REV. SALLY T. OSMER
To the Editor:
It's with great appreciation that I am writing to acknowledge the University Medical Center at Princeton for their recent generosity to the Arts Council of Princeton's Arts Exchange Program.
Since 1993 the Arts Council has offered weekly afterschool arts enrichment workshops to local children whose families are homeless and living in temporary motels (without kitchen facilities) along the Route 1 corridor. These weekly sessions are designed to enrich and supplement the children's basic educational experiences, offer them positive role models and mentoring, and provide them with a nutritious, hot meal.
Because our building also has no kitchen facilities, we've relied on volunteers to provide the children's meals. Unfortunately, when this volunteer support ended we were forced to bring in pizza and sandwiches for the children, providing them with food similar to what they already receive on a daily basis. But after speaking to Barry Rabner, president and CEO of The Medical Center, about our dilemma, he readily agreed that his Nutrition Department would be happy to help.
It's only been through his staff's consistent dedication to supporting these deserving children that we've been able to fulfill our obligations by providing them with delicious and nutritionally balanced meals. The children have begun looking forward to these dinners and are enjoying expanding their tastes to include a variety of fresh fruits, stroganoffs, casseroles, pasta creations, and home baked cookies.
The Arts Council appreciates the quick and positive response by the University Medical Center, which has enabled us to feed the children's bodies and minds with healthy, nutritious food, before trying to feed their souls with artistic expression. Only this way can we help them unleash their inner creative selves, and hope to help them more fully benefit from a totally enriching experience.
To the Editor:
I recently saw a letter (Town Topics, February 18) asking for input about pedestrian issues in Princeton, to which I duly responded. To date I have received no response, hence this letter to you.
I am a pedestrian in Princeton, and have some suggestions on ways to make walking in our town easier and safer. I am convinced that the key is to improve and make safer our pedestrian crossings. The Borough and Township need to make several changes to achieve this goal.
First, the notices placed on our streets say that it is New Jersey law that motorists have to stop and let pedestrians have priority when they want to use these crossings. As anyone who uses them can tell you, motorists frequently ignore this. So my first question is this: how many tickets have been issued in the last year to motorists who do not obey this law? I would not be surprised if it is close to, if not actually, zero. If the police do not enforce this law, then pedestrians can never hope to use the crossings safely.
Second, it needs to be made quite clear to motorists that there is a pedestrian crossing. This can be done by standardization. Currently some crossings are indicated by white stripes, some by fancy brick patterns, and others in different ways. Most of the existing crossings are in bad shape (see the faded one opposite Wild Oats store, for example). Standard black and white stripes on the lines of the British Zebra crossings might be best. The crossings also need street lights. How can motorists be expected to stop for pedestrians at crossings if they cannot see them?
Third, there needs to be clear and enforced no-parking zones on either side of our crossings. At present, cars and delivery trucks stop and park downtown with apparent impunity near and even right on top of pedestrian crossings.
The likelihood of motorists stopping to allow pedestrians to cross at marked crossings seems to vary in direct relationship to the proximity to downtown. One's chances of survival on Nassau Street are reasonable, but I have never yet managed to get a car to stop to allow me to cross on Harrison Street. While I still remain young and agile enough to jump for my life, sooner or later I expect to join the squashed squirrel brigade unless some changes are made. Or maybe I should just buy a Hummer for my daily coffee run downtown.
To the Editor:
In Princeton, there are so many nice people making good things happen for all of us, and our children, that we tend to take them for granted. We don't always take a moment to acknowledge their good works.
I am a parent at the Riverside School, which is where the Princeton International Folk Dance Group meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 10 p.m. during the school year.
Our Riverside School PTO was looking for a fun classroom liaison project, and we approached DeDe Johnson, leader of the Princeton International Folk Dance Group, with a proposal to have her group teach our children dances from around the world. She was receptive and eager to get involved. The group has been dancing in the Riverside School for 20 years, and embraced the opportunity to give something back to the school.
For the past eight weeks, Ms. Johnson and other members of the dance group have been in the school teaching the second grade classes a variety of dances. The children have been having fun, while embracing the art of diverse cultures. They performed the dances they learned in front of our entire community at the March 5 Riverside International Family Night Out.
We are grateful to Ms. Johnson for volunteering so many hours of her day to help our students at Riverside. The experience has been joyful for the participating children and teachers. The dedication and commitment of the Folk Dance Group is much appreciated.
To the Editor:
This note is a public word of thanks to several departments of Princeton University and to over 100 people who gathered for a symposium on Saturday, February 28 at Robertson Hall at Princeton University. "Can we end poverty as we know it?" was the topic for the day, and for the photo exhibit featuring the people and work of The Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton.
The symposium was planned in conjunction with the photo exhibit by area photographers Nancy Hodges and Chrissie Knight. Attendees heard presentations by Professors Sara McLanahan and Christina Paxson of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, Dr. Anu Rangarajan, associate director of research of Mathematica Policy Research, Mrs. Zuline Wilkinson, executive director of Union Industrial Home for Children in Trenton, and The Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode of the Amachi Project, former mayor of Philadelphia.
It is important for our community to note that over 100 people came to see the powerful photos and to learn about poverty in our area. Representatives from congregations and community non-profits as well as university students and residents from many areas of New Jersey were there. The event would not have happened without the generosity of the Bernstein Gallery of the Woodrow Wilson School and the curator, Kate Somers, and our co-sponsorsThe Policy Research Institute for the Region, The Benheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, The Center for Health and Wellbeing and The Office of Religious Life at Princeton University.
On behalf of The Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, a faith-based organization whose mission is to prevent hunger and homelessness in Mercer County, I thank all who attended and the co-sponsors of the event.
Can we end poverty as we know it? At least we have asked the question and re-started the conversation.
REV. SALLY T. OSMER