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April, 2018
                                   
Greetings, 
                                               
In difficult times, communities must come together. We strengthen each other. It’s the American way. For many in our community, aging presents a difficult time.

You have always stepped up for older adults who face loneliness, loss of abilities, depression, and despair. We thank you for that. When we began serving grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, you supported them as well. Will you step up again, and contribute to SOWN today?

You will make a difference for people like Corine*, age 72, who cares full-time for her husband, Pat. Pat has been living with Parkinson’s disease for 12 years. Corine and Pat cannot get out much. Their two children live on the West coast, and friends seldom come by anymore. Here is what Corine wrote to her SOWN social worker:

“Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to hold this weekly session!  I look forward each week to talking with other caregivers who are battling this horrible disease alongside of their loved ones. I'm always taking away something positive from this group each week. Cannot thank you enough!”

We cannot thank you enough. Because you are a connector. By supporting SOWN’s work, you connect elders who were alone to new communities, new resources, and new ideas.  

You seem to know instinctively what the research now proves: Social connection is so important that it affects our emotional health, our physical health, and even our lifespan!

A scientific review of over 100 studies discovered that those with strong social relationships had a 50 percent lower chance of dying over a seven year period than those with weak connections. Shockingly, it reports:

“The magnitude of this effect is comparable to quitting smoking.”

Your support of SOWN will have a huge impact by providing social connection for older adults at critical junctures in their lives and the lives of their families. Please donate today.             

Since we are asking your help with our mission, here is a glimpse of what we see every day: The power of human connection changes lives. Witness the excitement of Adele, a 90 year-old, homebound woman who thought she was, “the only one stuck alone in my apartment!” Now she eagerly anticipates her weekly telephone counseling session with others who are in the same situation. Adele recently told her SOWN social worker that, in addition to her weekly sessions, she has become friends with another group member. Adele and Grace now talk on the phone several times a week. In a staff meeting, her social worker shared:  

“After a month of service, I heard her chuckle for the first time – It was a joy!”

You can share in the joy of SOWN’s work. And what is more joyful than children at play? SOWN’s GrandFamily Resource Center serves grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Despite the sad and difficult situations these children have faced, their capacity for growth and healing are an inspiration.

Because of traumatic experiences in the past, many of the children are not prepared to engage in natural, healthy play. At a SOWN event in Fairmount Park, we noticed that AJ, a bashful seven year-old boy, seemed different. Sarah, AJ’s 73 year-old grandmother, is raising him because his mother, who is addicted to opioids, neglected him and was emotionally abusive. At previous events, AJ barely spoke and did not engage in the activities. But that day, there was a skip in his step. With one-on-one attention from our staff and encouragement from “Grandmom,” AJ learned several new outdoor games. He loved jump rope, box ball, and monkey in the middle. He eagerly shouted to another boy,

“Hey kid, you want to play ball?”

Guess what? The kid did! The grin on AJ’s face was priceless.

Stand together with AJ and his Grandmom, Sarah. With Corine and her husband, Pat. With Adele, and her new friend, Grace. Share in the joy. Please help today.

With sincere appreciation for all that you do,

 

Merle Drake, LCSW Executive Director

 

Karen J. Hanson, PhD Chair, Board of Directors

        
P.S. Forty-two percent of American women aged 75 to 84, and 56 percent aged 85 and older, live alone. With you and SOWN, older adults can be on their own, but not alone. Please support SOWN’s older adults and at-risk children with a financial contribution.

*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 | info@sown.org