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Celebrating Diversity at Pennswood Village

Posted on May 27, 2016 in General

IMG_2767Pennswood Village has made many efforts to broaden the community’s horizons through the diversity of residents and staff who live and work there. As a Quaker retirement community, Pennswood Village strives for diversity in many ways.

Pennswood’s Board of Directors has organized a Diversity Task Force to take on the challenge of enhancing, celebrating and honoring diversity and inclusiveness at Pennswood Village. The task force is made up of residents, staff, board members, and several people from the broader community and is responsible for arranging and encouraging diversity efforts.

“Everyone has a story, and they’re interesting and worth listening to,” says Betsy Crofts, former board member and Diversity Task Force member.

Actions for Change

The task force has found many ways to promote diversity including organizing and hosting evening programs on campus, sponsoring speakers, screening influential films, and planning trips to diversity related events and destinations.

gospel  ensemble

Rev. Rhetta Morgan and a gospel ensemble

They’ve invited speakers and performers to campus like Pastor Darrell Armstrong of Shiloh Baptist Church; Max Probst and Samantha Gross of Bucks County Community College; Rabbi Elliot Strom from Shir Ami, Rev. Rhetta Morgan and a gospel ensemble, Sterling Duns, a Quaker hip-hop artist; Chiyo Moriuchi, and others who represent diverse organizations from the surrounding community.

The Task Force also screened though-provoking films including “Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Dominion Code,” “Standing on my Sister’s Shoulders,” and “The Danish Girl.”

Representatives from the task force have participated in events such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast in Trenton, a benefit for the S.E.E.D male-mentoring program. The committee has also organized multigenerational events with the George School in Newtown and Wissahickon Charter School in Philadelphia.

Other efforts include community workshops sponsored by Friends Services for the Aging that aim to improve diversity and board development. One such workshop, titled “When Cultures Meet,” offers sensitivity training to not only staff and board members, but to residents and community members as well. The other workshop entitled “World Café” was an opportunity for discussion among staff, residents, and community members. Participants sat together and discussed the topic “What family traditions and cultures have been more impactful to your life’s journey?”

However, the task force isn’t the only group on campus working on promoting diversity.

“Every committee at Pennswood is encouraged to have at least one event a year promoting diversity,” explains Liz Serkin, resident and member of the Diversity Task Force.

Respect for All

“If we’re only with like minded people, it’s just not nearly as rich a way to live,” explains Betsy Crofts. Regardless of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, each person has his or her own inherent value.

If you ask anyone on the Pennswood campus, it’s the relationships between staff members and residents that set Pennswood apart from other retirement communities. Because the community emphasizes diversity, residents and staff honor and respect one another as equals, and build strong relationships, celebrating differences among them.

“It starts with respect for all persons, and to see God in every person,” says Betsy. “The more open we can be to what the other person has to offer, and the more we can move away from ‘us’ and ‘them,’ the better.”

For more information on how diversity and equality are celebrated at Pennswood Village, call us today at 866-740-4977.