Ladies provide crafting experience at Vernon Manor
By Phyllis Gail - ReminderNews
Vernon - posted Wed., May. 1, 2013
Every Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m., three women come to Vernon Manor at 180 Regan Road to share their time and creativity with the residents. Audrey Koss of East Windsor and Jacqua Reno and Joann Plickys, both of Ellington, bring a sample of the craft project they have chosen for the week and they help each of the residents who are interested to complete one for themselves. The ladies donate all the materials that are needed and, along with Vernon Manor recreation staff and other volunteers, give the residents the individual attention needed to create the craft.
The women are all retired from professional occupations, and they have made and kept this commitment for the past several years. Koss, a 31-year retired state employee who initiated the volunteering six years ago, chose Vernon Manor because her son-in-law was staying there recuperating in rehabilitation, and at the time, she felt she needed some structure in her life, so this was the perfect scenario to fulfill that.
“We teach them and learn from them,” Koss said. Her eyes lit up as she explained how she appreciates the residents’ creativity which has proven to her that “elderly people can learn.”
Initially Koss started a knitting club in one of the units at Vernon Manor to fill a need. Even though she was not a knitter at the time, she agreed to be in charge of that club, but soon after, she changed it to the Yarn Club, when she realized there were a lot of projects that could be made from yarn, without the knitting skill.
Realizing volunteers can always use more help, she recruited her two friends that she had met at a health club, where the three still work out regularly. Reno said a person was needed at the time who knew how to pearl, and she was the only one of them who knew how. Everyone could knit, but she could knit and pearl. Plickys, who had been a longtime friend of Reno, was also recruited from the locker room of the health club to help.
The residents come away each week with projects that are either holiday-related, such as a bunny pin or a silk floral arrangement, which was Audrey’s all-time favorite craft, to a yarn doll, beaded necklace, or greeting card.
Although Koss, Reno and Plickys have their own active schedules and individual hobbies, they are a welcome part of the therapeutic recreation activities calendar at Vernon Manor, according to Diane Mead, who is on the recreation staff.
“I feel like I should use whatever help I am able to give people,” said Koss.