Vincentian Home residents get a taste of multicultural fare
By Kelsey Shea
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Vincentian Home resident Marjorie Graham had heard of turmeric and saffron, but she never had smelled the spices, often used in Persian cuisine.
But on Jan. 20, AmeriCorps volunteer Ariel Majidi shared her Persian heritage with residents as part of a multicultural fair on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the senior-care community in McCandless.
Majidi, 22, of Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, explained that rosewater often is used in ice cream and that cinnamon is put in rice in Iran, which surprised Graham.
“Cinnamon? I didn't know that,” she said.
More than 100 volunteers were on site at Vincentian Home during the course of the day with international programs that included music performances, board games from around the world, karaoke, lectures on cultural history and discussion groups.
“It was a wonderful day,” said Denise Calkins, Encore Services manager at Vincentian Home.
For the evening session, resident Nancy DiCenzo sang Italian songs, and “residents were dancing in their chairs” when an African dance troupe performed, Calkins said.
She said the Vincentian Home staff works with residents to plan programming based on their interests.
Ethnic food samples and activities were scheduled throughout the building all day, and staff members wore name tags with their nationalities or heritages.
Vincentian Home resident Renee Petty, 73, spent her morning chatting with a few college students from the University of Pittsburgh, including one from Algeria and one from Egypt.
“We were having a fabulous time. The gals and I talked about our ethnic backgrounds and the foods we still make,” Petty said.
“It's so interesting to find about their backgrounds and plans for the future.”
Jennifer Creamer, a University of Pittsburgh anthropologist who specializes in Japanese culture, set up a table with origami demonstrations and had kimonos residents could try on.
“I wanted to volunteer on Martin Luther King Day,” said Creamer, 50, of Franklin Park. “I lived in Japan for five years and loved it.”
Creamer also brought her daughters Zoe, 16, and Daphne, 12, who both are students in the North Allegheny School District to help with the origami table.
Creamer, associate director of the University Center for International Studies at Pitt, and her daughters saw an ad calling for volunteers through Pittsburgh Cares.
Other volunteers participated through the University of Pittsburgh, the residence-life staff of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, AmeriCorps, the Urban League of Pittsburgh and Holy Family Institute International.
“A lot of people look at Martin Luther King Day as a day off. We look at it as a day of service,” said Anthony Kane, 24, of The Bluff in Pittsburgh.
Kane, an assistant resident director at Duquesne, came with a group of 30 volunteers from the Duquesne Towers dormitory.
Joyce Lewis-Andrews, director of volunteer services for the Vincentian Collaborative System, said the event was a way to break up an otherwise slow month.
“After the holidays, January has a tendency to be a letdown,” said Lewis-Andrews, of Ben Avon Heights. “We're bringing the world to (residents) today.”
Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- History of helping has Wolf ready to lead North Hills Community Outreach
- Purses top prizes at St. Catherine of Sweden event
- A.W. Beattie gets ‘thumbs up’ in robotics
- Residents of 4 communities may bear sewage treatment plant cost hike