The lead singer of Third Eye Blind needed a mentor growing up. Stephan Jenkins, in Philadelphia Tuesday night to perform at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s “Big Night Out” gala, recounted finding one during his childhood.

Jenkins, from California, said when he was in the first grade his parents divorced and his mother battled alcoholism. At the time, he struggled with school. A neighbor of his who was likely in his 20s or 30s saw Jenkins needed some guidance and introduced him to music and showed him how to play the drums.

“In part through that mentoring,” Jenkins said, “my life’s course was charted.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania, which is all about mentoring, celebrated its 100th anniversary with the gala Tuesday night. Jenkins was joined by musicians Macy Gray, Vanessa Williams and Shontelle. Actor Marlon Wayans co-hosted the event with baseball star Mone Davis.

Host Marlon Wayans talked about his many siblings and made a hilarious joke about the intimidating name of white shoe law firm Fox Rothschild.
Host Marlon Wayans

Luminaries from the Philadelphia business community made appearances as well, including Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and David L. Cohen, the company’s vice president. Former mayor W. Wilson Goode was honored with the Charles Edwin Fox Memorial Service Award.

“It has the right protocol to make the lives of young people better,” Goode said.

The organization has come a long way in 100 years. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the Big Sisters portion of the charity was added. And not long before that Big Brothers still divided up its participants depending on their religion and race. Marcus Allen, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania, said that going forward the program’s biggest priority is expansion. He said around 200,000 young people are at-risk in Philadelphia and could use a mentor.

“Of all the things we’re throwing money at to try to solve,” he said, “that’s one thing we can solve.”

Why Stephan Jenkins digs Philadelphia

The thousands of people who enjoy riding bikes in the city have a new ally: Jenkins. When Third Eye Blind comes into town, he said he and his bandmates love to explore the city by bicycle. They often pack bicycles in one of the trucks carrying their equipment.

“We unload and bike them all over the place,” he said. “It’s a good biking city.”

Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind.
Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind. Credit: Jasen Hudson, courtesy of Big Brothers Big Sisters

He said they bike just about anywhere.

“Right up here to the center of town,” said Jenkins, pointing toward City Hall. “By Mr. Penn.”

Goode on Kenney: ‘A decent, passionate, knowledgeable man’

The election is coming up next month, and you can count Goode among the many Jim Kenney supporters.

“I think Jim Kenney is a decent, passionate, knowledgeable man who wants to be a great mayor,” he said. “I believe that he will surround himself with people who are smarter than he is, which is my philosophy of success: find someone smarter than you and let them help you do what you do. From my point of view, I think he will do an outstanding job for the city because he knows that it’s an opportunity to make a real difference in the life of the city.”

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...