City Life Lancaster Pa

Stories from House of Ruth

My last post told of the origins of B.I.R.D. Ministries and House of Ruth. Here are a few stories Linda Bird shared about the women she has served over the years . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

Beginning In the Right Direction - B.I.R.D. Ministries

One summer morning in 2001, Linda Bird got a phone call asking if she’d be willing to go into the Lancaster County Prison and teach a parenting class for women incarcerated there. Linda agreed to do the class, even though she had no idea what to expect . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice peace criminal justice rmo

Forging a New Path - Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization

Elaina* curls up at one end of the sofa in her living room, as she invites me to have a seat at the other end. The petite 30 year-old has short cropped hair, an engaging smile and a radiant glow about her. She launches right into the story of her path from prison to where she is now . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

Imagine (redux) - Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization

Imagine arriving in an unfamiliar place, with nothing but a few dollars and the clothes on your back. You don’t have a roadmap or any reliable means of transportation. You aren’t sure where to go or where you’ll sleep tonight. You haven’t eaten for hours and aren’t sure where your next meal will come from . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

Taking the Lead - Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization

Today’s post focuses on Lancaster – and an aspect of our community that’s often invisible: the challenges people face when transitioning back to the Lancaster community after incarceration. This is Harold’s story . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

Seeing the Light - Lancaster County Reentry Management Organization

Today’s post once again focuses on Lancaster – and an aspect of our community that’s often invisible: the challenges people face when transitioning back to the Lancaster community after incarceration. This is Ricky’s story . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

The Heart of a Man - Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization

After two heart attacks in three months, Lancaster resident, Edward*, was diagnosed with “a bad heart.” His doctor told him he needed to stop working, as the strain on his heart could kill him. It was a shock and a devastating blow to the broad-shouldered, muscular 42 year-old former athlete, who has worked steadily since his teen years . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

$4.50 a day

It’s Thanksgiving Week, and I’ve been thinking a lot about food. But not in the way you might guess . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa

Saturday in the City – El Maizal

Take one step through the dark red door at 306 North Mulberry Street in Lancaster, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into another part of the world . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa entrepreneurs arts&culture;

Six Reasons to Take Kids Holiday Shopping (at GTGH)

While you might typically be inclined to leave the kids (or grandkids) at home while you do your holiday shopping, the Gifts That Give Hope (GTGH) Alternative Gift Fair is different. Here are six great reasons to bring children or grandchildren along to GTGH . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace

Avalanche

Signs of the coming holidays have been multiplying fast and furious, especially in my mailbox. Every day since early September, the mailman has shoved another holiday catalog or two through the tiny mail slot in our front door, along with the usual collection of credit card offers, sales flyers, coupon clipper magazines, insurance offers, and other assorted junk mail . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa sustainability

One Year Into the Adventure

One year ago today, Bruce and I signed a thick stack of papers in our realtor’s office, picked up the keys for this old city rowhome, and moved in with sleeping bags, pillows and a box of tools. It was the beginning of a new and, according to some of our family and friends, crazy, adventure . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa

Saturday in the City – Behind the Scenes at Tellus360 (Part 2)

Okay, yes, I know it’s SUNDAY – but I promised another part of the story of Tellus360 . . .
(note: photo from the Tellus360 green roof; from textTellus360 website)

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa sustainability

Saturday in the City – Behind the Scenes at Tellus360 (Part 1)

Fine particles of sawdust float in the beams of sunlight coming through the high windows. The air vibrates to the whirr of an ancient Whitney planer as furniture-maker Josh Walton guides a thick slab of walnut lumber through . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa sustainability arts&culture;

Living Proof - Lancaster County Reentry Management Organization

At 6’2”, with broad shoulders, and a deep bass voice (think “James Earl Jones” and go down a notch), Zach might not look like a man who’d recite poetry . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

Saturday in the City - Upohar Ethnic Cuisines

The kitchen is steamy and filled with spicy scents of coriander and limes, chilies and lemons. Five women work around each other, chopping tomatoes and cilantro, sautéing peppers and onions, and whirling mounds of chickpeas, sesame tahini and garlic in a large food processor . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa social enterprise

Restorative Justice in Schools - Lancaster Catholic High School - Part 2

Adrienne Howe, the new Director of Restorative Justice at Lancaster Catholic High School, knows a lot about the importance of “second chances.” For six years before taking this new position at LCHS, Adrienne worked for Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole, helping people coming out of prison to get out of the cycle of crime and incarceration to become successful . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice peace

Restorative Justice in Schools - Lancaster Catholic High School

“Restorative justice is what made me a high school principal,” Tom Fertal tells me. I am, in fact, sitting in the principal’s office (something I haven’t done in a VERY long time!) . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice peace

Saturday in the City - The Alley Garden

I spent much of last Saturday wandering the narrow and often-fascinating alleys around the city. Down a narrow alley in the southeast part of the city, off of Shippen Street, I found a group of neighbors involved in a clean-up day in their communal “Alley Garden” . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace sustainability social enterprise

Points of Pride - Lafayette Elementary School

Wanda Suarez, principal of Lafayette Elementary School in Lancaster city, beams as she shows me the numerous awards the school has received. They’re all displayed in the school’s new entrance lobby. And Lafayette has just received another one: they are the first urban school in the United States to become a “Certified Olweus School,” for their comprehensive implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), and one of only four schools in the US to have achieved this distinction . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace

Ghosts of Businesses Past

Walking around the city, there are clues to Lancaster’s history in some interesting places. I spent most of Saturday afternoon walking around some of the alleys of the city . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa sustainability

ASSETS Lancaster

Walking around the city, it’s astounding how many small businesses are here, in glass-windowed shops along the city’s main “royalty” streets (King, Queen, Prince, Duke), as well as down narrow alleys, in old city rowhomes, and in refurbished former warehouses and factories. Catering businesses, bookkeeping services, barber shops, flower shops, photography studios, internet marketing services, mechanics – just to name a few . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa sustainability entrepreneurs social enterprise

A Place for the Arts

I spent yesterday morning with a group of elders at Willow Valley Retirement Community, teaching a life story writing course . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa arts&culture;

A Whole Lotta TLC

Frank was once “a respectable college-educated former Marine, and business owner with a beautiful, caring wife, three wonderful children, and three beautiful grandchildren.” But after decades of battling alcoholism, he wound up “a penniless, homeless, unemployable drunk.” These are Frank’s own descriptions of his life, in a letter he wrote to the staff of the Transitional Living Center after he successfully completed their “homelessness to housing” program and moved into his own apartment . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace rmo

Trash Day

It’s trash day here in our section of the city. Looking up and down the block at all of the cans and bags holding a week’s worth of garbage, then mentally multiplying that by all of the cans and bags in all of the other sections of the city makes my head spin . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa sustainability

How I Spent My Summer (and Most of Autumn)

This past Friday was Graduation Day for 28 professionals in social services, workforce development and criminal justice agencies from across Pennsylvania. I was one of them . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

The NOW Generation of Peacemakers

I spent last evening with 15 long-time community activists and peacemakers. Men and women from right here in Lancaster County who have been involved for years in a variety of causes, from environmental issues to global peacemaking to matters of social justice. All are in the “second half of life” and have already had long careers as lawyers, teachers, healthcare workers, business people, and other professions . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice grace goes to prison peace criminal justice healing communities

Gifts That Give Hope - Part 4

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901 – 1978)

The list of terrific non-profit organizations participating in this year’s Gifts That Give Hope alternative gift fair goes on . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace

Gifts That Give Hope - Part 3

Three months from today is . . . CHRISTMAS! Only 91 shopping days left. Luckily, there’s a fantastic alternative to the mall madness that’s called “Gifts That Give Hope” . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace

A Sea Change, Rich and Strange

The strong breeze ruffling the curtains of my office window today is a cool weather front coming in, according to the weatherman. A harbinger of the impending change of season. It seems an appropriate metaphor for something else I’ve been feeling lately . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice grace goes to prison criminal justice healing communities rmo

Gifts That Give Hope - Part 2

In a previous post, I introduced Gifts That Give Hope and some of the organizations involved in this year’s event. This post introduces several more of the organizations that will be part of the 2011 GTGH fair . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace sustainability

Gifts That Give Hope

Regular readers of my blog know that I often write about people and organizations who dedicate themselves to making a positive difference in the world, creating peaceful, healthy, strong and sustainable communities – whether by promoting peace and justice, respect for diversity, environmental sustainability, high quality education or equal access to basic human needs like nutritious food, clean drinking water and safe shelter.

Well, on Sunday, November 20, 2011, thirty such organizations will be gathered under one roof . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace sustainability

Restorative Justice in Lancaster County - LAVORP at Work

I’m going to wrap up this multi-post series on restorative justice in action with another LAVORP story . . . and a call to action. First, the story . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice peace criminal justice

Back to School - Part 3 - Peer Mediation in Schools

Back in 1989, Frank Albrecht taught phys ed and health at J. P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster, PA. He’d been at McCaskey for four years, and enjoyed teaching students about healthy living and physical fitness. Then, one afternoon after school, five of his students had a fight. One of them was stabbed, nearly fatally, in the heart . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice peace

Restorative Justice in the Community

My last few posts have focused on how schools address situations where students violate rules and cause harm in the school setting, and I’ll be writing more on that subject in the coming weeks. But what about situations where young people violate rules or laws and cause harm in our neighborhoods and communities? . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice peace criminal justice

Back to School - Part 2 - Restorative Justice in Schools

A fight broke out in the middle of the hallway at a Lancaster area school. Two teenage boys – one black, one white – threw punches and hurled racial slurs at each other . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice peace

Back to School - Part 1 - Schools and “Zero Tolerance”

This week, lots of my friends have been taking their kids back to college, while others are getting their younger children ready to go back to elementary, middle or high school . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice

Living Lighter

Today’s brilliant blue skies and cool breezes are sure signs that autumn’s right around the corner. You can almost smell September in the evening air. And as the sun settles over the rooftops on the other side of the street, the whirr of locusts is replaced by the gentler rhythms of cricket song. I love the sound of it . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace sustainability

Reflections and Direction

It’s been an intense week of learning, reflection and decisions . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story restorative justice criminal justice

What About the Children?

Last night, both of my children went to sleep many miles away from us, their parents. They were in safe, comfortable surroundings and fell asleep secure in the knowledge that they are deeply loved and that we are here for them, accessible and available any time they need us for anything.

Last night, approximately three million other American children went to sleep many miles away from one or both of their parents, with no way to contact their parents, and no way for their parents to help them with much of anything. Many of these children haven’t even seen their parents for months, maybe even for years . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice

Scenes from a Life - How it all began

As more and more people are “weighing in” about whether I should continue researching and writing about Ruth’s life, my good writer-friend, Lisa Hess, invited me over to her “Porch Swing Chronicles” blog to share a little about how this journey with Ruth’s story began . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story

Scenes from a Life - Quandary

The quandary over whether to go forward with Ruth’s story continues. Since the article and then the critical letter to the editor appeared in the Sunday news, I have been talking with quite a few other people about whether to proceed with this project . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story

Scenes from a Life - Good Ju-Ju

I spent the morning with six women who are all related to Ruth and her mother, Marie . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story home renovation

Lancaster City Culture - 28th Annual Hispanic Cultural Festival

We’re coming into “fair & festival” season in Lancaster County – one of my favorite times of the year. Pennsylvania is known for county fairs, but here in Lancaster County, plenty of individual communities have their own fairs and festivals: Elizabethtown, New Holland, Ephrata, Denver… And right here in the city, for the next 3 nights, we have a fantastic festival going on: the 28th Annual Hispanic Cultural Festival . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa

Scenes from a . . . City Garden

While Sunday’s letter to the editor raised questions about how Ruth would feel about my digging into her past and doubts about the legitimacy of some of the information and theories about Ruth that were shared in the newspaper article, there is NO doubt that Ruth loved being in the garden here at the house . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story

Scenes from a Life . . . or Not?

Today’s Sunday paper contained a letter to the editor about last week’s article on Ruth and this house and my project to research and write about Ruth’s life. In part, the letter read, “I believe Ruth would be appalled to know someone acquired her private files not intended for them and likely headed for the Dumpster. Would any one of us want that for ourselves?”

The question brought me up short . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story

Lancaster City Culture - History - 1944 Photo Tours

It’s been a wild and busy week, so today’s post is something a little bit different . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story

Lancaster City Culture - History - 1944

As Ruth was finishing her final year at Ogontz Junior College, back here in Lancaster city, residents were feeling the pain of wartime . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story

Scenes from a Life - Ruth’s Story - 1945 - End of the Ogontz Years

All the clues I’ve uncovered so far point to Ruth having been an unconventional young woman, even perhaps a bit of a rebel. Yet, in her final year at Ogontz, it appears she tried to do at least some of what was “expected” of Ogontz girls . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story

Lancaster City Culture - Fulton Youtheatre

Among Ruth’s memorabilia are dozens of theater programs, playbills and ticket stubs from theaters in Philadelphia, New York, London, Edinburgh, Barcelona and other major cities around the world, as well as from F&M’s Green Room Theatre and the Fulton Opera House right here in Lancaster. Ruth clearly enjoyed theater – all kinds of theater from opera to Broadway, from comedy to musicals to drama.

I have a hunch she would have really loved the upcoming production of For We Were Strangers In The Land by Fulton’s Youtheatre . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story peace