Philadelphia Chapter Newsletter  
Michele Bagley
Donna Davis
Caren Hosansky
Suzanne Kaplan
Ellen Lee
Donna Ostroff
Roberta Pichini
Laura Redman
Anne Robinson
Elaine Rothbauer

See a friend's name on the list?  Contact them via
Act quickly to sign up for Upcoming

*The Transition Network - National


*TTN Mission Statement and Core Values


*TTN Resource Center 


*Contact Us

Check out our TTN National website  to

Connect  with diverse and interesting women

Discover new perspectives and opportunities

Impact your life and community


We are wrapping another wonderful year of friendships, connections and Giving, what a better way to celebrate than getting together to kick off the holidays with our TTN friends. Please join us at the Philly Chapter's Holiday Celebration December 3rd. If too much Turkey and visitors kept away from your laptop, now is the time to immediately contact Lorraine Gordon or Marsha Yankelev to sign up.

Our next Steering Committee meeting scheduled for Dec. 18 and we will be having our annual pot luck holiday lunch to celebrate our friendship and productive working together.

We will be saying thank you to 2 Steering Committee members, Joanne Bowes and Tess Waldman, who will be retiring this year. Joanne, Special Interest Groups Chair, did an excellent job managing the SIG committee for the last 3 years. The number of groups increased to more than 55 active and forming groups. Tess, Marketing and Communications Chair, was instrumental in all our technology areas such as website page design, electronic mailings, marketing ideas and materials to support the Philadelphia Chapter needs.

Please join us in thanking both Joanne and Tess for volunteering their time and support as members of the Philadelphia C hapter Steering Committee and to wish them the best in their next adventure.

Steering Committee Summary:  
  • Sally Mazzarella (incoming SIG Chair) and Joanne Bowes (SIG Chair) discussed Special Interest Groups operational changes for managing enrollment, which was approved. Please read the details below.
  • Mary Clifford (Membership Chair) and Dell Williams (Membership co-Chair) shared the chapter membership data and future dates for TTN talks.
  • New initiatives for next year will be designed and communicated in early January to better advertise the leadership roles within the chapter and the many opportunities to participate.
As always, I look forward to getting your feedback, questions and concerns to help us manage our chapter.

Reminder to Join the National Office and the Philadelphia Chapter in making TTN's 20th anniversary celebration a landmark to remember.

One of the greatest joys of this season is the opportunity to say THANK YOU and to wish you the very best for the New Year. On behalf of the Steering Committee members and myself, Have a wonderful Holiday Season!!!

Like us on FacebookWarm Regards,                      
Chair, TTN Philadelphia  
Reminder To Scroll Down To End Of Newsletter
Note:  When viewing on your mobile device or computer, the Newsletter may be "clipped" by your Service Provider.  Click on the link to "View Entire Message".
Child Advocates 2019 Holiday Toy Drive - 
How YOU Can Help
For more than 30 years, the Support Center for Child Advocates, which provides free legal and social service advocacy for abused and neglected children in Philadelphia County, has held a Holiday Toy Drive to provide new toys and clothing to the children served by the organization.
Last year they were able to ensure 1,500 children received toys, clothing and gift cards. This year, because the need is even greater, the group's goal is to ensure presents for each child in the Center's care and every other child living in the same household. Saturday December 21 is the delivery day for all of the gifts.
To accomplish the task, help of all kinds is needed. For example, you can:
  • Volunteer at the Holiday Toy Drive headquarters to help sort and bag toys during the weeks preceding Delivery Day (weekdays between 9 AM and 5 PM from December 3 until December 20).
  • Purchase gifts or clothing on the Center's client-specific requested holiday list from by December 14. See to view the list.
  • Sponsor the effort on a larger scale by providing clothing, household items, furniture and other basic needs, along with toys, for the Center's more needy families and youth.
  • Help deliver the toys and other gifts to the families being served on Delivery Day December 21.
For more information on the Support Center for Child Advocates' 2019 Holiday Toy Drive, contact Mike Drzik ( or visit .

News from the Giving Circle
Two Big Deadlines!
December 31 is the last chance to be a  2020 voting member.
Giving together we impact the lives of women and children in Philadelphia.

December 31 is the deadline to join the Giving Circle Grants Committee.

Lori Krain selling Tribute Cards
Lori Krain selling Tribute Cards
Our fundraiser was a smashing success! More than a hundred members and their guests attended a performance of the provocative new play, Eureka Day. Tickets for the production sold out almost as soon as they hit the events calendar and all of the items in our silent auction were snapped up as well. Add to that brisk sales of tribute cards, and we raised over $5,000 to benefit next year's grantee.

A special thanks to the tireless Carol Greco who "produced and directed" the event. We couldn't have done it without her.
Member Profile: Anna Maria DiDio
TTN...A Guiding Light for My Transitions

It was a chance glance in the Philadelphia Inquirer Metro Section that introduced me to TTN. I happened to read an article about women of a certain age coming together for fun, education, socializing, and support. What could I lose?

My first adventure with TTN was a pilot program focused on building resiliency - referred to as Bounce-back-ability*. Beginning in the fall of 2013, we met once a month for almost a year, then decided to stay connected after the program ended. We were a diverse mix of professionals, teachers, therapists, and retirees talking about everything and anything. Our children were growing, parents were aging, careers were morphing.

At the time, I was planning my own transition. After eighteen years in a large suburban home, it was time to downsize and move to the city. I had never lived in the city. A colleague said to me, "It seems like a good idea, but it's hard to build a network."

Ha! I had that covered. My bounce-back group continued to meet, but I also ventured into other TTN offerings: dinner at unique restaurants, tours of local attractions that I knew of but never visited, plus volunteer opportunities. The result was a wealth of connections, friendships, and seemingly endless opportunities to expand my interests.

About three years later, the bounce-back group disbanded. I moved into the city; I recently joined a peer group. We were ten strangers just a few months ago, but now we are there for each other. I am so enjoying getting to know these women! What a terrific addition to my new life in Center City. That's the beauty of TTN. There is no one ideal path to transition. TTN presents endless possibilities for friendship, self-development and growth plus fun things to do. One path leads to another and then another.

My largest transition experience to date has been leaving the corporate world to write, consult and volunteer for the causes I care about. After ten years of starts, stops and drafts, I have completed my book, Love at the Border, An Adoption Memoir from Mexico , the true story of how our family was created after the adoption of our daughter from an orphanage in Cuernavaca Mexico. What a gift it has been to rely on my new Philadelphia center city network of friends for edits and an early readership. I am now immersed in writing full time-. I have recently added a list of questions for book discussion groups on my website ( . I would love to connect with you and participate in your meeting.

I also enjoy traveling and sharing my adventures and other writings on Medium: Anna Maria DiDio

Who knows what transitions are ahead for me? Whatever happens, TTN and the relationships that I have formed will be an essential and treasured part of my future.

*Editor's Note: Bounce-back-ability has been developed into the new TTN Signature Program Resilience.
Peer Groups Evolve - Reflections from a Montgomery County Peer Group
Our Peer Group has evolved since it began four years ago. We have welcomed new women into our group, which sparked new energy and commitment. We have lost a few members as well and our group has needed to shift and adjust to those changes.
What really has made a difference is the willingness of our group members to explore, initiate, and be open to activities beyond just our Peer Group meetings. One member has led us on tours of Philadelphia neighborhoods and exhibitions in museums and galleries. Another hosted our Peer Group at her beach house this summer where we ate, walked and talked. This fall, five members joined a Temple University Ambler program designed for retired learners. We have shared the experience of interesting classes and casual meet-ups at TU. We share interesting resources with each other in our own neighborhoods and in Center City.
We know that many TTN activities we are interested in take place in Center City. So a few of us also get together at the local train station to travel into the city together. We provide safety in numbers for nighttime events and engage in easy conversations, too. 
We have impacted one another by sharing ideas, resources and activities. We have gotten to know each other better along the way and it has strengthened our Peer Group bonds. We know that with time the group will continue to grow. With stimulating topics and more adventures we will keep evolving in the New Year.

Transition Peer Groups are a benefit of TTN membership.
SIG Highlight:  A Suburban Supper Has Room at the Table
The members of the SIG A Suburban Supper have traveled the world through food. They've eaten Portuguese, Moroccan, Mexican, Greek, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Indian, and French cuisines. They've put food from the Balkans on their agenda next year. They enjoy meeting once a month for what they call, "yet another fabulous meal."

But they don't eat out. They cook the meals themselves for a dinner potluck that meets on the first Monday of each month. Over a dinner discussion, several members commented on how difficult it was to get reservations at Zahav. They found some of the recipes online, including the brisket, and had a memorable feast at a member's home.

They play with food. They experiment and learn how to make Pho from Vietnam, and Cranachan and Rumbledethumps from Scotland. To celebrate Chinese New Year, they ate with chopsticks and tried homemade Egg Drop Soup that didn't come from take-out.

SIG Lead, Carol Seelaus, makes a mean margarita, and one of the members often brings esoteric cordials to try with their desserts (sometimes a meal can feature two calorie bombs).

You don't have to be a great cook to join; you just have to be willing to try something new. Even if it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, everyone is supportive and sympathetic. The only exception in two years was the vegetarian haggis, which everyone described as "interesting."

Every December, the dinner is an opportunity for members to cook their favorite holiday dish. What better way to share a table than to share family traditions with new friends?

"A Suburban Supper" has some room at the table. If you want to try something new in 2020, and explore with the ladies who don't say "no" any cuisine, celebrity chef, or cookbook, contact Carol Seelaus ( Bon Appetit!
Special Interest Groups Newly Forming SIGs
Welcome to December! The time when everyone's calendar is busy with holiday festivities. If you can see your way through the hubbub to adding a SIG to your calendar, we've got 4 Newly Forming SIGs to tempt you. And don't worry, the organizational meetings won't happen until the New Year so you can get on the list now and enjoy later. It's like buying yourself a gift in December to unwrap when the January gloom sets in.
A new Saturday night SIG, Soup's on Saturday, will keep you cozy winter and summer while Supper in the City fills your tummy at local restaurants.   A new wine SIG is forming on the heels of Wine Not? which filled in no time. We Need More Wine! is wide open as to the day, time and venue so you can sign up now and have a say in getting this group going. Lastly, Still Working is a SIG meant expressly for those employed members who are looking to share their journey with other working women.

In addition to these Newly Forming SIGs, we have 25 other SIGs in a variety of genres looking for you to take part. Check them out on the  SIG webpage .
SIGChanges in Special Interest Groups Leadership
As the year winds down, we look to starting the New Year fresh. As mentioned in the November newsletter, there will be some changes in the SIG team and in the process for joining SIGs.
At the end of December, current SIG Chairperson, Joanne Bowes, will step down after 3 years. Sally Mazzarella, currently the At Capacity Coordinator, will be the new Chairperson. Sally has wonderful skills that she brings from her professional career. She is also a great listener and problem-solver. Be sure to introduce yourself to her if you see her at a TTN event.
The process for posting and/or joining a SIG will change beginning January 1.
  • At Capacity SIGs will no longer be seen on the SIG website so that our list of SIGs is less confusing and more welcoming.
  • As we do now, to join a SIG with openings, contact the SIG Lead whose name is listed at the end of the SIG description. The Lead will give you the particulars of the SIG and invite you to join.
  • When a SIG reaches capacity, it will be removed from the website.
  • As we do now, To join a Newly Forming SIG, contact Sally Mazzarella who will keep a list of interested women and set up an organizational meeting when there are about 7-8 members.
  • New and re-opened SIGs will be announced in the Newsletter and posted on the website on the FIRST of each month
  • When a SIG fills in our most popular genres (arts, books, movies and restaurants) a Newly Forming SIG of the same type will be posted on the website. We will no longer be maintaining waiting lists for existing SIGs.
  • Members can still propose ideas for a new SIG. However, as an all-volunteer organization we need as much help as possible. If you have an idea, please be prepared to lead the group and help get it off the ground. We need member commitment to start SIGs.
If you are currently on a SIG waiting list, you will be contacted should an opening occur in the At Capacity SIG.
Check the SIG webpage at the beginning of each month to see what Newly Forming SIGs have been posted and what, if any, previously At Capacity SIGs have popped up with openings. This method will give everyone an equal opportunity to join these SIGs.
As we approach 500 members, we are making these changes to make the process of joining SIGs efficient and fair and to serve as many members as possible. We hope that you will find the new process easier and more transparent.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Joanne Bowes ( or Sally Mazzarella ( or your own SIG Lead.
TTN's Second Annual Children's Book Drive - Delivered!

On November 12 some of the members of TTN's Children's Book Drive Committee (Patty Kaiser, Mary Clifford, Debbie Earle, Myrna Sherman) delivered to the Julia de Burgos School many of the over 600 books donated during the book drive.

Thank you all for your generosity in supporting early literacy in Philadelphia schools. 

See our Volunteer Opportunities page for more ways to help our community!
Help Wanted! Retired Teacher or Librarian for William Cramp School Library
This fall, TTN Philadelphia held its Second Annual Children's Book Drive to benefit Historic Fair Hill (HFH), the non-profit organization in North Philadelphia that promotes literacy in local schools. Most of the more than 600 books donated by TTN members were sent by HFH to the William Cramp School's recently reopened library for K-5 students.
Now the William Cramp School is in need of additional help, specifically a person to help staff the library one day each week. The person would work with volunteer Karen Getzen, retired from Chestnut Hill College, who works in the library 1.5 days per week and has set up systems that other library staff members can follow. 
The staff position's primary requirements are: modeling enthusiasm and love of books to children and adults, consulting with teachers and administration to make the library part of the school's literacy program, managing book circulation with the user friendly Follett Destiny software, selecting appropriate material to read aloud to classes and shelving books and helping to keep the library in good order.
If interested and/or for more information, contact