Pat Friess and Regina Givi
-DID YOU KNOW?
By Tara Yilmaz
Did you know the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” means an entire community of people must work together to help nurture a child in a healthy environment? The proverb could also apply to supporting local businesses and caring for senior citizens. In the spirit of that quote, we highlight and honor two extraordinary area women in honor of Women’s History Month.
Did you know when you stop by the Sheraden Healthy Active Living Center chances are Pat Friess of Oakland, will be the one greeting you at the door? For eight years, Friess has been the recreation leader and the backbone of the center. She is known for her knack for providing comfort, friendship and information. Friess helps seniors at the center build and heal their minds and bodies by leading health and fitness classes, hosting parties and games, expanding seniors’ knowledge of applying for state benefits, referral programs, transportation and financial assistance.
“I love working with seniors,” said Friess. “I love delivering lunches and food boxes because they all look forward to spending time with me. Most of the seniors live by themselves and when I deliver food to them, this gives me a chance to spend time with them especially, since the COVID-19 pandemic. Some tell me about their fears, loneliness, or some just want to talk. Other times, some seniors want to know information about rent rebates or need help filling out paperwork. It gives me a lot of pleasure knowing that I’m able to help. Because usually, it’s just me and the system.”
Friess’s love of helping seniors in the community was embedded in her long before she began working at the center.
“My mother was a strong woman and I get my strength from her,” said Friess. “I watched my mother do it all. Work, take care of our family and help in the community. She passed down her love of volunteering to me and I’ve been volunteering my entire life.”
Did you know there is a school of music in Kennedy Township that teaches both children and adults? The Givi School of Music has been in business for 15 years and is owned and operated by Regina Givi of Robinson Township. The Givi School of Music serves clients from Sheraden, Kennedy, Robinson, Crafton, and other areas west of Pittsburgh.
“We inspire the desire to aspire,” is the school’s motto and expectation. Instilling the love of music is easier than instilling dedication for practicing instruments. Givi says her mother, Suzanne Givi, was her inspiration for mastering the violin.
“If it wasn’t for my mom, I would’ve quit the violin a hundred times,” said Givi. “I witnessed my mom’s independence and perseverance firsthand. She never let me give up playing the violin. I discovered I’m not good at too many things, but this is one thing I’m not bad at. I started teaching kids in the community and I kept going because I wasn’t ready to let go. And then my business grew. I expanded my business multiple times by teaching children, adults, private lessons, group lessons and band. I teach whoever wants to learn and I’m happy that everyone is thriving.”
Did you know Women’s History Month is about paying tribute to the strength, endurance, and perseverance of women? It is a time when we have the opportunity to acknowledge their contributions that shaped the course of history while simultaneously battling exclusion, discrimination, and fighting for equality across the nation and world. From heroes and visionaries to grandmothers, mothers, wives, aunts, sisters, nieces and daughters, give thanks for all that women do that provides hope for the betterment of the future. Happy Women’s History Month!