Lathrop Easthampton Residents reach out to the community by tutoring local students!
Sara Genthner at Lathrop Community in Easthampton.
Sara Genthner: "I do a lot of begging and pleading, believe me."
BY MARGOT CLEARY
[ Originally published on Friday, December 21, 2007 in Hampshire Life ]
The youngsters tumble from the school bus, a jumble of puffy parkas and bouncing backpacks, and race into the sedate lobby of the Inn at Lathrop, part of an Easthampton retirement community. All fourth-graders, they've come for one of their twice-weekly tutoring sessions with Lathrop residents. And judging by their full-speed-ahead charge, they're eager to get to work.
Up in the Mount Tom Room, Sara Genthner has positioned herself near the door, clipboard in hand. Genthner, 72, sits in a motorized chair with an "End This War" bumper sticker slapped across the back -- rheumatoid arthritis has cut down on her mobility -- and watches, bemused, as kids scramble to find name tags before settling in at tables with the waiting volunteers. Then she picks up a microphone: "We have a lot of work to do today. Quiet! Get your snacks! Walk!"
Genthner -- who manages to make these orders sound more pleasant than they come across in print -- is accustomed to marshaling her troops. An Air Force wife in her younger days, she raised five children and relocated her clan time and again to accommodate her husband's career. "I've lived everywhere," she says. "I married a nomad." You don't succeed in that lifestyle -- she figures she packed up her household some 20 times -- without some no-nonsense organizational skills.
Genthner's husband died in 1996 while the couple was living in Arizona, and she moved to Virginia to be closer to her children back East. One son happens to live in Ashfield, and in 2001 Genthner moved yet again, taking up residence at the Inn at Lathrop.
Casting about for a volunteer project to keep her from "just being a blob," she says tartly, she looked into adult literacy programs. But a talk with someone at a local social service agency convinced her that Lathrop -- with a population rich in retired teachers and others with similarly useful experience -- could be the site of its own tutoring program. Genthner herself worked in special education in Virginia.
In the past five years, she's forged a partnership that includes the Lathrop Community, the Easthampton public schools and the United Way's Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which serves as the tutoring project's umbrella agency. Genthner has several roles: serving as a go-between among the three groups, seeking out grant money to pay for reading materials, coaxing snacks and other support out of Lathrop's management, and most critical, rounding up volunteers, including people who don't live at the retirement community. This year marks the highest number of students yet, 25 -- the program is open to any fourth-grader who completes an application -- and you can never have too many volunteers, Genthner says. "I do a lot of begging and pleading, believe me."
This fall the children and their tutors have been reading the "My America" series, fiction written in the voices of 9-year-olds from various eras. Judith Breier, the literacy coordinator for the Easthampton schools, says there's more to the Lathrop tutoring program than academic benefits. Just as important are the one-on-one relationships that develop. "Sara really is wanting the best for the students, and wanting the best for the adults," Breier says. "She's very mindful of putting the correct student with the adult so a relationship can be built and sustained."
Brier has enjoyed her work with Genthner for another reason as well: "She's funny." Breier can't quite put her finger on what about Genthner's dry sense of humor makes her so funny. "She just is."
Fifteen minutes into last week's tutoring session, Genthner was focused on quieting her rambunctious charges and getting on with the day's business. "I'd like to talk here, please!" she announces. Then, sotto voce, "I've got to dig out my whistle."
It seems like a little joke -- but moments later, Kelly Donahoe, one of two United Way employees who drop in regularly at the sessions, roots around in the RSVP tote bag in the front basket of Genthner's chair and produces said whistle.
Thus armed, Genthner gets the session rolling. "Which group is ready to do their presentation?" Three girls waggle their hands in the air and then spend the next several minutes delivering a group report on a book about a youngster who lived in Gettysburg during the Civil War. When they finish, Genthner offers praise that's short and sweet: "Really good job, girls. Thank you."
"OK. Who's next?"
Ursula Zadik of Easthampton recalls celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah as a child in Germany.
Memories of Christmas past
BY KRISTINA TEDESCHI STAFF WRITER
[ Originally published on: Saturday, December 22, 2007 ]
>>>Please click here to read the full story<<<
when to move out, and move on: Irving
and Irene Rothberg's decision to downsize
BY SUZANNE WILSON STAFF WRITER
[ Originally published 9th and 16th, 2007]
This media coverage follows two of Lathrop's residents, as they make the decision to down-size. This two part article was published in Hampshire Life, a weekly tabloid in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. We are thrilled the Rothberg's chose Lathrop!
Community of Easthampton broke ground for 17 New Townhomes on
November 29th 2006.
These townhomes are
now occupied, one by the Rothberg's above. There was a multitude
of coverage in local publications; The Hampshire Gazette, Prime,
Healthcare News and the Republican story which is shown below.
colony adds new homes
( Easthampton , MA ) The
Lathrop Retirement Community is expanding by building seventeen
new townhomes on their 175 acre Easthampton campus on Florence
Road, Easthampton, on the Northampton line. In 2004, Lathrop,
a 501 © (3) not for profit organization, affiliated with
the highly regarded not for profit Kendal Corporation headquartered
in West Chester , PA. John Diffey, President of the Kendal Corporation,
will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony on November 29
The project adds housing
to the Easthampton 's existing 44 townhomes and 59 Inn apartments.
Lathrop's Northampton Community has 79 townhomes on a 35 acre
campus off Bridge Road . There are currently 220 residents in
Elisabeth Weissbach, Lathrop's
Executive Director, said that the "the main driver for this expansion
is the increasing demand for the Lathrop Community, as evidenced
by the consistently high occupancy levels and the quick re-sales
(by Lathrop staff) when a unit becomes available. This interest
in Lathrop is the result of multiple factors: Lathrop's growing
reputation in the area through outreach activities, sponsorships
of cultural and other events, attractive housing amidst natural
settings, the sense of community, a comfortable, secure life style
with numerous activities choices on or off campus and Kendal's
outstanding reputation on a national level."
The new homes will be built
in Lathrop 's familiar clusters, but will have more space and
amenities. The plan includes ten homes with walk-out basements
and screened decks with mountain views that will be built on an
extension of Huckleberry Lane , and seven more, built on slabs
in the "South Meadow", which has not been developed before.
Easthampton Savings Bank
is financing the 4.6 million dollar project, which was designed
by Carlson & Schmitt of Agawam , Lathrop 's long time architects.
The general contractor
is Cheshire Builders of West Swanzey , NH . Bill Canon, landscape
architect, and Mark Reed from Heritage Surveys are responsible
for site design. Jack Cooper, Lathrop 's Director of Facilities,
will be the owner's representative for the project.
The Lathrop Community was
designated a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) earlier
this year, and is now offering a Support Services Program that
will allow Lathrop residents to receive home care in their homes
or apartments on an as needed basis.
Six of the seventeen units
are still available with opportunities to make pre-construction
choices of some features and options.
Roxy Davis can be contacted
at 413-586-0006 for information or tours for these new townhomes
or any other information about Lathrop.
Media Coverage of note...
with The Kendal Corporation in July 2004.
We are thrilled with
our partnership and continue to offer the highest quality, best
value in Retirement Living on two campuses in the Pioneer Valley.
Now offering a Lathrop
Support Services Program
LATHROP ANNOUNCES AFFILIATION WITH THE KENDAL CORPORATION OF KENNET
(Northampton & Easthampton, MA) The Lathrop Communities, Inc.,
of Easthampton and Northampton, MA, has entered into an affiliation
agreement with The Kendal Corporation, of Kennett Square, PA,
a not-for-profit provider of housing and services for older adults.
The Lathrop Communities provide retirement living for adults 55
and older in 44 town homes and an Inn offering 59 apartments with
some in-home services in Easthampton and 79 town homes surrounding
a community center in Northampton. In the affiliation, Lathrop
Communities' governance and management will continue to be local
while having the benefit of being part of a larger family of retirement
There are currently eight Kendal affiliate organizations with
twelve community and program sites in five states: Pennsylvania,
New Hampshire, Ohio, New York, and Virginia. The two newest Kendal
communities, located in Westchester County, New York and in Granville,
Ohio, are due to open in 2005.
This affiliation is a key component of Lathrop's 2003 strategic
plan as is the desire to expand the current residential living
program at Lathrop to include assisted living services. "This
objective and the benefits that will be derived from being affiliated
with a nationally recognized provider of older adult services,
were the drivers for this relationship with Kendal," says Elisabeth
Weissbach, Lathrop's Executive Director. "We are positioning ourselves
to insure that, to the extent feasible, Lathrop residents can
stay in their homes longer as their needs change."
The Kendal Corporation, which often collaborates with colleges
and universities to build continuing care retirement communities
(CCRC's), has been interested in a presence in Massachusetts'
historic 'Pioneer Valley,' with its five colleges (Smith, Amherst,
Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke and U. Mass at Amherst), for some time.
John Diffey, President and CEO of The Kendal Corporation, comments, "the Lathrop Communities have that important fit of culture and
values shared by the Kendal system, as well as being a high quality,
attractive and efficiently managed organization. The timing of
this affiliation is excellent, since Lathrop is poised to add
more support services for their residents and Kendal's experience
can help guide this transition. In addition, the affiliation gives
Kendal the opportunity to bring its strength and expertise to
bear in an attractive region while avoiding the often time-consuming
process of design, construction and development."
Audrey Bozzo, President of Lathrop's Board of Directors, and a
resident in the Northampton Lathrop Community says, "We are delighted
that this affiliation with Kendal has been effected. Being part
of a larger system and one with the highest standards of quality
in the retirement community field will strengthen Lathrop and
help us to insure optimal service for the residents as additional
service components are implemented. Also, access to a full spectrum
of expertise within the Kendal system will be invaluable to the
management team and, over time, will minimize the need for Lathrop
to hire staff to provide the skills and experience offered by
Kendal's corporate staff."
An immediate next step is to embark on program planning and the
necessary regulatory processes to add new services for Lathrop
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