Menu

Join the conversations we're having at the Pennsylvania Humanities Council: 

News
Jul 21, 2020

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020 Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awards! To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during the COVID-19 shutdown, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.    “The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.” Follow the links below to learn about our 2020 Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awardees and how they served their communities during a time of crisis, including a virtual award ceremony and interview with each recipient.   Citizen's Fire Company #1 (Mount Holly Springs) Citizen's Fire Company #1 (Mount Holly Springs) has long played a vital role in the community, not just in its job of keeping residents safe but also helping with fundraisers and education programs. The team responded to the COVID-19 shutdown by working to keep the town’s spirits up in spite of the restrictions, including drive by-birthday celebrations for those unable to leave their house. Learn more.   Frank Sill (Upper Chichester) Frank Sill (Upper Chichester) draws from a deep well of local knowledge and civic engagement experience. When the pandemic  hit, Sill took action and tapped his robust network of community connections to help collect and distribute masks to first responders. He also worked closely with senior citizens countywide to make sure they were getting the support and assistance they needed. Learn more.   Gary and Tina Solak (Cameron County) Gary and Tina Solak (Cameron County) are radio hosts at WQKY (98.9 FM) based in Emporium and used their platform, including social media, to keep their listeners informed about the latest crisis information. The Solaks supported local businesses and created an online forum for sharing information, providing a space for much needed conversations. Learn more.   Lee Scandinaro (Meadville) Lee Scandinaro (Meadville) assessed the needs of his community and determined that food accessibility was a major issue. He then worked to establish a vital school lunch program which will provide food to area children through the summer. Scandinaro is deeply rooted in his community and works collaboratively with residents and local organizations to assist those in need. Learn more.   John Hartnett (Meadville) John Hartnett (Meadville) is president of the Meadville chapter of Not One More, an organization dedicated to providing resources and support to people in recovery. John quickly transitioned Not One More's group meetings to an online platform at the start of the COVID-19 statewide shutdown, ensuring life-saving access to a virtual support network. Learn more.   Carlisle Community Action Network (Greater Carlisle) Carlisle Community Action Network (Greater Carlisle) is a group of 70+ community members that meet weekly to discuss actions and responses to COVID-19. They jumped into action to meet the needs of Carlisle and reached across cultural divides to ensure everyone had a voice in the process. CAN hosted discussions and provided much need resources. Learn more.     Related Content Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart & Soul site (Orton is a statewide partner of PHC) Pennsylvania Community Heart & Soul

event
Jul 15, 2020

Whether your organization has already opened, or you are in the midst of planning and preparation for reopening, ensuring the health and safety of staff, patrons, vendors, and contractors is a priority. On Wednesday, July 15th, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council hosted Reopening the Arts and Humanities Safely, a discussion about reopening safely.  Prompted by facilitator Sarah Merritt, Director of PA Creative Communities at PCA, panelists Linda Hollinshead, Dana Payne and Cecile Shellman discussed the challenges and opportunities organizations face in this era of COVID-19.   Panelists were joined by partners from PHC, PCA, OCL and PHMC to answer questions from the over 250 leaders, employees and volunteers tuning in to the webinar. The process of  planning and implementing a reopening agenda is complex. Practicing open communication,  considering flexible support for constituents, and recognizing what is possible during this time helps everyone to feel physically, psychologically and emotionally safe.  Please feel free to pass this recording on to your colleagues. PCA and PHC hope to provide updates on reopening guidelines through another webinar in the fall. As a reminder, the guide, Reopening Safely: Tips and Resources to Prepare, is updated regularly.

news
Jul 14, 2020

Congratulations to Citizen's Fire Company #1 (Mount Holly Springs) for receiving one of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's first ever Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awards! The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown brought many challenges to cities and towns across the world as they adapted to social distancing and other health and safety requirements. Despite the difficulties, Pennsylvania’s residents showed their resilience and strength by working together to meet the needs of their neighbors.  To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during this time, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.    Citizen's Fire Company #1, nominated by members of the Mount Holly Springs Heart & Soul Leadership Team, was among six recipients recognized as Heart & Soul Heroes for their outstanding community service. Each awardee receives a certificate, virtual award ceremony, and a spotlight article.  “The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer and host of the Heart & Soul Hero virtual award ceremonies. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.” Citizen's Fire Company #1 was selected to receive a Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award for its exceptional service to the Mount Holly Springs community during the COVID-19 shutdown. Accepting the award on behalf of the team was Tim Yingst, Fire Chief, and Dennis Russell, President of the fire company. Citizen's Fire Company #1 has long played a vital role in the community, not just in its job of keeping residents safe but also helping with fundraisers and education programs. The team responded to the COVID-19 shutdown by working to keep the town’s spirits up in spite of the restrictions. For example, they did drive by-birthday celebrations for those unable to leave their house and helped to honor graduating high school seniors. As they approach their 125th anniversary, the station's legacy of service to the Mount Holly Springs community continues. “Our fire company is the heart and soul of Mount Holly Springs," said Carmen James, a member of Mount Holly Springs Heart & Soul. “No matter where you live -- or who you are -- you can count on [them].” Related Content Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart & Soul site (Orton is a statewide partner of PHC) Mount Holly Springs Heart & Soul Pennsylvania Community Heart & Soul

News
Jul 07, 2020

Congratulations to Frank Sill (Upper Chichester) for receiving one of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's first ever Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awards! The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown brought many challenges to cities and towns across the world as they adapted to social distancing and other health and safety requirements. Despite the difficulties, Pennsylvania’s residents showed their resilience and strength by working together to meet the needs of their neighbors.  To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during this time, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.    Frank Sill, nominated by the Upper Chichester Leadership Team, was among six recipients recognized as Heart & Soul Heroes for their outstanding community service. Each awardee receives a certificate, virtual award ceremony, and a spotlight article.  “The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer and host of the Heart & Soul Hero virtual award ceremonies. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.” Frank Sill was selected to receive a Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award for his exceptional service to the Upper Chichester community during the COVID-19 shutdown. As president of the Rotary Club and a leader in various organizations, including the Upper Chichester Historical Society, Chichester Business Association and Chichester School District Board of Education, Sill draws from a deep well of local knowledge and civic engagement experience. When the pandemic  hit, Sill took action, tapping his robust network of community connections to help collect and distribute masks to first responders. He also worked closely with senior citizens countywide to make sure they were getting the support and assistance they needed. Finally, under Sill's leadership, the Rotary Club was able to distribute six scholarships to graduating seniors this year, despite the loss of fundraising opportunities. “Frank is the person you go to if you need something to get done," said Barbara Kelley, assistant township manager. “He connects people.” Related Content Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart & Soul site (Orton is a statewide partner of PHC) Upper Chichester Heart & Soul Pennsylvania Community Heart & Soul

news
Jul 01, 2020

Professionals from across Pennsylvania, representing non-profits, government, arts, culture, humanities, and library services, attended Reimagining Community Engagement, a virtual event presented by PHC in partnership with the Office of Commonwealth Libraries during the summer of 2020. The event involved a three-part series to create a statewide network to learn and build humanities-based and equitable practices for the future of community engagement in our changing world. PART 1: From Inclusion to Belonging The first webinar in the series was kicked off by Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta B. Mayson, who highlighted the danger of single story and inspired the group to explore experiences of belonging and disbelonging through storytelling. After Mayson’s talk and poetry performance, participants joined story circles in breakout groups and shared their own personal stories. Returning to the main discussion, they debriefed about what our stories tell us about belonging, inclusion, and community engagement. The event closed with Mayson leading a sensory poem, prompting the group to imagine what belonging looks, feels, tastes and sounds like. A word cloud was created from participants' responses. PART 2: Lessons From the Field The Reimagining Community Engagement series continued with a cross-sector panel conversation moderated by Michael O’Bryan from the Village of Arts and Humanities:  Salina Almanzar, Lancaster-based Artist, Organizer, Scholar Mary Foltz, Director, Lehigh University South Side Initiative  Lindsay Varner, Community Outreach Director, Cumberland County Historical Society Marcus P. Yuille, Outreach Manager, Erie County Public Library This second session discussed the power of cross-sector collaborations with artists and approaching work with community through inquiry and as lifelong learners. Panelists talked about trusting communities to know what they need, and centering community desires in institutional efforts and budgets. Finally, the group delved into what "belonging" means for staff within organizations and how to address institutional racism. PART 3: Connecting the Dots: Collective Action for a New Era The third and final Reimagining Community Engagement webinar featured an engaging panel moderated by Chester Made project manager Ulysses Slaughter and featured national leaders Carlton Turner from the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, Tracie D. Hall from the American Library Association, and Ben Fink from Appalshop. Participants moved into deeper discussions about connection, taking action, and making meaningful change. To cap off the event, particpants submitted songs that they felt represented the current moment. Listen on Spotify.

news
Jun 24, 2020

Congratulations to Gary and Tina Solak (Cameron County) for receiving one of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's first ever Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awards! The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown brought many challenges to cities and towns across the world as they adapted to social distancing and other health and safety requirements. Despite the difficulties, Pennsylvania’s residents showed their resilience and strength by working together to meet the needs of their neighbors.  To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during this time, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.    Gary and Tina Solak, nominated as a team by Jessica Herzing, were among six recipients recognized as Heart & Soul Heroes for their outstanding community service. Each awardee receives a certificate, virtual award ceremony, and a spotlight article.  “The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer and host of the Heart & Soul Hero virtual award ceremonies. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.” Gary and Tina Solak were selected to receive a Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award for their exceptional service to Cameron County and the surrounding areas during the COVID-19 shutdown. The couple are radio hosts at WQKY (98.9 FM) based in Emporium and used their platform, including social media, to keep their listeners informed about the latest crisis information. Both are involved in their local community and felt it was their duty to provide timely and accurate information. In support of local businesses affected by the shutdown, the Solaks encouraged the public to purchase gift certificates and shared resources for grant and loan programs. Tina created an online forum for sharing information, providing a space for much needed conversations. “We immerse ourselves in our community and we're just looking out for our neighbors and giving them the information that they need," said Tina Solak. "We don't think of it as anything special, this is our job.”   Related Content Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart & Soul site (Orton is a statewide partner of PHC) Cameron County Project Pennsylvania Community Heart & Soul

News
Jun 16, 2020

Congratulations to Lee Scandinaro (Meadville) for receiving one of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's first ever Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awards! The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown brought many challenges to cities and towns across the world as they adapted to social distancing and other health and safety requirements. Despite the difficulties, Pennsylvania’s residents showed their resilience and strength by working together to meet the needs of their neighbors.  To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during this time, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.    Lee Scandinaro, nominated by Amara Geffen, was among six recipients recognized as Heart & Soul Heroes for their outstanding community service. Each awardee receives a certificate, virtual award ceremony, and a spotlight article.  “The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer and host of the Heart & Soul Hero virtual award ceremonies. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.” Lee Scandinaro was selected to receive a Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award for his impressive service to Meadville during the COVID-19 shutdown. He took it upon himself to assess the needs of his community and determined that food accessibility was a major issue. He then worked to establish a vital school lunch program which will continue providing food to area children through the summer. Scandinaro is deeply rooted in his community and works collaboratively with residents and local organizations to assist those in need. He currently is employed by Arc of Crawford County, helping to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community. “That's always been what my MO is -- trying to fill what needs there are and serving the public as much as possible and in whatever way I can... not in a way that's about me but in a way that's about all of us just moving together,” said Scandinaro. Related Content Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart & Soul site (Orton is a statewide partner of PHC) My Meadville Pennsylvania Community Heart & Soul

News
Jun 08, 2020

We at the Pennsylvania Humanities Council cannot stay silent about the recent events that have once again highlighted the pernicious and systemic problems that Black people and all people of color face every day. We believe in justice for George Floyd and the countless other victims of police brutality and racism, but real justice will only come when we each do our part to build an equitable society. Our experience in communities across Pennsylvania has been that when people can see one another's humanity through stories, reflection, and relationship building, they are not only capable of doing this work but are often eager to challenge their biases and cross divides in order to shape a future where everyone is safe and free. We’ve witnessed how conversation and dialog can create avenues for civic involvement and community development once thought impossible. The process of confronting a society and national history replete with white supremacy and systemic inequities that impede justice can be difficult and uncomfortable. It takes real work but we can and must do this.  The Pennsylvania Humanities Council believes in the power of people from all walks of life to come together to make change. We stand with each and every person taking action for a more perfect union. All of us must join this struggle for justice.  But in the words of Maya Angelou, “Nothing will work unless you do.” There are many resources online to help us all become part of the change; one we recommend is "Talking About Race" from the National Museum of African American History & Culture. It provides tools and guidance to empower us on our journeys and inspire meaningful conversations and actions in our lives and in our communities.

News
Jun 08, 2020

Congratulations to John Hartnett (Meadville) for receiving one of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's first ever Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awards! The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown brought many challenges to cities and towns across the world as they adapted to social distancing and other health and safety requirements. Despite the difficulties, Pennsylvania’s residents showed their resilience and strength by working together to meet the needs of their neighbors.  To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during this time, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.    John Hartnett, nominated by Lee Scandinaro and Autumn Vogel of My Meadville, was among six recipients recognized as Heart & Soul Heroes for their outstanding community service. Each awardee receives a certificate, virtual award ceremony, and a spotlight article.  “The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer and host of the Heart & Soul Hero virtual award ceremonies. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.” John Hartnett was selected to receive a Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero award for selflessly supporting local residents with a substance use disorders during this especially difficult period of social distancing. He is president of the Meadville chapter of Not One More, an organization dedicated to providing resources and support to people in recovery. Not One More strives to end the stigma around addiction and to create healthier relationships within communities. John quickly transitioned Not One More's group meetings to an online platform at the start of the COVID-19 statewide shutdown, ensuring life-saving access to a virtual support network. The distance-based approach and flexible scheduling even strengthened connections with those previously unable to join in person due to transportation or scheduling restrictions. "One of our values is being a healthy community where people have access to healthcare and support services," said Autumn Vogel. “This community is a better place because John is in it. We’re grateful for him.” Related Content Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart & Soul site (Orton is a statewide partner of PHC) My Meadville Pennsylvania Community Heart & Soul

news
Jun 04, 2020

Congratulations to the Carlisle Community Action Network, including network organizers Margee Ensign and Jennifer Love, for receiving one of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's first ever Heart & Soul Hero Awards! The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown brought many challenges to cities and towns across the world as they adapted to social distancing and other health and safety requirements. Despite the difficulties, Pennsylvania’s residents showed their resilience and strength by working together to meet the needs of their neighbors.  To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during this time, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.    The Carlisle Community Action Network, nominated by Lindsay Varner (Community Outreach Director of the Cumberland County Historical Society), was among six recipients recognized as Heart & Soul Heroes for their outstanding community service. Each awardee receives a certificate, virtual award ceremony, and a spotlight article.  “The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer and host of the Heart & Soul Hero virtual award ceremonies. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.” Carlisle Community Action Network (CAN) is a group of 70+ community members that meet weekly via Zoom to discuss actions and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking the lead in coordinating this group is the President of Dickinson College, Margee Ensign, with support from Dickinson’s Assistant Chief of Staff, Jennifer Love, and other participants. Ensign, Love, and all of CAN were selected as Heart & Soul Heroes for quickly jumping into action to meet the needs of Carlisle and reaching across cultural divides to ensure everyone had a voice in the process. CAN hosted weekly discussions, helped launch an online resource page to keep the community informed, connected local businesses with Dickinson College student helpers, supported a food bank, organized the bottling and provision of hand sanitizer to residents, and engaged in outreach to vulnerable populations in the community. “Whenever a new issue arose there was never the question of ‘could we do it?’ It was ‘how quickly can we move, and who wants to be involved in it?’” said Ensign.   Related Content Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart & Soul site (Orton is a statewide partner of PHC) Local and college leaders honored by Pennsylvania Humanities Council for effective, collaborative work (Dickinson College) Greater Carlisle Heart & Soul Pennsylvania Community Heart & Soul

1 2 3 4 5 6 13
General

Title

More Info