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CHESTER NEWS - LORRAINE LAVENDER-SAMS

October 2019

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Generations of Destiny

    The Mentoring Group Generation of Destiny is making strides in assisting the youth of our community navigate pathways to adulthood.

The group meets every other Saturday at Life in Christ Cathedral of Faith Church, at 3012 West 3rd Street in Chester.

    I was invited to sit in on one of the group's mentoring sessions, which I found informative, productive and extremely moving. This group provides a safe place for area youth to express their points of view and to talk about the pressures they face growing up in today's society.

The group's facilitators, Deacon Bernadette Morgan, Elder Robert Warring along with Leon and Valerie Hinson guide the discussions. This week the the group was graced with the presence of Officer David McClain of the Chester Police Department.


Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 4, 2019, page 17

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Annual Walk for Life

The Delaware County Pregnancy Center held its Annual Walk For Life Event on Saturday, September 28, 2019 in Chester Park. This event has been taking place in our community for over 45 years; having serviced the community since 1973. The Pregnancy Center was established by three OBGYN physicians, associated with Crozier Chester Medical Center and continues to provide confidential, free of charge services to Chester and surrounding communities. This was the 2nd consecutive year that the event was held in Chester Park.


Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 4, 2019, page 17

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Community Day

   Chester celebrated its communities on Saturday, September 28, 2019 in Veteran's Memorial Park. Several    city, civic, service and community organizations came out to support and inform residents of the myriad of services available to them.

   In attendance were Mrs. Jacqueline Martinez of Sound Community Solutions. Their organization provides assistance to returning citizens by providing jobs, clothing, counseling and other services; to help those returning to society to successfully reintegrate. Mrs. Tanya Warren, representing Eastside Ministries spoke about the many services they provide. Two of the key services that they provide are day care and after school programs.


Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 4, 2019, page 17

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Food Matters

Food Matters is a program of Eastside Ministries, Inc., in collaboration with Crozier-Keystone Health Systems, Immaculata University, Shiloh Baptist Church, Harvin Foods and the City of Chester and is supported in part by donations from individuals and area churches. The program  stresses the importance of the direct correlation between food and good health; particularly as people age. The program is a healthy eating initiative, focusing on residents 18 and older, diagnosed with diabetes and/or heart disease.


Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 11, 2019, page 16

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Ron Starr, A Gentleman and a Gentle Man

    Ron Starr is the confident young man whose vision and foresight was behind the humongous, lively carnival; enjoyed by Chester's residents at the end of the summer. I covered the event for the paper, and I was so thoroughly impressed by the strong, humble, tenacious, fearless young man I was compelled to find out more about him. I asked him to sit for this interview and he graciously accommodated me. I'd seen him around the city and while my brief interactions with him were always pleasant; his  back story left me in awe. His drive, hardworking nature and genuine love and concern for Chester can be seen in all his endeavors.

    After spending the better part of an hour conversing with Mr. Starr I found him engaging, attentive, empathetic and it became clear very early in our interview; that he's a problem solver. He thinks outside the box. He's a creative thinker; always open to new ideas and different visions. I got the impression that there's not a problem he considers unsolvable. It's that tenacious work ethic that he brings to his job as Chief of Staff, for Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland. He's been working in city government for eight years, having spent more than four years working in the legislature.


Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 11, 2019, page 17


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Chester’s 7th Annual Breast Cancer Walk/Run

October is National Breast Cancer Month and the color pink is everywhere. Pink is the color that signifies support for breast cancer. It was positively bustling early last Saturday morning; as a brisk breeze blew off the calm waters of Chester's waterfront. Members of City Council, the Health Department, various staffers from other city departments and civic organizations gathered in support of eradicating this deadly disease. Dressed in the purple signature shirts of the city's "Let’s Move" initiative; everyone from the Director of the Health Department to Judges and even political candidates came together to walk and/or run in the hope of stomping out cancer. Strides are being made in the diagnostics and treatment of this disease; but, there's more to be accomplished.

This is an important event. The older you are, the higher your risk of breast cancer. Though women in their 20s can get breast cancer; African American and other women of color are more likely to get it at an early age, more likely to have it diagnosed later, rather than sooner, and are more likely to succumb to the disease.

Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1% of the male population has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Keeping all these facts in mind schedule your mammogram as soon as possible and take a friend along, as well. As they say, "Think Pink."

september 2019

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Chester’s Health Department keeping us informed and healthy

In spectacular fashion, Chester's Health Department has led the charge in informing  the city's residents about health risk; and more importantly, about the wide range of benefits available to them. In an effort to bring services and providers to the citizens of Chester, Ms. Rosetta Carter, Director of Community Health Education,  has held events at multiple venues throughout Chester.

These events are designed to provide health information to the residents of our community, who have transportation issues and for whom traveling is a hardship. Keeping the venues in the city and close surrounding areas has meant many of Chester's residents received lifesaving health information.


Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, September 20, 2019, page 16



Chester: More than meets the eye

Chester is the only city in Delaware County. It's also the smallest and the first city. These are facts often overlooked. Being small means a few things. The first is that most of our citizens know one another and/or our families. Second, we're a close knit community with strong loyalties and deep connections to one another. 

These first two things are a part of what makes this city what it is. Because of our size, the citizens have the good fortune to know our government, civic and business leaders (many on a first name basis). Added good fortune and grace has given us leaders who are approachable, engaging and always willing to help and/or answer our questions. At least that's always been my experience. And guess what? I can be like a bulldog with a bone; particularly when I want answers. Most of all, it means Chester is sort of under the microscope--- in a manner of speaking. Everything done here is examined more closely than it would be in a larger city or municipality. 


Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, September 20, 2019, page 16

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Working together to save our youth

    The Boys and Girls Club of Chester held a workshop on Friday, September 20, 2019 in the Community Room at Chester City Hall. The workshop was open to Pastors, Youth Ministry Leaders, Drug and Alcohol Ministries, Leaders from all faiths and various Civic Organizations.

    Angela Da Re, a Certified Substance Abuse Specialist with over 20 years of experience and Jessica Fielding, a Project Director for her local prevention coalition; with 12 years of experience were the workshop's facilitators. 

Remarks made by Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland made clear the necessity and importance of the involvement of not only our faith communities; but, also the involvement of ordinary citizens, to assist in the prevention of youth violence. 


Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, September 27, 2019, page 16

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Chester State of the City Address

Thaddeus Kirkland along with his esteem team hosted the second annual State of the City Address, on Friday, May 31, 2019.

Talen Energy Stadium, home to the Philadelphia Union Soccer Team, graciously hosted the event. Mayor Kirkland started his remarks by thanking and acknowledging City Council members, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the Police and Fire Commissioners; as well as, the various other organizations and businesses that accounted for the success of the city's endeavors.

The highlights of Mayor Kirkland's speech were the decrease in homicides and violent crimes, made possible by a Police Department almost fully staffed.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 7, 2019

I am my father’s daughter

Father's Day 2019 is Sunday and I'm faced with the stark reality, that this is my first Father's Day without my dad. I so miss his physical presence in my life though I feel his spiritual presence on a daily basis. Yes, I am beyond any shadow of doubt; a self confessed 'Daddy's Girl.' As any daddy's girl will tell you; my daddy was the best daddy in the entire world. There was no other daddy like mine. I'm no exception in this belief and believe it I do; to the very core of my being. Every child should have that feeling about their father. Father's touch our lives in such pivotal ways. This holds true for all children; but, I think especially so for girls. I can only testify to this from the female point of view. The presence of a father in a daughter's life really does shape her perspective of the world and the people she'll encounter traveling the road of life. It's definitely made my view of the world much broader than it would've been; had I not been my father's daughter.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 14, 2019

The Importance of Preschool and Kindergarten Education

In this season of proms and graduations as children prepare for summer break; it's a good time to shine a light on the early education of our children. Education is the mitigating factor that shapes the direction and often changes the trajectory of many young lives.

I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Graduation Ceremony of the Kindergarten Class of 2019, at Stetser School. Stetser's Kindergarten 'Move Up' Ceremony was a motivating occasion that left students with a strong sense of their accomplishments and parents full of pride. There was a large parental presence at this stellar event and all of the young graduates were in rare form. Ms. Elaine Gunderway said, 'Both of my sons attended Stetser. The principal and the teachers are excellent. They take the time for the students.' Ms. Gunderway's son Raymond Jackson was among the delightful young graduates and her older son, John Jackson, 3rd is a second grader.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 21, 2019

6th Annual Father’s Day Brunch

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, City Council and Ms. Rosetta Carter, Director of Community Health Education for the City of Chester, hosted the 6th Annual Father's Day Brunch at City Hall in the Community Room, on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Sharing hosting duties were Glenn Ellis broadcasting live on WURD Radio 96.1 AM. Mr. Ellis is a well known writer, lecturer, consultant and medical ethicist; who regularly participates in city health events. This important event didn't just just celebrate fathers; it put a serious focus on the health of fathers (and the sons that will one day be fathers). Dr. Christopher Hannum, MD a long time Chester physician; was in attendance. Dr. Hannum discussed the importance of men getting annual checkups and engaging in a dialogue with their physicians; so that medical issues can be diagnosed early and treated. Prostate Cancer remains a major concern and early detection is key. The gentlemen engaged in honest discussion on their experiences with the disease. Councilman Calvin Bernard of Chester Township shared how early detection and honest dialog with his doctor was instrumental in his recovery.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 21, 2019

The Importance of Supporting Community Based Publications

 

Scoop Media outlet, under the leadership of Ms. Sherri Horsey Darden; is rebranding. In past it was known primarily as a Tavern paper; which catered mostly to bars and taverns. A weekly publication; the paper has always published articles featuring members of the communities it serves and put a spotlight on social and economic issues facing those areas. It's with this in mind that I stress the importance of community involvement. Community based publications are the lifeblood of neighborhoods; and in many cases, the only newspaper that some residents read in any given week. As with Scoop, most community publications are free of charge. This is beneficial to the communities in that the things affecting the people who live in the neighborhoods and surrounding areas are well informed.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 28, 2019

COMMUNITY PUBLICATIONS ARE DISAPPEARING

Free black community print publications are quickly becoming more difficult to locate. This means that news that matters to communities in dire need of the information these publications disiminate, aren't being made aware of what's happening in the neighborhoods once served by these papers. This is occurring for a variety of reasons.

Media conglomerates are gobbling up smaller news outlets; leaving smaller news outlets struggling for survival. Community Publications that used to focus solely on neighborhoods and neighborhood events find themselves in competition with larger media outlets; covering those stories for major news outlets that used to not cover those minor events. With the competitiveness in news today any story that'll garner a front page headline is fair game.

Over the past few decades print media has taken a backseat to the internet; with all manner of social media platforms supplying 24-hour news. It matters not the validity or source of the news; it appears that all that's important is that it was on the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Google or some other media platform. Citizens don't have to go beyond their computers, smartphones or other devices to have news at their disposal instantaneously. Technology is great and extremely useful; however, what about those citizens who are not able to afford this technology or to whom technology isn't available? What about that segment of the senior population whom aren't technologically savvy? Those who are hardwired to getting their news from newspapers. Even with the popularity of technology; I can tell you of more than a dozen or more people who still read print publications daily. My father read four national newspapers daily as well as all of the community publications that were available. I in turn; follow suit. It's how many marginalized citizens know what's going on in the world where they live and beyond.

The only free print media publications that I'm aware of at this time besides Scoop Media are Chester Matters and Town Talk. That is not to say that there aren't other free community oriented publications out there; but, these are the ones that I've observed being accessible to the Chester community. Chester Matters is due to put out its first print edition since 2018 and has primarily been an online publication. Town Talk is consistent; but, rarely if ever spotlights any news about Chester. 

Scoop Media has been a constant weekly publication in the city since 1960. It continues to inform the communities it serves with news affecting those areas. Always mindful to keep the needs of communities in mind and ever conscience of lesser served populations; Scoop Media has  served the tri-state area for near 60 years and is free of charge to public.

Yes print publications definitely still have a place in our communities, neighborhoods ----our society and we should do all we can to support such publications.


ScoopUSA Media, July 5, 2019 page 13

 

JULY 2019

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What Happens When The Two Most Important People In Your World Fail You?

Our parents are initially the two most important people in any person's life. They're the reason for our existence. They gave us life and we look to them; for our sustenance and our very survival from birth and as we mature. Things taught to us by our parents become an integral part of us; shaping who we are as children and as adults. 

This is an important question; especially if you're a young impressionable child. A child looking for love, self acceptance--a place where you fit in. You're constantly searching for somewhere to belong and someone, anyone to accept you for who you are. 

Society tends to label and compartmentalize many of those young people. This only heightens the problem; further exacerbating issues and situations that could very well have far reaching consequences; long into the future. There are times when it's beneficial to look at past family dynamics when determining what's helpful now--in the present. People, all people are products of their environments. A person can change your behavior, your attire, your residence, and your  general circumstances overall; but, still what's been taught, learned and experienced in the nurturing years will remain.

I've seen the wreckage that remains when the parents fail their young. I've glimpsed the pain and suffering that emerges when generational curses are passed from one generation to another; allowing for misguided myths to continue guiding future generations down a path of destruction.

I've also witnessed the healing and the healthy future rewards that await those who toss aside those generations of old legacies that bog a person down; restricting their ability to move forward. 

Not everyone is gifted with a nurturing spirit and I've always felt that those gifted with nurturing spirits are among the most gifted of humanity. Educators, medical professionals and clergy are just some professions touched with the gift of a nurturing spirit. Mothers and fathers are a child's first exposure to nurturing spirits. How we care for our children is important and has a lasting effect on future development. The basics of their core values are shaped through the intense bond formed with loving parents. 

If the parents are loving and kind the child learns empathy. If the parents are hard and cruel the child learns bullying behavior. And so on.

I'd encourage everyone, blessed to be a parent or not, to make every effort not to fail our youth. Uplift them always, because what we pass to them; they will pass to future generations.


Scoop USA Media July 12, 2019 page 13

PRAYING IT FORWARD

The Chester Chaplains are extending an open invitation to  all Faith Leaders and all members of our community to come out and join together in prayer. This is an opportunity to commune with your neighbors, discuss concerns with community leaders, interact with members of the community you're not familiar with or wouldn't ordinarily see on a daily basis. In speaking with many of the members of this city; I've found that a vast majority (especially milenials) don't know who their neighbors are. Above all it's a time to offer and share prayers with our growing changing community.

I've found that as long as  prayer is at the forefront; every other thing falls into place. In my conversations with many of my neighbors, quite a few have questioned the reasoning for praying instead of action. In my opinion we require both prayer and action. I see it as our prayers stirring us to create actions and spur ideas, that propell us to succeed in making our communities strong and viable. This is important in a world where we're becoming increasingly desensitized to the needs of others. "I'm blessed" and "God is good" have become the catch phrases of the day. People regurgitate them with no thought to the true meaning. 

Our community appears to be headed in an upward direction. Seems to me a steady stream of prayer and positive action can only be an added dividend.

Actually, I'm really looking forward to meeting some of you at this event. It'll be an opportunity to hear the positive stories and memories from my Chester City neighbors. And above all,  I look forward to offering and sharing prayers for a city on the rise.

Community Prayer Vigil will be held every Thursday in August, starting on August 1, 2019 and ending on August 29, 2019 at 6:30 pm. All are welcome. Look for announcement in coming issues. Mark your calendars.

Read More Chester News,  ScoopUSA Media, July 26, 2019 page 13

Youth Gun Violence

It seems to me that every morning the news broadcast the story of another death; due to someone's use of a gun. Americans have had a long and storied history with firearms. This history dates back to the establishment of this country. History dates the use of the first firearm around the year 1364. It's said Christopher Columbus came to America in the 15th century; making his Farwell to the indigenous inhabitants, by firing a gun from one of the port windows of the Santa Maria. The native populist of America knew nothing about firearms until the arrival of the colonials landed in 1607. As with Columbus, the early settlers and the those who have followed; firearms became their first choice in weapons. 

That brings us to the 21st century and the epidemic rates at which people are dying or being maimed by someone using a gun. More often than not today it appears people reach for a gun to settle even the most minuté of disputes. This is becoming more evident as we lose more and more children to gun violence. 

Youths are dying at rates unseen in centuries prior and this is especially true of African American and Latino youth. Just this past week I've heard about four shootings; the victims were children in those four killings. How much more of this senseless slaughter of innocents are we to accept? How many more parents will face the grief and the miserable task of burying their young? As a nation and community we have to ask ourselves what responsibility we share in this violence. The sound of our silence is paid for in blood---the blood of of children. And, make no mistake about it a fourteen year old is still just a child; though, society may see them as young women or men. They're still children. The children of mothers and fathers whose grief will never be assuaged. Everywhere there are makeshift memorials of candles and teddy bears marking the spot where some young person--someone's child had their promise snuffed out at the point of a gun. 


See Chester News, Scoop USA Media, August 2, 2019, page 13

Black Excellence

On Sunday afternoon, I had the absolute and distinct pleasure of being in attendance at a networking event that was not only impressive; but, very awe inspiring. It was an all "White Affair" with all of those who attended fashionably dressed in an array of white ensembles.

Certainly the attire was spectacular; but, all the attendees were much more so.

Unfortunately, due to a prior commitment; I was unable to stay for the panel of speakers. I did however make the rounds and spoke with a number of the young entrepreneurs; each one more impressive than the next. This event was put together by young people from our community, in our community. It's refreshing to observe the dedication that this group of young people brought to their various crafts. I applaud their willingness to openly share their experiences with one another. 

I was thoroughly impressed with a budding young entrepreneur named, Cianni Dawkins; who'd made the trip from South Philadelphia, to network with her peers. Ms. Dawkins is eighteen years old and has known since she was fifteen years old that baking was her passion. She's been pursuing that passion since then. She shared with me photos of her creations to date. She's waiting for her website to be completed in the next month and is excited about her prospective success. I've no doubt she'll be a stellar success.

Read More Chester News, Scoop USA Media, August 2, 2019, page 13

Encouraging Another

I'm literally one month away from the one year anniversary of my father's passing. Yes, this past year has been trying and tumultuous since I lost daddy. In that same span of time; I've lost two others that were very close to me. The losses, grief and search for understanding have been frightening and debilitating at times. I thought the tears would never cease and that emptiness was bound to become a permanent companion. 

As the days weeks and months go on (as time does); I am finding my center again. My strength is returning. The roots of my faith are deepening. Though, I've no idea what the future holds for me; I've hope and my faith----well it'll suffice to say it's stronger than ever. Yes, things have changed in my life. There's a new normal.

This brings me to one of the many things that have brought me to this point in my life ---- the encouragement of others. The encouragement and understanding of my sister, my niece and nephews, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and even strangers have helped me to this place in my life. 

I can't talk about the encouragement I received without acknowledging how much a part women, members of my civic community and our city's political community have assisted me in my healing. 

Thank you to each and every person. It doesn't matter if it's a smile, a hug, a prayer, a gentle touch, a gesture, a kind word or a text, phone call or email. It all helped and was equally appreciated.

In a world where everything is so polarizing and many people lack the ability to empathize with others; I was blessed and honored to have the encouragement of so many in my community. This is a definite indication of what Chester is and who its citizens are. 

My grandmother used to say, "If you're not going to say anything nice; don't say anything at all." She was absolutely correct.

Paraphrasing the lyrics to one of my favorite songs; I say, "Human kindness is overflowing and I think it's gonna rain today." 

Encouraging one another on a daily basis should be ingrained in our DNA. It should automatically trigger our moral compass to reach out to someone whose hurting---- to build someone up instead of tearing them down. 

So, reach out and encourage another person today. Spread some human kindness in the world.

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, August 30, 2019, page 13