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HomeJanuary 2018 Newsletter

 The Village View:  January 2018

Introducing Talented and Much Appreciated Volunteer Mario Oropeza

Penn’s Village members will tell you that when Mario stops by, something special happens.  He may be there simply to keep you company or do some errands, but he is interesting and interested in you and friendships blossom.  Mario and Molly Lenowitz now head the Penn’s Village Program Committee, and both bring a fresh outlook and renewed energy. 

Mario, a native Californian, moved to the Philadelphia area in 2008. Prior to his retirement in 2007, Mario worked as a transportation planner on major projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston and San Diego.  Now Mario gardens, cooks, bakes and travels.  

Not enough? He makes leaded windows and copper foil objects, bird houses that resemble architecturally significant buildings and, more recently, birds.  
In addition to all that he does for Penn's Village, Mario also volunteers at the 30th Street Train Station information booth and continues to look for other volunteer opportunities. 

Mario’s life philosophy fits so well with Penn’s Village:  “Be busy and optimistic. Maintain a youthful mind - your  body will have a fun time trying to keep up.” 

Behind the Numbers

Penn’s Village provided more than 1000 services in 2017.  The numbers, however, do not even begin to tell the story. 

The friendships that develop as neighbors are there for neighbors is the point.  While transportation remains an often requested service, last year Health Pals, companionship and technology requests soared.  Health Pal volunteers and members care about each other.   They met with physicians 92 times in 2017 alone.  When a member requests companionship, our Executive Director Jane Eleey, does not just look at “who is available when”.  She thinks about mutual interests and compatibility.  Members and their companions go to the movies, enjoy art exhibits and read together. They go out to lunch or simply stay home to reminisce, play a game or watch a video.  Our techie volunteers made 120 home visits to resolve members’ computer, tablet and smart phone issues.  This does not include the “remote” interventions that our Apple specialist, Yoav provides.   

We celebrated our 10th anniversary this year at the historic Hill-Physick House, honoring board member and dear friend Ted Robb, and enjoyed friends at the first of many to come holiday parties. Any excuse to have fun!

Join Penn’s Village at the membership level most comfortable for you: Descriptions of our Neighbor, Village and Contributor memberships are on our website at  

Volunteer:  Whether you provide direct assistance to members or help behind the scenes, you will meet amazing people.

The Program Committee Moves Forward With Dynamic New Leadership

Under the guidance of Mario and Molly, the Program Committee is working hard to offer a broad range of topics that are of special interest to our community, including the arts, history, politics and Philadelphia treasures.  Our Take Charge Agenda focuses on your health and safety  and making your wishes clear should those who care about you need to make decisions on your behalf. 

Our 2018 kick off to the Take Charge Agenda is the first Silver Binder Workshop on January 24 designed to help you organize your important legal, health, and financial documents. A second workshop is scheduled for March 7.  On February 12,  within the health and safety module of the Take Charge Agenda,  Drexel Physical Therapy will demonstrate how Tai Chi can help with our balance and stability.

On January 25, Judy Wicks of White Dog Cafe fame will talk about her life’s work: building a locally based economy that is green, fair and fun. John Gillespie, former Bulletin editor, will talk about the future of newspapers on February 16.  On February 28,  publisher Paul Dry will talk about writing that evokes images, sharing vivid examples of such writing.  On March 15, Penn’s Village board member Lois Evans and advisory council member Neville Strumpf will discuss ways to age gracefully, a joint program with the Cosmopolitan Club.

Lots more in the works.  Details are available from the welcome page of the Penn’s Village website:

Neighborhood Businesses Give Back to our Community

Business support is fundamentally important to all villages.  Please be an ambassador for Penn’s Village.  We have a team dedicated to this outreach effort and would be delighted if you would like to join us.

Please consider contributing to the Margaret Armstrong Robb Fund and help a lower income neighbor enjoy the benefits of a Penn’s Village membership.  

If you shop on, go to Smile. Amazon instead.  The price you pay will be the same but Amazon will donate .05% of your purchase price to Penn’s Village.