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DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT      This was a big year for RCI, and  we are grateful to everyone who has made it possible for us to continue our work in Allentown.

We welcomed two new staff members. Marilyn

Bender joined our team as the Program Coordinator for the Community Building Center, and Melissa Wise joined us as a Program Assistant. With their help,

we expanded the capacity of

our Community Building Center. We are now open 4 days per week, including Fridays and Saturdays when the need for day services in the city is most critical. On any given day, you may find us weaving a rug, knotting a comforter, planting flowers, or working on a community service project. Through these activities,

we nurtured a strong, safe community where

everyone is welcome, and everyone belongs.   

     We also dreamed of launching the RCI Village, a community supported affordable housing program based on the Jubilee Housing program in Washington, DC. The need for safe, stable housing underlies all other needs for members of our community, most of whom struggle daily with homelessness, housing instability, or unsafe living conditions. I am happy to report that we are moving forward with this program, so stay tuned for an announcement later this spring!       My thoughts on the past year – the triumphs and the struggles – remind me of a quote from Father Gregory Boyle, who challenged us to “stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgement at how they carry it.” I could share my own stories to illustrate this point, but our participants’ stories are the ones that matter most. Please take a moment to hear their voices through the quotes and photos on the following pages.       Ultimately, our work at RCI boils down to relationship and connection. Consider what it might look like for you to choose connection this year, even connection with people whose lives may seem very different from your own.  You have an open invitation to join us at the Community Building Center. You may very well bump up against some uncomfortable personal boundaries, but you will also meet some truly extraordinary peple. Our work is unpredictable, and we can’t be sure of what will happen from day to day, but we are sure of this; you will be glad you came.

With gratitude,



For the past two years, RCI's Community Building Center has fostered critical connections both among our neighbors who are socially and economically marginalized and across traditional social boundaries. Through joint activities and the use of Restorative Practices, we build relationships based on trust and mutuality and cultivate a safe, welcoming community in the heart of the city.

"We give people a safe haven. It's a safety mechanism. You can always come to RCI and have someone to talk to. You can always find someone to listen if you’re going through a situation. It means something. At the end of the day, everybody needs a safe haven.”





“[Ripple and RCI] gave me a new beginning. Helped me see a lot of things I couldn’t see. Showed me that there are people who still care in this world. For a long time, I just thought everybody was against me. And if I hadn’t found you, I probably wouldn’t be standing here today. I’d be back in trouble, locked up again. I give thanks for the people who helped me see that there’s a better way. Remember when I first came here? I was off the hook. But you always talked to me, and you always listened. So I always listen when you say my name.”

“I realized this community is just what I need. It’s what I need to stay off the streets and off drugs.”

“Sometimes I get so angry. And I just want to lash out at everyone. To take it out on everyone. But if I do that, then it’s going exactly against what I taught my own kids. But when you have all that anger, sometimes you just need a place to put it. It’s hard to be the problem. Thanks for listening.”

PHOTOVOICE This summer we gave participants at the Community Building Center disposable cameras and asked them to tell us the story of their lives in Allentown. Here are just a few of their photos, and the stories behind them.

It’s a Tamaqua tradition to decorate your windows for every holiday. I carry on that tradition. This window starts on May 1st, through Labor Day. This window here shows my Native American side. My tribe is Tuscarowa. Someone was taking the signs off my place to refurbish it, and the contractor asked me if I was Native American, just by looking at my window. And last year, an army guy in his uniform thanked me for showing the red, white, and blue. It makes me feel good when people notice.

This is just a beautiful picture. It’s a train waiting to go into the train yard. They go in and out all the time, all times of the night.

Outta sight, outta mind. Devil’s stone, 8th Street bridge.








We were very focused on fundraising this year, with the goals of expanding the capacity of the Community Building Center and launching the RCI Village program.

In-kind 7% Foundations 44% Individuals 44% Corporations 5%

THANK YOU. We wouln't be here without your support.

$10,000 + Harry C. Trexler Trust Verna O. Canova Foundation

$5,000 + Franconia Mennonite Conference Robert & Ruth Walden

$1,000 + Dennis & Barbara Adams America's Farmers Grow Communities Kimberly R. Andrews Paul & Sharon Binder James & Diane Bleam Robert & Linda Brown Marjorie Geissinger IBEW Local #375 Bill & Emily Jones David & Myrna Moyer Kendall & Lisa Ruth Sherry & Erich Schock Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia St. Johns United Church of Christ

Up to $1,000 Thomas & Carolyn Albright John & Carol Bates Dorothy A Bender Marilyn Bender Ronald & Lorene Bender Rose Bender Gary & Janis Berg Jonathan & Kimberly Bergey Craig & Rosina Berkey James & Diane Bleam Dennis & Kathy Boos Sharon & David Carver Madeline Catalano Lori Clark Dale & Rebecca Derstine Detweiler Hershey & Associates, PC Timothy & Carol Detweiler Jean Dixon Nancy Eckert Holly Faix Andrew Falcone & Kristen Gardner-Falcone Gregory & Nancy Falkenbach Michael & Valerie Ford Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Gardner Linda Gehman & Titus Peachey Nancy Gehman Earl & Marilyn Godshall Thomas Gorman Dorothy Hanna George & Eulenna Harriott Jim & Anna Hochsteler Wendell & Debra Holland Rev. William M. & Lorraine Horn J&D Howard Builders Ronald & Lorraine Jerdon Kenzie Raulin Design Kathryn Krause Elsie Fern Lewis

Joan & David Lioi Samantha Lioi Mary Mast Litzinger Maureen Lugg William & Gail Magan The Mark Landis Fund Eleanor K. Matyus Phyllis Miller Samuel Morgan & Lindsay Hintz David & Myrna Moyer Michael & Joann Moyer David & Joan Myers Dawn Ruth & Paul Nelson Wayne & Mary Nitzsche Frank Ouseley Marcia Parker Pittsburgh Mennonite Church Lynn & Marc Portnoff Everett & Miriam Ramer Alan & Ruth Reberg Jeffrey J. Reed Ralph & Barbara Reinford Calvin & Donna Roggie Anne Schrag Denise Spory Rev. Bob Stevens Richard & Dorothy Stobaugh David & Twila Stoltzfus Max & Lynda Stucky Mallory Sweeney Upper Deer Creek Church Mark & Lisa Weller Robert & Suzanne Wertz Robert & Waunita Witmer Adam & Laura Yoder Joni & Marlin Yoder Wayne & Roveen Yoder Korrinne Yurick


“We are very appreciative for everything [RCI’s donors] have given us. Because to see a smile on the face of someone who is going through trials and hard times – that’s what joy is. You helped us do that, and we hope you’ll keep it up. Yes, we need money, but we also hope you’ll give your time. Because you are a brother or a sister to us, and we appreciate you.”

Board of Directors Rev. Carolyn Albright - President Jeff Reed - Treasurer Mallory Sweeney, Esq. - Secretary Andrew Curtis Danilo Sanchez Mark Smith Mark Weller

Ripple Community Inc. (484) 240-1231

Profile for Lisa Sylvester

Ripple Community Inc. | Year in Review | 2016-2017  

Ripple Community Inc. | Year in Review | 2016-2017