People Program

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⚜️Our Purpose⚜️       ⚜️Our Staff⚜️        ⚜️Our Board⚜️

OUR HISTORY ⚜️

With Archdiocesan encouragement in the early 1970's to place more emphasis on programs for 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 programs to enrich the lives of seniors. Early in 1973, she advanced her findings and ideas to the Province and subsequently promulgated a truly active program for seniors -- now known as the People Program. 

The program has grown from its modest beginning of 35 persons in early 1974 to more than 400 today with over 100 volunteer teachers and assistants. We have also expanded from our original location at the CSJ Provincial Convent on Mirabeau Avenue in Gentilly to our Lakeshore campus, West Bank campus, and virtual Zoom "campus" as well.



Sr. Alice Marie Macmurdo, CSJ

WHAT WE OFFER ⚜️

People Program is a non-profit agency that provides 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.

The 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 offer over 150 weekday classes in the fall, spring and summer sessions. All instructors are volunteers who are interested in sharing their knowledge in a relaxed atmosphere where community building is as essential as skill development.


OUR WHY ⚜️

Aging is inevitable. Neither theories nor empathy is enough to deal with the challenges associated with that process. At People Program, we recognize the universal human need for creativity, learning, and socialization in a caring community. We invite you to join us.


OUR STRUCTURE & FUNDING ⚜️

Even though it was founded by the CSJ community, 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.




Sr. Joan Laplace (center) and two other sisters at Mirabeau in 1967





Mirabeau Provincial House, 1955

REVIEWS FROM MEMBERS' EXPERIENCES ⚜️

Many participants, who first come out of curiosity, discover a pleasant atmosphere in which they enjoy new friendships and develop new skills. They love to take part in a variety of social gatherings and travel opportunities sometimes offered to members. Some comments are: 

"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"



⚜️our StafF⚜️

Executive Director - Scott Wallace

Scott began serving as the director in February 2022. He is enthusiastic and looks forward to helping the People Program recover from the impact of COVID-19. His two primary goals are to establish an online registration process and to grow the number of program participants. He believes that Zoom classes will help People Program serve a large number of seniors throughout the country.

He spent the past five years as the Development Director at Saint Joseph Abbey on the Northshore. From that experience, he understands how important it is to expand our pool of participants, and he is dedicated to vigorous growth.

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

Jan is a native New Orleanian whose education was impacted by the Sisters of St. Joseph from first grade through high school. After graduating from Loyola University, Jan taught in the secondary school sector for 5 years at Archbishop Shaw High School.

She has been in the direct selling industry for 40 years and has served as Assistant Director for People Program from 2008 to 2021.

Jan has been married for 47 years and has 2 sons and 3 grandchildren. She is committed to the Congregation of St. Joseph’s charism of unity and inclusive love. The People Program community is forever in her heart.


Program Coordinator (West Bank) - Phyllis Waiters

Phyllis serves as People Program's 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. After her initial retirement, she decided to make "service to others" 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!