Afternoon Tea Party Fit for Royalty


Afternoon tea is a quintessential English custom and fashionable social event. It is a time to pause in the afternoon for refreshments, petite sandwiches, desserts and conversation with friends. Homeland Center residents recently donned handmade fascinators or boutonnieres for a special tea party hosted by Homeland Center’s Board of Managers, which is led by 17 women dedicated to the quality of life at Homeland.

For Nancy, a resident for over a year, the tea party was among many social activities she enjoys at Homeland. Nancy moved to a personal care suite at Homeland after she began experiencing weakness and worrying about the possibility of a fall or injury.

Prior to becoming a Homeland Center resident, Nancy was no stranger to the high-quality care and compassion delivered through Homeland. In the early 2000s, Nancy’s father and stepmother were residents of Homeland for over six years. Nancy visited them often and was impressed by the attention and support they received. This made her decision to move to Homeland an easy one.

“I saw the organization in action firsthand,” Nancy says. “I knew when the time was right, I would choose Homeland.”

Like Nancy, many of the tea party guests raved about their busy social schedules at Homeland. All activities are created with the residents’ quality of life in mind. Social activities not only engage residents with each other; they also help residents build personal bonds with Homeland staff and volunteers.

Homeland Center’s Board of Managers is led by Alicelyn Sleber, who has graciously volunteered at Homeland for over eight years. Alicelyn and the Board work directly with Aleisha Arnold, Homeland Center’s Director of Activities and Quality Assurance. The Board and staff base their events on conversations with residents. Many activities like various genres of entertainment and visits from food trucks are held at Homeland, while others involve outings to local destinations and attractions.

When the idea of an afternoon tea was proposed, Alicelyn and Aleisha researched area tea houses as potential venues. Based on the overwhelming interest in the event, the group decided to hold the tea in Homeland Center’s main dining room.

“Homeland is our resident’s home,” Alicelyn says. “We decided to bring a formal, classy event to them so everyone could be part of the fun.”

Flowers, delicious specialties and live piano music transformed the dining room into a formal setting suitable for royalty. Over conversations, guests discussed the next game of bingo – a crowd favorite – as well as special past and future events.

“We try to plan special events monthly or add to an event already planned,” Alicelyn adds. “This gives everyone something to look forward to attending.”

During the holiday season, inclusive celebrations are held with all residents, faiths and traditions in mind. As the summer months begin, the ever-popular French Fry truck day is planned along with an ice cream social and summer picnic. These events are in addition to weekly happy hours held on Fridays and various games and activities held on a regular basis.

“It is a privilege to spend time with our residents,” Alicelyn says. “I can see the gratitude in their eyes.”

Homeland’s Board of Managers is deeply rooted in the organization’s history. Homeland was founded in 1867 as the “Home for the Friendless” to serve families impacted by the devastation of the Civil War. At the time, the board served to connect with families in need through activities and engagement. More than 155 years later, the mission of the board of managers remains relatively unchanged. In fact, the Board of Managers was formed and continues to be led solely by women.

“I am honored to work alongside dynamic and caring women,” Alicelyn says. “Everyone has gifts and we all share what we can.”

Homeland Center offer levels of care including personal care, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Homeland also provides hospice, home care, home health and palliative care services to serve the diverse and changing needs of families throughout central Pennsylvania.

For more information about Homeland Center, call 717-221-7900.