Homeland Celebrates Achievements at Annual Meeting


Homeland’s Board of Trustees in September held its annual meeting, during which the Board and Homeland staff celebrated several significant accomplishments and achievements that the organization experienced during the past 12 months.

“Overall, Homeland experienced both a very challenging and very successful year as we served in the best interest of our organization’s mission, heritage and, most importantly, our residents, patients and clients,” said Carlyn Chulick, the outgoing Chair of Homeland’s Board of Trustees.

Homeland Chaplain Rey Villareal in an opening meditation offered gratitude for “bringing together these caring, steadfast and gifted people for the purpose of serving at Homeland,” which enables the organization to carry forward its 156-year tradition of providing comfort, healing and care.

Among the achievements celebrated during Homeland’s annual meeting:

  • Skilled Nursing and Personal Care at Homeland Center, and Homeland HomeHealth and Homeland HomeCare, were all found to be “Deficiency Free” based on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s annual licensure and certification inspection. This is the first time all four service lines earned a “Deficiency Free” result in the same inspection year.
  • Homeland Hospice was named a 2023 Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Award recipient by HEALTHCAREfirst, a national provider of services for hospice and home health agencies. The Hospice CAHPS Honors Award recognizes the highest performing agencies that continuously provide a positive patient experience and high-quality of care as measured by the patient and caregiver point of view.
  • In May, Homeland graduated its inaugural Certified Nursing Assistant program The training program, which was designed using Homeland’s core principles and values while meeting Pennsylvania Department of Education accreditation guidelines, develops current talent at Homeland as well as trains new employees interested in becoming CNAs. To date, 13 students have graduated from the program.
  • Also in May, Homeland Center held a special ceremony to commemorate the installation of the first set of Tribute Medallions on the fence at the Sixth Street Kunkel Circle Entrance. The medallions serve as a tribute to loved ones who received Homeland services, as well as recognize individuals who make a difference through their volunteerism and dedication to Homeland. (Medallions are available on an ongoing basis. For more information, visit Tribute Medallions or call Myra Badorf at Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.)
  • Homeland participated for the first time in the Historic Harrisburg Association’s annual Garden Tour. Over 100 guests visited Homeland Center’s gardens, many of whom were introduced to Homeland for the first time. Building on this relationship with the Historic Harrisburg Association, Homeland is a participant in the association’s Candlelight Tour schedule for December 10, 2023. A tour area will be designated in Homeland’s Personal Care area for guests to experience first-hand the quality living experience at Homeland.
  • Homeland held its 9th Annual Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk, which attracted over 300 walkers, runners, staff and volunteers – and event record – and raised over $50,000. The Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk raises funds for benevolent services for hospice patients and their families. Homeland Hospice depends on the generosity of donors for its enhanced care for hospice patients such as massage therapy, music therapy, and extra in-home-relief hours for caregivers, as well as for residents at Homeland Center whose financial resources have been exhausted.

In addition to celebrating these accomplishments during the annual gathering, Homeland appointed H. Glenn “Bub” Manning and Christopher Baldrige to its Board of Trustees and Andrea Freeman to its Board of Managers. Congratulations and thank you, Bub and Chris!

Those in attendance also expressed appreciation to Carlyn Chulick, who retired from the Board of Trustees at the conclusion of the annual meeting after 10 years of service. Carlyn will remain engaged with the Board as Immediate Past Chair.

Dr. Charles K. Fetterhoff, Jr. was appointed chair and Michael Thomas was appointed vice chair of the Board of Trustees for 2023-24.

Community Outreach: Donation drives bring the Homeland touch to children and families


Stored neatly in boxes and ready for delivery, school supplies fill a corner of Tracey Jennings’ office.

“Altogether, we have about 30 bookbags,” Jennings said. “We have a ton of spiral notebooks. Looseleaf paper, crayons, pencils, highlighters, pencil cases, folders, erasers.”

Why is a retirement community loading up on the basics of back-to-school?

It’s all part of Homeland’s Community Outreach, tapping into employees’ generosity and filling needs that help local families thrive. This fall, the back-to-school donation drive assures much-needed school supplies for the students of Hamilton Elementary School, a few blocks south of Homeland.

Community Outreach is the brainchild of Jennings, Homeland’s assistant director of human resources and a devoted community volunteer through her church. Around 2019, she approached her boss, Director of Human Resources and Corporate Compliance Nicol M. Brown, with her idea for community outreach that generates team building and spreads Homeland love. Brown loved the idea, as did Homeland President and CEO Barry Ramper II.

COVID put the effort on hold, but now, Jennings is leading two or three drives a year. Each raises awareness of often-overlooked needs in the community. One drive brought a flood of duffel bags into Jennings’ office, all intended for foster children and youth.

“As foster kids move around, it’s known that they transport their things in trash bags,” Jennings said. “It’s a dignity issue, so they can have something nice to put their items in when they’re going from foster home to foster home or foster care facility.”

When she announces each drive, Jennings suggests places to find new and affordable items, with Walmart, Target, and Amazon being the stores of choice.

“Amazon is so perfect because they can deliver them directly to work,” she said.


homeland center school supplies drive


This fall’s back-to-school drive benefits the students of one school in Harrisburg School District, a Title I district where every family qualifies for free meals. Studies show that students with basic supplies at the start of the school year are better prepared, more likely to participate in class, have higher self-esteem, and show more interest in learning.

Teachers say that when their students have the right supplies, the classroom learning environment is more equitable, the focus remains on learning, and they can offer a wider variety of projects and assignments for students to dive into, such as artwork and science fairs.

Unfortunately, parents struggling to pay for food and household bills might be forced to skimp on school supplies.

“Not everyone can afford supplies, or parents maybe can’t afford to supply all they need,” Jennings said. “Students come to school not prepared. This is the school’s opportunity to identify those students and provide them with what they need to succeed.”

Homeland employees love the drives: “They’re really encouraging and supportive.”

Homeland Director of Utilization Review Lisa Browne feels fortunate to donate and participate in the drives.

“I just want to do what I can,” she said. “I’m very blessed and want to help as much as I can.”

Outreach “means the world” to Homeland, recalling its roots in community service, Browne said.

“Homeland was started over 156 years ago as a building that primarily helped the orphans and the widows of the Civil War,” she said. “To go into the future as a skilled nursing facility and provider of personal care while including kids and the families in the neighborhood is a wonderful thing.”

Up next, a holiday drive offering another new spin on a traditional effort. Jennings is planning a spice drive, collecting cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, and all the other spices that bring flavor to the table.

As any grocery shopper knows, spices are expensive, and families struggling to buy groceries often skip them and resort to unhealthy fats and sugars to add flavor. A spice drive brings zest to family meals – and to the gatherings that occur around them.

“A lot of the food banks in the area have food, but they don’t have anything to give the people to spice up their food,” Jennings said.

Jennings thanks every Homeland employee who joins in extending Homeland’s renowned care to families in the community.

“Homeland is, of course, well known,” she said. “This adds a special touch to everything.”


homeland center school supplies drive


Homeland Center ( offers levels of care including personal care, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Homeland also provides hospice, home care, home health and palliative care services to serve the diverse and changing needs of families throughout central Pennsylvania. For more information or to arrange a tour, please call 717-221-7900.

Homeland Unveils Tribute Medallions at a Special Ceremony in May


homeland unveiling eventHomeland unveiled its Tribute Medallions at a special ceremony held in May at Homeland Center in Uptown Harrisburg. The Tribute Medallions along with a special plaque about Homeland are displayed on the iron fence that surrounds the facility. The zinc metal medallions are a tribute to loved ones who received Homeland services as well as recognition of those who make a difference through their volunteerism and dedication to Homeland.

The event included a special blessing from Todd Carver, MDiv, BCC, Homeland Chaplain, and remarks from Noelle Valentine, MSW, LSW, Homeland’s Lead Bereavement Counselor, about Homeland’s dedication to serving families through its outreach efforts. Following the remarks, guests toured the path along the fence to see the medallions and were invited to tour Homeland Center.

“The Tribute Medallions memorialize loved ones and represent the unity of Homeland’s work,” Noelle says. “Through Homeland Center and our outreach efforts we have a special connection with the names and families associated with each medallion.”

in memory of frances shoop medallionThe Tribute Medallion initiative was launched at Homeland Hospice’s 10th Anniversary Celebration in November 2019. At the event, Luetta Romberger of Millersburg purchased two Tribute Medallions in remembrance of her husband, Stanley Romberger, and mother, Francis Shoop, who received hospice services. When Homeland began assisting the family, Stanley was living at home and Francis lived a short distance away. As his health began to decline, Stanley entered a nursing home. Francis soon followed and resided in the same nursing facility. After Stanley died in 2018, Francis moved into Luetta’s home. With the help of Homeland, Luetta cared for her mother until her passing in 2019.

“I will always appreciate the care we received from Homeland,” Luetta says. “The support was beyond my expectations.”

At the event, Luetta toured Homeland Center. Along the way, she noticed a pianist playing on the baby grand piano in the dining room. Homeland frequently invites guests to perform for residents over lunch and dinner. Luetta asked if her 13-year-old grandson Elliott could play. He returned several weeks later and entertained the residents.

For Luetta and families throughout central Pennsylvania, Homeland is personal. Through its work, Homeland has the privilege to care for families and their loved ones during their changing life circumstances. The Tribute Medallions and Homeland’s outreach efforts will continue to grow as the needs of our community evolve.

“We will continue to offer Tribute Medallions for families to memorialize their loved ones,” Noelle says. “Every name and every medallion will forever be an important part of Homeland’s history.”

Since Homeland Center began as the “Home for the Friendless,” more than 155 years ago, it has been – and will always be – a place for friends, family and the community to find respite and support. Every time someone enters Homeland, the first thing they see is a beautiful iron fence with the names of loved ones on tribute medallions. Each name has a story and is part of Homeland’s history.

For more information, visit or

Afternoon Tea Party Fit for Royalty


homeland tea party

Afternoon tea is a quintessential English custom and fashionable social event. It is a time to pause in the afternoon for refreshments, petite sandwiches, desserts and conversation with friends. Homeland Center residents recently donned handmade fascinators or boutonnieres for a special tea party hosted by Homeland Center’s Board of Managers, which is led by 17 women dedicated to the quality of life at Homeland.

For Nancy, a resident for over a year, the tea party was among many social activities she enjoys at Homeland. Nancy moved to a personal care suite at Homeland after she began experiencing weakness and worrying about the possibility of a fall or injury.

Prior to becoming a Homeland Center resident, Nancy was no stranger to the high-quality care and compassion delivered through Homeland. In the early 2000s, Nancy’s father and stepmother were residents of Homeland for over six years. Nancy visited them often and was impressed by the attention and support they received. This made her decision to move to Homeland an easy one.

“I saw the organization in action firsthand,” Nancy says. “I knew when the time was right, I would choose Homeland.”

Like Nancy, many of the tea party guests raved about their busy social schedules at Homeland. All activities are created with the residents’ quality of life in mind. Social activities not only engage residents with each other; they also help residents build personal bonds with Homeland staff and volunteers.

Homeland Center’s Board of Managers is led by Alicelyn Sleber, who has graciously volunteered at Homeland for over eight years. Alicelyn and the Board work directly with Aleisha Arnold, Homeland Center’s Director of Activities and Quality Assurance. The Board and staff base their events on conversations with residents. Many activities like various genres of entertainment and visits from food trucks are held at Homeland, while others involve outings to local destinations and attractions.

When the idea of an afternoon tea was proposed, Alicelyn and Aleisha researched area tea houses as potential venues. Based on the overwhelming interest in the event, the group decided to hold the tea in Homeland Center’s main dining room.

“Homeland is our resident’s home,” Alicelyn says. “We decided to bring a formal, classy event to them so everyone could be part of the fun.”

Flowers, delicious specialties and live piano music transformed the dining room into a formal setting suitable for royalty. Over conversations, guests discussed the next game of bingo – a crowd favorite – as well as special past and future events.

“We try to plan special events monthly or add to an event already planned,” Alicelyn adds. “This gives everyone something to look forward to attending.”

During the holiday season, inclusive celebrations are held with all residents, faiths and traditions in mind. As the summer months begin, the ever-popular French Fry truck day is planned along with an ice cream social and summer picnic. These events are in addition to weekly happy hours held on Fridays and various games and activities held on a regular basis.

“It is a privilege to spend time with our residents,” Alicelyn says. “I can see the gratitude in their eyes.”

Homeland’s Board of Managers is deeply rooted in the organization’s history. Homeland was founded in 1867 as the “Home for the Friendless” to serve families impacted by the devastation of the Civil War. At the time, the board served to connect with families in need through activities and engagement. More than 155 years later, the mission of the board of managers remains relatively unchanged. In fact, the Board of Managers was formed and continues to be led solely by women.

“I am honored to work alongside dynamic and caring women,” Alicelyn says. “Everyone has gifts and we all share what we can.”

Homeland Center offer levels of care including personal care, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Homeland also provides hospice, home care, home health and palliative care services to serve the diverse and changing needs of families throughout central Pennsylvania.

For more information about Homeland Center, call 717-221-7900.

homeland tea party

Inaugural Class Graduates from Homeland’s Nurse Aide Training Program


CNA graduation at Homeland

Graduation days are special for graduates and everyone involved in their learning. Getting to the “big day” takes hard work and sacrifice by students and support from family members. Graduation also is a time for educators to celebrate the success of the learning process. Homeland Center recently held its first graduation day from its accredited Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program.

“We are very proud of our first class of graduates,” says Kathy Kuchwara, RN/Clinical Instructor. “CNAs are the backbone of our work.”

In 2019, Homeland began developing its own Nurse Aide training program to develop current talent at Homeland as well as recruit and train new employees interested in becoming CNAs. Prior to this, Homeland used a program provided by an outside entity. Homeland staff members Dawn Mason, Quality Assurance CNA Manager, and Nicol Brown, Chief HR and Corporate Compliance Officer, worked with a health care education consultant to create a program specifically designed to meet Homeland’s core principles and values, while meeting the accreditation guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This was a comprehensive and focused effort slowed only due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

“Our program is stringent and demanding,” Kathy adds. “It takes focus and dedication to complete the course.”

Homeland offers two CNA training sessions. Kathy leads a three-week session during the day with extended hours. Raechelle Sanford, RN/Clinical Instructor leads a five-week evening class. The flexibility of sessions provides options for students who are working at the same time as they are pursuing this important education advancement.

Prior to starting the course, prospective students meet with Dawn Mason, QA CNA Mgr/Program Administrative Assistant, to assess their skill level, interest, and level of compassion they have for others. This is to ensure that not only the CNA profession is a good fit, but they have a heart and ability to mesh with Homeland’s organizational culture. The goal is to provide a pipeline of committed CNAs to share their time and talents with Homeland. Once accepted, students begin the course. Kathy and Raechelle offer a fast-paced and intense curriculum to mirror the pace of daily work and social interactions required of a CNA. The curriculum also includes Classroom and Clinical instruction, along with tests, mid-terms, a final exam, and a clinical skills assessment.

Upon successful completion, the students attend a graduation ceremony, complete with caps, gowns, and family attendance. Graduates must then schedule and pass a written exam and a skills exam administered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to obtain their official certification.

Homeland has completed two training sessions and has more planned to keep up with the high demand for CNAs. The pandemic coupled with the aging Baby Boomer generation have caused the need for CNAs to skyrocket.

For Kathy, the Nurse Aide Training Program is a true labor of love. She has worked for Homeland for more than 18 years and has deep admiration and love for the residents she has worked with during her tenure. While Kathy has technically retired from her career at Homeland, she continues to work part-time on the CNA program to help more students reach their career aspirations.

“Homeland is always in need of talented CNAs,” Kathy says. “Compassion is the key to success.”

Homeland Center, which occupies a full block in uptown Harrisburg, is a licensed not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community offering exceptional personal care, skilled nursing care, memory care and short-term rehabilitation. Homeland consistently receives CMS’s highest recognition for quality care, staffing, and safety – ranking it among the best in the country.

For more information on the CNA training course, contact 717-221-7797.

Lovable Pets Featured in Homeland’s 2023 Lottery Calendar


cute and cuddly lottery calendar

Our pets are loyal and trusted members of our family. Their unconditional love and friendship brighten our darkest days and make the good days even better. Research has shown that pets, especially dogs and cats, can even reduce stress hormone levels and increase levels of feel-good hormones. The undeniable comfort pets bring to our lives makes them the perfect subjects for our 7th Annual Lottery Calendar.

Homeland’s Lottery Calendar has become a tradition for friends, volunteers and supporters of the organization’s work. The monthly calendar costs $25 and supports Homeland’s benevolent care programs. Everyone who purchases a calendar is eligible to be entered into daily drawings for prizes. From $30 gift cards up to $100 gift cards on special days, purchasing a calendar is a winning bet. Only 1,000 calendars are produced and sold.

This year’s calendar features photos of the lovable pets of Homeland staff, board members, volunteers and complementary therapists. The concept for a pet-themed calendar was suggested last year at this time and the idea blossomed. Each month, a committee reviewed and judged pet photos based on the criteria of cute and cuddly, month and season, photo composition and creativity. The calendar is a compilation of the winning photos.

“The process was fun for everyone,” says Wendy Shumaker, Director of Marketing for Homeland. “It also raised awareness among our staff about the importance of fundraising to support our work.”

While the calendar predominantly features dogs and cats, Peach, a bunny belonging to the residents of Homeland Center, hops onto the page for the month of April for Easter. The most unique photo is of a Highland Cow, proudly showing off its long wavy, woolly coat.

Proceeds from calendar sales provide financial support and additional services to Homeland residents, patients and clients in need. Since the launch of the calendar in 2015, more than $60,000 has been raised to help Homeland Center provide benevolent care. Homeland provides more than $3 million in benevolent care annually to ensure all residents, patients and clients receive high-quality, supportive care when they need it most.

Homeland believes that every interaction with a resident, client, or patient is an opportunity to create a memorable moment, making an ordinary day a special day. This is especially true for residents who no longer have the financial means to pay. A hallmark of Homeland Center is that no one is ever asked to leave because they can no longer afford care.

To purchase a calendar, visit (Donate ( or contact Homeland’s Development Office at (717) 221-7885.