Jessica Buck, Director of Community Life, excels at engaging residents at The Hearth. She knows them all well, which helps her tailor programs to match their passions. Helping others is one passion shared by all.
“We do a mix of volunteer activities throughout the year,” she explains . “For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, residents made Goody Bags for homeless shelters and blessing bags for those in need.”
In the community’s Knitting Club, Jessica recognized an opportunity for residents to socialize and express their creativity while giving back to their community.
The club initially formed because the residents wanted an enjoyable social and creative activity. Residents gathered to knit and enjoy one another’s company and conversation.
The club began donating items to local hospitals and homeless shelters. The Hearth’s relationship with a local synagogue added another layer.
Every month they donate blanket squares to the Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA. The synagogue uses the squares to make blankets for those in need in the local community.
Reminiscing About the Past, Bringing it Forward to Today
Helen, a resident at The Hearth, had donated knitted items to charity for years. “Before I moved into The Hearth at Drexel community, my friends and I used to knit squares together,” Helen shares.
With her daughter’s help, Helen sent the blanket squares to Africa, where volunteers combined them into blankets for children. She joined the Knitting Club shortly after she moved into The Hearth at Drexel three years ago.
Growing up, Helen watched her mother crochet, which introduced her to needlework. Volunteering and knitting allows her to stay active. “It’s good for us to be busy,” Helen says.
Millicent, a resident who moved into The Hearth several months ago, has knitted since the fourth grade. She remembers knitting mittens for the winter.
Phyllis, another new Knitting Club member, started knitting when she joined the club. She recalls her mother knitting warm clothes and blankets for her and her family during the wintertime.
Other members felt motivated to re-learn a skill that they first learned as children. Several other members like to knit items for their great grandchildren.
On a Mission to Give to Others
As the air cools, and brisk days become chilly nights, the Knitting Club will continue donating blanket squares. Volunteering empowers them.
“It’s just something you do,” says Millicent. “You don’t have to do it, but it should be something that’s ingrained in you that you always want to do for others.”
Residents at The Hearth at Drexel continue to be true to themselves, regardless of age. Jessica ensures that the resources and support are there to nurture their passions.