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Mary Anna Mangino Community Service Endowment

The Mary Anna Mangino Community Service Endowment will help support three community outreach programs in the College of Health and Human Development.

Amy Lorek, research and outreach associate at the Center for Healthy Aging, received funds from the endowment to enhance older adult programming. Specifically, Lorek will use the award to help support Face.Age: Perspectives on Aging programming and Story Circle, two projects used to engage and connect younger and older adults.

Face.Age, created by Andrew Belser, professor at the Penn State School of Theatre, is a trans-generational multi-media piece. Lorek and Besler will develop and deliver student and community engagement activities when Face.Age is installed as an art exhibition at the HUB-Robeson Center.

The production featuring images of faces and music is intended to start an intergenerational conversation between older and younger adults. As part of the project, members of older adult communities will talk with Human Development and Family Studies students about the exhibit and their perspectives on aging.

“Its purpose is to disrupt generational stereotypes and reconnect the generations,” Lorek said. “We envision this occasion as an exciting opportunity to offer students and community members the chance to see the show and then have their own Face.Age experience.”

Story Circle is a community engagement theatre, piloted last spring with Joan Lipkin, a theatre professional. The goal is to allow undergraduate students to have face-to-face interactions with older adults; spotlight the experience, expertise, and wisdom that older adults have to offer; and promote intergenerational exchange by facilitating opportunities to learn from different perspectives and generational cohorts

With the funds, Lorek plans to offer Story Circles to wider audiences in the College of Health and Human Development, Penn State, and the local community.

Christopher Bopp, kinesiology instructor and director of the Center for Fitness and Wellness, plans to use the funding to support continuing outreach projects between kinesiology students and students obtaining health professional certification at State College Area High School and the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center.

Bopp intends to use the award to support continuing outreach projects between kinesiology students and students obtaining health professional certification at State College Area High School (SCAHS) and the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center (LCCTC).

Last year Bopp was able to coordinate the visit of twenty-two SCASD health professions students and their faculty advisers to campus with funds from the Mary Anna Mangino Community Service Endowment.

“This year we will be bringing fifty students from two health professions curriculum programs: SCASD and LCCTC,” Bopp said. “Students will be brought to campus to experience maximal exercise testing with expired gas analysis for determination of maximal rate of oxygen consumption (VO2max).”

Funds will go toward the costs of shuttling students to campus from SCAHS and LCCTC, and items used during testing.

“This award allows me to provide my kinesiology students with another opportunity to gain practical experience in exercise testing with a new population,” Bopp said. “It also spreads the reach of our Exercise is Medicine outreach efforts beyond the borders of campus by providing an opportunity for local and regional high school students to observe and participate in these practical skills sessions.”

The Study of Healthy Aging and Applied Research Programs Laboratory (SHAARP) in the Center for Healthy Aging also received proceeds from the endowment. Lesley Ross, assistant professor of human development and family studies and SHAARP director, and SHAARP lab members will use the funds to continue their partnership with the Philipsburg Senior Resource Center, where they provide enhanced services to underserved population of rural, older adults.

Rural, older adults, who often have limited resources, are at greater risk for social isolation and chronic illness compared to their urban or suburban counterparts. Younger adults also benefit from service learning experiences involving meaningful interactions with older adults, yet many have limited opportunities to participate in these activities. This endowment enables these programs to continue.

The goal is to continue the existing intergenerational program between Penn State students and older adults in Centre County, offering research-based activities shown to benefit older adults’ health and well-being; and extend student involvement opportunities to a broader student population.

One goal for the upcoming year is to expand the outreach to include non-SHAARP affiliated students by coordinating with other faculty members, including Lorek and the Center for Healthy Aging.