Last year, Willow Valley Communities embarked on a very special advertising campaign for FiG Lancaster magazine. FiG magazine celebrates local independent businesses in the city of Lancaster with a beautifully created, full-color magazine. FiG celebrates Lancaster by connecting people with local shopping, dining, arts and entertainment, organizations, services, and events. FiG believes in energizing a thriving, sustainable local economy and revitalizing the community.
Downtown Lancaster is just three miles north of Willow Valley Communities, and is a huge part of our Residents’ lives — whether they are from the area or not. Residents are in Lancaster City enjoying every aspect of all it has to offer, from trying a new restaurant, to shopping at a unique boutique or enjoying live music and theater. But also, Willow Valley Communities’ Residents give back by volunteering countless hours in the city’s schools and other organizations to help ensure that the city they love has a vibrant future. Willow Valley Communities thought about this wonderful relationship our Residents have with Lancaster. How important Lancaster City is to our Residents and their way of life at Willow Valley Communities. How could we join FiG magazine in the celebration of all that makes Lancaster so amazing?
We decided to identify and celebrate those we called, the “Unsung Heroes of Lancaster City.” Those who give of their time and efforts to make Lancaster City a better place. They are “unsung” because, perhaps, they are not very well known – and don’t seek to be. So, we dedicated our year-long advertising campaign in FiG, not to talk about ourselves, but to showcase and celebrate the city’s unsung heroes. You can read their stories here on our Insights blog by clicking the person’s name or their photo. . .
Tammy Shertzer is a full-time volunteer with the School District of Lancaster. Tammy, who has Down syndrome, volunteers alongside teacher Deb Glenn, whose classroom serves children with special needs. The gift that Tammy brings to the students isn’t just about the tasks she happily performs every day; it goes much deeper than that. Tammy sets up learning centers, escorts students to class, or holds a trembling hand, all with a selfless heart that she shares with every child she serves.
Dr. Clark McSparren has been a pediatrician in Lancaster for 56 years. Two mornings every week, he walks from his downtown residence to Lancaster City’s Carter and Macrae Elementary School to volunteer in the school’s health clinic. In addition to putting Band- Aids on the occasional scraped knee, he also performs yearly check-ups, treats chronic conditions, meets with parents, and teaches children about their health.
Matt Pavelko is a K-5 music teacher at Lancaster City’s Carter and Macrae Elementary School. He and his wife, Jessica, are passionate about music education and what it can do for a child in academics, and in life. They want to ensure that Matt’s students have everything they need in order to get everything they can out of his music lessons. So the Pavelkos do extra things like provide transportation and meals during field trips, help parents fill out permission slips, and host Christmas parties for families. Jessica also started a used instrument drive — which quickly expanded to include other items like coats, hats, toiletries, and more. She has helped provide over 1,000 items for Lancaster children.
The Students of Lafayette Elementary School worked together to beautify an ugly, defaced wall that was the backdrop to their playground. They knew they deserved something better to look at each morning as they gathered outside as a school family before beginning their day. They also knew Lancaster deserved something better to look at, as well. The students raised the money, got the wall repaired, and painted murals one panel at a time, to create an art gallery effect for the wall. The latest, called Sally’s Garden, features a beautiful, colorful flower garden named after Sally Jarvis, a volunteer tutor and former Resident of Willow Valley Communities, who gave them the inspiration for the project.
For Willow Valley Communities, the advertisements in FiG magazine were so much more than an advertising campaign. Most organizations — Willow Valley Communities included — use their advertising budgets to talk about themselves. However, in 2018 we wanted to use our advertising dollars in FiG to tell the stories of the unsung heroes of our city. The FiG ad campaign really became our love letters to the people who unselfishly, quietly, and yes, heroically, help Lancaster to be the amazing place that it is.