Community Homes of Lebanon County names Vernita Corbett as July Resident of the Month.

You grow up fast when you are born and raised in a crowded urban environment like South Philadelphia. Such was the early life of our July Resident of the Month, Willow Terrace resident Vernita Corbett.

“It is necessary to learn survival skills in that environment. A lot of people lived close together. And there were gangs there who fought each other for territory. Alcohol and substance abuse were common, and I was a victim of that myself,” Vernita remembers, “but somehow you adjust, survive, and learn from the experience. Families and neighbors were close and loving, and that was important.”

Vernita and her sister and three brothers experienced violence firsthand. Her father, who operated a gas station, was shot, and killed at the gas station, a victim of gun violence.

A move to West Philadelphia later resulted in an improved and safer life.

During her Philadelphia life she met a man to marry, which eventually did not work out. But it did produce four children, and eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A son and a daughter eventually found their way to live and work in Lebanon. And they were instrumental in persuading Vernita to give up life in Philadelphia and move to Lebanon herself. “I remember one of my brothers was upset that I decided to move, but I had to think of my own life being closer to my children I am happy I did.”

Her first residence was an apartment near Weis Market in South Lebanon, but it did not take long to discover that that place was not affordable. My children discovered Community Homes and I was put on the waiting list.” She said.

Eventually an efficiency-sized apartment became available at Willow Terrace and she agreed to move in two years ago “I had to adjust to a smaller living space, but it was worth it. I have friends at Willow Terrace, and staff people like Cottie, Bonnie and Lori are very helpful,” Vernita observes.

Vernita has been battling a weight problem (she is winning) and recently had hip replacement surgery. “I am blessed with people who care in my life. My son has been particularly sweet and helpful during the recovery,” she adds.

She and her son also worship at the Lebanon Valley Mosque, which serves the Muslim population in Lebanon.

When asked “What makes you proud?” Vernita harkened back to her earlier life in South Philadelphia. “I had friends and family who suffered from substance and alcohol abuse. I was able to overcome that and be a survivor. I am proud of my determination to accomplish that. I feel blessed.”