A Passion for Clay: Villa Gardens Dedicates Resident-Created Sculpture – ‘Variations’

"Once I put my hands in the clay and got it under my fingernails I was a goner," laughed artist and Villa Gardens resident Joyce Newman about her first introduction to sculpting. "I was hooked. Since then, sculpting in clay has been my fascination for 60 years." Although she has a doctorate in biochemistry and worked in that field briefly, Joyce's passion in life and her career has been art, specifically sculpting, although she also dabbles in watercolor. She had to decide between her lo…

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Getting to know You: Innovative Program Creates Connections Between Villa Gardens Residents and Staff

While walking through the halls and common areas of Villa Gardens, residents can always count on Life Enrichment Specialist Maria Gallegos for a friendly hello, smile or wave. But because she primarily works at the community's Health Center, she does not get to interact with independent living residents on a deeper level as much as she would like. Her desire to do so was recently remedied when she joined residents Sally and Russ White for a "Blind Date," Villa Gardens' innovative program…

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No Event at Villa Gardens is Too Big or Too Small for Catering Manager Irma Gallegos

When residents want to host an event at Villa Gardens, they look no further than to Irma Gallegos to help make their visions come to life. Irma has worked at Villa Gardens for more than two decades, starting as a food service aide, then cook, sous-chef and now catering manager. She is the go-to person who delivers a worry-free creative  presentation and delicious fare to any function big or small. "We have residents who host parties, meetings and all types of gatherings here so i…

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Mentors Make Transition Easier for New Villa Gardens Residents

When new resident Lyssa Axeen moved to Villa Gardens in August 2021, she did not  know what to expect. She was living a rich life and wanted to continue to pursue her  passions and explore new ones. She knew Villa Gardens was the place to do that - a  community filled with opportunities, new friendships, good food and fun! However, as a newcomer Lyssa knew there was much to learn and more to enjoy. "I was looking forward to a new chapter in my life but also to continue doi…

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Villa Gardens Fall Fest Digs Deep

The "all-staff meeting" can be an important part of making connections with employees across an organization, but according to Kim Williams, director of fitness and aquatics at Villa Gardens, it doesn't need to be tedious.  "Once a quarter, we try to do something more fun," said Kim. This October the community decided to introduce employees to the organization's new core values through a "Fall Fest" event. "The core values were the main ingredient," said Kim, "but we made it fun by having f…

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Challenge Accepted! Residents Bring the Jerusalema Dance Party to Villa Gardens

For three minutes and 41 seconds in March, the Villa Gardens parking lot and driveway in Pasadena was a daytime dance floor. Two of the 36 dancers, a couple dressed like the others in blue jeans and white T-shirts, were total novices -- even though the group activity, part of a worldwide social media challenge, was their idea. Phil and Ann Graf have been residents of the Villa Gardens community since 2016. Married in 1964, they met while both were newbie teachers and "dorm parents" fo…

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Demystifying Resident Contracts

For people who are considering moving to a community, many of the benefits are obvious: a beautiful location, friendly neighbors, great amenities, and supportive staff. But moving to a senior community is a big decision, and one that can raise many questions - especially when it comes to signing a contract or resident agreement. The resident agreement may seem imposing at first, but it also holds the answers to many questions prospective residents may have, such as: What's included and n…

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Villa Gardens Resident Publishes Highly-Rated Memoir, Hosts Book Signing

Proceeds from book signing support seniors Ann Boyle Grant, RN PhD, is grateful for so much in her life--a successful career as nurse, educator, art historian and mother. Now, she is the author of an inspirational memoir, titled, The Essays of Ann: A Memoir for a Time of Pandemic. Ann was inspired to write her memoirs during a time of relative isolation in order to stay connected with her fellow residents at Villa Gardens. Now available both as an e-book and paperback, Ann's memoir ha…

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Villa Gardens Resident Continues to Blaze New Trails

In the 1960s and even into the 1970s, most people could not imagine a woman in a position of power outside of the home, much less as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or as the vice president of the United States. Working women were routinely paid lower salaries than men and denied opportunities for advancement. These limitations inspired Villa Gardens resident Nan Johnson to work hard throughout her life and made her into the woman and activist she is today. Nan's long history of activism s…

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Villa’s Popular Read-Aloud Program Goes Virtual

Residents video record themselves reading aloud to the delight of community A poem by Robert Frost, a grandfather's letters to his family, a children's book adults can enjoy, a family memoir, excerpts from a novel, the humor of Robert Benchley or the tales of Mark Twain. These are just a few examples of works residents have read aloud to each other. Villa's traditional Read-Aloud events began more than a decade ago when a small groups of friends would occasionally meet in the Villa Ga…

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