SOWN Links:

· Join SOWN on Facebook

· SOWN's Video

· Founding Story Video



Join Our Mailing List

Enter your email address

November, 2017
You know what gets you through the tough times in your life. If you're like most of us, at every stage, you've relied on your friends. Family is important- you love and rely on them, too- but you have a special connection with your friends.

Your friends just get you.

Elders who are isolated and vulnerable through no fault of their own need help to forge the connections that make life worth living. They receive that help from SOWN. SOWN's counseling services are delivered in a supportive peer group context. That's what makes SOWN special. We bring isolated older adults together in groups. Empower them to share their sorrows, joys, and fears; strategies, resources and insights. Witness the positive impact on their health, mental health, and ability to cope.

You can be a hero for elders in need. These Americans have worked hard all of their lives, yet now they find themselves isolated. SOWN can change that- but only with your help.

SOWN assists the families of older adults as well. For example, our GrandFamily Resource Center provides services for grandchildren who are being raised by their grandparents. And SOWN collaborates with Penn Medicine and The Parkinson Council to provide accessible telephone support groups for the caregivers of people living with Parkinson's disease. You can help to connect members of your community to this opportunity. All Parkinson's care partners in the Philadelphia metropolitan area are eligible. Please tell interested care partners to call SOWN at 215-487-3000, x25.

Will you help elders in need? Your contribution will go a long way. Let's see how:

· Debbie*, 78, arrived at a SOWN group meeting and deliberately picked a chair some distance from the other members. She responded with one word answers and did not seem comfortable with the group. SOWN's facilitator and the other participants respected her need for space and did not intrude on her privacy. At the next meeting, the facilitator repeatedly acknowledged Debbie's contributions. Slowly, her confidence and interaction with the group members bloomed. Eventually, she changed her seat to be closer to the other women. One day, she threw back her head and laughed! Later, Debbie said,

"After my husband died, I raised five children by myself and worked to keep my family together. Nobody lives nearby now. Then in June, my oldest son died, too. I really could not see how to go on living. But here at SOWN, I am so comfortable with all of you. I am sure that I can share my most scary, private thoughts and memories. I know you can handle them. And I always feel better after I talk about them."

With your support, Debbie won't be alone. With you and SOWN, Debbie has a better chance of preserving her physical health and her ability to care for herself. She is less stressed, her emotional health has improved, and she's learning new strategies for staying healthy. Debbie now has a better chance of aging in place in her neighborhood, in the community she knows and loves. Will you reach out to Debbie, and so many others like her, by sending your gift?

Elders give back. Over the last ten years, we've come to understand ever more deeply that supporting older adults means supporting a community. The SOWN client community includes many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren after devastating health issues, substance abuse, or mental illness has incapacitated their biological parents. We think you'll agree that these grandparents are hard-working, loving, and deserving of support. Aren't you glad that those kids, over 17,000 in Philadelphia, are not in foster care? We are, too! To learn about one "GrandFamily" experience, read on.

· Virginia*, 72, was pleasantly surprised that her 15 year-old granddaughter, Michelle*, really looked forward to PhillyFamilies, SOWN's workshops to build family resilience and communication skills. They attended every single workshop. Soon after, Michelle was bullied by another student in school, and she defended herself in the altercation. As a result, she got suspended. Michelle and her grandmother both thought a change was needed. Virginia reported that while she was not happy about this situation, because of SOWN, she and Michelle were better prepared to cope with the family crisis. Virginia said,

"I learned that hollering didn't get me anywhere. Michelle and I looked at each other and talked about how we were feeling. Before these SOWN programs, that would never have happened."

Michelle has been accepted into a new school, and her transition has been much smoother than Grandmother Virginia thought it would be. Virginia believes that this is because of the communication skills and self-confidence Michelle gained from PhillyFamilies. For her part, Virginia proudly reports that, not only has she improved her own ability to communicate with the school district, she's already shared her new parenting skills with the other grandmothers in her SOWN support group.

It's important to support Debbie, Virginia, Michelle, and so many others with your gift today. The holidays are here, and they can hurt. They hurt when Dad should be at the table, but isn't. They hurt when Mom can no longer do the things she did before, whether that's grating potatoes for the latkes or rolling out crust for the pumpkin pie. SOWN must be there to share in the joys and sorrows-- to find meaning in the midst of change and loss. With your support, we will be there.

With gratitude,

Merle Drake, LCSW Executive Director

Karen J. Hanson, PhD President, Board of Directors

P.S. SOWN contributors are special people: People who understand the anguish an elder feels when she or he is all alone. Please reach out today with your contribution.


SOWN provides innovative solutions so adults 50+ lead independent, healthy lives and age in place in their homes and communities. Our services prevent and reduce isolation, protecting older adults from depression and related serious health consequences. Whether you are a grandparent raising a grandchild, an elder with health concerns, a caregiver for a loved one who is ill, or an older adult living alone, SOWN is there for you and your family - extending a lifeline of support. SOWN provides evidence-based, cost-effective services in 25 Philadelphia-area locations.             


*Names have been changed to protect clients' privacy.


SOWN: Meeting the needs of diverse adults and their families throughout the Greater Philadelphia area

4100 Main Street, Suite 403 Philadelphia, PA 19127 | T: 215-487-3000 | F: 215-487-3111 |