News & Views

Celebrating the Timelessness of Valentine’s Day

February 24, 2017

ALC seniors celebrate Valentine's Day

Some could argue that Valentine’s Day, like other annual holidays, gets old, but at an organization that provides services to those ranging anywhere in age from three months to 60 and above, holidays tend to be celebrated in different—and sometimes surprising—ways.

At the Early Learning Center, Pre-K Counts had a special storybook reader, Paula Gilbert, share her favorite Valentine’s Day picture books. Mrs. Gilbert, who is Director of Youth Services at Martin Library, is a pro at engaging children in learning. She came prepared with a curiosity-peaking bag of new books and a host of funny and entertaining voices to bring the characters to life.ELC welcomes Mrs. Gilbert for Valentine's Day

In between reading favorites like Little Mouse’s Big Valentine and One Zillion Valentines in her amusing voices, Mrs. Gilbert led the students in chants complete with hand motions to snip, fold, paste and deliver imaginary valentines.

Once the final story was over, the students showed off their real valentine-making skills by presenting Mrs. Gilbert with a giant card they had created as a class.

Of course, Pre-K Counts students weren’t the only ones celebrating. Down the street at the Active Living Center, our seniors had their own unique Valentine’s Day party.

In comparison to the Pre-K Counts classroom, the Active Living Center seems overwhelming.

The center, brimming with seniors catching up and enjoying the party treats, shakes with popular music.  A couple seniors, taking full advantage of the popular hip-hop and R&B songs blasting from the speakers, swing dance to Wobble Baby and the Cupid Shuffle.

Although some seniors had loved ones far away, they were far from alone to celebrate the heart-filled holiday. Instead, seniors enjoyed a cross-generational Valentine’s Day, appreciating their pasts along with the present community they’ve invested in at the ALC.

At the Early Learning Center, students might have enjoyed a cross-generational Valentine’s Day too, if had they listened closely enough for the thumping music and conversation floating out of the ALC.

Discover York’s Unique History

February 01, 2017

Goodridge February Freedom Tours

Bringing history to life, historian and reenactor, Kelly Summerfold will embody the home’s previous owner, Mr. William C. Goodridge, to tell the story of how he rose from his birth as a slave to being one of the most accomplished businessmen of early 19th Century York — and risked it all to lead others to freedom as a stationmaster on the Underground Railroad.

On Friday, February 3, the Goodridge Freedom Center, located at 123 E. Philadelphia Street in York, will be open to the general public from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Special tours with Kelly Summerfold are scheduled at 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm.

Space is limited. A modest fee of $5.00 is requested to reserve your place on the tour. Register online here, or make your donation at the door.

Honoring MLK’s Legacy

January 21, 2017

On Monday, January 16, more than 350 community members and government officials gathered at Crispus Attucks for a day of Remembrance, Appreciation, Service and Community to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.  In his Drum Major Instinct speech, Dr. King said, “It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old. It doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter how busy you are. All that matters is what you do for others. Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

The breakfast program included inspirational messages in the form of music, dance and spoken word from Mini Greene, Calvin Fountain III and Koby Evans, Joslin Kearse, Fairview Full Gospel Baptist Church Praise Team, Friendship Baptist Church’s Mime Ministry – Chozen, and CA’s South Side Steppers Drill Team.

Following the breakfast, community members canvassed locations throughout York City to complete volunteer service projects, such as: 

  • Restore York (Carlisle Rd) – 4 volunteers organized furniture donations.
  • Covenant House – 10 volunteers helped to convert space into a clothing boutique for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Crispus Attucks – 10 volunteers organized storage space to support youth programs.
  • Clean Sweep – 30 volunteers worked to beautify Crispus Attucks’ neighborhood with litter pick-up.
  • Lunch Packing for the Needy – 4 volunteers helped Everyday Hope Ministries prepare lunches for community members.
  • United Way of York County – 40 volunteers engaged older adults across the community with conversation, games, and other activities.

Check out photos from this special event: MLK Day of Service 2017

Hygiene/Food Drive

The SpiriTrust Lutheran Senior Companion Program along with RSVP program of the Capital Region will be collecting hygiene and non-perishable food items for the York County Food Bank. Any donation is appreciated. Crispus Attucks will be collecting from January 9th – February 9th .


Empowering the Next Generation of Health Professionals

December 09, 2016

Congratulations to all the new Certified Nursing Assistants, we are so proud of the hard work they put in to make a bright future for themselves. Thank you to Nurse Kara Hogue, from Harrisburg Area Community College, for helping our participants achieve this great success!

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, visit Shana Scott for more information at Crispus Attucks Center for Employment & Training, 605 S Duke St, York.
Congrats to our new Certified Nursing Assistants
CNA Graduation Ceremony
Crispus Attucks CNA Graduates
Happy to start the next chapter of life
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!
Congrats to our CNA grads!

The Missing Ingredient

December 01, 2016

Active Living Center seniors enjoying each other's company for lunch

We all know what little boys and girls are made of, but what happens when they grow up? The seniors at the Crispus Attucks Active Living Center are so much more than sugar and spice or snips and snails in the age-old nursery rhyme. They are seasoned by life’s joys and hardships, and they want nothing more than to soak in this seasoning with each other, swapping stories about their pasts and sharing the present.

Shirley is an energetic, talkative lady who incessantly fidgets in her wheelchair. She has a mess of curly hair and can switch from Spanish to English without batting an eye.  Shirley has been coming to the ALC for a mere two weeks, but already feels like an integral part of the community.

She sits at a table with three other ladies. They listen, laugh and sass one another, and apologize when they get carried away speaking with their hands and accidentally bump each other’s canes to the floor.

Shirley reminisces about visiting Puerto Rico and speaking Spanish with her closest friends.

“I even find myself dreaming in Spanish,” she said, “Sometimes I wake up speaking it.” At the Active Living Center, Shirley gets the opportunity to connect with other Puerto Rican women and speak the language she misses so much. She also gets the chance to form new friendships.

Active Living Center bustling with seniors

The other women at Shirley’s table consist of Pat, Anne, and Joann. Pat, deemed the crazy domino player, has a hearty laugh and a wide, mischievous smile. She, too, loves the community at the ALC.

Anne is the quiet one of the group. She is shy about her life but quick to ask questions to hear the others’ stories whether for the first or twentieth time. Anne also comes to the ALC for the community, and for the games of dominoes.

Joann, the final member of the quartet, is a spunky woman with a spice drawer full of stories. She has had 11 brain surgeries, been married four times, and has spent parts of her life in France, Austria, Denmark, and Germany. While in America, she attended York County’s first Licensed Practical Nurse course before working as a nurse at Pleasant Acres.

Joann believes that each person is responsible for pursuing the things that add joy and purpose to their life; a person can’t depend on others to fill his or her life with happiness or meaning.

“When you die,” she said, “no one is going to jump in that bed and die with you.”

Mr. Jackson, the oldest Active Living Center senior at 94, had his own gripping stories to rival those of Joann. A World War II veteran, Mr. Jackson served from 1943 to 1945 in the Philippines and in Okinawa. He reminisces about fighting the Japanese and waiting six months at the end of the war for transportation to get home.

“You must be strong in the Lord to survive,” Mr. Jackson said. He recalls kissing the ground when he finally returned to the U.S.

Despite the hardships, Mr. Jackson doesn’t regret serving his country. “That’s why I did it,” he said, gesturing to the seniors around him listening, “for you guys. For this.”

These five seniors represent only a few of the many adults who pass through the doors of the Active Living Center searching for the missing ingredient, community. Their unique seasoning enables them to swap stories and share in life’s sweet, salty, and spicy moments.

Honoring Hearts of Change in the Community

December 01, 2016

Every year we celebrate diversity and service at the Cultural Thanksgiving celebration. This year we honored several community members and one youth for their outstanding impact as a Heart of Change in our community.  Check out this year’s winners below.

Michael Breeland

Michael Breeland Receiving Rising STARS Award

Michael was born in York, PA and holds degrees from William Penn Senior High School, York College of Pennsylvania, and Lincoln University of Pennsylvania.  Michael went on to obtain the following certification: Pennsylvania Student Assistance Certification, Master Addictions Certification and Certification in Reality Therapy.  Michael currently is a Therapist, delivering family therapy services at the Pressley Ridge.

Michael was elected to the School Board of the School District of the City of York and fought to bring about educational equity for the children with the newly formed African American Round Table, serving from 1999-2007.

Michael continues to assist those he serves in a manner that is respectful and appreciative of the diverse backgrounds that they bring with them.


Brandon Carter

Brandon Carter Receiving Rising STARS Award

Mr. Brandon T. Carter is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, Morgan State University graduate, and Temple University Master’s graduate. He serves as the Executive Principal of William Penn Senior High School. Serving as a positive male role model for his students, Mr. Carter has a strong commitment to promoting character, academic excellence, and equipping young people with the skills necessary to be successful in every aspect of their lives.

He has worked with students with oppositional behaviors, cognitive disabilities at the elementary level. He has been an elementary classroom teacher, core curriculum specialist, and an assistant principal.

Mr. Carter looks forward to continuous improvements in himself and others to increase student achievement and raise the bar of excellence in education through being resourceful, student-focused and solutions-oriented promoting a positive environment.

As one who goes above and beyond the call of duty in whatever he does, Mr. Carter lives his life through the quote, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world!”


Willie Green

Willie Green Receiving Rising STARS Award

On July 1, 2013, Mr. Green started his Career at Crispus Attucks with the Center for Employment and Training.

On September 25, 2014 Mr. Green was excited to transition to be a Case Manager for Crispus Attucks Charter School ,a position he currently holds.

He was born and raised in Gettysburg, PA and currently reside in York, PA with his lovely wife Jennifer Green and beautiful daughter Ava Green.

His plans to continue helping Crispus Attucks thrive as an organization that improves lives in York County. He is being honored for his many years of consistent work with children of our community.



Ailiyah Harley

Ailiyah Harley Receiving Rising STARS Award

Ailiyah was born on November 25, 2003 in Baltimore , Maryland. She has been attending Jackson Elementary K-8 since 4th grade.  Ailiyah’s favorite things to do are; dance, cheer, tumble and drilling.

She has been at Crispus Attucks since 2014 and her goals are to be in the OGBYN field and plans to travel the world to help people.  She volunteers her services everyday (except) Fridays) as a coach for the 4 and 5 year old cheer squads. Ailiyah enjoys helping her mom-mom (Mrs. Frog) out with various duties for the CA.  Ailiyah deeply respects those that came before her and shows a eagerness to assist those younger than her.



Jonas Lau

Jonas Lau Receiving Rising STARS Award

Jonas Lau graduated from Dallastown High School and attended Pennsylvania State University. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and was hired by The School District of the City of York. He attended Millersville University and received his Master’s in Literacy.

He has been married nearly ten years and has three amazing children, Hailee, Makayla, and Thomas. Jackie, his wife, is a strong woman who has supported and created many of his crazy ideas over the years.

Jonas is currently in his 12th year of teaching. He has spent most of his career teaching fifth grade. His favorite part about teaching is working with the students. Jonas has had the honor and privilege of working with some of the brightest and kindest children. He is excited to see a world where they are future leaders and thinkers. Jonas also runs an after school program. Over the years the after-school group has studied Shakespearean plays, read novels, and learned how to play chess.


Marissa Shockley

Marisa Shockley Receiving Rising STARS Award

Marisa has been styling hair since 1993, and has owned and operated her own salon, Beneath The Surface Salon, for the last 16 years. While being a loving wife and mother of three, she finds the time to serve as the President and founding member of the YaYa Girls (You Are Yet Amazing). YaYa Girls is a grassroots after-school program for girls ages 5-16 that promotes self-esteem and empowerment.  Marisa is also the Title I parent Liaison at William Penn Sr. High school.  Marisa strives every day to help her clients and community, young and old, to find their beauty “Beneath The Surface.”





Camille Sipe

Camille Sipe Receiving Rising STARS Award

Camille joined the Crispus Attucks family as an intern during her senior year in high school. She is proud of the five sons, one daughter, and two nephews she has raised. Camille has a big heart and is motivated by the sight of children’s smiling faces. The joy she receives from impacting the lives of young ones is all she needs to continue to positively affect the community. Camille is an important part of the engine of the CA Rising STARS, allowing programs to operate smoothly and consistently.





Shanika Stephens

Shanika Stephens Receiving Rising STARS Award

Shanika Stephens is 32 years old, born in York, PA and is a graduate of Lincoln University with a degree in Human Services.  Shanika is currently impacting the youth at McKinley Elementary K-8 and has held various positions throughout the years working with children. She has a keen interest in volunteering and working for the betterment of young people since her first job at age 15.  She is a strong, passionate, God fearing woman ,who values family, integrity, and respect.  She feels like it is her duty to be an advocate for young woman because of the many mentors who have helped her.  Shanika enjoys volunteering with Crispus Attucks because she says it is important to give back to your community and to build valuable relationships with children and families.



Women Living United


Women Living United is an affinity group for the United Way of York County.  It started in November 2013 and was founded by Reesy Neff.  The original steering committee consisted of 7 amazing ladies that came to together to start this group!  Their mission is “To Unite Women and demonstrate their power to effect positive change as philanthropists, role models, mentors and leaders”.

Every year they hold three breakfast events called “Interviews with Inspiring Women” where they interview local women that are having an impact on our community.  They also have an annual event to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and invite potential new members to join in the movement. Women Living United also do various volunteer projects throughout the year. The group is grateful to their sponsorships who make it possible for the women to attend the events free of charge.

Women Living United currently have over 240 members and have raised over $300,000 this year for the United Way of York County.

Investing in the Future of York

December 01, 2016

You Make a Difference Collage of youth and adults impacted by CA

Dear Supporter:

This year, the Crispus Attucks Association turned 85 years strong! It is humbling to think that since 1931, people like you have believed in our mission, making it possible to educate and enhance the lives of thousands of people in York County. Thank YOU!CA Youth Summer Program

Many times during the past year, I found myself reminiscing about the faces that have graced Crispus Attucks as children, students, adults, mentors, leaders, and supporters. For 85 years, thousands of people have benefitted from the same recipe for success at Crispus Attucks– empowering themselves to become self-sufficient, educated, and responsible citizens and leaders in our York community.

While we proudly celebrate many years of successes, we know our work is never done.

Mr. Simpson congratulating a Charter School student at graduationA teenage student thinks about dropping out of school to help her father pay the rent. A little boy waits up for his mother to get home from her second job and read him a bedtime story. A 70 year-old man goes for months without contact from friends or relatives. A family must talk to their children about what to do if gun shots are heard outside their home. With your continued compassion, together, we can help each person achieve their own success story.

As I imagine how Crispus Attucks’ next 85 years might impact the community, I am inspired by the possibilities available to the next generation of leaders. I am asking for you to invest in the future of our community by supporting Crispus Attucks’ vital programs to educate and empower children and adults, and to revitalize our neighborhoods.

Robert L. Simpson
Chief Executive Officer

P.S.   We could never influence the positive change in people’s lives without you. Please consider making a contribution today!

A Tour of New Perspectives

October 20, 2016

The intern changes her perspective after a day with the Charter School students.

I felt like I was boarding an all-too-familiar train. I left my desk to shadow a group of Crispus Attucks Charter School students on their tour of York College. Though the campus was familiar to me, the students were getting a first glimpse of where the future could take them.

The future is both daunting and exciting, but to students attempting to make post-graduation plans, it often leans more toward the daunting side. I’ve experienced its contradictory nature after graduating high school, and I’m still wrestling with it now, post-college.

During the tour, the CACS students also attempted to unpack the abstract meaning of the future.

Despite this shared challenge, we still started off as strangers and I thought I would spend the day on the fringe of the group as the CA intern awkwardly snapping pictures for the CA Facebook page. I didn’t expect them to open up, and I certainly didn’t expect their stories to impact me in such a deep way.

The six students I met had different reasons for attending college. They had experienced different hardships of which I could never relate and, in many ways, they had a more grounded approach to the future than I did at their age. For this reason, they were even more captivated by Irene Hudson’s inspiring advice at the outset of our tour.

Irene, the York College Community Scholarship Program (YCCOSP) Program Director, shared that “Each person is powerful beyond measure,” but too often people remain poor because they “Pass Over Opportunities Regularly.” Irene insisted that there are multiple paths leading to one’s future goals, but only an opportunist can take advantage of them.

How exactly do we handle the future and his mischievous cousin, opportunity?

Step 1: Manage Your Expectations

First and foremost, you must take inventory of your expectations.

I lug my expectations around like a bag of tools; they shape how I view and react to situations and people. For this reason, they can be extremely useful, but they can also be crippling.

Senior year of high school, my hopes of establishing my independence somewhere shiny and new led me to view colleges in my hometown as dirty socks. My view couldn’t have been further from that of the CACS seniors.

They viewed York College as an oasis; it was a sanctuary where they could pursue a better life while staying connected with family. They were star-struck at the variety of extracurricular activities and they saw great potential for personal growth, where I had seen none. To some of them, being able to attend college at all was a blessing.

Seeing how they viewed York College made me realize how much my expectations had  blinded me with ungratefulness. They had made me discredit the benefits of staying close to family and networking in my local community. Consequently, I had missed opportunities to establish myself in York and give back to a city that will always be close to my heart. Worst of all, my expectations had made me take for granted the opportunity I had to attend college in the first place.

Step 2: Change Your Perspective

Once the detrimental expectations have been cleared away, it is necessary to change your perspective of yourself.

I harshly categorize my traits as either assets or drawbacks. This black and white mindset squanders my opportunity for true improvement. I didn’t realize I had fallen into this rut again until I spoke with one student named Martha.

Martha had the most unique reason to attend college: to provide for her mom and give her mom the life she couldn’t have. Coming from a Spanish-speaking home, Martha feared that her struggles with English would prevent her from earning a degree. Like me, she had fallen into a black and white mental rut where her Spanish-speaking was a drawback.

Conversely, I viewed my unilingual English-speaking as a drawback. We both coveted what the other had and in doing so, we discredited our abilities and ignored opportunities for thorough improvement. Changing our perspectives enabled us to appreciate our individuality and better grasp what we have to offer and what we have to work on.

Step 3: Embrace Fluidity

I must confess that I am a control freak when it comes to my future. I want my visions and plans to come to fruition how and when I imagine they will. This micromanagement has often resulted in frustration and disappointment. The seniors I met, similarly to Irene  the YCCOSP Program Director, had accepted that there were multiple paths leading to their future goals, and they weren’t afraid to take detours.

Eric and Adriana in particular are both open to alternate routes. Eric is maturely considering working for a year in order to save for college; Adriana plans to attend HACC to conquer her general education requirements before deciding the next step for her education.

In my haste to reach my destination, I had forgotten how to be wooed and wowed by the future and his mischievous (sometimes spontaneous) cousin, opportunity. Instead of sticking to the exact steps they had imagined, Eric and Adriana embraced change and side routes; what I had seen as off ramps, they saw as scenic opportunities.CACS seniors pose for a group picture on York College's campus

Over the course of one day, these six seniors became more than just another Facebook post. They changed my outlook, and for that, I am grateful. I am also now quite aware—and slightly embarrassed—of the number of opportunities I have categorized as dirty socks. Thanks to these seniors, I know exactly what the future holds for tomorrow: laundry day.



The Intern

A Superhero Without a Cape

October 20, 2016


Firefighter Maxfield poses with his grandson for Fire Safety & Prevention Week

In honor of Fire Safety and Prevention week, the Early Learning Center invited firefighters Maxfield and Spangler from the York City Department of Fire and Rescue Services to teach the youth how to respond in different emergencies. These lessons focused on the basics of when and how to dial 911 and what to do in the case of a fire. The most important and difficult lesson involved teaching the students to recognize firefighters in their uniforms as the good guys.Firefighter Maxfield explains the function of Firefighter Spangler's uniform

Maxfield and Spangler worked as a team to slowly incorporate the 100 pound uniform. As Spangler added each piece, Maxfield explained its function. The students were excited at first but grew more hesitant with every piece of equipment Spangler added.

The self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) often causes the most alarm because it makes firefighters sound and look subhuman. Spangler and Maxfield worked to overcome this fear through a role-playing demonstration.

Maxfield’s grandson, who has grown up learning about firefighters from Maxfield, was the only student brave enough to play the victim rescued by Spangler.

Maxfield remarked that Jah’Syr is definitely not shy and has seen all of the equipment before. This familiarity didn’t stifle Jah’Syr’s excitement at being able to work alongside his grandpa or see the fire truck.

The other students were equally excited to learn about the fire engine and its gadgets. They even got to see the firefighters’ “key to the city,” a special axe used to break into burning buildings. Pre-K Counts poses in front of the fire engine with firefighters Maxfield and Spangler.

Overall, the day was a success. The students learned that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. To Jah’Syr in particular, his superhero features a mustache and glasses, and retires the cape in favor of a 100 pound uniform.

Crispus Attucks Joins the Hope Movement

September 28, 2016

Youth spreads joy through Hearts of Hope

In recent days the news has bubbled over with stories that foster fear, hate, and pain – but we want to share a very different experience with you today. Even when events seem dire, we can have hope in knowing that small acts can lead to big change.

Over the summer, Francine Baker of the nearby Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York invited Crispus Attucks to join in a “pay it forward” project. Baker leads the congregation’s Peacemakers Camp and Club, which is designed to foster friendships among children, ages 5 to 12, from all religions, to engage in serving their community and create a kind, just, and youthful movement.

The gift wrapped Hearts of Hope before they were presented to the seniors at Rest Haven.Baker explained that the Peacemakers campers were participating in Hearts of Hope, a movement where individuals create healing art and share it with people who may need encouragement or appreciation. Her campers had painted uplifting designs on 50 clay hearts, adding a handwritten note of support and encouragement to each one. The Peacemakers selected Crispus Attucks to share their unique gifts to people in the community who need a reminder to never lose hope.

The programs of Crispus Attucks reach people of all ages; therefore, the delivery of the inspirational hearts could be done in a variety of ways. Going door-to-door, staff from our Active Living Center offered hearts to local senior citizens, encouraging them to come to the center for fellowship and a meal. A small supply of hearts is being reserved for children in our Early Learning Center, Rising STARS program, and charter school that encounter especially challenging times at school or home, and need a bright light in their day.

Children gifting their hand-crafted Hearts of Hope to the seniors at Rest Haven.The children of our Early Learning Center helped pay it forward when visiting seniors at Rest Haven Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. Each child gave a Heart of Hope to a senior, taking time to read the message, sharing how the heart made them feel, and how they wished it would make the senior feel. The small gift generated smiles, compassion, and hope for young and old alike.

Together with the Peacemakers at UUCY, Crispus Attucks has joined thousands of people across the nation who have chosen to share hope with others. The 50 Hearts of Hope distributed to individuals in York adds to the more than 75,000 that have been distributed across nation.

We all have the chance to spread hope each day. Opportunities are all around us, here are some of the many organizations you can engage with to be a beacon of light in someone’s life.

  • Fixing York: Creating a platform for community dialogue and crowdsourcing solutions for the York Area. Check out what hope-producing organizations they suggested here.
  • Punks for Positivity: Putting actions behind their words to make York a better place with trash pick-up events, graffiti clean up, and opportunities to protest local violence.
  • United Way of York County: Helping everyone be a part of making great things happen in our community.
  • Share this story with a group you see spreading hope in the community!


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