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ENGAGED & INVESTED

Gail believes that taking an active role in her new town is of the utmost importance.

Retired teacher Gail Coleman is energized by seeing children learn.

The Lapsit Storytime program at Lancaster Public Library provides Gail with the perfect opportunity to continue interacting with children and contributing to their intellectual development. Each Wednesday morning, youngsters up to age three congregate as she leads them in songs, crafts and the reading of toddler-friendly books. The program is designed to prepare children for success in school. Gail knows the importance of early literacy skills that grow through talking, singing, reading, writing and playing. Gail and her husband, Rob, moved from New Jersey to Steeple View Lofts, a Landis affiliate, in 2016. These loft-style apartments are located in the heart of Lancaster’s historic downtown. “It all started because of my son,” she says of the decision to move. “He was attending the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, and we made frequent trips to Lancaster to visit.”

As she and Rob began to plan for retirement, they realized they were not opposed to the idea of moving out of New Jersey. Having lived in suburbs all their lives, they were interested in moving to an urban setting. At Steeple View Lofts, they found far more than just an apartment. They found a community. Gail says, “As soon as we arrived, we noticed how friendly people were and how walkable the city is. Now we have a completely new group of neighbors and friends with whom we connect.” She noted how people are open to utilizing the talents of newcomers and give them the chance to participate, and even lead important efforts. As they settled into their new routine, Gail wondered how she could give back to their new town. She had always enjoyed the library as a child and when she learned they were seeking volunteers; it seemed like a great fit. Gail now spends Mondays shelving books and Wednesdays leading the children’s time. “It is not healthy to just sit around. You need to keep moving and keep engaged,” she comments. Leigh Kaliss, manager of Community Engagement for the Library, is thrilled with Gail’s involvement.”

Gail has brought something new to our Lapsit Storytime with her unique blend of stories, guitar playing, and learning experiences for the children. The children are always so excited to see Miss Gail when they come to Lancaster Public Library.” As Gail has grown more acquainted with the toddlers and their families, she is even more pleased to have Retired teacher Gail Coleman is energized by seeing children learn. The Lapsit Storytime program at Lancaster Public Library provides Gail with the perfect opportunity to continue interacting with children and contributing to their intellectual development. Each Wednesday morning, youngsters up to age three congregate as she leads them in songs, crafts and the reading of toddler-friendly books. The program is designed to prepare children for success in school. Gail knows the importance of early literacy skills that grow through talking, singing, reading, writing and playing. moved to downtown Lancaster.

Volunteering is just one of many perks she and Rob have discovered since relocating. “Steeple View Lofts allowed us to shed the responsibilities of keeping up a larger home and gave us the freedom to spend our time volunteering and traveling,” says Gail. “Since we moved in, we have done two cross-country trips to visit our children. We know our mail and other deliveries will be taken care of and when we return, our neighbors will be happy to see us.” Gail is just one of the many residents at Steeple View Lofts who contribute to their community on a regular basis. Some serve as ushers in the historic Fulton Theatre, others with local nonprofits and within their faith communities. Gail believes that taking an active role in her new town is of the utmost importance. In addition to volunteering with Lapsit Storytime, Gail also participates in some of the resident-led activities at Steeple View Lofts, including playing guitar with another neighbor, participating in trivia night next door at Second Gear, attending a book study group, and eating together at potlucks. “We want to keep this city alive and thriving. It has come a long way already since we first visited my son in college,” Gail says. “By giving a portion of my time, I am paving the way for the next generation to stay here and invest in the community as well.” Photo courtesy of Fig Magazine, Lancaster

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