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PHOTO COURTESY OF SHARLEEN MARTIN The Caring Hands Knittng Group created cradle purses for dolls that were sold as a fundraiser for The Abington Community Library.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SHARLEEN MARTIN Colorful holiday hats were knitted or crotched by The Caring Hands Knitting Group at The Abington Community Library for those in need.

LA PLUME — The Children’s Center at Keystone College recently began partnering with senior citizens to enhance classroom learning. The preschool at the college offers several early education options for children 3-5 years old.

Jennifer Hansen, activity director at the Pines Senior Living in Clarks Summit, reached out to Silvana Coccimiglio, director of Keystone Children’s Center, looking for a way for elderly residents to connect with kids.

“She was great to work with,” Hansen said of Coccimiglio. “She hopped right on board and we have worked together to connect young and old.”

Keystone’s early childhood education center is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. It earned a four-star rating through Pennsylvania’s Keystone Stars, a program that recognizes childcare providers who exceed state and safety requirements.

“All the volunteers who come to work with the children have to be approved by us and have state clearances,” Coccimiglio said.

Everything and everyone that enters the classroom – curricula, toys, teachers and special guests are evaluated and approved by the administration. After receiving their clearances and approval, residents at the Pines Senior Living were excited to be a part of a day with the children.

“The residents were feeling like they wanted to give back,” Hansen said. “This idea began with them and we decided to try it.”

Joan Gourley and Joan Glowinski connected with children over play and story time during their January visit.

“I was always interested in working with kids,” said Joan Gourley, a retired school teacher. She played a game and read a story with children at the Keystone Children’s Center.

“This has been a great experience for us. This is the kind of involvement kids thrive on,” Coccimiglio said.

The residents at the Pines Senior Living are thankful for a chance to give back and make a difference in the community.

Local service

opportunities abound

Many opportunities are available in the Abingtons for those who want to get involved and serve others.

The Always in Stitches quilting group meets at the Abington Community Library every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon.

“We do charity projects or quilters can bring their own to work on,” said Patricia Giuliani.

The Caring Hands Knitting Group meets every Monday from 1-3 p.m. at the Abington Community library. Supplies are provided and those who come create items for the less fortunate or to be sold to benefit the library.

“We are part of the Voluntary Action Center,” Sharleen Martin said. “We make knitted or crocheted items and then donate them to the VAC which distributes to places like St. Joseph’s Center or school children in need. We recently made headbands that were distributed to the homeless. We also make baby items. ... Some of the group made afghans for a local hospice, to add color to the patients’ rooms. Wherever we find a need we like to help.”

“All the yarn we have is donated,” she added. “It’s amazing what you can make with a little bit of yarn.”

Donations of yarn can be left at the Abington Community Library for the Caring Hands Knitting Group.

The people of the Abingtons are caring, resourceful and generous. They have shown time and time again their love for the community and willingness to serve.

The area’s retired residents and senior citizens are not an exception to that giving spirit.

“Through the years the residents had careers or families,” said Hansen. “That desire and need for giving never ends. They show us all that you are never too old to make a difference.”

Opportunities to make a difference:

Abington Memorial VFW Post #7069

Veterans serving veterans and the community.

Meals on Wheels of NEPA

Provides nutritional meals to home-bound older adults.

Volunteers are needed for deliveries, office work, kitchen help or fundraising.

The Rotary Club of the Abingtons

An organization of professionals and retired professionals looking to make a difference.

Meets Thursdays at 12:10 p.m. at the Ramada in South Abington Township.

St. Joseph’s Center

Serving those with special needs.


Voluntary Action Center

Many opportunities to

volunteer and serve the community.

The Wally Gordon Community Singers

The group gives concerts throughout the year for the community.

Practices are Tuesday

evenings at the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church.


The Waverly Comm

Volunteers are needed throughout the year for the Comm’s community events.

Contact to hear about needs and opportunities.