Hobart’s Run aims to restore Pottstown Pride: how The Hill School plays a role in its neighborhood


Photo courtesy of McKenna Edwards.

Foster inclusivity; provide incentives for homeownership and property pride; and generate quality business development: this is what Hobart’s Run does for the Pottstown community. Established in 2016 as a nonprofit launched by The Hill School, the organization focuses on a 900-parcel area to revitalize the neighborhood. It began with a 600-parcel area that focused on Queen Street in the south; N. Adams in the west; Beech, Grant, and Jackson in the north; and Keim Street. They then added N. Washington Street in July 2020, expanding their focus area. 


Hobart’s Run works with students who attend The Hill School on events to uplift the community. One of the most recent events was the community day of service. On Dec. 1, The Hill School and Hobart’s Run came together to have a day of service in Pottstown. “This was a way for Hill students to truly learn about the town that they are in,” said Twila Fisher, the director of community and economic development for Hobart’s Run. 


The Hobart’s Run staff was excited to get students together to do this, but it was not easy preparing such a huge event. Gathering the entire school together to do such a thing was a project on its own, as there was not a predetermined way to do school-wide community service. “During the summer we were trying to come up with dates to hold this. Having it in the winter was a bit of a concern, but we are so delighted with the way it turned out,” Fisher stated.


The plan was to get Hill students into Pottstown while doing something beneficial for the borough as well. “Many of the students only knew a small part of town such as Wawa, Dunkin, and the other fast-food restaurants down on High St. We wanted to show them that there is more to Pottstown than they think,” Fisher said. 


When planning this day of service, the Hobart’s Run staff called around to Pottstown businesses to see what they needed done. Cathy Skitko, director of communications for Hobart’s Run, said, “The businesses were so happy. We asked around to figure out what they needed help with and sent students to fulfill these duties.”  Something as simple as dusting made a difference. 


The Hill School hails students from 31 states and 31 countries, but something about being from Pottstown truly touched the heart of Belle DiCampello ‘24, a Pottstown day student: “I went out with the girls’ indoor track team and picked up trash around the Hobart’s Run office. As a day student, seeing my friends from across the country help clean and care for the town I live in was heartwarming. Although Pottstown may not be their home, they treat it with utmost respect.”


Hill students were seen around Pottstown by many community members, and Monica D. Henderson happened to be one of them. “I have lived in Pottstown for 14 years now, and I have always had such pride living here. Seeing so many young people do things to make this neighborhood even better was incredible. I truly feel Hobart’s Run is Godsent.” 


Hobart’s Run has an “adopt a trash can” program where residents who live outside of the focus area can help keep their street litter-free. They can request to get a durable Hobart’s Run branded trash can to show their collaboration and support for Hobart’s Run. “My family and I recently adopted a Hobart’s Run trash can, and it encourages people to throw away their trash rather than litter,” Henderson said. 


Besides holding events such as street cleanups, the organization has also received grants to keep the neighborhood in good standing. According to the website, in the spring of 2019, Hobart’s Run received a $100,000 Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development Multi-Modal Grant and a $37,000 pledge from The Hill School to improve street lighting, repair deteriorated sidewalks, and raise awareness by integrating “Share the Road” safety markings down on Beech St. The new street lights can be seen across the street from the Ricketts Center, a community center where many Pottstown children and families hang out. Security cameras have also been installed at the Ricketts Center and on many other streets in the Borough of Pottstown to keep the area safe. 


Hobart’s Run hopes to continue to work directly with Hill students through clubs like Pottstown CARES and the Hobart’s Run club. Students in the Hobart’s Run club are planning to hold business events with Hill students and local businesses soon. Students can get involved by becoming a part of these clubs or by visiting the Hobart’s Run office at 701-703 E. High St in Pottstown, located off-campus directly behind the Lehman’s residence. For more information, contact Skitko or Fisher.