Have you ever had a person in your life who sticks up for you, gives you guidance and comfort when you’re feeling lost, encourages when you are uncertain – a person who will laugh uproariously with you, play as long and hard and fun as you, and dare you to dance just that much more freely? If you have, you surely count yourself fortunate! The Young Friends community has had just such a companion in its Adult Clerk, Zan Lombardo, and we have surely felt blessed for it!
Like many adults who get involved in the Young Friends community, Zan Lombardo first started coming to gatherings because of her daughter’s interest in Young Friends. She quickly found her own passion for the community and accepted the role of Adult Clerk of Young Friends when it became available. The Adult Clerk is typically a Friendly Adult Presence (what PYM Youth Programs call chaperones) who is able to come to most gatherings and serve as a guide and partner to the Young Friends Clerks. Zan fulfilled this function and so many more, leading countless engaging workshops, attending to community concerns even outside of gatherings, and supporting the program members and staff on many levels. She helped the Young Friends community grow deeper in appreciation and engagement in art, understanding themselves as artists. She recruited heavily for the program, arriving to gatherings with a vehicle crammed full of Young Friends! More recently, Zan served as a pillar of stability in the midst of the uncertainty the program faced during Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s budget crunch.
Zan has given abundantly to the Young Friends community in her role as Adult Clerk for the last seven years, and she has discerned that it is now time to focus her attention in other directions. At PYM’s Annual Sessions, Young Friends wrote and approved the following minute of appreciation for Zan and her service to the community:
Zan Lombardo, in her seven years of service as adult clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Young Friends, has always been a spiritually grounded guiding presence. She’s nurtured the community, and many Young Friends have felt strongly touched by her presence. She’s a compassionate person, well spoken, warm, and friendly. Zan understands young people and has a special youthfulness about her. She knows what her gifts are in so many areas – personally, spiritually, creatively – and puts them all at the disposal of the Young Friends community, leading workshops, lending a listening ear when needed, and finding a way to connect with every person she meets. Zan has the capacity to both listen very well and give good advice, and knows when to do which. Many of us have known her for a long time, even before our time in Young Friends, and felt nurtured by her and loved by her for that whole time—but even those who have met her more recently have found it easy to connect authentically with Zan. She has a natural facility for both conscientiousness and playfulness, and her ability to do both at the same time is a gift. She’s an example of integrity, knowing herself, and sharing herself. She’s a pillar, a person you can go and lean on, talk to, be stabilized by. Young Friends respect Zan’s wisdom and presence, and thank her deeply for her years of service to the community.
Zan has been a guide, a co-conspirator, a cheerleader, a defender, a pillar, a comfort and an inspiration in the Young Friends community. Young Friends say it best – we thank her deeply for her years of service to the community.