Zero Waste as a Priority for Parks & Recreation

Helping communities grow through sustainability initiatives

By Daniel Lawson, Sustainability & Quality Control Manager for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

When the pandemic caused disruptions to programs and services, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) found a way to keep one of them afloat. Over seven weeks PPR donated 61 tons of compost and 30 tons of mulch to citizens and urban agriculture projects. This is exactly the type of action a parks and recreation system should be prioritizing.

Supporting the community in its time of need is in the DNA of park and recreation systems, including PPR. Throughout the 20th century, recreation centers provided the first safe structured youth engagement, fed out-of-work adults during the Great Depression, and collected recycled materials to support the war effort during WWII. Almost a century later the Department is still providing those safe spaces, feeding the city and leading a charge in reducing waste. And that last action can be more than maintenance. It can be mission.

Currently, PPR is

  • revamping recycling collections at all 156 recreation centers
  • teaming-up with non-profits to donate uneaten meals from afterschool and camps
  • generating over 5,000 tons of mulch and compost a year at its Organic Recycling Center
  • exploring urban wood use to include lumber and live slab production
  • managing city-wide annual races and celebrations as zero waste events
  • activating the inaugural 12 hyper-local Community Compost Network sites
  • launching a partnership with a local food composter to operate on park land in exchange for food scrap collections from every city recreation center

These zero waste innovations belong with a parks and recreation department. Beyond accessible places of leisure, public parks are a place where a wide audience can be exposed to something new. One of PPR’s stoic mottos is We Help People Grow, and those four simple words say a lot. The Department

But through advances in infrastructure and practice the Department can Help People Grow as a whole. Consider the example set at a rec center that feeds children every day offering a way to compost or donate food. Consider the impact of 30,000 people running in a Marathon that achieves 90% waste diversion. Consider the message given when residents can build something out of wood salvaged right from their local urban forest by their parks department.

A parks and recreation department can provide more than a physical green space. It can provide a social and mental green space that influences its users, young and old, to value that space. To value the natural resources in their backyard, and the planet they inhabit. Every day a neighbor walks their dog through a park, or a student sits down in an afterschool program, the space can be an example of what their community and world can look like.

What Are You Really Getting with 0% Interest Offers?

by Sara Weiser, Consumer Education Strategist, PSECU

money-256314_1920 (1)Paying nothing in interest sure seems appealing, especially now. If you’re fielding 0% credit card balance transfer offers or considering a 0% auto loan, be sure to dive deep into the particulars to make sure you don’t end up paying more in the long run.

Read on to learn tips for evaluating these offers.

Auto Loan Financing
When you’re shopping for a car, you have several options for financing. You can get preapproval from a financial institution, like PSECU, before you go to the dealer. Or, you can have the dealer search for financing offers for you. Some of the offers a dealer presents may include financing directly from auto manufacturers.

Financing offers from auto manufacturers can seem very competitive. Some require no down payment, offer 0% interest, or have cash rebates.

Evaluating 0% Financing from Auto Manufacturers
Financing from auto manufacturers often gives buyers a tough choice to make – you can get 0% financing or take a cash rebate and use financing of your choosing.

On the surface, it seems obvious that you’d want the 0% financing. However, depending on the size of the rebate, it may be better for you to choose your own financing from your preferred lender, like PSECU, and pair it with the cash rebate.

Consider the examples below for a car purchase that you need $25,000 for (both are 60-month loans). By taking the rebate and combining it with a PSECU loan, you’ll save more than if you take the 0% financing offer from the dealer – both in monthly payments and the total loan repayment amount.

The amounts below were calculated using our auto loan calculator. To get an idea of how much a car loan with PSECU might cost you, visit our vehicle calculators page and enter the amount you’re looking to finance and your desired term.

With a 0% Auto Manufacturer Loan             With a 3.49%1 PSECU Loan and the Rebate

Car price: $25,000                                    Car price: $25,00

Rebate: $0                                                  Rebate: $4,000

Amount you need to finance: $25,000      Amount you need to finance: $21,000

Interest rate: 0%                                            Interest rate: 3.49

Monthly payment: $416.67                          Monthly payment: $381.93

Total loan repayment: $25,000                   Total loan repayment: $22,915.80

Above example for informational purposes only. Actual terms will vary. See for important information.

Credit Card Balance Transfer Offers
Balance transfers on credit cards allow you to move the money you owe from one credit card to another. Typically, these offers are advantageous if the card you’re transferring the balance to has a lower interest rate than the card you’re moving the balance from.

By moving money to a credit card with a lower interest rate, your balance accrues less interest and your payments go further in paying off the actual principal balance on the card.

Evaluating 0% Credit Card Balance Transfer Offers
If you receive a 0% interest credit card balance transfer offer, make sure you read the fine print before jumping in. There are many more factors to consider, other than just the initial interest rate.

      • Length of offer – Most balance transfer offers expire after a set period of time (either a certain number of months or a specific date).
      • Regular interest rate – Once an initial balance transfer rate expires, the remaining balance typically is charged the regular interest rate of the card.
      • How much you can pay – If you can’t make more than the minimum payment on the card, you may still be left with a high balance after the balance transfer period expires, leaving you with a big chunk to pay down at the higher interest rate. If the regular interest rate on the new card is higher than the rate on the old card, you may end up losing money in the long run.
      • Fees – Many financial institutions offer attractive balance transfer interest rates, but they come with balance transfer fees. These fees may be a set dollar amount or a percentage of the balance you’re transferring and can diminish your savings even more (or make it nonexistent).

Balance Transfer Offers from PSECU
While our balance transfer offer may not seem as flashy on the surface, many of the factors above make a balance transfer offer from us a better deal for you.

Though rates are subject to change at any time, we currently offer balance transfer rates of 2.9%2 on our Classic Card (after the promotional rate expires, rate will reflect our standard cash advance rate of 9.9% APR, subject to change) and 3.9%3 on our Founder’s Card with no balance transfer fees (after the promotional rate expires, rate will reflect our standard cash advance rate, which is Prime plus a margin of 9.15%). These current offers are good through December 31, 2021, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the lower interest rate.

Even after the promotional balance transfer rates expire, our regular interest rates are typically lower than industry averages, so you’ll likely still save money paying down any remaining balance on the card, saving you money in both the short and long term.

What’s the Right Choice for Me?
Ultimately, whether it’s a car loan or a credit card balance transfer, you’ll need to evaluate your personal situation and make the best decision based on your circumstances. Take time to consider all of the factors listed above to determine if 0% financing will truly save you in the long run.

With low rates and loan term options to fit your needs, our no-hassle auto financing helps your vehicle fit into your life. To see our rates, estimate your monthly car payment, and apply for an auto loan, visit The application process takes as little as 20 minutes and you’ll receive your loan decision fast – often within minutes and usually on the same day.

If you want to save big, consider moving your high-interest credit card balances to one of our Visa credit cards. We don’t charge an annual fee, inactivity fee, or application fee, and moving a balance from another credit card to your PSECU credit card is quick and easy. Find out how much you can save and apply at

1Rates reflect a .25% APR reduction for Automatic Payment Service and loan amounts up to 100% of the retail value of the vehicle. Your rate will increase if you discontinue Automatic Payment Service. PSECU will charge an additional 2% to the current interest rate when financing a vehicle for more than 100% and up to 120% of the retail value, and an additional 3% to the current interest rate when financing a vehicle for more than 120% and up to 130% of the retail value. PSECU will only finance up to 100% of the retail value of the vehicle for refinance of an existing PSECU vehicle loan. Monthly payment example: 36 monthly payments of $28.86 per $1,000 borrowed at the 2.49% APR or 60 monthly payments of $18.19 per $1,000 borrowed at the 3.49% APR. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price determines new vehicle values; Kelley Blue Book® or other authorized guides determine used vehicle values. Minimum value is $3,000. PSECU makes all final decisions regarding vehicle value and proper rate. Loan rates are subject to change. Kelley Blue Book® is a registered trademark of the Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc.

2PSECU Visa® Classic Card/Visa® Alumni Classic Card: When you take advantage of the 2.9% APR (Annual Percentage Rate) promotional offer, Visa® balance transfers will be treated as a cash advance and will accrue interest at 2.9% APR from the time that the transaction posts until 12/31/21; thereafter, any remaining balance will begin to accrue interest at the cash advance rate, which is currently 9.9% APR and subject to change. Payments will be applied as stated in your Visa® Classic and Visa® Alumni Classic Consumer Credit Card Agreement. A minimum of $250 must be requested for balance transfers through digital banking. Our 2.9% APR promotional offer cannot be used to pay off any PSECU loan or be made payable to cash, yourself, any joint owner(s) or co-maker(s). Balance transfers access credit under the terms of your Visa® account as stated in the Visa® Classic and Visa® Alumni Classic Consumer Credit Card Agreement.

3PSECU Visa® Founder’s Card/Visa® Alumni Rewards Card: When you take advantage of the 3.9% APR (Annual Percentage Rate) promotional offer, Visa® Founder’s Card/Visa® Alumni Rewards Card balance transfers will be treated as a cash advance and will accrue interest at 3.9% APR from the time that the transaction posts until 12/31/21; thereafter, any remaining balance will begin to accrue interest at the cash advance rate, which is a variable APR equal to the Prime Rate plus a margin of 9.15%. Payments will be applied as stated in your PSECU Visa® Founder’s and Visa® Alumni Rewards Consumer Credit Card Agreement. A minimum of $250 must be requested for balance transfers through digital banking. Our 3.9% APR promotional offer cannot be used to pay off any PSECU loan or be made payable to cash, yourself, any joint owner(s) or co-maker(s). Balance transfers do not qualify as eligible purchases for the cash back reward program. Balance transfers access credit under the terms of your Visa® Founder’s Card/Visa® Alumni Rewards Card account as stated in the PSECU Visa® Founder’s and Visa® Alumni Rewards Consumer Credit Card Agreement.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.

Parks Are Where We Learn

May 7, 2020 by Amber Stacy & Lydia Konecky

Our job isn’t a job, it’s a calling.

We don’t just teach children about the environment in fun and exciting ways. We build meaningful, sometimes lifelong, relationships and connect individually with our students. This is what the Frick Environmental Center staff live to do. And you can see that it works. The faces of students who return to our classes light up when they see us again, exclaiming,“I remember you!” We can’t tell you how much those moments mean to us.  

It’s a wonderful, mutually beneficial relationship that forms. We value the students who visit the Environmental Center and park and they, in turn, value the Environmental Center and our treasured greenspaces.  

Everything we do brings us and the students joy, but one of our favorite activities is creating seed balls in our ‘mud kitchen’ with first graders in our Habitat Explorers class. The students explore the meadow in Frick Park, collect seedlings then make seed balls to help new meadow plants grow for the next generation of first graders who will explore and experience the wonders of Frick Park.  

Newly shaped seed balls in hand, palms delightfully muddy, the Explorers stomp happily back over to the meadow to heave their seed balls into nature, letting out a gleeful shout in the process. They then whisper a wish to the seed ball for it to grow and prosper in the park for the next group of Habitat Explorers.  


Our favorite part of the whole day? It’s the dirty hands. Kids are often told to stay clean and look sharp. But that’s not what being a kid is all about. You remember that feeling, I’m sure. The delight of rolling up your sleeves in dirt and just having a great time. That’s what we deliver every day to the kids. Joy and delight, and memories that will stay with them until they have children of their own.  


 A child once said to us, “My mom told me that if I get my hands dirty then I’m having a good day!” Now we ask the kids, “How many of you are having a good day today” and they all enthusiastically thrust up their dirty hands. It’s amazing.  

Sincerely, Amber Stacey and Lydia Konecky, Naturalist Educators


Who you gonna call? Parks and Rec!

A fresh perspective on funding recreation and parks as an indispensable service in a post-pandemic recovery

Schuylkill Banks TrailIt’s as predictable as gaping baby birds and late-winter potholes, all crying to be filled. Come budget time, municipal park and recreation services perennially want for funding.

In a 2017 national study conducted by Penn State University, researchers found that 83 percent of local governmental officials viewed parks and recreation as worth the average tax investment in their communities. An overwhelming majority (99 percent) agree their community benefits from local parks. Yet during fiscal deficits, park and recreation services are cut the most severely of all community services.

Why is this? According to the research, local officials simply do not perceive park and recreation services to be as important as the others. Follow the money: in flush times, all services reap increases; but during economic downturns, park and rec services are dramatically and disproportionally cut.

However, far beyond providing mere leisure services, a comprehensive park and rec system vigorously builds the community, contributing to our individual wellness and public health, our environmental sustainability and our social equity. Its facilities and programs stimulate the local economy, enhance real estate values, attract and retain business, improve community infrastructure, build resilience, and reduce crime. Its enrichments expand community engagement, develop people, and contribute directly to our quality of life. All because it constructively addresses broad-based community problems.

And this is the niche recreation and parks fills better than any other essential community service: the unique ability to bridge across multiple professional disciplines and political boundaries to facilitate comprehensive solutions to real community problems. Need to curb gang-related activities? Or assist police and social services in preventative treatment for risky behaviors? Call parks and rec. Need to coordinate the distribution of meals? After schools, parks and rec serve up the most. Need first responders in an emergency and a safe place to rendezvous? Parks and rec, at your service. Concerned about access to nature and clean air and water? Need multimodal connections to destinations of interest? Looking to build more cross-cultural respect and interaction? Boost student achievement and engagement? Attract more public-private partnerships? Who you gonna call? Parks and rec!

Fortunately, more cities and communities are beginning to realize that it is always to their benefit to incorporate and prioritize park and recreation services within other life-essential services.

It’s time for a fresh perspective on what makes community services essential: one that recognizes how they are collectively interdependent and indispensable for our modern living. I call it the Life Essentials Community Services Model.

This comprehensive view recognizes that each service sector, alone, would fail the community; but when fulfilling its interactive function within the whole, all people are indispensably protected, enriched and supported. There are three life-enhancing categories:

·  Life Protection: Firefighters, Police, Emergency Services, Hospitals, Corrections, Preventative Services.
·  Life Support: Transportation, Infrastructure, Sanitation, Utilities, Housing, Public Welfare, Clean Air, Water and Natural Resources.
·  Life Quality: Parks and Recreation, Education and Culture, Health and Nutrition, Libraries, Social Services.

In this balanced view, we can better grasp how interdependent our life-essential services truly are. And how the care and use of our public parks and greenspaces is uniquely capable of leveraging limited resources and expertise in all categories to protect, support, and enhance lifestyles and the kind of recovery we need.

The pandemic will likely continue to exact a heavy economic toll on municipal governments and their public spaces—affecting workforce, childcare, food distribution, access to nature, environmental safety, youth development, and of course, our physical and mental health, among many other vital human needs. Now is the time to embrace just how indispensable comprehensive park and recreation services are to the quality of our communities—and to invest—not divest—for our own vitally important recovery and preferred future.

Internal Customer Service Challenge

It’s funny when I know there is a blog post coming up about Customer Service, the Universe seems to present me with a variety of examples.

Rather than tell you about the extremely rude behavior that I experienced at a big box store regarding curbside options, which drove me to a store where I paid more just to get good service and ask a few simple questions, I’ll tell you instead a story from a colleague.

The setting of this story is a library, but it could be anywhere. A staff person had a difficult interaction with a customer and was angry and upset about what happened. And it became a problem. The staff person said “I don’t like that woman at all. Every time she comes in here, when I’m working at the desk, I give her the stink-eye. I make sure that she knows she is not welcome here and she’s not going to get any service from me! I will not help her and I don’t want her here.”

portrait photo of woman frowning
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Um… ouch. (I know that is not very eloquent, but it’s the best I can do while my mouth is hanging open.) Where should we start with this one?

Let’s put ourselves in this staff person’s shoes first… we’ve ALL had bad customers. Mean ones, rude ones, sharp ones, forgetful ones, angry ones, odd ones… along with all the wonderful customers. Most of us have never had the luxury (or even considered that it was possible?) to give a customer the “stink-eye” and refuse to wait on her. But this staff person decided that was her prerogative and this was her course of action.

Let’s put ourselves in a Management role. First, we may not know this is even happening, unless the staff person, the customer, or other staff tell us. But once we know… how would you handle this? Imagine that this is happening at the front desk of your Recreation Center and a staff person is glaring at a person coming in for yoga class… or refusing to assist a parent bringing a child for summer camp registration. Imagine this is happening at your swimming pool desk or the service area at the State Park.

Now, the missing puzzle piece is, we do not know what this customer did to make the staff person so upset. But either way, we cannot have our staff behaving this way. How do we convey and train – and enforce – that every customer must be treated fairly and with respect – even when they do not return it to us. Staff on the front line are there to serve whoever needs service to the best of their ability. They are being paid for that job, they are expected to perform it, and are not ethically or personally allowed to decide who they choose to help or not help.

Likewise, this type of behavior trickles to other customers and can affect funding – especially if you’re a tax based entity. Unless the customer is breaking the code of conduct or behavior policy and management has to get involved, that person is still to be served.

Tricky? Absolutely. Especially if you do not have a Code of Conduct (or Customer Service Standards, Civility Standards, etc) that explain behavior for both customers and staff. What levels of respect and courtesy are expected – from both staff and patrons?  Can you ask a customer to leave your facility if they break these standards – yes – and can you discipline a staff person if they break the standards – yes.

Without them, it is much harder to illustrate expected behaviors, outline consequences, administer these guidelines, and get everyone on the same page.

Back to the staff person… while she is on the clock and working in your facility, this is not acceptable behavior. The fact that she thinks it’s her choice to behave this way – and she has the nerve to do so – speaks to her character and may mean this is not someone you wish to have on your staff. No one wants customers to be rude or have conflict with a staff person, and we must support and train our staff on how to successfully work through those interactions. This one, for me, crosses a line. I hope you’ll use this as a thought provoking exercise for yourself and give it some thought. How would you handle this? Or toss it to your managers at your staff next meeting and ask for open dialogue. What needs to be brought out into the open, discussed, explained, written or trained to help everyone have a positive work environment and not let a situation like this occur? It’s a step in the right direction!


Follow the Leader…

It is tempting to group leaders into just two categories: good and bad, however there are actually many types of leadership styles that aren’t inherently good or bad—they’re just different. They all have their benefits and drawbacks, as well as their appropriate uses in certain scenarios.

Complete this sentence: “A leader is…”

What’s your answer? Someone who’s in a formal position of power? Whoever’s ranked above you on the org chart? The person with the corner office and the higher salary?

Those might be the traditional perceptions, but it’s important to recognize that anybody can be a leader, that means you, too.

The definition of a leader is the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.

Read on as I briefly breakdown 7 common leadership styles!

Autocratic Leadership Style

You can think of this as a “my way or the highway” approach.

Autocratic leaders view themselves as having absolute power and make decisions on behalf of their subordinates. They dictate not only what needs to be done, but also how those tasks should be accomplished.

Democratic Leadership Style

You might also hear this leadership style referred to as “participative leadership.” Leaders in this category run groups and projects like…well, a democracy.

Even if these leaders are technically higher on the org chart, they emphasize working together and actively involve their teams in the decision-making process. Democratic leaders value ideas and input from others, and encourage discussion about those contributions.

They aren’t handing down orders, and instead take a much more collaborative approach to getting things done.

Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

This is a French term that translates to “leave it be,” which pretty accurately summarizes this hands-off leadership approach. It’s the exact opposite of micromanagement.

Laissez-faire leaders provide the necessary tools and resources. But then they step back and let their team members make decisions, solve problems, and get their work accomplished—without having to worry about the leader obsessively supervising their every move.

Transactional Leadership Style

Transactional leaders dish out instructions to their team members and then use different rewards and penalities to either recognize or punish what they do in response.

Think of a leader offering praise to applaud a job well done or mandating that a group member handles a despised department-wide task because they missed a deadline. Needless to say, this approach is highly directive, and is often referred to as a “telling” leadership style.

Bureaucratic Leadership Style

Bureaucratic leadership goes “by the book,” so to speak. With this leadership style, there’s a prescribed set of boxes to check in order to be a true leader.

For example, bureaucratic leaders have hierarchical authority—meaning their power comes from a formal position or title, rather than unique traits or characteristics that they possess.

They also have a set list of responsibilities, as well as clearly-defined rules and systems for how they’ll manage others and make decisions. They just need to follow that roadmap that’s laid out for them.

The key difference between the Bureaucratic and Autocratic leadership styles is the Autocratic style is where the leader makes all the decisions and exerts a high level of control over the subordinates. Whereas the bureaucratic style is based on following normative rules in management and decision making, and adhering to lines of authority.

Transformational Leadership Style

Transformational leaders seek to change (transform) the businesses or groups in which they lead by inspiring their employees to innovate.

These leaders are all about making improvements and finding better ways to get things done. As a result, they inspire and empower other people to own their work and chime in with their suggestions or observations about how things could be streamlined or upgraded.

Under transformational leaders, people have tons of autonomy, as well as plenty of breathing room to innovate and think outside the box.

Affiliative Leadership Style

A phrase often used to describe this type of leadership is “People come first.”

Of all the leadership styles, the affiliative leadership approach is one where the leader gets up close and personal with people. A leader practicing this style pays attention to and supports the emotional needs of the team members. The leader strives to open up a pipeline that connects him or her to the team.


If you’re struggling to even figure out how you can be more effective or what leadership style is best for you, start by thinking about a leader or mentor you admired. What were their qualities? What did they do? What did they say? How did it impact you?

Here’s the thing: There’s no such thing as a “perfect” leadership style, because leadership isn’t one size fits all. All of these approaches come with their benefits and drawbacks, and some of them will be more effective in certain scenarios. Like anything, leadership is a learning process, and it takes a little bit of trial and error to get it right.

Dear Parks and Rec Pro

i love you.

you are awesome.

control what you can control, throw the other stuff out.

take tomorrow off, you deserve it.

need a sounding board, call Derek Dureka, he’s a great listener.

when we emerge from this, we will better because of your efforts.

see you in the park.


your community

Be Aware: COVID-19 Scams on the Rise

scam-2048851_1280Cybercriminals exploit every opportunity and fear to dupe potential victims into providing their personal and financial information. They also find ways to illegally access your computer by getting you to click on bogus links in emails that launch malware. Especially now, be extra vigilant when you receive an email. “Don’t click on links,” remains prudent advice. Even if the email looks to be from a trusted organization, you must be cautious to protect yourself. We’d like to remind you that PSECU will never call, text, or email you to ask for your account or personal information. If you receive such a communication, ignore it and call us at 800.237.7328.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns of two specific types of scams they’re seeing frequently. The first is categorized as an “undelivered goods” scam. It works like this: A scammer sets up an online store that promises cleaning products or medical supplies, for example. They take your credit card information, then never deliver the goods. The FTC recommends doing research prior to doing business with online companies. Check out their name, address, and email address. You can also search for that company plus the words “scam,” “complaint,” and “review” to obtain more details. Only after you’ve vetted the company thoroughly should you provide your credit card information.

The second category of scams involves fake charities that ramp up during times like these. Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar rate charities on how they conduct their collection efforts. If you receive an email or phone call requesting a donation, carefully check the name of the organization because scammers will often use names that are very similar to legitimate charities. Using a credit card to make a donation provides some protection for you. Remember, never pay by gift card or wire transfer!

In cases where they’re selling goods they don’t intend to deliver or creating a bogus charity, the criminal is looking to steal money outright. If you feel that you may have become a victim of one of these two scams and you used your PSECU credit or debit card, please immediately call our Loss Prevention and Security department at 800.237.7328, extension 3111. Also take the time to lock your credit card to prevent more potential fraud. You can do this under Manage Cards in digital banking.

We always work hard to quickly recover funds lost in scams. But what if in addition to scamming you out of money, those criminals have “double-dipped” and made more money by selling your personal and financial information? Because ID theft is often a long play crime, you might not be aware of it for months or even years to come. For this reason, it’s important to monitor your credit health – review your credit reports for any accounts or loans you didn’t open and watch for any wild fluctuations in your credit score. Either could signal your identity has been stolen. For more on the topic, read our blog post Are You Monitoring Your Credit Health?

Times like these bring out the best—and worst—in people. When it comes to helping you protect you and your money, we’re bringing out our best to keep you safe as we face the challenges posed by COVID-19. For all PSECU COVID-19-related information, including status details about our physical locations, please visit the PSECU Newsroom page.

If you’re experiencing difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 situation, please contact us at 800.237.7328 to speak with one of our representatives about options that may be availableLearn more about how you can make healthy financial choices now and in the future.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.

I See Your True Colors

The best thing about hard times is that you get to see everyone’s true colors. If I have said it once, I have said it one hundred times in the past eight weeks – I could write a book, “Their True Colors Are Showing.”

When showing your True Colors, this is evident of your real character or personality, especially during difficult times. This idiom, showing of their true colors, originates from the 1700s. When ships went into battle, they had to display their ‘colours’ or the flag of their country. The maritime law strictly enforces the rules and regulations for the flying of a flag. Many ships would show a flag from a different country in order to outwit their opponent at sea. Then, when they were in striking distance, they would change the flag to the real flag they were to be flying, and then…….. attack! This is “show their true colors” in attack mode.

How has the past eight weeks characterized you as an individual? What are your true colors?

Are you passionate about your job? Are you willing to work from home, with all the desire that you have and distractions, for the betterment of your community? Do you accept the changes in front of you, and challenge yourself to be better? Do you reach out and help those that need it? Do you thank the grocery worker for bagging ? Do you help the elderly in your neighborhood? Get the picture?………..I could go on and on. I could draw a picture of True Colors across our world, and those embracing it during this time of uncertainty. Can you?

So if you are feeling a little rough around the edges, feeling a little sad, this is a friendly reminder your true colors are beautiful. As difficult as this all is, shine for your community like you always do. Embrace the challenge, and do the next right thing!

It has been extremely difficult, but sit back and enjoy the song and lyrics of “True Colors”- I hope it enlightens your day, as it did mine.

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged, oh I realize
It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
The darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small Show me a smile then
Don’t be unhappy
Can’t remember when
I last saw you laughing
This world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
Just call me up
‘Cause I will always be there And I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
I see your true colors
Shining through (true colors)
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful (they’re beautiful)
Like a rainbow
Oh oh oh oh oh…


by Carrie Chiusano, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network

RE2DPresbyterian SeniorCare Network is dedicated to work that furthers our understanding of aging, which enables us to create better programs and services. Research is an important part of our effort to meet the needs of the people we serve.

Our Dementia Care Center of Excellence wanted to embark upon research that examined the benefits of technology usage in rehabilitation therapy for residents living with moderate to severe dementia. 

The study, Rehabilitation Effectiveness and Efficiency in Dementia Care (RE2D), compared whether It’s Never 2 Late® (iN2L) touch-screen technology would help increase engagement and participation in therapy for residents who are living with cognitive difficulties.

Presbyterian SeniorCare Network has partnered with iN2L for close to 15 years and knows first-hand how the systems help the team, help residents, engage in their own person – centered interests.

We asked Steven Zarit, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Penn State University and Research Advisor to Presbyterian SeniorCare Network’s Dementia Care Center of Excellence, to lead us on our research journey.

Our study used the iN2L systems to see if engaging stimuli, such as cognitive games, physical games, music and videos … just to name a few … would make rehabilitative therapy more interesting for residents and increase their participation enough to make a positive difference.  The study called for two research assistants and our team of rehabilitation therapists to observe and rate the amount of engagement of each participant, based on a standardized scoring system called the Pittsburgh Rehabilitation Participation Scale. Residents were rated on the scale at the start of therapy and again after roughly 20 therapy sessions.

The researchers followed about 100 individuals in two communities, 45 miles from each other. All received occupational and physical therapy for 10 to 14 days, typically after a hospital stay. The control group consisted of 50 residents at the Southmont Rehabilitation Community on our Washington campus. Those residents received the regular rehabilitation regime of therapy without the use of the iN2L technology. The test group of 50 residents at The Willows on the Oakmont campus received rehabilitation therapy incorporating the iN2L technology with therapists using the touchscreen system to incorporate activity personalized to the residents’ interests.

When a resident “colored” an onscreen picture, for example, the therapist might raise the artwork higher to encourage higher arm positioning. Before you knew it, they were painting with their arm above their original goal height without even realizing it. In another case, a resident who loved airplanes moved from frustration to full participation when working with a flight simulation game.

The technology adds to therapists’ clinical toolbox, helping them gain the attention of persons living with dementia and engage them more effectively.

The results suggest that technology-inspired engagement drove better outcomes. Investigators found that participants who used the technology had significantly higher goal attainment than their peers who did not.

Presbyterian SeniorCare Network is currently expanding the technology into its rehabilitation program across the Network.

Full findings were published in the journal Aging and Mental Health: