For the 2nd consecutive year, Bucks Happening has named the Top 10 Movers & Shakers of Bucks County. Our accomplished judges had their work cut out for them with dozens of inspirational stories submitted by readers.
Now, with the official results in and this year's Movers & Shakers assembling recently to celebrate, we’re taking a closer look at each winner and sharing their incredible stories.
Meet Nancy Bragin of Southampton, PA, a Philadelphia University of the Arts alumnus and the Founder of Tuesday Afternoon Philly Outreach, a local charity that provides much needed assistance to Philadelphia's homeless.
BH: How did you decide to settle down in Southampton?
NB: Twenty-eight years ago we were looking for our first house when we drove past a sign that said “Southampton – a nice place to live.” It’s true, you know. We’ve been here ever since.
BH: What motivates you every morning?
NB: Every day is a new beginning, a fresh start, a chance to make a difference.
BH: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?
NB: A Tuesday afternoon, giving out clothes and food to the homeless.
BH: Who inspires you?
NB: So many have been an inspiration to me – Dr. David R. Hawkins, Paramahansa Yogananda, The Beatles, Thich Nhat Hanh, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
BH: What inspired you to start your own charity?
NB: The winter of 2014 was brutal. I was sitting in my warm suburban home, complaining about how frigid and cold it was when the news came on, showing dozens of homeless people sleeping on the streets in Code Blue extreme emergency weather conditions. I didn't know what at the time, but I had to do something. I collected coats scarves and gloves from family and friends, my friend Linda made some peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and on a bitter Tuesday afternoon we headed down I-95 into Center City. Before long we saw a homeless man sitting on a crate. We gave him warm clothes and some sandwiches, he said “bless you” and gave us a hug. Tuesday Afternoon Philly Outreach was born, and we continue the tradition every Tuesday.
BH: Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
NB: My two sons, Zachary & Alexander, and practicing “non interference” – allowing them to shine and be their own person.
BH: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
NB: My father passed away when I was 19 years old; I guess you can say my whole world fell apart. I hung out with the wrong crowd, dabbled in drugs, and even was homeless for a while. After a while I put it back together again and moved on. The victim mentality is not something that I choose to be a part of. We are responsible for everything that happens to us, it’s our choice.
BH: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
NB: We’ve recently partnered with the UnitedEmergency Services Fund (UESF) Homeless Veterans Outreach Program, which is the recipient of a Federal Grant as part of President Obama’s initiative to get all homeless veterans off the streets within the next five years. No one who has served our country should be homeless; it’s a travesty. I plan to be part of the solution and help make it happen.
BH: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?
NB: Nancy “gets things done.”
BH: Where’s your favorite place to go in Bucks County?
NB: A perfect day for me is a Sunday afternoon drive with my husband Barry in Bucks County enjoying the fall foliage, then shopping, antiquing and dining in New Hope.
BH: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself ten years ago, what advice would you give?
NB: “No one goes to their grave wishing they had worked harder. Relax and have fun, do what gives you joy. The best is yet to be – better than you could ever imagine.”