate and support the many caring adults, who lend their time and talents to engage & inspire children throughout Philadelphia.


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  2. Click on ASAP/After School Activities Partnerships
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