Event hopes to ‘LYFT’ awareness of varied cultures

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PENNSBURY: Event hopes to ‘LYFT’ awareness of varied cultures, beliefs while steering teens in right direction

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By Cary Beavers

PENNSBURY - It’s not an easy task to pull groups of various beliefs, ages and cultures together. What Kathy Kraeck is doing – what she is trying to do – is extraordinarily difficult.

Kraeck calls herself a “community mobilizer” and she’s working for a group called Pennsbury LYFT, a program of the United Way of Bucks County. The acronym stands for the local communities it serves: Lower Makefield, Yardley, Falls and Tulleytown. That’s not to say that anyone would be excluded, regardless of address, beliefs or age.

On March 3, though, she and the rest of Pennsbury LFFT are reaching out specifically to area youth between grades 6 – 12 in an attempt to steer the most impressionable of minds toward making right choices.

“It’s such an important time of their lives,” Kraeck said. “They could change their lives depending on what decisions they make. To smoke or not to smoke, to do drugs or drink alcohol … We want to help them, actually we want to show them there is a right way to do things.”

Kraeck stressed that the event, called “Building Community: Open Hearts, Open Minds,” is billed as a free, multi-cultural, multi-faith event. It is targeted toward teenagers, their parents and any other adult interested in learning about cultures different then their own.

The event, held at the First United Methodist Church of Fairless Hills at 840 Trenton Road, will allow guests to sample foods, music and dance of various cultures. It begins at 12:30 and will last approximately 90 minutes, Kraeck said.

“It’s designed to help open people’s minds about those who may be different from them,” Kraeck said. “LYFT hopes to help prepare our youth to live in today’s global world.”

In today’s “global world” where technology makes communicating with people around the worlds as simple as a click of a “send” button, Kraeck, LYFT and the United Way, with whom Pennsbury LFFT works, feel it’s more important than ever to develop understanding and acceptance of varied cultures.

The event’s speakers mirror the event’s purpose. Rabbi Howard Cove of Congregation Kol Emet, Community Outreach Director Tasheen Kahn of the Zubaida Foundation of Lower Makefield, Timothy Philpot of Pennsbury LYFT, and Pastor Lee of Templo Internacional de Restaracion (Temple of International Restoration) will unveil power point presentations highlighting their faiths and cultures.

Pastor Vicki Allen of First United Methodist Church, which will host the event, will summarize the presentations.

“We’re working as a coalition toward a shared goal,” Kraeck said. “The other component ties into education. No matter where you live, education is key to becoming a productive, happy member of society.”

The event’s theme will focus on opening eyes and embracing, rather than turning away and denouncing, what makes groups and individuals different.

“This event will help people recognize we’re more similar than we are different,” Kraeck said. “People in general, maybe of different cultures and faiths, share more similarities than they may think. We want to dispel the pre-conceived preconceived notions of people who are different form each other.”

Presenters will offer samples of music and dance and perceptions of their cultures, Kraeck said.

The end of the event will feature a question and answer session, where Kraeck hopes to deal with how decisions made today effect lives in the future.

“We want to show what can happen if kids drink while underage,” Kraeck said. “We want to show the repercussions of what can happen down the road.”

According to Kraeck, Pennsbury LYFT is a community prevention coalition dedicated to reducing substance abuse and encouraging positive choices among students from Lower Makefield, Yardley, Falls and Tullytown, the municipalities that comprise the Pennsbury School District. Its goal mirrors that of The United Way of Bucks County, Kraeck said.

“[The United Way of Bucks County] has funded 50 programs at 32 nonprofit agencies to improve people’s lives and build a stable community by investing in the building blocks of a good life: quality education, stable income, and good health,” Kraek said. Visit www.uwbucks.org for more information, or email LYFT at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to learn more about their group.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 30 November 1999 00:00)

Quran Verse

Verse of the day:
And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighboring, and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn, and palm trees - growing out of single roots or otherwise: watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things there are Signs for those who understand! 13:4

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