Recent Posts

Archive

Tags

By Heather DiPrato, as featured in Yardley Living: November 2020



In March of 2020, we shared the story of Jan Block and her daughters Amy Patterson and Lisa Baldwin who have passionately dedicated their time to the Rick and Chris Block Memorial Scholarship for more than 25 years. Although this year’s award ceremony could not be held as planned, the scholarship is awarded to an exceptional Pennsbury Student with the same level of commitment to community, scholastics, and basketball that were embodied by its namesakes.


The 2020 awardee is Mary Miller. Mary made the varsity basketball team as a freshman and played 100 varsity games, culminating with 23-5 record, a league championship, and an appearance in the state quarterfinals in her senior season.


According to Amy Patterson, “Mary made impressive contributions to her basketball team’s success at PHS and has also shown a commitment to serving others in her community. She has worked hard both on and off the court, and our family is so proud to be able to support her with this scholarship that she can apply towards her future academic endeavors.”


Over her high school basketball career, Mary grew into a 2020 Suburban One All-League selection, a recipient of the Markward Award, and was named to the suburban team of the All-Star Labor Classic. She was also chosen as the WBCB player of the game five times and named Game MVP of The Cream of The Crop event last December.



She took on a leadership role in the basketball program, serving as a sounding board for the younger girls in the program, and serving as her team’s captain in the 2019-2020 season. Throughout her time in the program, she also enjoyed being a camp and clinic counselor and loved visiting Pennsbury’s elementary schools for reading and basketball pep rallies.


“Mary was selected not only because of her success as a player, but for her commitment to her studies, overcoming adversity, and attaining a 3.97 GPA – all while holding down a job, leading her team, and contributing to the success of others,” says Jan Block, whose sons were the inspiration for the award. “It has been an honor to get to know Mary better through this process.”


While Mary acknowledged having struggled with reading comprehension, she was committed to her academic success and found strategies to help. In addition to taking 11 high school courses, she also took college-level courses at Gwynned Mercy University and Bucks County Community College. By the end of the summer, she had earned 36 college credits and graduated high school with a 3.97 GPA.


With the desire to become more well-rounded, Mary devoted countless hours to community service initiatives in and out of school. She also played varsity volleyball and ultimate frisbee. All of this was accomplished while holding down a job and taking college classes for the last two years. Mary’s dedication to academics, community, and her team made her stand out to the RCBM Scholarship Committee.


We congratulate Mary Miller on her award!



Updated: Nov 13

By Heather DiPrato. Photos by Cindy Fatsis




Don Schuler met his wife, Dawn, at her father’s church in South Philadelphia. “I had reached the end of myself, and I challenged God that if He is who He says He is, then manifest Himself to me in a way that I will understand,” Don explains. “I promised that, if He led me to a bible-teaching church, with a pastor who truly served God, a place where I could find my future wife, that I would serve Him forever.”



Not long after, Don tells us, “I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and the following week, I walked into the church and saw this beautiful lady singing in the choir. It was Dawn, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I got tunnel vision and said, ‘that is going to be my wife!’ The Schulers began their family in the Goldenridge section of Levittown and moved to Lower Makefield about 20 years ago. Don and Dawn each have college degrees and are ordained ministers. Don is a licensed insurance broker specializing in the senior market.


Dawn worked in an Orthodontist’s office in Yardley for 18 years and is currently working as an Orthodontic and General Assistant at The Dentist of Newtown. As a preacher’s daughter, Dawn says she loves people, “I’d like to think that in my career and life that it’s important to treat each person and child as if they were members of my own family.” Looking back, Don recalls the couple’s early days, sitting at an Ikea dining table for two, planning their family and future lives together, “now here we are, 36 years later, happily married, with 3 children.”


Faith and ministry have played an important role in the Schulers’ lives. In June of 1999, the Schulers established the Genesis Community Church and leased a 5000 square foot building in Newtown. In 2007, when the building’s owner went through a divorce, the couple was unable to come to an agreement with the new property owner. They eventually moved the church, first to their own basement, then to rented space at the Hilton in Newtown to support their congregation.

In 2016, Don and Dawn tell us, “we knew it was time to go on sabbatical and wait to hear from the Lord for our next assignment.”


After moving to Yardley, Don and Dawn began holding informal “Good Friday” services on their front lawn for their neighbors. Although they are on a sabbatical from a formal church role, they are always seeking ways to connect and serve God and the community. This spring, when churches were closed and many people were longing for spiritual connection, a neighbor asked the Schuler family if they would consider continuing their outdoor ministry. They were honored to bring neighbors together again, distanced in their yard, for a meaningful holiday service.


The family has also created a series on YouTube videos called, “Straight Up with the Schulers: Family to Family.” Their candid videos touch on topics meaningful to the everyday family. Dawn’s greatest passion is supporting and encouraging families and especially mothers. “This show is an opportunity for us to connect with families around the world,” says Dawn. The Schuler children, Don, Jr., Diamond, and Matthew, all have a passion for music and beautiful singing voices. During our photo shoot, the Schuler family spontaneously broke out in song more than once, and it was a delightful thing to hear.


According to his parents, Donald Jr started singing and acting as soon as he could talk. Growing up in such an education and entertainment-focused family gave Donald the push he needed to feel comfortable in his own skin to pursue his dreams, both on and off stage. He was deeply inspired by his great grandfather, Jim Leonard, who was the first African American set designer for a full-length motion picture (The Burglar) and his aunt, Broadway actress Michelle Grier (The Lion King).


Asked about his goals, Don Jr. says, “I’d like to empower people and change the world through education and entertainment.” Today, he is a TEDx Talk speaker, certified life coach, actor, former Division I-AA college football player and teacher, and explains, “I travel to various colleges, schools, universities, and businesses aiming to help become the best version of themselves mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.” Donald’s talks, performances, and lessons center around helping people become the best version of themselves. Donald started acting and singing professionally in 2013 while attending Morgan State University and is currently represented by Avanti Talent Management in New York City, as well as Houla Entertainment in Knoxville, Tennessee.



Don Jr met his wife, Tiffanny, at Morgan State University when they were both enrolled in the same graduate course. Tiffanny grew up Prince George’s County, MD, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising, and is an International Retail Buyer. She travels to India and Asia working with business professionals to secure and create innovative product to bring to America. Don says of their initial courtship, “Tiffanny wanted to borrow my book for the class. She was absolutely gorgeous, and I suggested we study in the library together.” Fortunately, she agreed. “Tiffanny’s goal is to inspire and empower all those who she meets,” says Don Jr. “I’d like people to know that no matter what career you choose, choose your passion as it will always fuel your purpose,” Tiffanny explains. The couple married on June 16, 2018, at the Morrisville Presbyterian Church.



The Schulers’ middle child, Matthew, is 27 and is a professional recording artist and performer. “He travels all over the country performing,” says his mom. Matthew got his start in the music industry when he auditioned for NBC’s The Voice in 2013, breaking the record for the fastest 4 chair-turn, making it to the top 6, and even charting on the Billboard Hot 100 with his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. He’s been performing for a living ever since. “I love what I do,” says Matthew, “and I’m excited to share new music with everyone during a time when we could all use something to look forward to, and a song to sing.”


He explains that being on The Voice and becoming a recording artist has been a blessing for him and his family. “We were able to show the world what a loving family, one that supports each other’s dreams, can look like.” Matthew also appreciates the support of the community, “Yardley was instrumental in my success on the show, and my growth into the person I am today. I make alternative- pop music and a lot of the music that inspired me to create my own sound, I learned from the friends that I grew up with here in Yardley. Everyone in my family is super inspirational and has their own gifts they use to help others and the community.”



Over the years, Matthew’s music has taken him all over the US, as well as to countries like Germany, South Africa, and Jamaica. He tells us that he has learned the best thing to do in any situation is, “be the person God made me to be.” Matthew believes that “every person has a destiny and a calling that aligns with the gifts and natural aptitudes they received at conception.” His philosophy is that anyone can make a difference. “Every last one of us can make a difference in the lives of others when we use what we’ve been given and make the most out of it,” he continues, “we’ll make mistakes along the way for sure, but in the end, we’ll be who we’re meant to be, and help others along their path, too.”


Matthew attended Bucks County Community College and transitioned to West Chester University prior to being selected for The Voice. Today, he is pursuing his music career full time. “I definitely want to go back to school someday and finish my degree in English with a business minor,” Matthew says.



Diamond is the youngest Schuler child and is married to Rasheed Douyon. Rasheed and Diamond, both 25, have always had a love and passion for music which stemmed from their church upbringing. They were each involved in the choir and any musical activities the church had to offer. During his childhood, Rasheed played the drums and piano, while Diamond took up the choral ensemble and the violin throughout her elementary to high school years. Their passion for entertainment, especially music, carried over into their career paths and majors in college.


The Douyons met at Diamond’s Junior Prom in 2011, began dating in October 2012, and were married in October of 2019. Rasheed grew up in Bensalem. “We went to each other’s proms, graduations, and went away to school together, we’ve truly navigated adulthood together.” Diamond loved growing up in Yardley. “Getting to know the kids in my neighborhood, riding the bus together, and building friendships,” says Diamond of her childhood, “our neighbors were always so friendly, helping with carpooling if we missed the bus, or taking turns being the parent at the bus stop on cold days and giving us a warm place to wait. I’ve just always had a great experience with my neighbors!”


Diamond built lifelong bonds that started during her childhood in Yardley. “I met one of my best friends, Madison Wichman, in my neighborhood. She was even a bridesmaid in my wedding!” Diamond says she has always felt loved and embraced by the community and, “has had some of the greatest moments of life in Pennsbury School District.” One special memory included being Sports Nite Queen, the second African American woman to hold that title in Pennsbury’s history.


Rasheed chose business marketing in college to learn how the industry runs, and how to navigate the back end of the industry. Diamond chose journalism, then public relations, and advertising to understand the voice of the industry and storytelling. Both Rasheed and Diamond have used their passion for communications and marketing to help the family. They have done things such as creating flyers, videos, websites, and promotional products for their siblings in the entertainment industry. Diamond tells us, “we have both learned the importance of being self-starters and seeking out opportunities, not just waiting for them to come to us.” Rasheed says, “every connection you make, big or small, can get you one step closer to your dreams.”



The family enjoys spending time together and gets together as a family nearly every Sunday. They also enjoy travel when they are able. “About two weeks or so after Matthew was off NBC’s The Voice,” says Diamond, “the family took a two-week trip to Jamaica between Christmas and New Year’s, for the Shaggy and Friends Benefit Concert that Matthew participated in raising funds for the Bustamante Children’s Hospital.” She explains, “There were over 30,000 people in attendance. After the event, we spent New Year’s in Jamaica at some of the most amazing parties and events with celebrities such as Shaggy, Wayne Marshall, Tessane Chin, Usain Bolt, and more. It was an unreal experience!”


The Schuler family has expressed appreciation and thanks to our community for their welcoming spirit and support of the family’s faith and music. You can learn more about the Schuler family on their Facebook page at https://www. facebook.com/StraightUpWithTheSchulers

By Heather DiPrato. Photos: Frank Pronesti of Heirloom Studio

Warm breezes, salt air, and families enjoying frozen treats. Ice cream has always had a way of bringing people together. What’s better on a hot summer day than the jingle of an ice cream truck?


Liz and Perry Warren’s story began during the summer of 1984 in Beach Haven, NJ. “I was the Ice Cream Man,” laughs Perry. Fresh out of college and running his first business, he looks back at that time of his life fondly. “Running an ice cream truck is the perfect blend of physicality, strategy, and competitiveness,” Perry tells us. “You lease the truck, buy the ice cream, pull up to the beach, ring the bell, serve the customers. You are moving fast, 7-days-a-week, every day of the summer. It’s fun!” Even 35 years later, his passion for the business is evident.


During his first summer as the ice cream man, Liz Bell noticed Perry, the following summer they met, and he captured her heart. They’d met while out with friends a week or so before. “Liz had this distinctive blonde hair, and one night after I’d packed up the truck, I was on my bike riding home and saw her riding ahead of me,” Perry recalls, “I raced to catch up and pulled ahead of her, kind of joking about my superior cycling skills,” he laughs at the memory. Liz remembers that evening well, “Perry was the most adorable, funny, and smartest person I had ever met, I knew it right away.”


Liz was 18, at the shore after her freshman year at the University of Delaware. At 20, Perry had already earned his B.A. in Political Science from Colgate University, graduating with honors. That night, the two talked and hit it off. Perry ended the evening by walking Liz home, and she surprised him by kissing him goodnight. They became inseparable that summer.


After a year of frequent visits to Delaware while managing a newly purchased franchise store for a family friend (and a third summer in the ice cream business), Perry was planning to attend the University of North Carolina for MBA studies. An off-handed comment by his mom’s best friend changed his mind. “Too bad about you and Liz,” she said. Perry said that he and Liz were committed to a long-distance relationship. “Well, you know, that never works out.” The comment rang in his head for days. When he missed his move-in date and UNC called to ask if he was still coming, he said, “I guess not.” Things had changed.


Instead, while helping Liz move into her sorority house at UOD, Perry stopped by the History Education department to see if he could take graduate classes there. Though this was an unusual request (he had not applied or preregistered), they granted it. Perry earned a teaching certificate, and a year later, after his fourth summer of ice cream, began teaching high school social studies. Liz graduated from Delaware with a B.S.N. and practiced nursing, beginning at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.


Perry’s family was from Newtown, and though they moved when he was 5 years old, his grandparents lived in Newtown and he always considered it home. Coincidentally, Liz’s parents moved to Newtown from Princeton in 1987. Liz and Perry were married at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Newtown in 1988. Two years later, Perry finally made that trip to the University of North Carolina, this time with Liz and a new baby. He attended their Law School, while Liz worked at UNC Hospitals.

The next few years were spent growing their family and building their careers. Perry graduated from UNC Law School with honors. The family, by then with a second baby, moved back up north, where Perry clerked with a judge then worked with a large law firm. Liz further honed her nursing skills at Hahnemann, St. Francis, and Capital Health hospitals, becoming a head nurse before she was 30. After 3 ½ years of big firm life, Perry and Paul Maselli founded the law firm Maselli Warren, P.C. in Princeton in 1998. By the autumn of 1998, Liz and Perry had welcomed three children, Charles, Molly, and Peter, and their fourth was on the way.

Looking back, October 25th started like any other weekend day, a kids’ basketball game in the morning, a friend's birthday party afterward. But that afternoon, 3-year-old Peter was playing outside and had an accident. Liz found him unconscious, called for help, and began CPR. "The paramedics came quickly, in just minutes," recalls Liz. "We rushed Peter to the hospital, the one where I worked. I can still remember the looks on my coworkers' faces," her voice trails off as she collects herself. The Warrens were told by the medical team that their little boy would not survive. To allow Peter's beautiful spirit to live on, they agreed to donate his organs and tissue to those in need transplants.


“The year after losing Peter was a blur,” says Liz. “I remember many people showed us kindness. There was a man who worked in the frozen food section of our grocery store. I would be walking around with my infant daughter and he would see me and say, ‘hey honey, you need chicken this week.’ I don't know what groceries I would have come home with if it weren't for him,” Liz tells us. “It was also during this time we met other bereaved parents through Gift of Life and The Compassionate Friends, two organizations that helped our family tremendously during this time.”

"Our priorities and trajectory changed,” says Perry. “At that point, Liz and I shifted our focus to healing our family.” Perry and Liz moved back to Newtown the year after Peter died. Their kids attended Council Rock Schools and loved growing up in Newtown. Over time, as they began to heal, the Warrens felt a calling to become more involved in helping others. “You get to a place deep in your heart where you just have to do more,” Liz explains. “We feel a responsibility to help others and serve as a resource for bereaved parents. This made us so empathetic and helped us foster that empathy in our children,” Liz continued.


“Having compassion is a central value for our family, and our children embraced this as well.” In 2005, Maselli Warren opened its Newtown office. "Our goal was always to have a firm focused on quality and compassionate legal services," says Perry. "We hired Brian Mills, an attorney and Council Rock grad who lived in Newtown, and he was the first lawyer we hired who became a partner in the firm," Perry explained. "Over the years, we were fortunate to work with friends and local businesses and able to build a strong, regional law firm with 10 attorneys.”


According to Brian Mills, “I met Perry in 2002 while he was interviewing law students at Rutgers Law School. When he told me the firm's plan was to expand into Pennsylvania and open an office in Newtown, I knew it was the firm I wanted to join. In the 18 years since, our relationship has evolved from boss, to mentor, to friend and partner.“ Perry has been certified by the Supreme Court of NJ as a civil trial attorney, an honor bestowed on just 2% of peers.


Liz acknowledges that, as Perry worked to build his law practice, she was a big part of getting him involved in social activities and community events. Although she describes Perry as a "hard worker that is quiet and introverted by nature," she is also clearly his biggest fan. “Perry is such a great guy,” she explains. “I could not imagine NOT wanting everyone to know how great he is.” And Perry says what he admires most about Liz is her joy. “Liz has this warmth and happiness, a desire to care for people, she is a caregiver,” he says. “She is also a great mom, a great partner, she is kind and thoughtful, and helps balance me. We complement each other well.”


After decades of community involvement, the Warrens continue to give back through public service and volunteerism. Liz has served on the Newtown Swim Team Board, Newtown Borough Recreation Board, the Vestry of St. Luke’s, and is a member of the Newtown Rotary Club. Perry has served on the board and as Chairman of the Board of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and as an officer of The Compassionate Friends, as well as the Young Entrepreneur’s Organization.

In 2009 while at the Newtown Library Gala with Liz, Perry was asked if he’d consider running for Newtown Borough Council. His grandfather and role model, Charles Roberts, was a community-involved attorney who served on Newtown’s Borough Council many years earlier, so it felt like an honor to be considered. Perry agreed to run and won the seat. “I liked being involved, knowing and understanding the issues that impact a community,” he explained. “I knocked doors, talked with everyone who would answer, and enjoyed listening and learning from my neighbors. I also had the flexibility to do the role right.”


Perry served on Newtown Borough Council from 2010 – 2016. In 2016, Perry ran for and was elected as PA State Representative for District 31 (Lower Makefield, Morrisville, Newtown Borough, Newtown Township, and Yardley) and was re-elected in 2018 in the legislative role where he currently serves. According to Liz, “Perry is a bridgebuilder. He has always looked for consensus and common ground to solve complex issues.” When asked about his role as a State Rep, Perry says, “as a legislator, you need a strong commitment to your community, to working hard, and to communication and collaboration with the people you serve. This means always listening to what folks are saying about their needs and objectives.”

Through his role as State Representative, in 2018 Perry supported the Donate Life PA Act which creates awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation to increase the number of people who sign up to become organ donors. “My family is grateful for the compassionate support from Gift of Life when we were grieving the sudden loss of our son,” Perry said at the time. “While we were on the sad side of organ donation then, we are grateful for the additional gift of life that organ donation gives.”



Over the past two years, the Warrens became empty nesters. Seeing their children grow into adults and pursue their passions is a source of great joy to the couple. Charles (now 31) graduated from the University of Delaware. As a teenager, Charles followed in his dad’s footsteps and became the ice cream man. He met his wife, Kathryn, through the magic of that ice cream truck! Molly (27) graduated from Rutgers University and married her husband, Greg, in December of 2019. Rebecca (21) is a senior at the College of William and Mary, and Anna Belle (20) completed her sophomore year at Rollins College and is currently working on an organic farm in Hawaii as part of a work-study program.


After more than 30 years of owning the mobile ice cream business that brought Perry and Liz together, introduced Charles to his wife Kathryn, and was part of countless memories, the Warrens decided it was time to share the magic with a new family. And this act of kindness brings our story full circle.


Liz’s godson Will is the son of friends who live in Yardley and spend summers in Beach Haven. Will’s dad was with Perry the night he and Liz met. Will is 22 years old and has autism. His autism limits his ability to communicate and relate to people in a typical way. During the school year, he works in Perry Warren’s legislative office assembling information packets for constituents and enjoys accomplishing his work.



In 2015, the Warrens gifted Will a bicycle cart from their ice cream business and he began selling ice cream on the streets of Beach Haven in the evenings. According to his family, “Will rides the bike, greets customers, and asks what they would like. He also totals the order, collects the money, and thanks the customers. Will takes great pride in his work and enjoys interacting with his customers in a way that he rarely experiences.”


Will, known as ‘The Ice Cream Pedaler’ has become an institution in the shore town. Perhaps most gratifying, all tips he earns are donated to the AJ Foundation, a Bucks County-based non-profit which opened the Comprehensive Learning Center (CLC), one of PA’s first specialized private schools for children and adults with Autism. Their mission is to implement and support quality educational services and improve the lives of individuals with autism and their families within their communities. Some of Will’s tips have been extremely generous, with donations of $54, $87, even $100 from his customers.


The magic of the Warren family ice cream business continues in a new and meaningful way.


We appreciate the Warrens sharing their story.

To learn more about the organizations mentioned:

· AJ Foundation: ajfoundation.org

· Compassionate Friends: compassionatefriends.org

· Gift of Life: giftoflife.org

1/5
  • Facebook

215-208-3602 

Yardley, PA. 19067

©2016 - 2020  Enjoy Yardley