Couple helps Syrian refugees
By Lawrence H. Geller
Renata Alkurdi, 55, has a twinkle in her eye and determination in her heart as she packs donated men’s, women’s and children’s clothing in a large nylon bag. Destination: Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon.
“When people make the decision to leave their homeland because of war, they leave with the clothes on their backs,” she says.
Exploring my city as a senior
By Frank Burd
It’s amazing how we can live in a place and never explore it with the vigor of a tourist. I grew up in New York City but never visited the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building until after I moved to Philadelphia and went back to the city with friends. After living in Philadelphia for 50 years, I did something that few locals probably do. This year, I took a group tour of Philadelphia in an open-air bus. It was wonderful.
Travel abroad at any age, but with caution
by Constance Garcia-Barrio
International travel requires more than a hop, skip and a jump down the jetway. Few things top the excitement of traveling abroad, but it means physical and psychological stress. Even winding through security lines at the airport can test us as we age.
Tired of the same old argument? Book offers advice
By Barbara Sherf
Inspired by his marriage to his wife, Elise, Max Rivers has made a successful career out of helping couples with marriage problems. Max, 67 and Elise, 52, have been together for 15 years. At the beginning of their relationship, they both studied mediation in Massachusetts. Because of the impact that learning mediation had on their own relationship, they saw the potential for using the practice in all aspects of life, especially marriage.
The President’s House commemorates unique history
By Dorothy Stanaitis
There’s a historical gem located within our midst that many Philadelphians do not know about. Just across the street from the Independence Visitor Center, located at the corner of Sixth and Market streets, you can see the footprint of the former home of the first two U.S. presidents, called the President’s House. The house was occupied by both our first president, George Washington, and his successor, John Adams, when Philadelphia was capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800.
Helping African and Caribbean immigrant seniors
By Marcia Z. Siegal
African-born elders, as well as those who immigrated from Caribbean nations like Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, are two of Philadelphia’s fastest growing segments of foreign-born seniors, according to the 2016 American Community Survey. Together, these groups comprise 22 percent of the city’s older immigrant population. A third of African elders and 23 percent of Caribbean elders lack proficiency in English. Nearly a third of both groups have one or more disabilities. More than a fifth are low-income.
Knowing that the African and Caribbean immigrant populations rank among the city’s most vulnerable older adults, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) is intensifying its efforts to reach out to them and to identify and address their needs.
Stitching artful embroidery
By Constance Garcia-Barrio
If the colors and patterns in Nancy Lisagor’s embroidered pillows came with sound effects, you might hear popping firecrackers or the wild conclusion of Ravel’s “Bolero” upon seeing them.
Lisagor, 68, creates precise needlepoint designs consisting of upright stitches laid in a mathematical pattern. This method, known as bargello, was developed in Italy and Hungary centuries ago. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence that have a flame stitch pattern. Other classic bargello shapes include diamonds and medallions, but patterns can vary depending on the arrangement of the vertical stitches. Lisagor often gives the shapes a twist and selects hues that almost cry aloud.
Did Betsy Ross really sew the nation’s first flag?
By Dorothy Stanaitis
As mid-June 1943 approached, our teachers at James Rhodes School in West Philadelphia spent hours having us practice the patriotic songs we’d be singing in our annual Flag Day ceremony. We were already familiar with some of the patriotic songs we would be singing, but this year a new song had been added. We had heard the melody before. It was “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” but now we had to learn new words for it.
This new song described the creation of the nation’s first flag and was called “Betsy Ross Lived on Arch Street, Near Second.”
School library volunteer shares her time and knowledge
By Constance Garcia-Barrio
It’s said that every life is a work of art. If that’s true, then serving children of different creeds and colors has helped to make Elayne Blender’s days a brilliant creation.
Blender, 70, volunteers three half-days a week at Mount Airy’s Henry Houston Elementary School, tutoring mostly African-American students in literacy and math and coordinating the school’s 12 other volunteers in the school library.