Northeast November My Turn
A Warm Welcome
Neighborhood block parties at The Renaissance foster a sense of community.
Nothing says “Welcome to the Neighborhood” like a block party. And at The Renaissance, a continuing-care community in Olmsted Township, they’ve become the social event of every season. From an old-fashioned barbecue with s’mores for dessert to a luau, the much-anticipated get-togethers give residents a chance to make new friends while sharing a laugh — and a great time — with old ones.
“Eating is the great equalizer,” explains Dan Copenhaver, director of dining services at The Renaissance. “It’s an activity that everybody engages in.”
And, he adds, “having a block party adds a special social dimension that’s friendly and fun.”
Residents lend a hand planning the ambiance and menu for each fete: Parties have included feasting at a prime rib Sunday brunch; savoring a taste of summer in mid-winter by partaking of hot dogs, hamburgers and other picnic fare while seated at tables strategically placed throughout the community’s apartment building; and dancing under the stars to the strains of a steel band during the August pig roast.
“The get-togethers make it very easy for everyone to feel at home,” says Hallie Christian, 87, a retired ordained Methodist minister, who’s lived at The Renaissance for 16 years. “And that’s especially true when you move from a familiar place to one where you may not know anybody. There are always the questions: How will I fit in here? How will I make new friends?
“These celebrations open doors,” she adds, “literally.”
For Martha and Paul Goethe, the block parties have led to new friendships and a variety of social activities outside the community. The couple enjoys hosting card and cocktail parties, organizing trips to Blossom Music Center and engaging in friendly rounds of golf.
“The parties,” says Paul, 85, provide the perfect setting for getting to know your neighbors.”
“And,” adds, Martha, 84, “they’re a wonderful way to have a good time without the worries.”