Ninety-Five Year Old Helen Ollo is not only known as the “master stitcher” at Cornerstone at Barnegat where she resides, she is also the teacher and founder of the Creative Stitchery Club. By sharing her talents, Ollo has organized a group of six women who enjoy knitting and crocheting together for a good cause.
For the past six months, the stitchery club has been meeting weekly to share their love of crafting and to give back to the community. Led by Ollo, the group has made 57 winter beanies and matching tiny hats for teddy bears. Just in time for Thanksgiving, the hats and bears will be donated to cancer patients at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, especially those who have lost their hair as a result of treatment.
“I started knitting about 10 years ago, and I’ve always enjoyed it,” said Ollo.
Not only does the group share their love of crafting, but they also get to help those who are less fortunate and may be in need of basic items. The yarn was purchased by Walters Group. Myra Hamilton, community manager at Cornerstone at Barnegat, coordinates the group’s activities and assists with the donations.
Jennifer Pampalone, social services coordinator for Walters Group, works in tandem with property managers to create specialized programming for residents living in Walters Group communities, including two properties specially designed for seniors. Pampalone encourages the creation of special interest clubs to promote common goals among the residents.
By encouraging residents to get involved in rewarding charitable events, Pampalone creates an opportunity for them to socialize and make a difference within their community. In another charitable effort, the senior residents at Cornerstone at Barnegat and Cornerstone at Toms River have collected items to donate to Providence House of Ocean County, a non-profit that provides domestic violence services to women and children.
Walters Group has developed several income-restricted and senior communities in Ocean County including Cornerstone at Lacey, Cornerstone at Barnegat and Cornerstone at Toms River. Currently underway are several other income- and age-restricted communities throughout the state of New Jersey.