William Way LGBT Community Center Receives $5,000 Award

This weekend at the Philadelphia Flower Show, AARP donated $5,000 to the William Way LGBT Community Center for addressing aging issues that impact the LGBT community in the Greater Philadelphia region. A check for $5,000 was presented to Meg Rider, Board of Directors Co-Chair, and Ed Miller, Senior Programs Coordinator, with the William Way LGBT Community Center.

“The William Way LGBT Community Center is deeply honored to receive the AARP’s partnership award and generous grant,” said Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of The William Way Community Center. “We have worked closely with AARP over many years to transform services for LGBT seniors, and we stand ready to take the work to the next level. Our seniors deserve that commitment and support.”

The AARP Block Party exhibit, which took place at the Philadelphia Flower Show on March 10-11, included a Wishing Well where specially-designed coins were provided to event goers. For every coin tossed into the wishing well, donations were made to William Way, resulting in the $5,000 donation.

“We’re proud to present William Way with this award and recognize their tireless efforts to advocate for the well-being and acceptance of those in the LGBT community,” said Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. “William Way has really helped to disrupt aging through social, recreational, and educational programs. William Way was selected to receive the $5,000 because it shatters stereotypes about aging, challenges outdated beliefs and sparks new solutions that help the LGBT community, particularly those 50+, choose how to live as we age.”

Community members turn to William Way, not as aging individuals, but as individuals looking to find new beginnings. They are encouraged to share their stories with each other, as well as with the younger generations in order to provide insight on what life was like for LGBT people in the past.

In 2017, AARP Pennsylvania partnered with SAGE to help bridge the gap between generations at SAGE Table, an event where LGBT and allied people of all ages gathered together to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face.

William Way helped address aging issues through programs that promote involvement and advocacy in the community. In 2017, efforts included a letter writing campaign that was instrumental in helping to pass legislation that will provide assistance for aging Americans and their caregivers.

“The work that is being done at William Way is redefining what it means to age, to care for your family of choice, to be rooted in our past and strive for a better future,” said Johnston-Walsh.

Other highlights of the AARP Block Party, an interactive exhibit that travels across the country, were AARP’s new augmented reality (AR) experience, a social media art mosaic photo wall and a prize wheel.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is held annually and attracts over 250,000 visitors to the PennsylvaniaConvention Center. The Philadelphia Flower Show, a top destination and “must experience” horticultural event, is a showcase of excellence that dates back to 1829.


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