Meet Our Storytellers

Twyla 'Ms. T' Simpkins smiling with a gold framed painting of a white horse in the background.

Twyla ‘Ms. T’ Simpkins taught in the Chester Upland School District for 35 years before retiring in 2008. She has since become the Founding Director of the Yes We Can Achievement and Cultural Center, a Chester-based 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the elimination of racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity. She plays an active role in the Chester community, participating in many events as an archivistorian and storyteller. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, she currently has a BS in Secondary English Education. Her post graduate work has earned her an equivalency Masters as she continues this summer with additional coursework towards a dual certification in African American Studies.

Twyla, "Ms. T" Simpkins has been called "Chester's modern day historian." She brings to many projects the institutional memory as well as a profound understanding of both the local history of Chester and its place in the larger history of the region and country. She regularly contributes to the humanities-based, community revitalization efforts of Chester Made and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, assisting with the delivery of local history programming for events. Twyla is a master storyteller and passionate advocate for Chester.

Amanda Johnson smiling and looking at her phone with a white background covered in red Chester Made logos behind her.

Amanda Johnson is the co-found of Visions Video Production. She and her husband started the production in 1997. The production started out by video taping church services and evolved to full video productions. Amanda took the required classes at Philly Cam Television Studios in Philadelphia Pa, and is a certified Producer and Director. She has and continues to produce and direct shows including her own show called What’s Your Point Of View which airs on the Philly Cam Television Station in Philadelphia.  Youtube: Visions Video Pro Studio, What’s Your Point of View?

Stefan Roots smiling and wearing black glasses.

Stefan Roots launched his first community newspaper in 2006 and replaced it with a blog in 2010. As a community journalist, he presents to those who want to know more of what's going on in the City besides the stories they read in the paper”.  Chester Matters blog entries feature news, local business profiles, youth achievement, opinion, and citizen journalism. Stefan has covered Chester Made activities throughout the history of the project.  In 2018, The Mercatus Center at George Mason University named the Chester Matters newspaper and blog to the inaugural recipients of its prestigious Emergent Ventures program. Emergent Ventures is an incubator fellowship and grant program that “seeks to support entrepreneurs and brilliant minds with highly scalable, ‘zero to one’ ideas for meaningfully improving society.”  Stefan is a graduate of Villanova University and Chester resident. He is also a regular contributor to the Swarthmorian weekly newspaper in Swarthmore.  

Jean-Pierre Brice smiling and wearing a CMP hat while standing in front of a white wall with CMP painted in black.

Jean-Pierre Brice was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 22nd, 1979, to a Chester native and a Haitian immigrant.  At the age of 2, his parents moved back to Chester, PA to be surrounded by a very close knit family.  Most of Pierre’s (as he is affectionately called), formal education was in the Catholic schools system, as he was being groomed to be a priesthood leader, due to his loving and giving nature.  At the tender age of 12 years old, his father passed away and that shook his world.  Having to redefine himself, he went to the streets for solace.  He attended Chester High School and was involved in sports, which sparked his desire to become a Sports Broadcast journalist.  After graduation he attended Keystone College, but later left due to feeling uninspired and returned to the solace of the streets.  After getting into trouble with the law a few times, he was sent to an up-state prison for an extended amount of time.  That gave Pierre time to rediscover his passions and once again redefine himself as the man that everyone else saw; a motivating influencer.  In 2016 Pierre began his radio career working with PQRadio1, Purple Queen and No Q Tommy.  He became a part of the No Filter show with No Q Tommy and DJ Chuck B, and then started the podcast, Revolutionary Minds with a group of like minded individuals. Having been on those shows it sparked his interest to create something that cultivated mature positivity for his city. On September 2nd, 2017 was born.

Bridging the gap between generations and walks of life, Pierre along with partners Joelle and Chuck B came together to shake the community up using the common language; Music, while maintaining the "We are a family" message.  Two year in and the message has not changed but grew and continues to grow. As Pierre created to be a family, by Cultivating Mature Positivity while Constantly Making Progress because he is a Chester Made Product. Pierre has accepted the challenge of his passion, which drives his purpose to motivate and inspire others to do the same. Now as "Uncle P Motiv8r”, he strives to show his community that Passion Drives Purpose.