A Celebration, Nationwide

Throughout the month of June, communities nationwide are celebrating love, equality and inclusiveness. Pride is everywhere you look, from parades, to block parties, to activism and concerts.

The environment in Philadelphia, PA is no exception. “It was a breath of fresh air to walk in here…and to experience this population of older adults that are huge activists” says Thom Monaco, the Engage Life Director at Atria Center City. He works every day with senior programming and has enjoyed the comradery he has built with the residents that live in the community. “Senior Living surprises everybody”, he says. “We have residents that march, that come up to me and ask ‘What are we doing for Pride? How do we give to our community?”.

Atria Chose Me

Senior living came as a surprise for Thom. “Atria chose me”, he laughs, recalling his days as an intern. His program placed him in the very same community he still works at to this day. “It’s (about) the connections I’ve built here, but I originally thought I’d be working with kids” he added.

Keeping an up to date, well rounded program is essential to the work Thom does. “My role is super hands on, and that is something I value in my job. I like the interaction…and I get to inherit the (resident’s) wisdom”. For him, the benefits of his job are boundless. “One of the residents has been an activist for years and years. So, hearing her stories and what she has been through and how things have changed, to hear it for somebody that was actually there and fighting the fight, it’s just a whole different experience.”.

Gratitude and Pride

The spirit of pride month is extended to every human, regardless of the role they hold at Atria. “I’m grateful for my team, too, because they come to their job with a mindset of love. Outside of LGBT pride, I think, as long as you’re loving for other people, it doesn’t matter that like what walk of life they are. We have residents that are Jewish, Christian, gay, not gay, Republican, Democrat, just anything.

Loving the person first is the main thing, the most important thing. Love the individual. Pride means love and showing love and support for other people. I think the residents would agree”.