At Royal Oaks, 10015 Royal Oak Road, Sun City, a Life PLan Community, there is an incredible sense of community.
It can be felt the moment people step foot on the campus. At Royal Oaks, staff and residents consider community to be more than architecture and landscaping. To them, it is a spirit of giving that residents drive through their acts of kindness and their volunteer efforts.
One of those projects was building school desks for 75 children during the pandemic. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it really had a profound impact on the children of those who serve residents as they were thrown into an unprecedented virtual learning environment. The community woodworking club sharpened their saw blades and went to work building 75 school desks to support the in-home learning efforts of the dedicated families.
Some residents are supporting dining employees during a staff shortage. The struggle to find quality, hard-working individuals in the country is real and Royal Oaks is not immune to this challenge. While community officials are working diligently to recruit individuals that aspire to serve with the love, kindness and respect, some of Royal Oaks residents have taken it upon themselves to pitch in and support the dining team during meal service. The relationship between staff and residents here is one that can only be described as family, and that family proudly supports one another in times of need.
Living through a pandemic means family cannot see one another as often as they would like. Royal Oaks staff sees a lot of love come through the mail as a result. Whether it was from a loved one or Amazon, the number of packages received on certain days is extraordinary. Residents stepped in and helped ensure that all the well wishes and precious cargo safely made it to its final destination.
Every once in a while, the team at Royal Oaks needs to have meetings or events that require the front desk staff to participate. Residents are quick to volunteer their enthusiasm, community knowledge and their warm smile as they assume the mantel of front desk responsibilities.
The resident volunteer lead information technology help desk is called “The Hub.” It is an actual physical location where resident volunteers, who are tech savvy (some learning to become tech savvy only after they moved to Royal Oaks) conduct daily office hours. They also make house calls to assist residents with phones, IPads, TVs, DVRs, PCs, email, logins, etc. This is a necessary service as the constant evolution of technology can often be overwhelming and frustrating for older adults. These resident peers are available to help with almost any issue a fellow resident is having.
Giving back is certainly the mantra for Royal Oaks residents. Each December, a resident-led committee accepts donations from residents for the Employee Appreciation Fund. A new record was set this year with more than $450,000 donated by residents for Royal Oaks’ 325-plus staff members. Each employee received Dec. 3 a sizeable gift, compliments of residents.
“I am so very grateful,” said Paula Webb, a staff member who this year celebrated 35 years of working at the community. “Our residents are so generous and we love serving them.”
During the Dec. 3 employee holiday breakfast, a dozen volunteers, all residents, poured coffee, bussed tables and handed out gift checks.
“It’s been tradition on this day that the tables are turned and we serve employees,” explained Judi Didcoct, Employee Appreciation Fund Committee chairwoman. “We are like a big family here and help one another — residents and staff joining together. It’s really a beautiful thing.”
Royal Oaks is a Life Plan Community offering 340 apartment and garden homes with an expansion neighborhood that includes 156 additional apartment homes and villas built on an oasis of 50-plus acres. Royal Oaks offers a service-rich and maintenance-free lifestyle to access to a range of amenities, local recreation opportunities, golf courses, shopping, restaurants and more.
Editor’s Note: Mary Ellen Thieroff is Royal Oaks marketing director.
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