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The Garden Gals of Friendship Village senior living community in Schaumburg are the two dozen women who live in Crosswell Trace, the private garden homes on the periphery of the campus. Prior to COVID, the women got together socially each month for a planned activity. Although that practice was suspended, the women’s feeling of good fortune and benevolence increased. “We’re getting through COVID feeling protected and safe at Friendship Village,” said garden home resident Nancy Horney. “We feel like we wanted to pay it forward. We also wanted to honor Charlene Gulik, a Garden Gal who passed away earlier this year.”
Gulik was very active at the Church of the Holy Spirit, which during the holiday season, sponsors a Giving Tree. The program permits participants to ‘adopt’ a local family, purchasing items on their Christmas wish list. The Garden Gals took on a single working mom with four children. “We raised more than $600. The mother had written down what all the children needed. (Fellow Garden Gal) Joanne Wagner and I took the list along with our discount coupons at Kohls and other stores and purchased everything they’d ask for, along with some extras. The kids all needed winter jackets, and we bought nice ones, along with some pants and shirts, toys and a family game. The mom hadn’t requested anything for herself, but we bought her a $100 gift card at Walmart and a $50 gift card at Target,” Horney said. “Last week, we had a gift-wrapping party while we enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. All of the gifts were then taken to the church in plenty of time for Christmas.”
Horney, who has lived at Friendship Village for three years, enjoys keeping busy at the senior living community. “I’m a resident guide. My role is to help new residents feel at home. I’m also a marketing ambassador; I spend a lot of time in the fitness center, taking yoga. My husband is busy too, using the pool, singing in the choir, and playing bridge, “she said.
“If you want to be at a senior living community with all sorts of activities and programs, you could not ask for more. I’m an active and sociable person, and there’s more than enough to keep me busy at Friendship Village. But if you’re a private person, you can do that too. So, it’s an excellent balance,” Horney said.