Residents Association Committees and Activities
Creative Arts: The art room is stocked with supplies for two-dimensional art in several media. Instruction by qualified teachers of both two- and three-dimensional art is available. About a dozen resident artists have organized a group, called Wellspring Artists, and they mount three exhibitions annually at Friends House. Their work is also shown at local shows.
Decorative Arts: Residents select and display artwork to decorate the walls of the community, purchasing art as needed.
Elephant Shop: Staffed by residents, the Elephant Shop accepts donations of new and gently used household goods, clothing, furniture and jewelry. The shop is open two days a week and holds two large-scale sales each year, in the spring and the fall. Proceeds from the Elephant Shop are the main source of funds for all RA activities and provide charitable donations to the Residents’ Assistance Fund.
Free Rides Program: Volunteer drivers provide free rides to destinations within 10 miles of Friends House campus. Resident dispatchers take requests for transport and contact drivers to arrange trips.
Garden Committee: Residents maintain a two-acre organic garden, working with certified Master Gardeners (resident and non-resident). Within the garden space are several specialty gardens: rose garden, Shakespeare garden, certified butterfly garden, herb garden and an apiary. In addition to the community garden, raised beds and plots are available for individual residents for their own planting. A greenhouse allows year-round gardening. Both the garden and greenhouse provide flowers throughout the year for arrangements and displays all throughout the community. The Garden Committee holds two plant sales each year.
Library and Book Club: The Friends House library, located in the heart of the campus, has 1,500 carefully curated books in its holdings. Managed by two former librarians, the library also offers books on CD on loan from the Montgomery County Public Library. A book club meets monthly to discuss a book, and the Olney Public Library furnishes enough copies for all members.
Mindfulness: A group of residents and greater community members meets weekly to practice meditation in the Thich Nhat Hanh tradition.
Music: A lively music scene is an important characteristic of Friends House, with three formal programs.
The Friends House Chorus: Presents two programs each year, one in the spring and one during the Christmas season. Under the direction of a professional music director, the chorus performs a considerable variety of work. The group meets for weekly rehearsals.
The Friends House Wind Ensemble: Musicians playing recorder, flute, saxophone and clarinet, and it also performs in the spring and winter holiday season. Musical selections include works by Baroque and Medieval composers, as well as modern music.
The Folk Singing Sing-Along: Meets twice a month from September through June. The Friends House String Band supplies music, with two guitars, a banjo, harmonica and the crowd-pleasing washtub bass.
Programs: Several evenings a week, the Miller Center hosts programs such as concerts, lectures, drama and films. Residents contract with presenters, advertise the events and operate the audio-visual equipment.
Road’s Scholars: Friends House participates in the Adopt-A-Road program, caring for a section of Norwood Road. The group meets once a month to clean up trash and debris from the side of the road.
Tours: Volunteers organize trips to concerts, plays and sites of interest in the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas.
Service to the Care Center: Residents from Residential Living help with activities in the Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Centers. Activities include calling Bingo games, providing art lessons and playing the piano for hymn singing.
Wellness Committee: Working with the Aging Well With Friends program staff, the committee represents the residents’ perspective and supports the Resource Coordinator in producing wellness activities for the community. Some of the activities that the committee helps with are expansion of yoga classes and hosting a Wellness Fair for the community.