Greeting Cards for a Cause

February 20, 2013

Ashby Ponds resident Marilyn Henrikson uses a long-time skill to help her neighbors

(Ashburn, Va.) - Ashby Ponds resident Marilyn Henrikson models her actions after what

she calls a "life" verse: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back" (Luke 6:38).  Even before moving to Ashby Ponds in 2011, Henrikson knew she wanted to share her gifts to help her neighbors. Shortly after moving to the community, Henrikson joined the Ashby Ponds Greeting Card and Stamp Group.  The group works to create one-of-a-kind, handmade greeting cards for all occasions.  Henrikson had been making greeting cards for about twenty years before moving to Ashby Ponds, so she was a veteran in the creative department.  For Henrikson, making the cards is therapeutic.  "I got really involved with the activity while I was a caregiver for my mother," said Henrikson.  "I was able to work on these cards and still be close to her incase she needed me."

Now, Henrikson leads the group at Ashby Ponds and hosts classes for interested residents once a month.  "Coming up with the ideas takes the most time, but that's the creative part, and the most fun," said Henrikson.  The handmade greeting cards are sold at the community to benefit the Benevolent Care Fund (BCF) at Ashby Ponds, which provides support to residents who, despite careful planning, outlive their financial resources.  The money raised for the fund allows residents to continue living at the community.  Each card, regardless of design or occasion, is sold for $1, and nearly all of the proceeds go to the BCF.  "We use part of the proceeds to buy envelopes, but the rest of the funds raised go toward helping our neighbors," said Henrikson. "I am so thankful for those in the group who contribute cards for sale for the fund; I couldn't do it without their help."

During 2012, the Greeting Card and Stamp Group was able to donate $775 to the BCF, with nearly half of that having been raised at the annual end-of-the-year holiday bazaar.  In January of this year alone, the group has already raised $207.  The cards created by the group are sold once a month at an organized event at the community, but are also available at special request.  "I recently received requests for pet sympathy cards," said Henrikson. "It makes me feel very pleased to be able to accommodate these requests, and know that someone's heart may be cheered when they are grieving."

Now, Henrikson and the group are busy working on St. Patrick's Day cards, Easter cards, wedding cards, and graduation cards.  She even started working on cards for military appreciation after her granddaughter joined the National Guard.  "I like creating different things," said Henrikson, who has established 34 different categories of cards alphabetically from "animals" to "weddings".  The designs on many cards are very intricate and include a variety of special details including stamps, ribbons, buttons, fabric, lace, and other items.  "Most of the cards take about an hour to make," said Henrikson, who estimates that she spends upwards of 8-10 hours per week working on the cards, often in her apartment home's dedicated arts and crafts room.  "It's my hobby and I truly enjoy it," said Henrikson.
About Ashby Ponds: Ashby Ponds, one of 16 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.). The community is home to over 700 residents and is filled with fascinating people and fantastic opportunities. With over 100 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options, life at Ashby Ponds offers a true sense of community and is an exciting alternative to the typical retirement community. More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at: