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HomeSeptember 2018 Newsletter

An Inside Look at Welcome America

The two “clicked” right away.  When Rita picked up the phone, Stella thought it was her aunt B.  Stella told Rita she was from South Philly and Italian. Rita notes that Stella seemed very busy but not too busy to volunteer. “She treats everyone as if they were her own.”

Stella and Rita talk regularly on the phone. “We talk about everything: literature, food, family. Rita reads a lot and never forgets anything – she has the memory of an elephant”.  Rita loves to hear about Stella’s family – her nieces and nephews, noting that Stella is very devoted to them and very loyal. She also loves to hear about the shore – Avalon and Cape May. Stella’s nieces and nephews have been to Rita’s house as has her dog Otis who loves Rita’s meatballs and her fireplace.

Their friendship grew with wonderful conversation and discovering a similar sense of humor. “Rita knows everyone. On a trip to get glasses at For Eyes, it wasn’t long before everyone in the store was helping us. She will go into another store and come out with four guys on her arm. She is a flirt and very popular.”  Rita notes that Stella is a social butterfly and very popular too. “We are a dynamic duo.”

What do you “get” from your association with Penn’s Village?  Stella: “Love and friendship. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and enjoyed hearing stories about times I didn’t know about.”  Rita: “I heard about Penn’s Village when I saw a girl on my street walking a dog. She told me she was volunteering for Penn’s Village and gave me the phone number. I called and joined. I wish to thank Penn’s Village for their kindness and courtesy. And of course, for my inspiration, Stella.”

After the interview, Rose shared that she very much enjoyed meeting with Stella and Rita. “Rita was every bit as engaging and fun as Stella said she was. It was wonderful to see how Penn’s Village brought these two people together who might never have met otherwise.”

An Inside Look at Welcome America

Penn’s Village bids a fond farewell to Hannah Gomez, our marketing and communications intern from Temple University.   Hannah promises to remain part of the Penn’s Village family as she pursues what is sure to be a very promising future.  We like to think Penn’s Village is her favorite but here she shares the excitement of her summer internship with the Wawa Welcome America festival, all while studying for LSATS, the law school entrance test.

Welcome America is a seven-day festival offering fifty some free events designed to delight Philadelphians of every age.  As an intern, I learned so much, had a ton of fun, and met amazing people.Beginning this internship, I was super nervous, but very excited. My fellow interns and I learned how crucial teamwork is, working together through the ups and downs to produce smiles on the faces of thousands of people.

I worked closely with Jack, my fellow sponsorship intern and now lifelong friend, learning how to read and analyze contracts from sponsors and organize the bits and pieces to present a clear view of what is needed to fulfill the Festival’s obligations.  Jack and I were in charge of tracking social media [ Hannah did much to move Penn’s Village forward with social media] and took photos throughout the Festival.

One thing I loved was the mutual trust with leadership while at the same time being pushed outside of my comfort zone.  A favorite assignment was Citywide Reading, providing children with a free book, fun and activities designed to increase reading levels.  Jack and I were given a budget and planned what would be happening at each of four public libraries. We hired a photo booth with DJ, a magician and 6 artists to do temporary tattoos, face painting, and balloon art.  I passed out free books and read one to the children and got to see our hard work pay off when the children, holding cool balloon animals, glowed in excitement with their freshly painted faces.


To quote Matt, a fellow intern, “you get out what you put in”.   As a result of my internship I feel way more connected to Philadelphia. I loved trying new foods.  Who knew about Slurp Ramen?  Delicious!

Hannah’s original article has more insightful detail.  Read Hannah's Full Article.  The document will go into the downloads folder on your computer.


A Book Review by Penn’s Village Board member Dick Levinson

For many of us born in the 1950’s the mere mention of the Kennedy name will always have magic associated with it.  As someone who started first grade in 1960, I was never properly attired unless my Kennedy button was firmly pinned in place.  Chris Matthews helps us to make sense of the Kennedy brother who was both more complex---and far more elusive than Jack.

To family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy, his third son was a runt of who little was expected.  Ironically, it would be Bobby who was particularly good at placating the old man, spending his money, while ignoring his advice, which was often bad. 

Jack and Bobby are often pictured as staunch allies from the beginning, which is a charming myth.  Jack was eight years older than Bobby and they existed in two completely different worlds.  Jack often derided Bobby as “Black Robert.”  As late as 1960, long after Bobby had proven his worth as a campaign strategist and tactician, Jack complained to a friend “How would you like to have that voice hooting in your ear for the next nine months?”

In fact, the brothers were mirror images of each other.  Beneath Jack’s surface charm beat the cool, calculating heart of a ward leader.  Bobby was often seen as the ruthless one, but he worried about those that Jack and the others had run over in the midst of achieving political goals.  To cite one example, both Kennedy brothers knew and socialized with Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin), but only Bobby bothered to attend his funeral in 1957.

Forced to live in an imperfect world, John Kennedy would forgive a lot if Lyndon Johnson could help him obtain the presidency.  Robert Kennedy was not the kind of man to forgive or forget the tone of LBJ’s presidential campaign in 1960.  The two men would be enemies for the rest of their lives.

Following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Robert Kennedy endured the kind of hell that most of us can only imagine.  Bobby not only endured the loss of his brother and was forced to become the head of the family, he was tortured by guilt.  RFK had been particularly active in efforts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.  In doing so, had he unwittingly made his brother a target for murder?   No definitive answer was ever forthcoming.

Robert Kennedy eventually emerged from his fiery trial as a very different man than he had been before.  As a U.S. Senator from New York he finally had an independent power base that was his alone.  Bobby became interested in doing what he could to repair, restore and rebuild the U.S.  During the 1968 presidential campaign, the Nixon people reported that candidate Nixon had seen a young woman carrying a sign that read “Bring Us Together!”   The Republican candidate talked about achieving this goal for the rest of the campaign.  Had he lived long enough, Robert Kennedy would have actually accomplished it. 

Upcoming Programs

September October
12 North Korea From An Historical Perspective 2 Choosing a Medicare Prescription Plan
20 Hearing & Balance Health 10 Latin Dance: Rumba, Samba, etc.
28 A Poetic Journey From Montana to Philadelphia 17 Transit Apps: Lift, Uber . . ,
20 Hearing & Balance Health
22 The Complementary Practice of Acupuncture
31 Tour of Old Pine Cemetery

We Are Listening

You told us that hearing at our programs is sometimes a problem and we have purchased a sound system to fix this.


We continue to look for program venues that accommodate our happily larger program attendee numbers that are also handicap accessible.

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