Retirement living at Park Place of St. John looks about how you’d imagine in the friendly community. Residents spend lots of time with grandkids and great-grandkids, relaxing in the spacious common areas or in their elegant apartments, and taking part in activities designed just for them.
But while retirement brings joy and relaxation, many residents also use some of their spare time to give back to the community that they’ve spent a lifetime building into. The Looming Club is one example. On Monday afternoons, a group of Park Place of St. John residents break out their looms and skeins of yarn to knit hats for Phil’s Friends, a non-profit organization that supports people going through cancer.
While retirement brings joy and relaxation, many residents also use some of their spare time to give back to the community that they’ve spent a lifetime building into.
Phil’s Friends has been around for almost 10 years, with thousands of volunteers supporting those struggling with cancer by providing kindness. Park Place residents support Phil’s Friends by supplying handmade hats.
“I did it with my church before I lived here,” Aleda Dekker says as she expertly works her fingers around the pegs of her loom. “I thought maybe people would want to do it here, too.”
In a short time, the group of loomers has gone from just a few residents to almost 15, along with 3 other ladies from Aleda’s church. Many get to the dining room early and stay late, because spending time together is part of the fun.
Knitting with a loom takes skill and dexterity, and some whose eyes and fingers aren’t what they used to be still participate by rolling the yarn into balls for the other ladies.
And it isn’t just the ladies that loom. One woman’s husband helps loom while they watch Sunday football in front of the television.
During one particular looming session, balloons appear. It’s Aledda’s birthday, and everyone sings–but they don’t stop looming.
Gina Ringo, Park Place Life Enrichment Director, makes sure the yarn keeps flowing. “Everyone goes at their own pace,” she says. “Some people only work on the hats when they’re down here with the club, and others work on it all week long, whenever they get a chance. We have one resident who once made 4 hats in a weekend.”
The extra time the residents take to loom outside the club is evidenced by the sheer number of hats they’ve produced.
“We’ll have donated over 200 hats by the end of the year. That’s pretty impressive, since it takes several hours to make one hat.”
And watching the practiced fingers working on these hats, 200 hats seems more than possible.
The loomers at Park Place of St. John welcome donations of yarn (and even looms) to help them continue their work in the community. If you’d like to drop off donations, contact Park Place of St. John at (219) 351-5200 or PPSJ@provlife.com.