Leader inspires volunteerism

Leader’s example inspires volunteerism

January is a time when people are motivated to start a new year with positive actions, making it an opportune time for volunteering.

Former Pennsylvania Governor George M. Leader while in office 1955-1959.

It is an interesting coincidence that every January 17th, on his birthday, we honor and celebrate Ecumenical Retirement Community co-founder, former Pennsylvania Governor George M. Leader.

Gov. Leader served as Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 to 1959. His administration is noted for its accomplishments in promoting human welfare, especially for older adults as well as individuals living with physical and mental challenges. After holding office, Leader embarked on a family journey in senior living, setting the standard for a new level of care in Pennsylvania—personal care.

He advocated for older adults to continue to lead lives of purpose and fulfillment, and said, “It’s not just the quantity but the quality of life we are concerned about. We are working to keep residents’ spirits up and extend their golden years.” He designed Ecumenical and sister company, Country Meadows Retirement Communities, to offer assisted physical care, but also opportunities for residents to make friends, explore hobbies, maintain physical fitness and in general, enjoy life.

“My father not only encouraged others to treat seniors with dignity and respect, but also help them continue to put purpose in their lives,” says Michael Leader, son and executive chairman. “He reminded all of us that everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning and encouraged co-workers to find ways to connect residents with their local community and volunteer their service to others.”

Volunteering can bring a sense of joy and fulfillment at any age, knowing that one’s efforts have positively impacted others. Over the years Ecumenical resident volunteers have helped elementary students learn to read, prepared meals for local soup kitchens, packed supplies for military personnel overseas, knitted and crocheted items for infants and cancer patients, baked dog biscuits for animal shelters and raised funds for charitable organizations. And that’s just a fraction of what resident volunteers do!

Click to watch a video of Ecumenical residents, also known as the “Peanut Butter Brigade,” making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a Harrisburg soup kitchen. 

Ecumenical Retirement Community also welcomes individuals over the age of 14 to volunteer on our campus to participate in activities or contribute based on particular interests. Our Dynamic Living team members will consider each volunteer’s talents and availability to find mutually enjoyable opportunities for volunteers and residents alike. Click here for information on how to volunteer at Ecumenical.  

Michael Leader says, “I think part of [my father’s] legacy, and what I’ve learned from him, is to keep purpose in your life.”

Gov. Leader wrote a poem in one of his published books of poetry to thank our organization’s volunteers and celebrate the spirit of volunteering.


The world is so full of people who say,
“What can I do to be happy today?”
Do I share with others or keep it for me?
Shall I make a decision or just wait and see?”

At some point in time, we are bound to observe
That we get out of life just what we deserve;
If we keep on taking and just fail to give,
We are bound to discover it’s a poor way to live

If we’ll give our love and show our concern
It keeps coming back as quickly we’ll learn;
That life is a circle and good things come ‘round,
As those who have tried it already have found.

So, to volunteers here and all over the world,
May all of us here with the voice of a herald,
Say we love you and honor you each day of the year,
And we hope that your life will be full of good cheer.

        -George M. Leader, 1994



Contact Us