The WC Press Kid-Friendly Issue - October 2018

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Voice of the Borough | October 2018



















“Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” –Robert Fulghum



COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Jamie Jones Andrea Mason DJ Romeo Rotary Club of West Chester Chester County Historical Society Published By... Mathers Productions 12 E Barnard Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit



Our no-nonsense table of contents


BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Josh Jones talks customers and Southern cooking at The Social.


FRIENDS IN DEED The works of Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children


Meet the family who opened West Chester's own Fractured Prune


Exploring ways to spend free days with your kids this autumn


How West Chester’s kids are doing good things in the community


Find the five differences between the two pictures and win!






from the


Dan Mathers shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

I was 16 when I decided I wasn’t going to have kids. It was rare at that age to be asked my stance on children — asking a teenager about their reproductive intentions just feels wrong — but if I was, I’d adamantly state it wasn’t gonna happen. Almost invariably, adults would tell me, “When you grow up, you’ll change your mind,” or, “But who will take care of you when you’re old?” As the years rolled by, I found fewer people telling me I was wrong. Not many people tell 30-somethings what to expect “when they grow up,” and the last time my mom asked me whether I’d reconsidered, I reminded her that when she was my age, I was 10. Regardless, I know she’s got her fingers crossed, mostly because she really likes my girlfriend this time around. On top of that, as my peers began exploring their plans for parenthood, I suddenly realized I wasn’t alone. The CDC reports that in 2017 the number of children born to women, within nearly every group of reproductive age, decreased. We’re now at the lowest fertility rates in 30 years. In July, the Times explored this phenomenon and found that, while the largest contributor is financial insecurity, there are a rising number of Americans between the ages of 20 and 45 who simply feel like I do: it’s just not for us. In my late twenties, I watched a friend’s five-year relationship and anticipated engagement crumble as he and his partner realized they were envisioning different futures — he imagined a childless life; she expected three children, raised in the Catholic Church. The latter was the true dealbreaker for him, but I took the entire experience to heart. On the fifth date of my current relationship, realizing this girl could easily become a long-term love, I expressed my firm feelings on kids and religion. Fortunately she agreed with me on every point, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. Four years in we’ve got two dogs, a mortgage, and a prescription for 28-day blister packs of convenient little pills. None of that is to say that I don’t like kids; I love them. When I was 16, the first of my brothers was born. Another followed two years later. Our drastic age difference meant I had a hand in raising them, and without my brothers, I’m sure I’d have kids of my own. I’ve coached their sports, helped with homework, given the best dating advice I know and spoiled them at every. single. opportunity. My brothers and I have painted plates and run competitive races, hiked, biked, shot photos, and simply hung on the beach, just the three of us. And while I know the app won’t show reciprocation on their end, they’re routinely my best friends on Snapchat. (If that last sentence made no sense, ask your kids.) Flipping through the content we’ve published this month, I see them in every story. I’m sure all parents who pick through these pages will find a connection to their kids in the same way I have with my sibs. I’m eager to share this issue and these stories with my brothers and excited about what the future holds for them. After all, they’re Mom's best hope for grandchildren, and my best hope for assistance in convalescence. —





Bartender of the Month

PHOTO Amy Tucker INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

Josh Jones from The Social approaches life, work (and this interview) with a solid sense of humor. So, how long have you been at The Social? Coming up on three years. That’s right around the time they switched locations, right? Yup. I started right after the move. What brought you in? They needed some more bartenders now that they were in the new place. I was a regular at the old spot, and I got to know the guys. It seemed like an easy fit. Were you bartending somewhere else at the time? Yeah. I worked at West Chester Country Club. Now, I don’t wanna denigrate country club life, but I’d assume coming to a proper bar was a step up? I think it was — I like this better. It’s nowhere near as monotonous. I think seeing new faces here all the time might be one of my favorite parts of the job. Do you get a lot of new people coming in? Oh yeah, definitely. I feel like every night I make a new friend. And there’s a good number of regulars, right? And all of them are pretty cool, actually. I honestly can’t say there’s any of them that I dislike. I’d say you’re lucky — it’s rare to like everyone at work. I don’t know if I’d say I’m lucky; I think it’s just easy for me to get along with people. Does that make you a better bartender? Oh yes. I’d say it’s one of my better qualities. Then what’s your BEST quality? Hmm. That’s a hard one to nail down. I feel like I’m just good at making drinks because I drink a lot, and I know what tastes good. What's your personal go-to? Simple stuff. Dewars if I'm mixing with soda, but I might treat myself to a nice McCallan 12 every once in a while if I'm drinking it straight.

What sets The Social apart? Our menu. There aren't many restaurants in town, or the region, that have Southern scratch cooking. And we consistently have live music. What’s the live music like? Generally some funk stuff — Jeff Washington, The Sermon!. And we’ve been experimenting with the DJ thing, bringing someone in every now and then. Do you still hang out there when you’re not working? Nowhere near as much as I used to, but I do still come

in. For some people, the last thing you wanna do is go back to your work, but the food is so good, and I love the guys I work with. When do you work? I’m there every night except Monday and Tuesday. That’s a lot of shifts for a bartender. Does it get to be tiring? I guess so? There are days I come in and I’m tired, but I usually get into the job pretty quickly. You never work a day in your life if you do what you love... That’s a thing people say, right?





Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Perceptions Interiors is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

Designing your home with kids in mind is a whole different ball game. There are multiple things you have to consider: materials, placement, and the product itself. Below are important elements to keep in mind when designing around your family to help keep it a safe, organized, and beautiful environment. EDGE-APPROPRIATE When specifying casegoods, it’s important to keep in mind appropriate edges for children. I like to specify round tables for little ones running around the house, or a coffee table made out of seagrass or fabric instead of metal or wood. When thinking of dining chairs, either go with wood or metal for easy clean up, or a fabric or slipcover material that is easy to wipe down. Sofas and chairs should be easy to operate. Depending on how wild your child is, steer away from recliners or swivel chairs. A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING Storage will become your best friend. Choose furniture with drawers, cabinets, or shelving. The more hidden storage, the more organized your home will appear. If your budget allows, do not choose cheap furniture manufacturers for fear whatever you buy will degrade from all the wear and tear. When investing in solid, well-made furniture, you are also spending money on things that will withstand the scrutiny of children. Better furniture is built for the long haul. WITHIN REACH Furniture and accessory placement is key. Avoid having anything that is breakable or sentimental within 45 inches of the floor. This is the ideal reaching distance for youngsters on a mission to destroy. When your kiddos are young, keep the furniture sparse for more play areas and room to move around. Carve out sections in each room for your children’s enjoyment instead of keeping them separated into their rooms, playroom, or basement. For example, place a game table in the living room or a space for art projects in the family room. FINISHING TOUCH Materials are another important detail to consider when designing for children. If you are choosing a paint for the interior of your house, choose a satin finish for a more wipeable surface without going full gloss. Some of my favorite child-friendly furniture coverings are leather, vinyl, ultrasuede, denim, crypton, or a wool or wool-blend fabric. Indoor/outdoor fabrics have come a long way, and they come in tons of pretty patterns and textures — slipcovers and zip-off cushions to pop in the washer are a bonus! For area rugs, consider a wool or wool-blend rug for great wear and tear. When considering wooden furniture, I like to specify distressed materials or wood that will age well over time; stay away from polished or lacquered surfaces. There are so many great resources out there that carry kid-friendly and attractive furnishings. If you need assistance bringing everything together I would love to help! Please contact me. —





Friends in Deed

WC families who are down but not out get a helping hand from the Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children story Kate Chadwick OCTOBER 2018 THEWCPRESS.COM





ne of life’s most important lessons— and in some cases, its harshest—is that one event can change everything. In the case of “Laura,” a former client of Friends Association, located on Chestnut Street in the borough, that event was a car accident in 2014. (Laura is a pseudonym given to protect her privacy.) She sustained a traumatic brain injury in the accident and was deemed disabled by her team of medical experts at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.

Out of respect for privacy, the names of all familes photographed in this story have been withheld, and images don’t necessarily match the stories on the page. “The brain injury affected every aspect of my life,” Laura told us. “I couldn’t work, drive, speak properly, or even button a shirt. I spent every day in rehabilitation. Soon I had used my savings, including my pension. My disability case was in the appeal process, one amongst hundreds of others waiting for a hearing.” A single mother with a career, Laura’s priority shifted to survival mode, and keeping a roof over her then threeyear-old daughter’s head—a challenge that grew more difficult as time went on. Laura had no family in the area, and a custody arrangement kept her from relocating out of state. “For two years I fought for survival. We moved in

with a friend who rented us a room. We lived in that one room and shared a futon. Eventually I couldn’t pay rent. I lost my medical insurance, and my healthcare providers didn’t accept state Medicaid. Without income, I couldn’t afford daycare, and without daycare I couldn’t complete daily rehabilitation sessions. I was stuck, and as the threat of homelessness crept closer to us, my mental and emotional health became as consuming as my physical injury.” Laura applied for housing assistance, but was told the wait would be long, possibly years. Her social worker suggested a shelter, a notion Laura rejected out of concern it would be as unstable—or



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A Friends volunteer fills in for the Easter Bunny

worse—than her present situation. “I was stuck. I was ashamed. We were alone and terrified.” In late 2016, Laura and her child fled their living situation and spent two months couch surfing and staying in Airbnbs. Finally, she contacted her daughter’s school to confess the unspeakable: they were homeless. As it turned it, it was the most important step she could have made. “Shame had kept me isolated. I fearedjudgement, I felt like I’d failed as a mother, and thought that if I reached out for help I would be considered unfit and would lose my daughter.” On the contrary. “The school social worker was kind and referred me to Connect Points [an assessment program that links clients to resources],” Laura said. “This was my first spark of hope in years. I was seen immediately, and in about a week I received a phone call from the Friends Association.” That would be Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children, the oldest continuously operating child welfare agency in the state. It started

it was sorely needed guidance in 1822 as an orphanage for through alien territory. “This orgagirls in Philadelphia, eventually nization supports the downtrodmoving to Cheyney, and at one den by propoint, accordIn fiscal year 2018, we served viding love for ing to Friends’ the children Director of 270 children and 222 and direction Development, families. These families were for the parRobin Meixner, all experiencing homelessness, ent,” she said. was housed eviction, or otherwise imminent “Navigating in the Chester homelessness. The number of the welfare County Hisfamilies has risen exponentially system alone torical Society was a nightbuilding on over the past five years. mare. For High Street. years I’d faced frustration, as every The agency has adjusted road seemed to lead to a closed to community needs over the door. Friends employs experienced years, and the focus has sharpadvocates, professionals who underened on families in situations similar to stand these systems. They were able to Laura’s. “In fiscal year 2018, we served unlock those closed doors. My shelter 270 children and 222 families,” Robin manager was like an angel. He promised told us. “These families were all experithat if I worked hard and trusted their encing homelessness, eviction, or othprocess, life would turn around. He ran erwise imminent homelessness. The a tight ship. The shelter houses six famnumber of families has risen exponen- ilies at a time. We all had to work hard. tially over the past five years.” We had to relearn how to live. And this For Laura, this meant not just imme- process can only begin when the indidiate assistance in a crisis situation— vidual is safe and basic needs are being





met—secure housing, food, and clothing—all of which are provided to every family who enters Friends. For the first time in years we had our own space: a kitchen, bathroom, two beds, brand new bedding, and a washer and dryer that didn’t require quarters!”

Laura and her daughter were able to leave Friends in a little over three months—97 days, to be exact. “In that short period of time, he and all of the members of Friends had successfully helped us to re-enter the world. Today, I’m whole again and so is my daughter. I’ve returned to work, my daughter That same shelter manager is happy and thriving, and slowly helped Laura find solutions to my confidence is building, despite the myriad of obstacles she the years of trauma faced. “He F or years I’d faced frustration, and the dehuhelped me manizing state of as every road seemed to get my vital homelessness.” lead to a closed door. Friends documents that I’d lost employs experienced advocates, Volunteers play when we a huge part in the professionals who understand fled our presuccess rate of vious living these systems. They were able Friends, according to unlock those closed doors. situation. He to Robin. “Volunsent me to Wings for Success so teers contributed more than 11,000 I would have clothes. He helped hours in fiscal year 2018,” she told me navigate welfare, disability us. “That is equivalent to nearly five and the Housing Authority. He additional full-time employees. We helped me apply for a housing have volunteers that come every week, voucher, which we received in less than some who come sporadically, and we three months. He helped me find an have groups that bring dozens of peoapartment and furnish it. And he did this ple. With a staff of only seven employfor the other five families, too.” ees, we’re able to stretch our reach into

the community and do things that we couldn’t without volunteers. They work in so many different capacities: as mentors, cleaning the shelter, working with the clients, and also in administration.” Friends also hosts an annual fundraiser in the form of a charity ball, and that event is entirely volunteer-run. “We also have an annual Christmas party for the clients that is also entirely run by more than 100 volunteers.” Bob Briselli is one of those volunteers, a retiree who’s been serving the Friends Association for the past three years. Indeed, he donates his time to several organizations throughout the Delaware Valley, but Friends stands out. “Without a doubt, Friends serves an increasingly critical need, and I’m rewarded by providing ongoing support, as well as utilizing my capabilities in data analysis and strategic planning,” Bob said. ”I absolutely love and support the work that Friends does in their community, especially the activities that are preventive in nature, working to reduce and eliminate family homelessness in the first place.” While he’s worked on vari-





ous project with Friends during his time, one encounter in particular stands out for him. “I was pleased to be available to drive 45 minutes into Philadelphia to pick up a mom and her infant son at Children’s Hospital and bring them to the Friends’ shelter unit,” Bob told us. “The baby had recently undergone brain surgery and was being released. Because the timing of his release could not be predicted, when it did occur, no staff members were available, and they turned to a trusted volunteer on short notice.”

I absolutely love and support the work that Friends does in their community, especially the activities that are preventive in nature, working to reduce and eliminate family homelessness in the first place.

Fellow volunteer Carla Diprospero agrees that Friends is doing something really special in the West Chester community. Carla started with Friends “about 15 years ago, on a very limited basis,” she said. Then about eight years ago, she volunteered with her family on Martin Luther King Day, and she has been a “regular, in a ‘Jack of all trades’ capacity” ever since. For her, it’s the feeling that she gets, both from the people in and served by the organization. “Every person who works or volunteers at Friends seems to be genuine, caring and centered,” according to Carla. “I’ve been able to volunteer at many different activities—cleaning apartments, wrapping presents, buying gifts, writing letters, contacting donors, creating spreadsheets—and I know that each activity is important and necessary to provide the care that’s so essential in the

workings of Friends. Each person who comes in contact with Friends is treated with respect, which is truly rare to find, and is what continues to draw me back. Friends truly values each individual and what they can bring to the table. It’s not always easy to coordinate volunteers and extra help; however Friends always makes me feel like my contribution is paramount to the running of the organization.” And there are many moving parts to running that organization. We asked Robin to break it down a bit for us. “86% of our budget comes from fundraising,” she said. “We have very little government funding so we fundraise through events, peer-to-peer fundrais-

ing, writing grants, and accepting generous donations to serve our families in the community. We host the annual West Chester Charity Ball that will be celebrating its 30th year; that will be held on December 1 at the West Chester Golf and Country Club.” Friends also just hosted their fourth annual golf tournament in conjunction with Landmark Americana. We asked Robin what she thinks the organization needs most—volunteers? Cash? Items for their SOS program? Or something else? The short answer: all of the above. “The majority of our budget comes from donations, so we’re always grateful for money and in-kind items,” she said. “And we send out a monthly





SOS letting people know what we always need volunteers to help us stretch the work that we have. need immediately. Items that we They simply allow need on a regular basis include: We all need to work together us to deepen the new pillows, blanif we are truly to succeed in work that we do with our clients.” kets, twin sheets, life, and everyone brings in diapers of any “I consistently different gifts and talents. size, toiletries, get a feeling of I’ve been blessed to become being part of a vilcleaning supplies, toilet paper and a part of this community. The lage,” Carla said. paper towels. Our inclusiveness that Friends “We all need to clients receive extends is contagious, and it work together if SNAP benefits we are truly to helps make me more aware but they are not succeed in life, of the many blessings that I and enough to carry everyone have. a family for the brings in differentire month. The families also ent gifts and talents. I’ve been receive items from the local food blessed to become a part of this bank. Some items not allowed community. The inclusiveness on SNAP are paper towels, toilet that Friends extends is contapaper, feminine products and diapers. gious, and it helps make me more aware Therefore, having donations really helps of the many blessings that I have.” our families.” Carla related that she was out in the Money, of course, is a one-size-fits-all borough one recent evening for a glass gift that is always gratefully received by of wine with her husband when she Friends, Robins says. “Cash donations struck up a conversation with another help us to meet expenses year-round woman. As it turned out, she was that we have for the families. And we also a volunteer at Friends. “We spent

about 15 or 20 minutes gushing about all of the good work that Friends does, and how unique they are in their kind and affirming atmosphere,” Carla said. “What really struck me was that this woman was probably half my age, and in a totally different stage of life. But that one similarity bonded us immediately, and reminded me just how lucky we are to have an organization in town which builds up people from all walks of life— either as clients or as volunteers. And we could all use a little more of that!” For former client Laura, her experiences with friends have been more profound, and she even apologized for the profuseness of her responses to us for this article. “It’s hard to sum up the experiences I had with them in just a few sentences,” she told us. “Friends Association saves lives, and I don’t want to diminish that.” For more information, or to donate or volunteer at Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children, visit them at





Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

I recently returned from Amelia Island, just outside of Jacksonville, Florida. It was a work trip; I had limited time to enjoy the spa, pool, beach and surrounding areas beyond the resort. Working in the travel industry, my trips look great on Instagram, but they’re usually chock full of meetings, trainings and networking, all to make our businesses better. That said, this trip opened my eyes to something that we often disregard in the fast-paced Northeast: good old Southern Hospitality. From the moment I was greeted by my driver at the airport, I felt like I was in a different world. He engaged in friendly conversation, offered to take the scenic route and seemed genuinely interested. At check in, I was given five choices of rooms, all with different views and amenities, while the bellman waited with me and then walked me to my room. I felt like the only person he had to worry about. Throughout my stay I was greeted by name, left personalized notes by housekeeping and got to know the staff so well that—despite being part of a 300-person group—they knew my drink of choice and dietary needs after day one. On the final evening we went off-property for dinner, and on our way there, our host provided commentary and offered any assistance we may need throughout the experience. Mind you, this was a transfer company; the service was above and beyond what I would expect. Upon touching down in Philly, I realized that I’d left some items in my room. I immediately called the hotel, was transferred to loss prevention, and to my dismay, the items were not in the room. An hour later I received a phone call that they’d tracked them down and would overnight the items at their cost. I received a FedEx package the next day with a personalized note. The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island and Dana Limo blew me away. Every time I travel, I always reflect on how the trip made me feel. Amelia Island made me feel welcomed, appreciated and as if my satisfaction and delight were the most important part of my overall experience. I also took some notes about what I can do with my own business, and also, who comes to mind in West Chester that gives me those same warm and fuzzy feelings. The answer may surprise you: Dave’s Automotive Repair Enterprises, or as everybody knows them, DARE. The first time I met Laura and Jonathan Aloisio, children of the aforementioned “Dave,” was at a West Chester Chamber Disney training. They shared how they used the Disney method, and I wondered how an auto shop could use the service methods of the most Magical Place on Earth. But, I started taking my car to DARE for service, and soon, my husband was hooked as well. DARE treats us like family, values our business and goes above and beyond in service delivery. At the end of the day, it is not about what these two very good businesses do that makes them successful. One fixes cars while the other pampers guests. What makes them successful and alike is the way they treat their clientele. Whether it’s true Southern or classic South Bolmar Street, both companies have mastered the art of hospitality. —





Welcome to

West Chester PHOTO Dan Balmer INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

We chat with Brandy BellTruskey, pictured with her husband Tom Truskey, and their kids Dawson and Colson, at the family’s newly opened Fractured Prune Doughnuts How did you get into the doughnut business? It was a strange choice for us, honestly, and those who know us thought it surprising. I’m really into health and fitness. Still, we wanted to have something we could enjoy as a family, and I believe most things are good in moderation. What attracted you to Fractured Prune? Doughnuts are fun and family-friendly — it was something we could do with the kids on the weekend. Dough-

nuts make people happy, they bring people joy. And Fractured Prune has a lot of recognition around here. People remember it from going down to the shore. There were so many people with positive memories of the shop that we thought it would be great to bring it home to West Chester. What was your first experience with the brand? My husband and I were in Ocean City, NJ with family friends for a few days, and we saw this line out the door of a business, and we said, “What is that?” People told us they were the best doughnuts ever. We thought it was crazy that they’d wait in line for doughnuts, but we were curious and joined the line, and then we went back several more times that trip. Are you originally from West Chester? My husband was born and raised here, and I came out here... good golly... we’ve been married nine years, so I’ve been here 11. So love brought you here? Yes. When we met, I was living and working in Philly, and I thought West Chester was the end of the earth. I started visiting infrequently, then every weekend, and now here I am eleven years later. I can’t think of a better place to raise a family, and own a business.

What was it about West Chester that kept you? We are such a part of the community. You worry if anybody is going to show up when you open a business, but when we opened, we had hundreds of people here. When I went outside to greet them, there were so many familiar faces, friends and family and people from my kid’s schools, and people from the gym. We’re so happy to have them in our lives. They showed their support and excitement for us, and that’s the kind of community you want to be part of. Why do you think that is? Sometimes people just see a brand, but they all knew we’re locally owned and operated; we’re part of this community. I know they aren’t going to eat doughnuts every day, but I hope that when they do, they come see us. Final Question: What’re your favorite flavors? I love OC Sand: honey glaze with cinnamon and sugar. Dawson likes chocolate, usually Death by Chocolate, but really anything with chocolate chips. Colson prefers the strawberry glaze with marshmallows, and my husband, Tom, will eat any donut you put in front of him. His favorite flavor is all of them.




Join us on a bus trip or participate in the parade!

Forms can be found online at 610-436-9010 @WestChesterRec

On Your Own Date: December 5, 2018 Cost: $55.00 regualr 50.00 senior price

Spend the day in NYC on your own! Walk through popular Times Square, take a carriage ride through Central Park, tour the Empire State Building, catch a Broadway show or go shopping for the day. The day is yours for you to enjoy New York City. Trip includes transpiration, snack, and bus WC PRESStip.VOICE OF THE BOROUGH 34 THEdriver’s

Performances, Groups, Floats, Goody Bags and more!

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular Date: December 7, 2018 Cost: $140.00

America’s favorite holiday show, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, is full of fun and surprises the whole family will enjoy. Come see the famous high kicking Rockettes, the reenactment of the very first Christmas in the Living Nativity and journey into Santa’s magical workshop.


Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at


It’s amazing how our palates change with the turning of the seasons. If you pay attention, you’ll notice you naturally crave what’s growing. Butternut squash soup pops up on menus, tantalizing taste buds, just as the mellow orange gourd is ripening. Eating locally makes sense when you’re lucky to live near happy farmers. One of these recipes is perfectly seasonal, but both are as “kid-friendly” as they come. – Pumpkin Turkey Chili - serves 8 15 oz can pure pumpkin, divided 1 1/2 lb. ground turkey 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes 1 medium onion, diced 2 c. chicken broth 1 red bell pepper, diced 15 oz can black beans 1 green bell pepper, diced 15 oz can pinto beans 3 cloves garlic, minced 15 oz can kidney beans 2 tbsp. chili powder 1/2 c. sour cream 1 tsp. cumin Cilantro, corn chips or 1/2 tsp. kosher salt cheese (if desired) 1/2 tsp. black pepper 2 tsp. dried oregano

1. Heat a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add meat and saute until no longer pink. 2. Remove from pot, leaving fat (if you used turkey breast, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to pan). 3. Add onion, peppers and garlic. Saute until softened, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. Add chili, cumin, salt, pepper and oregano. Stir and let cook, 2 minutes. 5. Remove 3 tbsp. pumpkin to a small bowl. Add remaining pumpkin to pot and stir to combine. 6. Add tomatoes (with juices) and chicken broth. Stir to combine. 7. Add beans and add meat back to pot. Stir to combine. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook about 15 minutes to meld flavors. 8. Meanwhile, add sour cream to pumpkin in small bowl. Stir until smoothly combined and add salt to taste. 9. Serve, with cream on top along with cilantro, chips or cheese (if desired). Peanut Butter Rice Krispies - makes 20 bars 3 tbsp. butter 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter 1 tbsp. light corn syrup 1 bag mini marshmallows 1/4 c. brown sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/4 heaping tsp. kosher salt 6 c. puffed rice cereal 1. Spray a 9x12 baking pan with nonstick spray. 2. In a large

pot set over medium heat, add butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Mix until melted and smoothly combined. 3. Add peanut butter and mix until combined. Add all but 1/2 c. marshmallows (reserve the 1/2 c.) and stir until melted and combined. 4. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir. 5. Add cereal and 1/2 c. marshmallows and stir quickly until combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan – with wet hands or silicone spatula press mixture gently into pan until even. 6. Let sit at least 20-30 minutes before slicing into squares. Treats will keep several days airtight at room temperature.





Fall Family-Friendly Fun

We explore fun ways to spend your free days with your kids this autumn, starting with a trip to TREEHOUSE WORLD to explore the coolest forts you’ve ever seen! Story Michael Lynch




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t’s that time of year again (and thank goodness). We’re getting past shorts and flip-flops, but have not quite ventured into sweater territory just yet. The kids have been back in school for a bit, and we’re all once again settled into the routines of our regularly-scheduled programming. Mother Nature’s month-long identity crisis that we refer to as September is now behind us, while the long-awaited smell of fall chill is in the air. Yes, October in West Chester. It is finally here — which means bonfires, burning leaves, hayrides, and the ubiquity of pumpkin spice-flavored everything. It also means that it’s that ideal time for families to get outside, get into nature, and get your adventure on with the kids. Yet as a parent of two children myself, I’ve never been more acutely aware of how much busier and complex my kids’ schedules are compared to when I was their age. In my house, we’re all too familiar with how challenging it can be to slow down the clock so that we can get that necessary quality time with our children. For me, those moments can feel increasingly fleeting these days, especially as such

moments are more and more eclipsed by my kids’ fixations with their electronic devices. As the they get older, it can often feel like real, meaningful time spent with them is at a premium, and so it seems essential to make room in our schedules for…dare I say... good old-fashioned-fun? Well, if you’re looking for some family-friendly events and activities to get into over the next couple of months, the following is a list of kid-tested, parent-approved places in the West Chester area to consider the next time you want to unplug for some screen-free fun with the kids this fall…

TreeHouse World Tree House World is a one-of-a-kind adventure park off of Route 202 that attracts tree house fans from around the globe to explore their imaginative, geometrically diverse, and multi-motif masterpieces. This facility refers to its 14 wooded acres as, “More than just treehouses — it’s an adventure destination,” and they offer an array of awesome activ-

From hayrides to mazes and pumpkin pickin’ don’t miss out on the action at Highland Orchards during Fall Festival Weekends ities for the whole family that range from ziplining and climbing stations, to walk the plank, tomahawk throwing, bungee jumping, and archery tag. Your younger ones will enjoy the playground and the small animal mini-farm that houses pet bunnies, free-range chickens & guinea hens. Tree House World also hosts birthday parties which can be accommodated any day of the week and are designed for kids who like to run around, climb, bounce, and expend energy outdoors. Erin McCusker Todorovac, whose family recently visited Tree House World, told me that they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “I had my son’s eighth birthday party there, and the kids really loved the tree climbing, bungee jumping, treehouse exploration, and archery tag,” she said. Erin also commented that the facility’s staff were “ery knowledgeable and helpful. “They did a great job of making sure all the kids were safe and happy.” Courtney Marm Finneran described Tree House World as, “A hidden gem tucked away in the woods,” and added that, “My oldest





absolutely loved the zipline and still talks about it today.” Tree House World is not only an active-family destination where you and the kids can wear yourselves out in a multitude of ways, but it is also a place where you’ll find that the beauty of Chester County in autumn looks that much more stunning from a breath-taking treetop view. Tree House World 1442 Phoenixville Pike 484.329.7853

Highland Orchards Fall Festival Weekends

Just a short country drive outside of town along Route 162 will lead you to the undeniable bucolic landscape of one of the few remaining fully-operational orchards in the West Chester area. Highland Orchards sits on more than 200 acres, where all their crops are already picked for you in their Farm Market, or you can head out into the orchard with the kids to pick your own.

There is always something happening here, and starting October 6 through November 3, Highland Orchards will be hosting their fall festivals every weekend. These family-friendly, kid-centric events occur during Highland’s prime apple-picking season, with a rotating cast of food trucks, craft vendors, live music, and local artisans. Fall Festival Weekends involve plenty of fun activities for kids of all ages — from hayrides and a goat exhibit, to the haybale maze and pumpkin picking — plus, beer and wine for the adult-kids! Local mom Colleen Cottrell reflected on her yearly tradition of bringing her son to Highland Orchards to pick fresh fruit. “It’s a wonderful chance to show him the importance of how great fresh farm-to-table produce can be,” she said. Colleen added that Highland’s apple cider donuts (which are always in season at the Orchard) have become a family favorite in her household. Mark Ross, a borough dad, brings his kids to the orchard regularly, and spoke of their love for Highland’s goat exhibit. “Usually we combine the goat experience with a romp in the playground, which has a few slides and some neat equipment suited

The West Chester Public Library offers so much more than books — it’s an excellent entertainment resource for everyone. for climbing. Our experience is that there are usually other friendly families there, so the kids end up packing together and playing until worn out,” he said. Don’t forget about Highland’s award-winning bakery, which features their freshly baked, ‘Best of Philly’ pies. This October, pick a weekend (or two, or three) to bring the family to Highland Orchards, where a slice of autumn Americana awaits. Highland Orchards 1000 Marshallton-Thorndale Rd. 610.269.3494

West Chester Public Library If your kids have not yet seen it, the West Chester Public Library on Church street looks like it is straight out of a children’s storybook. Its historic charm





Lulu’s Casita has found incredible success and a fervent following in Armore, and we expect their second location, opening in West Chester , to become just as big a hit. is nothing short of Brothers Grimm-enchanting, and this library is one of those rare places that — upon seeing it — you simply can’t resist your curious inclination to go inside and explore. The interior is just as marvelous, and upstairs lies an entire floor for kids where they can lose themselves in books, building blocks, Legos, puppets, magnets and more. For over a hundred years, the West Chester Public Library has continued to host a bunch of fun activities for children, including story times, author meet-and-greets, toddler play-times, and various other programs and events. For the brick-building enthusiasts in your family, the library holds its Lego Club Plus (“for ages 5 to 95”) on the second and fourth Mondays of every month from 6:30-7:30pm. For young people ages 11 to 14, Teens & Tweens Tuesday

occurs weekly from 3:30–5pm, where the kids can hang out, have a snack, play a board game, or make a craft.

The concept behind Lulu’s is a café where the little one’s play and the parents can stay. Leigh Green, explained that the library has become a popular and frequently-requested destination with her children. “We love the Library and my kids ask to visit there all the time. There is so much to see and do, and it’s a beautiful little retreat for an hour or so.” Fellow borough parent Chris Aspite shared similar thoughts, and reflected warmly about one library program in particular. “I used to take my son to the reading and story time classes at the library, which I thought were wonderful for him,” he said.

On your next stroll up the north side of town, make some time to stop by the West Chester Public Library. It is truly a wonderous place for your kids to learn, play, or discover the simple pleasure of getting immersed in a book — all within a magical-looking building seemingly from a fairy tale. West Chester Public Library 415 N. Church St. 610.696.1721

Lulu’s Casita A paradigm shift in playtime has come to West Chester. Lulu’s Casita is reinventing the playdate with its 4000+ square foot indoor playground geared toward children ages zero to five and is open daily for casual, drop-in play. Lulu’s original location is in Ardmore, which opened in 2013, and owners Vivi Zayas and Lisa Elliott have





At Eat.Drink.Om, all are welcome. And when we say all, we mean ALL. Owner Susan Sluk believes yoga is for everyone. now opened their second location on the first floor of the Green Tree Building on High street. When I asked Lisa why they chose the borough for their new locale, she explained, “We were getting regular, if not daily, requests at our Ardmore location from parents out here to open a second place in West Chester.” The concept behind Lulu’s is a café where the little one’s play and the parents can stay. This place will likely be a game changer for many moms and dads in the area, because at Lulu’s, while the kids are off playing, parents can catch up with other moms and dads, read, or get some work done without worrying if the little ones are safe and occupied. The playground is designed with fun and creative play in mind, with features that include blocks, books, slide and ball pit, the “happiness highway” and other educational toys to enhance your child’s imagination. The café portion of Lulu’s is mostly geared toward the kiddos, with its assort-

ment of lighter snacks, but there are various coffee drinks available for the adults as well. Lulu’s also offers a bilingual story time, Friday evening BYOB pizza nights, birthday party rentals, monthly brunches and more. Next time the weather is too rainy or cold for outside parks and playgrounds — or if you simply want to relax and sip some coffee over a book while the kids get lost in fun — Lulu’s Casita will undoubtedly be your perfect solution. Lulu’s Casita 111 N. High St. 484.887.0107

Eat.Drink.Om… Yoga Café At Eat.Drink.Om…Yoga Café, owner Susan Sluk operates from a single principle: that yoga is for everyone. Every size,

every age, every mood, every degree of flexibility, special needs, yoga for the blind, amputees, wheelchairs, walkers. ALL are welcome. This quaint and super funky yoga café on Gay street offers family yoga classes, in addition to a wide range of yoga experiences for newborns, toddlers, middle-schoolers, and teenagers — all in a cozy, peaceful environment. If you’re seeking to get loose and relax with your family, this is the place to treat yourself to an increased sense of well-being while gaining effective tools to better serve the children in your life. As suggested in its name, Eat. Drink. Om…Yoga Café offers an assortment of teas, coffees, and other healthy goodies to nourish the body and soul. However, Susan explained the word café best captures her philosophy of the customized yoga experience, where classes and personal instruction are tailor-made from a “menu” of various options suited for individuals’ strengths and skill level. The Café’s Mommy & Me classes (for ages six weeks to nine months) are






designed to be a fun way to reconnect with your body while enjoying a precious new experience with your baby. These classes are also a fantastic way to meet up with an understanding community of other new moms in the area, too. Renee Levy is a big fan of the café. “I’ve been going to Eat.Drink.Om for years. Before I was pregnant, then for prenatal yoga, later for baby yoga, and now for family yoga. I love this studio and can’t say enough good things about it,” she said. The café has kid-versions of all their mat, barre, and aerial classes too, and local fifth grader Ella Lynch, who took a summer yoga class at the café, shared her experience. “I really liked the teachers because they were very calming when working with us kids.” One thing’s definitely for certain at Eat. Drink. Om…Yoga Café, no matter what type of yoga is on your menu, get ready to relax, laugh, re-center, and spend some quality time with your loved ones. Eat.Drink.Om…Yoga Café 124 E. Gay St 484.356.8655

Thornbury Farm Over three hundred years old, Thornbury Farm rests on the site of the final troop engagement of the Battle of Brandywine and is rich with American history. Thornbury is a CSA (community supported agriculture), which means that individuals and families who participate do not pay for a specific amount of produce, but instead, support the budget of the whole farm and collect weekly what is seasonally ripe. This fall, tour the spacious farm with the family and meet Daisy the donkey, Luna and Roo, the resident Shetland ponies, all the goats, pet pigs Fiona and Duncan, as well as other fury and feathered friends. Thornbury offers tours of their fields and historic homes which are tailored for kids and history buffs, or anyone interested in agriculture, high tunnels or organically grown foods. Their renowned pipe organ from 1889 is definitely something to see and hear for yourself. Remember to mark your calendar for October 7, as Thornbury Farm will be

If you don’t think playing with all these animals on the pristine acres of thornbury farm looks like fun, then you must not remember what it was like to be a kid. hosting their Soulful Dog Benefit — an event that includes a variety of great food, live music, local vendors, raffles, and a silent auction. Best of all, if you’re looking to add a four-legged member to the family, the Soulful Dog Benefit is an amazing chance for the kids to meet a bunch of adorable and adoptable dogs. Melissa Laws, has been attending events at Thornbury for the last four years. “My family loves the hayrides, and there always seems to be a fire going,” she said. Oh, and for all of you ghost hunters out there, a spooky side note about Thornbury Farm is that there is considerable paranormal activity at the property (as featured on the SyFy Channel), which is a little factoid that I plan to share with my little one on the way home from our next visit. Thornbury Farm 1256 Thornbury Rd. 610.793.2933





Service above Self

Rotary Club of West Chester contibutes a monthly column exploring good works, good fun and local organizations that are making a difference.

Imagine being a child in Chester County. You live in one of the wealthiest areas in the country, with many of the top public schools. You should have all the advantages and every opportunity to conquer the world. Now imagine living in this great place, but in poverty. Other kids are wearing designer clothes; you’re in hand-me-downs. Your summers are spent hanging in the streets, not down the shore. You go home and don’t know if there will be dinner tonight. Chester County’s Children Inc. benefits local at-risk youth by working directly with the County’s Child Youth and Family Services, providing funds for things the government cannot. One of their major initiatives is the summer camp program. In 2018, the non-profit, which is run without a staff by an all-volunteer board, funded 108 weeks of camp, providing an opportunity for kids to have a great summer and stay off the streets and out of trouble. This organization is just one of many that are supported by the Rotary Club of West Chester and the grants that are made available because of the West Chester Chili Cook-Off. As the school year kicked off, a group of Rotarians purchased and delivered $1,500 worth of school supplies to the offices of West Chester Area School District. From there, administrators can distribute the supplies to those with the most need. Through the generosity of Penn Office Products, the club was able to almost double the buying power and help even more kids. From the beginning, The Rotary Club of West Chester has had a strong youth services connection. Upon its founding in the spring of 1921, charter member B. Reed Henderson—yes, that Henderson—created the “Boys Work” committee dedicated to vocational guidance for the young men in the borough. Almost immediately, a scholarship fund was created and $100 was awarded to a deserving graduate of then West Chester High School. This year, the club awarded two $3000 scholarships to district seniors. The club, however, does more than just provide financial support. Every month, Rotarians visit elementary schools with the Rotary Reader program. By reading to elementary school classes, local business leaders forge a connections with the local youth. As these kids enter high school, they can join an Interact Club, the teenage version of Rotary. Sponsored by a parent club, students can learn the value of service by volunteering. From there, the next step is Rotaract, which is for college-age and young adults. Like Interact and Rotary, they are committed to service and doing good work. Rotaractors also have the advantage of connecting with the members of the Rotary for vocational guidance. There are many other ways that Rotary benefits youth in our community, our nation and our world. Among the programs conducted on the international level are literacy initiatives, youth exchanges, and peace fellowships. The Rotary Youth Leadership Program conducts seminars for young people to learn the necessary skills and build the confidence to be tomorrow’s leaders. As an adult, the chance to work with youth often provides more benefit to the Rotarian than to the child. It is truly inspiring.





basketball, bookmarks, How West Chester’s School Children are Doing Good Things in the Community story Kate Chadwick

bicycles, and bingo


29 S High St, West Chester • Mon-Sat 10-6 | Sun 12-4



It’s the timeless lament of every generation since…well, probably the first generation. Something in our DNA, perhaps, that automatically causes us to criticize and find fault with those who come after us. Somehow, the present crop of young people have become lazier, less motivated, more entitled than we were. We seem to forget that our parents had issues with our generation, as theirs no doubt did with them. We forget the world is ever changing, and it’s not the same as the one in which we grew up—and this applies equally to any “we” demographic, from twenty-somethings to ninety-somethings. And we also seem to forget a singular truth: that children learn by what we do, and not what we say. Or, as Carl Jung far more eloquently put it: “Children are educated by what the grownup is and not by his talk.” So just what are “these kids today” up to? We took a look around at the activities in some of West Chester’s schools, and we’re happy to report that— to a heart-warming degree—the kids are quite alright.

west chester east high school High school can bring out the “us versus them” mentality that is often lurking beneath the surface between the sexes. How cool is it then, when both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams unite for a common cause? Such is the case at East, where the teams have been involved in the school’s annual Pink Game fundraiser to benefit West Chester-based organization, Unite for Her, a group that provides wellness therapies—outof-pocket ones like yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, and counseling—for local residents afflicted with breast cancer. The teams have been involved with Unite for Her for six years, according to Athletic Director Susan Cornelius, and in that time have raised over $10,000; more than a thousand of that from last February’s event alone. The kids raised the funds via a bake sale, a 505/50

raffle, tee shirt sales, and a half-court shootout at the Pink Game. “When I was first approached by Cameron Cotrufello from Unite for HER, I was skeptical to bring in another team fundraiser,” Susan said. “However, the funds are for something very close to home for many of us. Our teams have embraced the cause and it’s an annual fundraiser for many of them. We’re very proud of our student-athletes and their desire to help others.”


“These kids today.”

West Chester East Students help raise money to benefit local patients battling breast cancer through the Unite for Her charity

Dr. Kevin Fagan, principal at East, concurs. “We have faculty in the building who’ve had had to deal with breast



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cancer. The students know this, and decided to step up in a show of support. It was powerful. We have some pretty awesome kids here.” For girls’ basketball coach Erin Listrani, it was just par for the course with these kids. “Our gym was filled with positive spirit and energy to benefit Unite for Her,” she told us. “Pink Game was a reflection of our student-athletes’ proud commitment to give back to the community.” And for boys’ coach Tom Durant, it was a teachable moment. “Having this event while playing competitive basketball teaches everyone that there are way bigger things out there than trying to win high school basketball games,” he said. “The life lessons and the impact of the Unite For Her cause on the players, coaches, spectators, and parents involved are incalculable. This is about human living and giving.”

Stetson Middle School’s Hoops for Heart event raised $6,538 for the American Heart Association this year

For more information about Unite for Her, please visit

g.a. stetson middle school Erin Listrani also had a hand in the basketball-as-fundraising over at Stetson Middle School, where students and staff raised $6,538.00 this year for the American Heart Association via their Hoops for Heart fundraiser, “our highest yearly total to date!” The money is primarily raised by the student population, as teams enter their grade level tournament, and co-ed teams of four (two boys and two girls) may enter, as well as mascots, coaches, managers, and cheerleaders, according to Erin. The staff even gets in on the action, participating in a raffle contest the week of and the week after the event.





Stetson Middle School Students worked together to help purchase an adaptive bike, to the delight of a local recipient


Including this year, Stetson has raised an astonishing $60,261.25 for the American Heart Association in 12 years. But more importantly, Erin said, the children learn from it. “This program is designed to teach young adults about teamwork and the spirit of volunteerism,” she said. “It also promotes good health, and educates students about the importance of exercising regularly to keep physically fit. It's an amazing feeling to see them supporting such a great cause while having fun and getting exercise. Many of our students really go

above and beyond to make this fundraiser so special, year after year.” Added bonus? “The fundraiser allows us to reinforce parts of our Health and Physical Education curriculum with the goals of The American Heart Association. Besides the obvious philanthropic element, it also brings spirit and excitement, as well as a sense of pride for what they've been able to accomplish for The American Heart Association.” Indeed, Colleen Csenteri of the AHA agrees, telling us: “The students and school community at Stetson middle school have gone above and beyond each year for their Hoops for Heart Event. The staff has created a memorable tradition at the school while raising money for the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission.” For more information about the American Heart Association, please visit

Not everyone can play basketball, however, and as challenges to physical mobility go, cerebral palsy is a big one. “Years ago, we started raising funds for cerebral palsy because we had an 8th grader in Student Council who had it,” said Colleen Holladay, 8th-grade Language Arts teacher and Student Coucil Advisor. “Likewise, two of our staff members delivered children with CP. In an effort to raise money, we sold Shamrocks and green tee shirts for CP (both in March since it’s CP awareness month) and we were able to send funds to go toward this good cause.” This year, however, they decided to step up their fundraising game. “We aimed to purchase an adaptive bike for a child in the area,” Colleen told us. “These bikes cost around $1800, so we knew we had to get creative. We set up a homeroom ‘March Madness for CP’ competition. We set up brackets and had homerooms compete against one





another. The results and donations were beyond our expectations. In a few short weeks, we had our grade-level winner, and our biggest winner of all, Trevor Ferraro.” Trevor Ferraro is 16 years old and was diagnosed with Klinefelter’s Syndrome at only a year, causing such challenges as being non-verbal, hearing loss, and limited mobility. He’s very energetic, though, and loves the things most kids love, like the beach, music, and any sport with a ball. He had corrective orthopedic surgery last year, and the surgery requires intensive therapy for up to two years. It was during his first few therapy sessions at AI Dupont Children's Hospital that Trevor was able to ride the adaptive bike and he absolutely loved it. Colleen contacted Deb Buenaga, of Preston’s March for Energy, a group committed to providing adaptive bikes to physically challenged kids across the country. “She was thrilled,” Colleen said. “We were able to get a bike custom made so that Trevor could ride a bike for the first time with his sisters. Weeks

Stetson students captured the winning spirit in team Underdogs’ uniform for their Hoops for Heart event went by and we eventually met Preston and his mom, Deb. And then, eventually, we got to present Trevor with the bike. It was the best.” For more information about Preston’s March for Energy, please visit

sarah w starkweather elementary school One of the best things about school— besides lunch and recess, arguably—are the parties. You know, those special days where the standard routine is jettisoned in favor of a bit of celebration. For the 5th-graders at Starkweather, however, there are community service projects on their agenda where the parties belong, according to school principal John Meanix and 5th Grade teacher, Amy Doran.

The projects are seasonal, with the children making bookmarks—“always fun and involves a lot of stylish duct tape,” says teacher Erika O’Neill—for Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital pediatric patients in October and November. The students also make cards and donate books through the school’s book fair program. In December, the 5th graders run a Holiday Bingo event, during which they collect cash donations and then invite parents and grandparents for a rousing game of bingo at the school, towards the end of a school day in mid-December. “Parents and grandparents are able to join us, and the money collected goes to our case worker in the building,” Ms. O’Neill told us. “The cash goes towards gift cards to Giant and Acme, for food and paper goods, gas, Christmas presents, and school supplies for the following year.” And, this event benefits kids in their own school and district—a peer-to-peer lesson for the students. In the spring, the students help to run a school-wide Alex’s Lemonade Stand event, as well as working on the





Birthday in a Bag program for Friends Association in the borough. [Please see related story on page…]. For the latter project, each grade in the school is given a particular item to collect: aluminum cake pans, cake mix and frosting, birthday-themed paper plates and napkins, balloons, candles, streamers, and the like. The fifth-graders are then charged with assembling these birthday-in-abag gifts for the clients of Friends Association, an organization dedicated to helping homeless families. “Our Birthday in a Bag program started in 2013, when donors wanted to bring in birthday cakes to celebrate our clients’ special day,” said Robin Meixner, Development Director at Friends. “The gifts and cakes were enjoyed, but we realized that they were not empowering. Instead, we asked volunteers to fill a bag with all of the items necessary for a parent to create and give a party for their child. This way, the parents are empowered to give their child a celebration on their own and fitting their own values.” And just how important is that? To a child, it’s huge. “This Birthday in a Bag is often the first party the child has ever had.”

Hillsdale Elementary students Logan Evans and Sara Buescher used their lemonade stand to raise money for their school

For more information, please visit and

hillsdale elementary school Lest we think that the bigger kids are doing all of the heavy lifting, good deeds-wise, we did come across two enterprising little ones demonstrating philanthropic tendencies via Julianne Pecorella, principal at Hillsdale Elementary School. “Two of my first graders held a lemonade stand this summer, with the proceeds going to Hillsdale,” Julianne told us. “We are just so incredibly proud of these students for their spirit of giving and their generosity.” What started as a play date with Sara Buescher and Logan Evans became an entrepreneurial endeavor, when the youngsters, gently prompted by Logan’s mom, Lindsay, opted to sell lemonade instead. “It was Lindsay’s idea, and she

proposed donating the money to the children’s school,” according to Sara’s mom, Maria Ramos. “The kids wanted to keep the money in the beginning. But, after we explained to them how the money was going to be used by Hillsdale to help other kids, they were happy to do it.” It was put to committee to decide how the money would be used, according to Julianne. A princely $72 was raised in only two hours by the children, and the committee’s decision? “The money will be used for books for our library,” Mrs. Pecorella told us. “And name plaques will be inserted, so that students signing the books out will know that they were donated by the children.”

What was the takeaway here for Sara and Logan? “It was really fun for them,” Maria said, “and the kids were super proud about being able to bring the money to Mrs. Pecorella.”

It will probably always be human nature to wonder and worry about the shortcomings of subsequent generations, and to fret about “these kids today.” But perhaps the next time you feel compelled to complain, you could consider these words of wisdom from James Baldwin: “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”





History & Culture

Chester County Historical Society explores the local past and its influence on our lives today.

Do you know a motivated middle or high school student interested in history? The National History Day program engages students in project-based original historical research. On May 11, 1974, 127 middle and high school students in the greater Cleveland area gathered on the campus of Case Western Reserve University to compete in a contest called “History Day.” The idea for the contest came from David Van Tassel, a history professor at Case Western, who wished to reinvigorate the teaching of history in the classroom. With the help of his colleagues, Dr. Van Tassel created a one-day history contest for students to showcase original historical research. From this first contest of 127 students, History Day evolved into National History Day (NHD), a nonprofit organization based in College Park, Maryland. Now in its 45th year, this program and its annual contest engages 500,000 students across the world! As NHD Executive Director Cathy Gorn observes, “National History Day is an ongoing revolution in classrooms nationwide”— and that includes classrooms in Chester County. This hands-on history program puts students in control of their learning, teaching them to become historians. Science classrooms often have a laboratory component, allowing students to work like scientists. NHD is the lab component for the history classroom, giving students the opportunity to work like historians, uncovering the raw materials of history, developing an argument based on their findings, and presenting their research. Students first select a topic connected to the annual theme. The 2018 theme was “Conflict and Compromise in History,” and this year’s theme is “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” Once students select their topic, they begin the research process and decide how they will present their work. They can choose to present within several categories: documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, or websites. The Chester County Historical Society hosts the Southeastern PA NHD Regional Contest. Schools in Chester and Delaware counties select their best projects to come to our annual contest, judged by over 120 local volunteers. The best projects move to NHD in PA, the state contest held in Central Pennsylvania. These winners move to the national contest in College Park, Maryland. This past year 3,044 students competed at the national contest, and local students came away with national recognition. Luke DiBonaventura from Strath Haven Middle School placed 2nd in the Junior Individual Exhibit category with his project Super Patriots -- Antisemitism, Comic Books and World War II. Abhirami Suresh and Mathew Iozzi from West Chester East High School won a special Pennsylvania award for their Senior Group Documentary The India-Pakistan Conflict: Tensions over Land and Power. Interested in learning more about National History Day? Please check our website for more information on the program and information on how to participate, whether as a student, teacher, judge, or volunteer: —



The Painted Plate is a classic way to spend time with your kids (or siblings, or cousins, or friends, or anyone, really), and this time of year it’s even more fun. Spot the five differences in this photo of some of their Halloween selection, then send your answer to, and you’ve got a chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to September’s winner Chas Orr who spotted the five differences in the brews from Spaz Beverage!





October Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be enjoying all summer long. The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your friends. | @DJRomeo24

Ava Max – “Sweet but Psycho” Eminem – “Killshot” Young Thug ft. Elton John – “High” Lil Peep ft. XXXTENTACION – “Falling Down” The Chainsmokers ft. Kelsea Ballerini – “This Feeling” Rita Ora – “Let You Love Me” Luke Combs ft. Leon Bridges – “Beautiful Crazy” Alesso – “REMEDY” Kanye West ft. Lil Pump – “I Love It” Avril Lavigne – “Head Above Water” Lukas Graham – “Love Someone” AJR – “Role Models” Mumford & Sons – “Guiding Light” Tyler, The Creator – “Peach Fuzz” Lauren Daigle – “You Say” Doja Cat – “MOOO!” Billy Currington – “Bring It On Over” DVBBS & blackbear – “IDWK” Dynoro ft. Gigi D’Agostino – “In My Mind” BROWN & GRAY – “Top Down” Travis Scott – “SICKO MODE” Pinkfong – “Baby Shark” Bryce Vine – “Drew Barrymore” Dean Lewis – “Be Alright” Imagine Dragons – “Zero” Lana Del Rey – “Venice B*tch” MAX ft. Joey Bada$$ – “Still New York” Nina Nesbitt – “Loyal to Me” Lil Mosey – “Noticed” Eminem ft. Joyner Lucas – “Lucky You”











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