Make 2018 Totally PAW-some

Photo by Andrew Haimerl on Unsplash

恭賀新禧, 祝身體健康, 萬事如意!

More than a billion and half people around the globe will usher in the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival Friday, February 16, 2018 with both ancient traditions and family celebrations. In Asian cultures this time of year marks the end of winter and symbolizes optimism and hope in a world sometimes filled with conflict. Good fortune, opportunity and hope are often symbolized by different animals, colors and food which are explained through myth and legend.

This year, we welcome the Year of the Dog, a symbol that represents honesty and responsibility. As the tumultuous Year of the Rooster comes to an end, we are certainly looking forward to a year filled with the qualities that we strive to embody and impart every day. It is also a great time to re-affirm our core values of knowledge, education and open-mindedness. We advocate that our actions be guided by compassion and kindness toward ourselves and each other. 

In fact, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on our previous year’s achievements while looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. Luminari is now entering its ninth year of serving youth from the greater Pittsburgh region through activities that broaden their minds with experiences that promote civility and reward thoughtfulness. We are delighted to report:

  • We successfully launched our new website.
  • We have been able to build in diverse perspectives among camp participants, resulting in highly enriching experiences for all. We did that by actively recruiting students from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. We reach out to different school districts. We also reach out to students who speak English as a second language, immigrants and refugees.
  • We have committed to continuously improving our communications including our bi-monthly newsletter LUMOS!, which features inspiring and encouraging articles written by talented and accomplished guest writers and contributors.

Building on our momentum from last year, Luminari will embark on 2018 with enthusiasm and optimism; here’s a glimpse of what’s in store:

  • We are pleased to announce a new central location for all of our Teen Summer Camps thanks a new partnership with The Ellis School in Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhood (6425 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206).
  • We have been able to expand our capacity to serve by successfully attracting talented staff members and instructional teams:
    • We welcomed Ilene Hurwitz Schwartz as Director of Operations for Luminari to help improve and build more dynamic relationships with partners, parents and organizations that will drive our long-term planning and community outreach efforts.
    • We are excited to announce a new and dynamic instructional team for Camp Delicious!, which is celebrating its 5th Anniversary this year. Collectively, this team consists of seasoned culinary instructors, practicing nutritionists and renowned guest chefs who will work together to deliver a delectable and vibrant summer camp by encouraging healthy habits and an appreciation for a wider variety of foods and flavors from different cultures … more details coming soon!
    • Building on the successes of previous years, we welcome Emmy Award winning television anchor and successful certified financial planner, Newlin Archinal who will lead teens in her new role as the director of Speak & Tell! this summer. Newlin is a highly sought-after national and local speaker, who hopes to empower more young people to become the very best versions of themselves!
    • We’d also want to recognize the outstanding directors who will return to lead our popular camps for another summer: I Want to be an Ambassador! Camp Director Susan Brozek-Scott and Teen Writer! Fantastic Fiction Camp Director Gina Catanzarite.
    • This summer, Nicole Pampena, a junior journalism major and broadcast production minor at Point Park University will serve as a multimedia intern during all four camps. As a reporter and storyteller across multiple platforms for her college newspaper, Nicole will help to tell the stories of our teens and campers through video, photography and social media.

Finally, we are honored to have the support of the many talented individuals and organizations who work to empower, educate and strengthen our community.  We could never accomplish all of this alone —we are supported by several foundations, local businesses, organizations and individuals who believe in our mission.

May the days ahead be filled with good luck, prosperity and infinite possibilities for all!

Happy New Year,
Team Luminari