HomeMoorestown NewsA project that makes you smile

A project that makes you smile

Creating a sentimental gift for retirement community residents

Christine Harkinson/The Sun
Township residents and sisters Alexis (left) and Ashley Kim look at a scrapbook they made for John Dale, a resident of The Evergreens in Moorestown.

Moorestown alumna Ashley Kim was inspired by a family tradition to find Project Smiles, an initiative that involves creating scrapbooks for residents at Moorestown’s retirement community The Evergreens.

“When I started first coming to The Evergreens for service projects, I found myself really enjoying the conversations with the residents,” Kim said. “We talked about different career paths, what their views on different social media (are), so I was thinking about how to further my connection with the residents here.”

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Kim formerly served as the president of Moorestown High School’s Interact Club, an organization that’s sponsored by the Rotary Club of Moorestown. It’s a group of about 300 students that’s in contact with other organizations across Moorestown, as well as surrounding communities.

Club members not only volunteer for different local events, but also sponsor their own events, including Soup for the Soul and blood drives. Kim is headed off to college, but her sister Alexis is now the club’s president, and she also played a part in the formation of Project Smiles.

“After every trip that we take, my sister (Alexis) makes little scrapbooks or photo albums just so we can remember different funny moments everywhere we visited, so I was inspired by that,” Kim explained.

“I started thinking about how that could possibly help the residents here,” she added, “so since I enjoyed our conversations so much, I reached out to the Chaplain (Rev. Anthony Maimone) about if I could talk to specific residents, just hear more about their life and their careers and their families, so I just kind of turned that into something that I enjoyed and something that could benefit the residents as well.”

Nancy Froelicher and John Dale, residents of The Evergreens, were nothing short of excited when they first received their scrapbooks.

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“She (Ashley) did such a beautiful job, and it was so nice to have it to pass onto my family,” Froelicher noted. “She brought out a lot of the highlights that I had told her about, and so that was a joy.”

“I do remember you had some pictures of your artwork – she (Ashley) took pictures of your artwork – and incorporated them as part of your book, and your legacy in Moorestown, your teaching career,” Maimone mentioned of Froelicher’s scrapbook.

“ … It brings back so many memories and after a while, they all sort of blend in and it’s good … Those pictures really help to remember some of those good experiences.”

“It was a delightful thing,” Dale said of his scrapbook.

Project Smiles is something that Ashley and Alexis do together, but given that Ashley is going to college, Alexis is taking over the project completely. Yet it’s something that’s fulfilling to both and they each see how it benefits the people it serves.

“I think it’s been really impactful for me to hear about the different lessons they’ve (the residents) learned, especially since I’m going through a period of my life where it’s a lot of adjustment …” Ashley said.

“I think their advice has really helped me, especially now, and making these scrapbooks for them it’s something I enjoy, but also, I think that they can find this helpful, just for their family members and for themselves, too.

“I really do enjoy bringing a smile to their face whenever we present them with the book.”

“It’s so delightful to see how they react to getting their books,” Alexis added, “and I think it’s also nice to have all of their achievements in their lifetime in a book that all of their family members can enjoy, and themselves, too.

“It’s like a legacy.”


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