Jackie Yorko

By Barbara Sherf

Jackie Yorko, the newly named Director of the Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church’s Center on the Hill, likes to keep busy, so the 54-year-old powerhouse cannot complain about being bored in her new role.

With a graduate degree in Exercise Physiology, she starts her day with early morning workouts at L.A. Fitness, and on weekends enjoys taking long walks from her Mt. Airy home to the Valley Green Inn. During the workday she is busy fielding phone calls, setting up classes and directing visitors to their classrooms at the center. Many evenings are spent at community meetings doing outreach.

The spunky 5’5” redhead, who formerly worked as the Director of Community Programs at Chestnut Hill Hospital, seemed like a natural Director of the newly renovated 5,000 square-foot space created by an endowment a church member established in his will. The space is designed for adult programs that are open to the public. “While the seniors make up a large number of our classes, we want to reach out to all groups to consider holding their classes in our space.”

Jackie noted that the church has a pre-kindergarten program, and she would like to see young parents take a class like Pilates after dropping their children off.

“It’s really neat to see little ones and our senior set all in close proximity to each other. We invite anyone to come in and see our space and determine whether it’s a good fit.”

Classes offered by community groups like Mt. Airy Learning Tree, Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment and Neighborhood Interfaith Movement must be in line with the center’s mission, and the groups must pay a small stipend for quarterly mailings.

On any given day one might find an Italian class, a yoga class or a memoir writing class in any of the six rooms available. The lineup for the first quarter of 2011 is quite diverse; from Beading with Pearls and Selling Your Stuff on eBay to Safe Driving Courses and the continuing Lunch & Learn Series of lectures sponsored by Chestnut Hill Hospital. A Flourtown-based company, Here to Home, that specializes in moving retirees to another home or retirement community will also give tips on what to keep, what items to keep in the family and what items to consider donating to a charitable cause.
Not all of the educational opportunities will occur on site. Yorko will oversee a one-day and multi-day trips to various museums and cultural institutions from New York City to Washington D.C.

The Center on the Hill is located on the lower level of the church at 8855 Germantown Ave. More information at  HYPERLINK “http://www.chestnuthillpres.org” www.chestnuthillpres.org, 215-247-8855, ext. 23, or  HYPERLINK “mailto:jyorko@chestnuthillpres.org” jyorko@chestnuthillpres.org.