Category Archives: Kiera R.

Penn Serves LA has The Giving Spirit

By Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

Photos by Kiera Reilly, C’93

Wonderful Penn Serves LA volunteers joined in a fantastic effort on May 30th to provide a bit of summer relief for some of the 82,000 people in our city who are homeless on any given night. Founded in 1998, The Giving Spirit has raised over $2 million through small donations and served over 35,000 homeless. Twice a year this all-volunteer non-profit, the largest in the city, organizes the filling of backpacks and duffle bags with essential items (canned and fresh food, clean socks and hats, toiletries, etc. plus lists of available services) to help our friends on the street to survive and enjoy a bit of comfort during the hottest and coldest points in the year.

Volunteers of all ages helped to set up the assembly line, then fill the backpacks.

Volunteers of all ages helped to set up the assembly line, then fill the backpacks.

Penn Serves room 2

Volunteers at the beginning of the assembly line to fill the backpacks.

But in addition to handing out these critical supplies, The Giving Spirit is unique in its approach:  the organization’s leaders know they cannot cure homelessness, but when volunteers hand bags full of help, and maybe hope, to homeless people, they also look them in the eyes, engage them when feasible and let these disenfranchised people know that someone is thinking about them. The formula is a moving one, and through a short, televised video our Penn Serves LA volunteers received a glimpse into its effectiveness.

Jane Gutman introduces The Giving Spirit's founder and Chairman Tom Bagamane to the Penn Serves LA group.

Jane Gutman introduces The Giving Spirit’s founder and Chairman Tom Bagamane to the Penn Serves LA group.

Tom talks to the group about the founding of The Giving Spirit and the work that they do to help the homeless in Los Angeles.

Tom talks to the group about the founding of The Giving Spirit and the work that they do to help the homeless in Los Angeles.

Penn Serves' Jeff Weston, C'05, helps load the filled backpacks into vans for distribution.

Penn Serves’ Jeff Weston, C’05, helps load the filled backpacks into vans for distribution.

One truck filled with backpacks ready to be distributed.

One truck filled with backpacks ready to be distributed.

Penn Serves volunteers at The Giving Spirit.

Penn Serves volunteers at The Giving Spirit.

 

Penn Serves LA has many terrific projects for all ages on the calendar for the coming months, including a day of painting on June 13th at Valiente College Preparatory Charter School, a brand new school for underserved kids opening this fall. Join us this Saturday – RSVP here.

 Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, help us Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

Upcoming Penn Serves LA events:

  • Saturday, June 13, 2015 – Help paint Valiente College Preparatory Charter School – RSVP
  • Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Harvesting a Garden for Veterans – RSVP
  • Saturday, September 12, 2015 – Reading to Kids – Details coming soon
  • Sunday, December 6, 2015 – Midnight Mission: Serving Meals to the Homeless – Details coming soon

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Questions? Reach us at pennserves@gmail.com.

Find us on the web, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

Read about our previous events:

August 2014 – Penn Serves LA Strikes Again: This Time with Paint!

December, 2013 – Holidays are a Time for Giving

November, 2013 – Sending Holiday Warmth to our Troops

August and September, 2013 – Serving the Environment and LA Leadership Academy

May, 2013 – One on One Outreach

March, 2013 – Habitat for Humanity

January, 2013 – Inner City Arts

September, 2012 – The Midnight Mission

June, 2012 – Turning Point Shelter

 

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Filed under Kiera R., Penn Serves LA, Photos, Volunteering

Farewell from the Sweeten Alumni House

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

After fourteen years working for Penn Alumni in our West Coast Regional Office in Los Angeles, today is my last day as a Penn employee.

It has been my honor and pleasure to work with the amazing volunteers and Penn Clubs that are literally all over the world. This was not just a job for me but a real love and passion to support Penn on the west coast. I will miss working with all of you.

Penn physically resides in West Philadelphia, but after talking, emailing and visiting countless alumni outside of the 19104 zip code, I believe that Penn’s heart is with our dedicated alumni that live and work in every corner of the world.

Final Sweeten Photo

In front of the Love Statue with my fabulous colleagues Carol Romani, Kristina Clark, Marge Tinsley and Janell Wiseley.

I leave Penn today as an employee, but remain a dedicated and loyal alumna, from the great class of 1993 (see you in May 2018 for our 25th reunion)!

Forever Red and Blue,

Kiera

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Filed under Class of 1993, Clubs, GAN, Kiera R., Leaving Penn, Penn Clubs, West Coast Regional Office

Throwback Thursday – Printed Directories

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

Today, while looking through some cabinets in our spare office here in Los Angeles, I rediscovered these print directories from the Penn Club of Los Angeles and the Wharton Club of Colorado. I am guessing that with both clubs the last time they produced a printed directory was in 2000, which would make these the “final edition.”

Penn Club of Los Angeles and Wharton Club of Colorado directories found in the Western Regional Office

Penn Club of Los Angeles and Wharton Club of Colorado directories found in the Western Regional Office

 

Now most of our alumni clubs have a website and an online directory, or none at all, instead referring alumni to QuakerNet, the Penn Alumni online directory, to find local alumni in their community.

Does anyone else have copies of old Penn Alumni club directories?

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Filed under Clubs, Kiera R., Penn Clubs, Photos, West Coast Regional Office

Penn Serves LA Strikes Again; This Time With Paint

By Leanne Huebner, W’90

Photos by Kiera Reilly, C’93

Over thirty Penn Alumni and their children joined together for a fun beautification project for El Nido Family Centers in Mission Hills.  We were thrilled that Elizabeth Fields, Julie Gutowski and Kiera Reilly from the Penn Western Regional Office joined us. And we welcomed special guests in town from campus Penn Professor David Grossman, Ph.D., Director, Civic House and Civic Scholars Program, and Katie McCarthy from the Penn Development Office, both lending their painting skills for good.

All in all, the team completed the center’s foyer, a key event room, as well as a hallway in bright white.  The highlight for many participants was contributing to a full wall-sized canvas mural alongside the Pacoima mural artist.  Volunteers brought together her vision for a grand-scale masterpiece to add cheer and interest in the center’s main lobby area.

Stuart Berton, El Nido Board President and Wharton ’61 graduate, thanked the team and provided a great overview of the important work of El Nido, a nonprofit that has served Los Angeles for 89 years.  Each year, the centers reach over 11,000 Los Angelenos  through its community outreach, early education and teen pregnancy initiatives, and gang-prevention programming.  While many individuals come to the center, El Nido social workers are also in the field meeting individuals and assessing families in their homes and schools.

Penn Serves LA's Jane Gutman with El Nido's Stuart Berton

Penn Serves LA’s Jane Gutman with El Nido’s Stuart Berton

A few highlights of their work were shared.  For instance, their GRYD program for gang-prevention has experienced success rates of up to 98% working with at-risk youth.  Their teen pregnancy recidivism rate is 80% lower than the national average, with only 4% of teenage mothers they serve having a second child before they turn twenty years old.

Penn Serves LA's Leanne Huebner is thrilled with the event.

Penn Serves LA’s Leanne Huebner is thrilled with the event.

“We are excited to help El Nido with such a great, enthusiastic group of volunteers,” shares Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16, one of the Penn Serves LA Directors and coordinator of this event.  “And to have David and Katie here from Penn lending a hand makes our day of brightening the facility with fresh paint all the better.”

View all the photos from the day here.

The entire group poses to celebrate a job well done!

The entire group poses to celebrate a job well done!

The next Penn Serves’ event will be Saturday, August 9th from 9 a.m. to noon and you can reserve your spot here.  Penn will be serving LA Waterkeepers in an effort to help identify the impact of debris on our area’s water supply.  “It’s a great opportunity for your science-minded side as we will be surveying and collecting valuable data,” shares Christine Belgrad, W’87, PAR’15, PAR’17, event coordinator.
Many of the past Penn Serves sell out, so please reserve your spot quickly.

Read about our past events:

December, 2013 – Holidays are a Time for Giving

November, 2013 – Sending Holiday Warmth to our Troops

August and September, 2013 – Serving the Environment and LA Leadership Academy

May, 2013 – One on One Outreach

March, 2013 – Habitat for Humanity

January, 2013 – Inner City Arts

September, 2012 – The Midnight Mission

June, 2012 – Turning Point Shelter

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Family Programming, Guest blogger, Kiera R., Penn Serves LA, Photos, Volunteering, West Coast Regional Office

Penn Alumni: Where are you watching the World Cup?

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

Earlier this week, we encouraged Penn Alumni in Argentina, Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands to tweet using the hashtag #PennWC14 during the World Cup semifinals games. We were excited to see alumni respond – from Buenos Aires, Brazil, the Netherlands and Romania! You can read the twitter stream from our interactions in a Storify story here.

The World Cup isn’t finished yet though- Brazil faces the Netherlands on Saturday to see who will finish in third place, while on Sunday, Germany and Argentina play for the ultimate prize.

We know many of you will be watching. Tweet us again using our special World Cup hashtag #PennWC14 – share photos of you and your friends in your team’s jersey and of your local viewing party. Tell us where you’re watching the game, and tell us who you think will win!

Will the winner be

Argentina: Look up: Albiceleste is all you see  OR  Germany: Efficiency is synonymous with Die Mannschaft.

For third place, will it be

Brazil: To be the best, you must beat the best  OR  Netherlands: The Oranje Army is coming for you.

Brazilian artist Cristiano Siqueira was commissioned by ESPN to create unique posters representing each of the thirty-two teams in the tournament. The posters of the four remaining teams are above, but you can see all the team posters here.

Read the original post asking alumni to tweet here.

 

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Filed under Kiera R., Social Networking

Penn Alumni Have World Cup Fever

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

Here at Penn, and all over the United States, everyone seems to have World Cup fever and support for U.S. Soccer is higher than ever. During US games, especially when they played Germany at the end of the group stage, and then Belgium in the round of 16, most work in offices in the United States seemed to come to a halt. US fans are more knowledgeable about the game and the star players from other countries than ever before.

We know that everyone around the world has been watching the games, and we know that includes Penn Alumni.

Now that the World Cup semifinalists are set, we want to hear from our alumni in Argentina, Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands. The world will be watching, and so will Penn Alumni.

During the semi-final games on Tuesday and Wednesday, use the hashtag #PennWC14 when you’re posting to Twitter or Instagram so we can see what you’re saying during the games. Make sure you mention your favorite team: #ARG or #BRA or #GER or #NED. Alumni from around the world are encouraged to follow the twitter stream and cheer on your favorite teams!

We’d love to see photos too – of you in your team’s World Cup shirt, or at viewing parties in your home country or around the world.

Good luck to all!

Brazilian artist Cristiano Siqueira was commissioned by ESPN to create unique posters representing each of the thirty-two teams in the tournament. The posters of the four remaining teams are below, but you can see all the team posters here.

albiceleste

Brazilian artist Cristiano Siqueira was commissioned by ESPN to create unique posters representing each of the thirty-two teams in the tournament. The posters of the four remaining teams are below, but you can see all the posters here.

 

die mannschaft

oranje

 

Argentina: Look up: Albiceleste is all you see.

Brazil: To be the best, you must beat the best.

Germany: Efficiency is synonymous with Die Mannschaft.

Netherlands: The Oranje Army is coming for you.

 

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Filed under Kiera R., Social Networking

70 Years Since Graduating and He’s Still Got the “Hurrah!” for Penn

By Kiera Reilly, C’93 @KieraReilly

I always tell people that Commencement Day at Penn is the happiest day on campus, and this year, on May 19 as Penn celebrated its 258th Commencement, was no exception. In Alumni Relations, we help with the alumni processional portion of the event – alumni from every undergraduate class at Penn carry flags from their graduating year and march into Franklin Field after the graduates.

We arrive early in the morning, so we can “get robed” in our caps and gowns, and then wait for the alumni to arrive. The alumni robing is near the academic processional staging area, and I happened to be looking at President Gutmann and commencement speaker John Legend’s, C’99, chairs when the University Mace was delivered. Leslie Kruhly, the Secretary of the University, leads the academic procession carrying the mace.

IMG_3450

The staging area for the academic procession. The University’s mace was just delivered.

Me and my colleague Casey Ryan, C'95. We lead the alumni procession down Locust Walk and into Franklin Field.

My colleague Casey Ryan, C’95, and I are robed and ready to go. We led the alumni procession down Locust Walk and into Franklin Field.

After everyone is robed, we wait a bit before we get the cue to begin. Here everyone is lined up waiting for the academic procession to pass.

The alumni procession waiting for the academic procession.

The alumni procession waiting for the academic procession.

 

Then we march down Locust Walk to the front of the Sweeten Alumni House. It was a beautiful day and everyone on campus was lining the walk cheering and clapping for the alumni.

Alumni flag bearers line Locust Walk to congratulate the newest Penn Alumni!

Alumni flag bearers line Locust Walk to congratulate the newest Penn Alumni!

The alumni flag bearers then line Locust Walk and wait for the graduates. The graduates march down Locust Walk through our line of alumni flags, and the alumni cheer, clap and congratulate the newest members of Penn Alumni.

Some graduates casually walk by, others pose for pictures with their friends, or their parents and family try to capture a candid moment of them walking to graduate. And in the midst of the several thousand graduates passing us by, at the front of the alumni flag line, was Harry Gross, W’44. Harry graduated in 1944, that’s seventy years ago for those of you having a bit of trouble with the math. He wore a fun Red and Blue hat, and as he sat in his chair holding the Class of 1944 flag, he was arguably the most popular man on Locust Walk. Yes, everyone wanted to wave to President Gutmann and take a selfie with John Legend, but Harry was the star.

Graduates thanked him for coming. They shook his hand, they said wow. And when they said congratulations, Harry simply replied, “Congratulations to YOU!” And then he told them that they’d be in his same spot in seventy years!

Me and Harry

Posing with Harry

Congratulations to Penn’s Class of 2014! We’ll see you in 2084 (and we hope every year in between).

Hurrah, Hurrah, for the Red and the Blue!

Commencement from the alumni flag bearer's view.

Commencement from the alumni flag bearer’s view.

Here’s Harry leading the alumni processional into Franklin Field.

Watch videos of President Gutmann’s commencement speech and John Legend’s address here (and also photos of the day).

See all the Penn Commencement tweets #PennGrad.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Class of 1993, Commencement, Kiera R., Notable Alumni, Photos