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The ‘magic at Maris Grove’

Glen Mills community celebrates milestone

Created date

August 23rd, 2011

When Maris Grove s fifth anniversary rolls around Oct. 2, the Erickson Living community s celebration will be well underway, carried out with the same enthusiasm and hoopla that marked opening day. Maris Grove s annual gala will kick things off Sept. 17; this year s theme is A Night on the Orient Express. Events such as an anniversary surf-and-turf dinner, a tree planting, a through-the-years video, a blessing of the pets, and a luncheon for staff will continue the festive atmosphere, culminating on Oct. 14 with a pioneer luncheon for everyone who lived or worked at Maris Grove between October 2 and December 31, 2006. The thing that s so wonderful, says Executive Director Maureen Heckler, is that the upbeat, positive joy we saw on opening day still radiates. I call it the magic at Maris Grove, a positive energy that s about living life instead of sitting back, about exploring things you never got to do before. Maris Grove s staff has that magic too. Heckler hires both for competence and the it factor, a heartfelt desire to engage with residents and never waver from helping them enjoy their freedom years.

Celebrating life

Maris Grove s 168 resident-inspired and resident-run clubs embody the community s mission statement: We share our gifts to create a community that celebrates life. The clubs highlight interests from music, bocci, and making blankets for children to volunteering for Little Dresses for Africa, and beekeeping. As Maris Grove s first sales counselor. Regional Sales Director Pam Matschat watched its 87 acres grow from steel and concrete to a caring, beautiful, and lively community. She knows everybody. Residents still tell her, I m glad I made the move, and I wish I d made it sooner.

Friendships and freedom

From October 2 through December 31, 2006, 300 pioneers moved into 190 apartment homes to birth the community. The first official resident was Priscilla Clapp. She moved with her dog Coco from Massachusetts where she lived for 58 years. Almost immediately she met fellow pioneer Dorris Maitland. We ve become better than sisters, Priscilla says. They spend part of their summers together at the Jersey Shore and even their pets are chums. I d recommend Maris Grove to anybody, Priscilla says. Your neighbors are like a big family; you can t imagine how wonderful the staff is some of them call me Mother; and you fall in love with the high school kids who are the dining room servers. For pioneers Deloris and Gail Olson, freedom to live life on their own schedule takes top priority. Frequent travelers, they re often on the go to Notre Dame, Ohio State, or any other college to attend their grandsons lacrosse games and to the Jersey Shore in summer. Maris Grove gives us freedom of movement, says Gail, but we know we always have a place to come home to. And I don t think there s a person here who doesn t say good morning or how are you when we walk down the hall. People are very friendly. I like that.