WHOM WE SERVE
People Program is a non-profit agency that serves to provide seniors with creative ways to spend leisure time, share valuable wisdom, and enjoy community.
As an organization and gathering place, People Program aims to help seniors tackle challenges of loneliness and frustration often induced by forced retirement and separation by death.
WHAT WE OFFER
In this light, People Program offers creative and intellectual activities which contribute to renewed self-esteem and sense of well being. It is a program for people, by people, joining together to share knowledge, crafts, and arts; thus, drawing from each other mental and emotional awareness, physical strength, and, above all, a new feeling of belonging and self-confidence.
We offering about 100 weekday classes in fall, spring and summer sessions at two campuses and online. All teachers and instructors are volunteers who are interested in sharing their knowledge in a relaxed atmosphere where community building is as essential as skill development.
Aging is inevitable. Neither theories nor empathy is enough to deal with the challenges associated with that process. At People Program we have come to recognize the universal human need for creativity, learning, and socialization in a caring community. We have a choice about how to spend these days, and we invite you to join us.
OUR STRUCTURE & FUNDING
The People Program is nonsectarian; it lists among its members a variety of ethnic, racial, and religious groups. It is not sponsored by any governmental agency. It holds a nonprofit status and is supported by membership fees and contributions of the participants, as well as grants, donations and fundraisers.
REVIEWS FROM MEMBERS' EXPERIENCE
Many participants, who first came out of curiosity, discovered a pleasant atmosphere in which to enjoy new friendships, develop new skills in arts, crafts, languages, physical fitness, dance, and to take part in a variety of social gatherings and travel opportunities sometimes offered to members.
"A new purpose for living" "A reduced fear of aging" "Looking forward to each new class"
"An avenue of personal discovery and adventure" "A renewed feeling of usefulness and being needed"
2240 Lakeshore Dr.
West Bank Campus
at Holy Spirit Church
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
Executive Director - Scott Wallace
Scott is the newest member of the People Program team and will serve as the program’s Executive Director. He's enthusiastic and looks forward to meeting the participants and teachers while visiting as many classes as possible as he starts his new role in February of 2022.
Scott has spent the past five years as the Development Director at Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College on the Northshore and is proud that donations to the Abbey more than doubled during his tenure.
Scott's three favorite words are humility, optimism, and gratitude. He loves a good laugh over a cup of coffee, and he looks forward to having open communication between the People Program team and participants. He is dedicated to seeing the program's vigorous growth over the next couple of years.
When asked why he joined the People Program, Scott shared, "New Orleans can be proud to have something as special and unique as the People Program, which no other city has. The program can boast almost 50 years of a proud tradition of community building, inclusivity, and personal growth. It's an honor to be part of something this distinctive, and through teamwork, we hope to do our part 'today' to ensure the program's success for the next 50 years."
Scott and his wife Donna have been married 25 years and have two grown sons. They enjoy biking in their neighborhood and weekend hikes.
Program Coordinator (Lakeshore) - Jan Martino
Program Coordinator (West Bank) - Phyllis Waiters
Phyllis L. Waiters serves as People Program's new Westbank Coordinator engaging students, instructors and the community where she has lived for the last 15 years. Prior to People Program, she worked in the customer service field for both banking and communications for over 40+ years. She is known for her expertise in presenting to groups, which is enhanced by her friendly nature. Phyllis has a deep appreciation for community service and volunteerism which she was initially introduced to through AT&T. After her initial retirement, she decided to make it a major part of her Christian life. Originally from Charlotte, N.C., she has 3 daughters, and 2 granddaughters. She is thrilled and ecstatic to be a part of People Program's family!
Innumerable studies and conferences have focused attention on the needs of this age group; many opinions have been offered as to "what to" and "how to" do something acceptable toward creating interesting programs that would enrich their lives and benefit action. With Archdiocesan encouragement to place more emphasis on programs for our seniors, and with the mandate of the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Sister Alice Marie Macmurdo, CSJ, began to observe and study such programs. Early in 1973, she advanced her findings and ideas to the Province and subsequently, with the encouragement and help of associates, she promulgated a truly active program for people -- now known as People Program.
The program has grown from its modest beginning of 35 persons in early 1974 to more than 500 today with over 100 volunteer teachers and assistants. We have also expanded from our original location in Gentilly to our Lakeshore campus, West Bank campus, and virtual classes through Zoom as well.
Our board members
We appreciate the service of our Board Members and the role they play in our non-profit!
Myra Marion Lewis
Myra Marion Lewis is a retired teacher and retired Assistant Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. Myra has been a member of the People Program since 2011, and a board member since 2017, having served as Secretary to the board. She assumed the position of Board Chair in January 2021. Myra currently lives on the West Bank and is a parishioner of Holy Spirit Catholic Church. She has one son, Christopher, who lives with her and who is a budding artist. Myra has taken classes in Yoga, Tai Chi, Quilting, Stained Glass, Creative Writing, Poetry, Ping Pong, Mah Jongg, Crafts, Stretch and Jazz Dance. She hopes to continue exploring classes within the program for many years to come.
Kristin H. Callahan
Farrell (Pat) Smith
Kim B. Hypolite
Brett J. Perrier