Robson Ranch finds ways to give back through creativity

Robson Ranch finds ways to give back through creativity

Robson Ranch finds ways to give back through creativity
April 12
11:20 2018

A quick 15-minute drive southwest of UNT lies a retirement community called Robson Ranch. Here, three groups of women gather weekly in the Bluebonnet Room to create donations for those in need in Denton. The Yarn Divas, the Material Girls and the Sassy Stampers fill room 104 with love, laughter and lively conversation.

“Some people come for the artwork, others for the camaraderie and some for the charity,” Material Girls member Lucy Rees said.

All three groups have been in existence for years — some for over a decade.

The Yarn Divas were established at Robson Ranch 15 years ago, before there was even a Creative Arts and Technology Center at Robson Ranch to congregate in. They dedicate their time to knitting, crocheting and needlework of the utmost detail.

Initially, the group formed due to shared interests, but it quickly transformed into something greater — family.

“They’re so talented,” Mary Nordenson, Robson Ranch resident and leader of the Yarn Divas said. “I just have to pinch myself everyday. So talented.”

The women possess unexpected backgrounds and life experiences, varying from person to person. Yet, they meld well together, feeding off of each other’s animated and charismatic energies.

One of their members, Robson Ranch resident Patty Silver, has even been recognized in national magazines for her extraordinary needlepoint. Nordenson commented that her house is covered in colorful tapestries.

This feat is even more remarkable considering the fact that she was born blind and only recently regained her sight in one eye as an adult after her children had fully grown.

Silver maintains an optimistic view on life, commenting that when people ask her how she remains so happy, she responds with “because I lived.”

Knit beginnings

Renown American fantasy author Sasha Miller aided in founding the group all those years ago when she became a resident at Robson Ranch. She reminisces about those who have come and gone, recalling when she passed the torch of Yarn Divas to Mary and commenting on the various talents the group possesses.

Not only do their talents reflect on their work, but their open and giving hearts reflect on their goodwill. Miller mentioned that though charity work was not the inceptive cause for the creation of the group, it has always sought to improve the quality of life in their communities.

“[The charity work] just sort of arose,” Miller said. “I kept telling them, ‘Here we are. We are not rich people, but we are comfortable.’ There are a lot of people in this community who are dirt poor — which came as a big surprise to me when I found out about it.”

The Yarn Divas are partnered with Robson Ranch’s chapter of the Kiwanis Club, another group dedicated to helping others, specializing in children’s charities. Many of the members, or partners of the of the Yarn Divas, Material Girls and Sassy Stampers are a part of this group as well, and donate items to the Kiwanis Drive.

The Yarn Divas focus primarily on items that will ease the minds of those preoccupied with more important issues.

“I [think] it behooves us to share [what we have] and do what we can to ease their lives,” Miller said. “So that is exactly what we are doing, and it’s taken off from there.”

The items include: baby hats and blankets for the Texas Presbyterian Hospital maternity ward, children’s hats for after schoolers during harsh, cold temperatures and lap blankets and shawls for Friends of the Family and a variety of other nursing homes.

Part-time mentor at Borman Elementary School, Myra Johnson confirms that their work makes her feel like she’s doing something useful. She recounts that when volunteering at Borman, there were many children in need of appropriate winter clothing, to the point where she brought a bag full of winter caps to disperse among the students she mentored.

“It’s nice to know that you’re doing something with your time [that] somebody’s [going to] benefit from,” Johnson said.

Material girls in a not-so material world

Yarn Divas is not alone in its efforts to assist those in need, however. The majority of the textiles produced by the Material Girls are also donated to organizations dedicated to the betterment of the wellbeing of humanity around the globe.

“I believe quilts bring people together and that our group, the Material Girls, is one of the best groups at Robson Ranch,” resident Nancy Myers said.

Founded by Marguerite Rose 14 years ago, Material Girls is similar to the Yarn Divas in that it commenced as an outlet for the creative energies of the members of the community. This group is mainly comprised of open sewing and quilting rather than knitting, crocheting and needlework, however.

They concern themselves not only with aiding the local communities of Denton, but with reaching as far as they can in the global community.

These global functions are accomplished through two charities, in one of which, quilts are sent to Kenya. The other sending pillowcase dresses to Honduras in Central America.

Material Girls is known for going the extra mile. The group initially promised to send four quilts to Kenya, according to resident Lucy Rees, but they ended up sending at least 30 when they were finished.

They have not only donated to those two international charities, but have also donated to a number of local organizations: Texas Oncology in Denton, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Support the Troops, Cumberland Children’s Home, Child Protective Services, Afterschoolers and Cook’s County.

“It makes me feel good to know that I’ve helped somebody in any way I can,” Myers said.

Sassy seniors

The Sassy Stampers also dedicate their time to causes helping those who desire it. They use their talents to create a variety of cards expressing a multitude of messages.

Myers asserts that one of the most “sentimental projects” was Operation Baby Box, in which the Sassy Stampers created greeting cards for the pregnant wives of deployed soldiers, as well as a greeting card for the designated spouse that revealed a baby was coming.

The Operation Shower Baby Box Program is a charity that all three Robson Ranch community clubs participated in assisting.

Additionally, the Material Girls contribute to this Baby Shower basket through quilts, receiving blankets and burp cloths. Finally, the Yarn Divas included knitted and crocheted blankets, baby hats, booties, sweaters and baby bibs. Washcloths and other small products were provided in the packages as well.

Together, the three groups of women create a powerhouse force to be reckoned with.

“To a lot of the members, [the charity work] is what they live for,” Rees said.

Each and every woman enthused their fulfillment regarding the charity work their respective group performs. The one most mantra they all share is to keep focus on the important things.

“[It’s important] look at what you have instead of what [you] don’t have,” Silver said.

Featured Image: Material Girls members show unfinished projects passed down through their families during the trunk show portion of the meeting. The members aim to complete these unfinished products which hold sentimental value. Isabel Anes

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Xaviera Hernandez

Xaviera Hernandez

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1 Comment

  1. Alexus
    Alexus April 13, 09:10

    Great story, but the layout makes me wonder who took the photo. Was it Xaviera or Isabel? A photo by would help. Keep creating great things!

    Reply to this comment

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