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Local Teenager Inspires Students In Taiwan July 18, 2018

Seven years ago, when Katherine Commale was 10 years old, she was featured in the Community Courier, along with her mother, Lynda, for their work in raising money to purchase mosquito bed nets to help prevent the spread of malaria in Africa. Their efforts, which began at Hopewell United Methodist Church in Downingtown, led them to become spokespersons for Nothing But Nets, a United Nations program that raises awareness and funds to fight malaria.

Katherine has continued her work with the cause through the years and most recently was invited to visit Taiwan by the Maria Social Welfare Foundation. While there, she was the keynote speaker at a convention called Hero Talks, where she gave an address to more than 5,000 Taiwanese students and their parents. She also received the Global Charity Ambassador Award from the vice president of Taiwan and met separately with the president of Taiwan in the presidential office.

Katherine, a resident of Downingtown, explained that her story about raising funds for mosquito netting was featured in the book "Hero 365" by Taiwanese author Kuang-Tsai Hao.

"My story was published in a book and it became required reading for all Taiwanese elementary students," said Katherine. "He wrote an inspirational story or motivational story for every day of the year, and I was (featured on) one of the days."

The whole family was able to take part in the recent trip to Taiwan, including Katherine's mother; her dad, Anthony; and her younger brother, Joseph. "It wasn't about sharing our story and the statistics about malaria; it was more about teaching the kids to become service-oriented and to give back to the community," Katherine said.

Katherine and her family spent June 10 through 17 in Taiwan, and she gave a speech during a Hero Talk event three days into the trip. "I looked up, and there were thousands of seats; it was overwhelming," she said. "My mom and I had practiced the speech that we wrote, so I was secure with that. I just had a little bit of stage fright in the beginning."

She noted that her speech was translated from English into Mandarin Chinese. "We would speak for two to three sentences and then it had to be translated," Katherine said. "It was a little choppy, but it went better than we expected."

Following the speech, other students talked about their efforts in the community. "Some of the projects were about the homeless; others were about bullying - some of the same problems we have here," Katherine said. "They got to hear my story, and I got to hear theirs."

While there, the family also had time to sightsee. "Taiwan is beautiful, and I would definitely go back," she said. "It has the magnitude of New York City, but is cleaner. Their subway system is so nice. They are very respectful people, and they love their country. They are very patriotic."

While in Taiwan, Katherine was photographed, interviewed by journalists and asked for her autograph many times. "It was overwhelming. When we gave our talk, there were 300 or 400 students lined up to meet me and my family," she recalled. "I have never experienced that much love. It wasn't like I was a celebrity; I was their hero.

"I looked up to my mom when she got me into Nothing But Nets when I was 5 years old," Katherine added. "I was an inspiration for them in the same way that my mom inspired me."

Katherine, who will be a senior at the Germantown Academy in the fall, plans to attend college after high school to study biology. "I would like to work for a pharmaceutical company - maybe in genetics," she said. "I would love to bring (my story) to college - to reach a bigger audience and share this story. Also, to go back to Taiwan would be amazing."

For more information about Nothing But Nets, readers may visit


Roadside Litter Program Posted July 18, 2018

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has a statewide adoption program available to residents, local groups, and businesses to become part of the solution to roadside litter. The program is an option for most types of local areas, such as municipal roads, communities, parks, neighborhood blocks, greenways, waterways, and trails.

According to Keep America Beautiful's 2009 "National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study," litter clean-up costs the U.S. more than an estimated $11.5 billion each year with municipalities spending more than $790 million and counties spending $185 million each year. The Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful adoption program works to help mitigate the costs associated with cleaning up by encouraging local residents to take ownership of communities.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides a sign recognizing the groups or individuals who have adopted the road or area and seeks the support of the local municipalities to provide the sign post, install the sign, and provide trash disposal options, as needed. The benefits of removing roadside litter are far-reaching. It sends a message to travelers that littering and dumping will not be tolerated, removes dangers to people, animals and equipment, makes our communities more attractive for residents, tourists and potential newcomers and increases property values and community pride. Removing roadside litter is good for everyone.

By participating in this program, residents will invest in a cleaner, more livable community. Readers may visit and click on Keep It or contact Stephanie Larson at or 724-836-4121, ext. 104, for more information. For information about adopting a state maintained road, readers may visit the PA Department of Transportation at and search Adopt-a-Highway.


Troop 97 Honors Scouts July 17, 2018

Londonderry Township's Boy Scout Troop 97 recently held a Court of Honor to recognize the achievements of Scouts. It also included a flag retirement ceremony.

Life Scout Kyle Hoyt served as the master of ceremonies. As part of the communication merit badge, Hoyt designed the Court of Honor. The troop retired more than 60 flags.

Advancement chair Julie Meyers and committee chair Ted Pauley presented approximately 20 merit badges, with the most common being electricity, citizenship of the community, cooking, emergency preparedness, environmental sciences, and safety. Pauley also presented service awards to the Scouts ranging from one year to seven years of service to the community.

Scoutmaster Kevin Little recognized Kyle Hoyt, Leo Nissley, and Luke Spangenberg as the troop's newest inductees to the Order of the Arrow. Leo was also recognized for the Forest Conservation Award, which is bestowed upon those who have completed environmental science and forestry merit badges.

Ben Spangenberg and Luke Spangenberg were honored for earning a Scouting religious award, God and Church.

Matthew Brion, Jaime Gallick and Jesse Reigle were inducted as full Scouts by Life Scout Cole Carlson and Scoutmaster Ed Barrick. They mastered learning the Scout Oath and Law, the motto, and Outdoor Code. The Scouts presented Parent Ribbons to their families with their first rank pin attached.

Bryson Harris advanced to Tenderfoot and then on to Second Class Scout. Star Scout Leo Nissley and Scoutmaster Matt Pauley prepared him for his oath as a Tenderfoot while First Class Scout Mason Barrick and Scoutmaster Garrett Little recognized him for Second Class Scout rank. Bryson mastered preparing and cooking meals on campouts, first aid techniques, safe hiking rules, and intricate knot-tying. In addition, he earned additional merit badges and performed community service hours. Bryson serves as a Patrol Leader for the troop.

First Class rank was earned by Mason Barrick. Life Scout Mason Swartz and Scoutmaster Mike Harris administered the oath. At First Class rank, Mason is able to camp, swim, hike, and use wood tools safely. He is able to plan his own menu, cook his own food, and utilize knots and lashings to build his camp. Mason also developed a better understanding of first aid techniques.

Life Scout Keagan Yocum and Scoutmaster Bill Lee gave Leo Nissley his Star Scout oath. Leo met his requirements by completing additional merit badges and by adding community service hours to his log. As a Star Scout, his goal includes advancing in his own rank while demonstrating leadership.

Second Class Scout Bryson Harris and Scoutmaster Chris Hoyt gave Mason Swartz his official oath as a Life Scout. Mason advanced in rank for serving his troop as Senior Patrol Leader and Troop Guide. He specializes in helping younger Scouts cultivate skills that will permit them to advance in rank. Mason's final goal is the rank of Eagle Scout. He is currently working on merit badges and reviewing projects that will help him earn that rank.

Justin Mills was recognized for earning his Eagle Scout rank, the highest rank awarded in the Boy Scouts. He will take his official oath and be awarded his wings at a special Eagle Court of Honor.

The Volunteer of Honor pays tribute to an adult member that goes above and beyond in serving Troop 97 and its Scouts. Kyle Hoyt chose advancement chair Julie Myers to receive the honor.

For more information, readers may contact Kevin Little at 717-944-1957 or Ted Pauley at 717-944-2766. Troop 97 is sponsored by the Londonderry Fire Company.


Legion Riders Make Donation July 12, 2018

On June 30, members of the American Legion Riders (ALR) group Stewartstown Post 455 presented a check for $500 to Steve Mathis, Region 3 ambassador leader for Mission 22, an organization that assists with the costs associated with efforts to eliminate veteran suicide. The money was raised by the ALR group at various events throughout 2018 including a meet-and-greet event held at Saubel's Market in Stewartstown, various motorcycle charity rides and other ALR events. Mission 22 assists veterans with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Veterans and family members of veterans that are interested in joining the Stewartstown ALR or the Stewartstown American Legion may contact Butch Hensel at 410-371-9331.


Annual Bridge Ride Posted July 11, 2018

American Legion Riders Post 662 will hold the sixth annual Cover Our Vets With Hope Bridge Ride on Saturday, July 21. Registration will be at Post 662, 35 S. Hoover Ave., New Holland, from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The ride will travel through Lancaster County and will highlight historic covered bridges. Afterward, there will be a chicken barbecue dinner, with entertainment.

The public is invited, and separate fees have been set per rider and per passenger. Proceeds will benefit David's Drive 831, Triangle Therapeutic Riding, and Veteran Service Canines Inc.

For more information, call 717-368-1151 or visit


Slovenian Club Posts Meeting July 10, 2018

The Slovenian Friends of Central Pennsylvania will hold a meeting on Sunday, July 15, at 2 p.m. at the Out Door Country Club, 1157 Detwiler Drive, York.

In June, the organization collected wish list items and funds toward gift cards. Items are still being accepted. All items are appreciated, including art supplies, general supplies, nonperishable snacks, and canned fruit. The collected items and funds will be presented to Lehman Center in July.

The club is open to anyone who has Slovenian ancestry, has traveled to the area, or has an interest in the heritage of that area of Eastern Europe. Topics of discussion include foods, customs, and traditions.

All are welcome. There are no dues or obligations. For more information, readers may call Kim Whitely at 717-764-6313.


Lions Club Presents Donations July 5, 2018


Donations Sought For Food Boxes July 3, 2018

With students home from school for the summer, even more nonperishable goods and toiletries are needed to fill the Community Food Boxes that have been installed throughout the community by It Takes a Village, a nonprofit organization that was founded in the spring of 2017.

The boxes are located along Business Route 30 between Downingtown and Coatesville. A plaque is posted on each box that reads, in part, "Take only what you need, leave behind what you can, be the village for your neighbor."

In order to keep the program going, a core group of volunteers, called Box Buddies, keeps the containers restocked. The public may also contribute to the effort by donating items such as pasta, boxed macaroni and cheese, beef jerky, tuna and chicken salad kits, canned vegetables, peanut butter and jelly, as well as personal care items such as soap and shampoo, hand lotion, tissues and diapers. Donations of pet food will also be accepted.

Items that should not be placed in the boxes include clothing and shoes, home-cooked items, items not in their original sealed packaging, razors, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, frozen food and blankets and bedding.

Those interested in participating in the effort may join the private Facebook group of It Takes a Village at Those who visit the page can see daily updates of which boxes are especially in need of donated items. People are also welcome to post photos of the boxes that they fill.

The boxes can be found at the following locations: Pocket Park in Downingtown, 141 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, near the Lord's Pantry, accessible in the outdoor plaza from Lancaster Avenue or Mill Alley; Downingtown Train Station, located on the westbound or Lancaster Avenue/Route 30 side of the station; Dawkins Park, located next to the Coatesville High School campus on Pennsylvania Avenue between North Caln Road and Veterans Drive; Abdala Park, located between Ninth and 10th avenues on the south side of Business Route 30 next to Walgreens in Coatesville; and Ash Park, located between Kersey and Walnut streets, Coatesville.

For more information, readers may visit


ABATE Helps Fill NSC Food Pantry July 3, 2018

The food storage area at Neighborhood Services Center (NSC) in Oxford was empty when members of the ABATE Motorcycle Club rolled up on June 30 with trailers full of food, baby supplies and pet food.

ABATE of Chester County Chapter 64 is a regional chapter of ABATE of Pennsylvania. ABATE, which stands for Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of individual rights of motorcyclists through political change, charitable works and public education.

This was the 29th year for ABATE of Chester County to organize the Dwight Wallace Memorial Motorcycle Food Run for NSC. "We wanted to do something that was in memory of one of our fallen brothers in the chapter," group member Tim Killinger said.

Wallace's mother, Arta Thomas, rode along with the bikers, wearing a memorial T-shirt with her late son's picture. This year in particular was notable as the event was taking place 30 years after Wallace's death. "I think (the event) is awesome; it's absolutely wonderful," she said.

This year alone, ABATE members delivered approximately 23,000 pounds of goods to the NSC building in Oxford.

"I wish (there was no need) to do it at all," Killinger said. "Once a year, we get all this and load up their basement. Unfortunately, in about three months it will be empty again."

NSC board vice chair James Saltysiak appreciates the help ABATE provides. "It makes a huge difference. This is about a quarter of our entire year's worth of food they do in this one drive," he said. "This will last us about three months. In the summer, people (may not) think about people needing food. This is a critical time."

In addition to the canned goods and nonperishable food items, ABATE collects funds for NSC so that the agency is able to purchase items to supplement the stockpiled foods as needed.

Saltysiak is appreciative of the effort that ABATE puts into the food drive. "They collect all June. It's a ton of effort, and it makes a huge difference," he said. "These guys give up their beautiful weekends. It's a huge thing they do. They deserve a huge thank you."

For more information about ABATE of Chester County, readers may search for "Chester County ABATE" on Facebook.

In partnership with the Chester County Food Bank, NSC coordinates an emergency food cupboard for southern Chester County residents. It is funded in part by the United Way of Southern Chester County and private foundations. The food cupboard offers canned goods and nonperishable food items, as well as diapers, personal care items, household cleaning supplies and paper products and pet food.

More information about NSC and the services it provides is available by calling 610-932-8557 or visiting or


Rotary Club Prepares For Smoke Alarm Initiative July 3, 2018


School Needs Senior Mentors July 3, 2018

RSVP - York County seeks volunteers age 55 and over to serve as mentors at Hanover Street Elementary School in the Hanover Public School District. Volunteer benefits include transportation reimbursement, free supplemental liability insurance, recognition and appreciation events, paid assistance with clearances, free two-hour tutoring training, and improved personal happiness.

For further information, readers may contact Scott Hunsinger at 717-893-8434 or


Organization Seeks Donations Of Dresses, Purses July 3, 2018

Sparrow Place, a local nonprofit looking to open a specialized trauma informed restorative residence for survivors of sex trafficking, is currently seeking donations of new and gently used purses and dresses of all sizes, styles, and seasons. All donations must be clean.

The items will be for sale to the community at the organization's Dress for Freedom event on Saturday, Sept. 8. Donations are being collected in boxes at Grace Church Shrewsbury, 473 Plank Road, New Freedom, and York Alliance Church, 501 Rathton Road, York.

To learn more about the organization, readers may visit, email, or call 717-347-7176.


VFW Post 1446 To Collect Items For Troops July 3, 2018

Red Lion VFW Post 1446 is supporting deployed Pennsylvania National Guardians serving in the Middle East. The PA ARNG 28th ID HHBN is currently deployed in Kuwait. The Pennsylvania VFW headquarters issued a call to all Pennsylvania VFW posts to help collect donations.

Items requested by the troops include bags of ground coffee and tea, beef jerky, current issues of magazines (on topics such as hunting, cars, and sports), foot care items (insoles, powder, and sprays), powdered beverage mixes, and Pennsylvania homemade treats that will not melt.

VFW Post 1446 will collect donations from post members and the community at the chicken barbecue on Saturday, July 21. Donations may also be dropped off at the post, 815 S. Main St., Red Lion. For additional information, readers may call 717-246-1446.


Lions Club's Collection Supports Food Pantry July 2, 2018

The Susquehanna Lions Club held its ninth "Fill the Truck" food drive for the Northeastern Food Pantry on June 22 to 24. This year, shoppers at the Giant Food Store in Manchester donated 5,160 items for the food pantry. Lions Nevin Weirich and Art Kasper helped to pack 209 boxes of nonperishable items for the food panty this year.

On behalf of the Northeastern Food Pantry, the Susquehanna Lions Club recognizes those who donated to the successful fundraiser. The club's motto is "We Serve."


Rotary Plans Fundraising Events June 27, 2018

Mount Joy's Rotary Clock has been removed from its downtown location and sent to Lititz, where watch and clockmaker Bob Desrochers is currently refurbishing it. The timepiece will be returned by the end of summer. A special ceremony is planned to mark the clock's return.

In the clock's absence, the corner of Marietta Avenue and Main Street has been re-landscaped by the Rotarians who regularly meet on Thursday evenings. While most of the funds for cleaning, repairing, and repainting the clock were raised in the spring, the club needs an additional $2,500 to cover the refurbishment costs.

As a fundraiser, the Rotary will offer fries, hot dogs, and beverages at the Mount Joy Chamber of Commerce's Music in the Park events on Sundays, July 29 and Aug. 5. The Fry Wagon will be located at the corner of Delta Street and Marietta Avenue.

For more details, readers may search for "Mount Joy Rotary" on Facebook. To attend a Rotary meeting on a Tuesday afternoon or a Thursday evening, readers may call Joanne Pinkerton at 717-653-5911.


Coatesville Rotary Offers Grants To Nonprofits June 26, 2018

One of the goals of the Rotary Club of Coatesville is to present grants to local nonprofit organizations. Grant applications are currently being accepted at, and grants are issued on a biannual basis.

To finance the cost of distributing grants, as well as scholarships that the club awards to local high school students, money is raised by the club through fundraisers. Most recently, club members manned a food booth at Brandywine Hospital's annual Strawberry Festival, selling hot dogs and hamburgers to festival visitors.

"We gave out $20,000 in grants in 2017," reported club member Dave Seegers. "We are always out there looking for service organizations that can use our help. We ask them to submit an application to receive a grant, and the grant committee decides how much money will be allocated."

One of the 2017 grantees was Handi-Crafters, an employment- and disability-focused support service program. Annually, Handi-Crafters helps more than 400 differently abled individuals to access employment opportunities in the community, as well as at the organization's Skill Development Center in Thorndale. Handi-Crafters serves people in Chester County and surrounding counties.

Those who work at the center are paid an hourly skill-based wage, and they receive a biweekly paycheck. The client workers perform various duties such as labeling, sorting, assembling boxes and putting together kits for a well-known shoe polish brand.

"(Handi-Crafters utilizes) the World of Work training course developed by a community employment team, which prepares clients to learn applicable skills that lead to success in competitive employment, (such as) interview skills and workplace etiquette," reported Seegers. "Several clients have secured positions in local businesses in this area."

Seegers noted that he paid a personal visit to the Handi-Crafters facility and was impressed with the work ethic of the client workers and the caring nature of the staff members. "I saw love, care, happiness and pride (and people) whose lives were greatly improved because of the organization's commitment to the clients," he stated.

Handi-Crafters is currently seeking volunteers to work one-on-one with the client workers in one of the organization's workshops. "Volunteers are a big part of the success at Handi-Crafters," Seegers added. "Several businesses actually encourage their employees to take (time off to volunteer)."

For more information about Handi-Crafters and volunteer opportunities, readers may visit

Other 2017 grantees included the Coatesville Youth Initiative, Art Partners Studio in Coatesville, Bridge of Hope Lancaster and Chester Counties, the W.C. Atkinson Memorial Community Service Center in Coatesville, Canine Partners for Life, Coatesville Kids to College and the Coatesville Area Public Library, among others.

The Rotary Club of Coatesville meets on Thursdays at noon at the Coatesville Country Club, 143 Reservoir Road, Coatesville. Meetings include a speaker from the community. Attendees may purchase their own lunches.

Those interested in joining the Rotary Club of Coatesville are invited to attend a meeting. Those who join the club must complete a membership application and will be asked to pay yearly dues.

For more information, readers may visit or


Girl Scouts Complete Garden Project June 25, 2018

On June 18, Girl Scouts from Troop 20566 of York created a new garden project on the western edge of Woodland Garden at the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) in Dagsboro, Del.

The 15 Girl Scouts and nine adults worked on preparing the project since March. They selected 500 plants and four redbud trees, which they planted in one day. According to troop co-leader Wendy Brister, a longtime supporter of DBG, the group had raised money for the project by selling native plants. Scouts also learned about native plants in troop meetings, with emphasis on the benefits of pollinators in gardens.

DBG president Ray Sander noted that DBG's collaboration with Troop 20566 has set the precedent for how the gardens will work with other Scout troops in the future.

Troop 20566 is part of the Echo Valley Community of Girl Scouts Heart of Pennsylvania. The troop meets in eastern York County, and the Girl Scouts attend Eastern York School District and Central York School District. Troop 20566 is composed of mixed age groups, including Brownies (grades three and four), Juniors (grades four and five), and Cadets (grades six through eight).

The mission of the Delaware Botanic Gardens is to create an inspirational, educational, and sustainable public garden in Delaware. For further information, readers may visit


Taking A Leap Into Language June 20, 2018

Four local organizations are partnering to hold the third year of the Leap Into Language summer program for middle school students from refugee and immigrant backgrounds.

IU 13 Community Education's Refugee Center and Community School at Reynolds (RCCSR) and School District of Lancaster (SDoL) are the primary organizers of Leap Into Language. Khem Subedi, the community school facilitator for RCCSR, said organizing the program involves recruiting students through home visits and communicating with program partners to plan for the summer and establish the curriculum, among other things.

Additional staff and program support are provided by Millersville University and Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM).

The monthlong program starts with English language lessons in the mornings, taught by educators from RCCSR and SDoL as well as education students from Millersville University.

In the afternoons, EMM provides enrichment activities through local youth groups that participate in its Kingdom Team program, a summer learning and service opportunity. Youth groups practice conversational English with their international peers through games, sports, crafts, and more.

EMM's community engagement coordinator Angie Earl believes that the program is an opportunity for the students to keep up their conversational English skills outside of the regular school year. It also helps some refugee families adapt to the idea of full-day education for their children.

The peer-to-peer interactions help refugee and immigrant students form meaningful local relationships.

Twenty-nine students attended Leap Into Language's first year in 2016. That number grew to 51 students the following year. All students attend SDoL schools. The four organizations will partner again for Leap Into Language this summer from Monday, July 2, to Friday, July 27.


Legion Riders Receive Donation June 20, 2018


Volunteers For Food Bank Needed June 19, 2018

RSVP - York County is seeking volunteers age 55 and over for York County Food Bank in York. Volunteers will help with registration every Friday for the Food for Families program. Office volunteers to help with filing, simple database entry, phone calls, and preparing mailings. Additional volunteers are needed for other tasks, as well.

Volunteer benefits include transportation reimbursement, free supplemental liability insurance, recognition and appreciation events, assistance with clearances, and improved personal happiness. Interested readers may contact Scott Hunsinger at 717-893-8474 or

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