The Delaware Valley is gearing up for back-to-school. Retail stores advertise the latest back-to-school fashion trends and upcoming sales. Big box stores like Wal-Mart, Target and Staples inundate the television, radio, newspaper and internet with eye-catching ads for back-to-school supplies. Preparing a child for the start of the school year isn’t cheap. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Back-to-School Survey, families with school-age children will spend an average of $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics. For more than 3000 children who enter out-of-home care in Philadelphia each year, adequately preparing for “back-to-school” can be a troublesome hurdle to overcome.
-By Kimberly Grike, Adoption Case Manager, Lutheran Children and Family Service
For the past seven years, I have been working as an Adoption Case Manager at Lutheran Children and Family Service. My days have often been filled with many challenges and yet, when I stop to think back upon my experience as a whole, it is the positive moments and success stories that most easily come to mind. I have had the pleasure of meeting, and working with, children and families from all different backgrounds, and through the adoption process, I have been witness to new beginnings, tremendous transformations, and opportunities to explore what it really means to be “family.”
By Barbara Russell, West Philadelphia Senior Community Center
A few years ago, I went to a conference and saw a sea of women over 60 years old, dressed in the crazy colors of purple and red. Each one was wearing a red hat, some classy and some as crazy as a hat can get. These women were dancing, doing the Philadelphia Mummers strut, blowing into a kazoo and just having a great time. I couldn’t help thinking and saying, “Who would wear purple and red together?” It was then that I learned that these women were attending a “hoot.” A hoot?! I thought, “What in the world is a hoot?” A “hoot” turned out to be a gathering of women who wear purple and red clothing and red hats with a theme of “girls just wanna have fun.” And, having fun they did! There were about 300 women, all colors, sizes and nationalities. I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of this unusual sisterhood.