Saturday, November 26, 2005

Global connections through pancakes

When I drove into Tarentum for the first time in my life back in the summer of 2002, one of the sights that warmed my heart announced the presence of Pollock Lodge. I'm not a Mason, but all my life people have been mangling the spelling either of my first name or of my last name; it was refreshing to see my last name spelled correctly, even if the sign did not refer to me or any of my known relatives.

Charles Korman and Charles Korman at the grillThis morning the Pollock Masonic Lodge hosted a pancake breakfast to support the People to People Student Ambassadors program. Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the Student Ambassadors Program in 1956 and the program has enjoyed Presidential support ever since. It helps young people explore the world and build international relationships.

Kayla KieszekAfter enjoying the breakfast I had an opportunity to talk to Student Ambassador Kayla Kieszek, who had participated in the program to go to Japan. She spoke enthusiastically about the experience and about the monthly meetings of the local Three Rivers chapter which have thirty to forty young people involved in service projects.

Local people talk about Tarentum as the crossroads of the Allegheny Valley. And sometimes they snicker at the grandiosity of such a statement. They shouldn't. When a pancake breakfast in the second floor meeting room of a Masonic Lodge on Lock Street can enable global relationships, Tarentum is far more than just a local crossroads.

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