Living at The Knolls means being part of an active, welcoming and tight-knit community. With all the activities, events and day-to-day rhythm of resident life, it sometimes feels like The Knolls is its own little town! But instead of a mayor and town board overseeing the lifestyle and amenities of the community, it is the Residents’ Council and its president, Ellen S., which has its finger on the pulse of resident interests and life at The Knolls!
A diligent dozen
The Residents’ Council, which meets monthly, covers just about every area of life at the community. It is comprised of 12 resident volunteers who are current chairs of other resident committees at The Knolls. Each council member is elected to a two-year term and can serve a maximum of four years. This cycle helps keep the council fresh with new ideas, and it also encourages newer residents to get involved.
President of the Residents’ Council at The Knolls
Ellen, a resident at The Knolls since 2015 and current president of the Residents’ Council, explained what one of the monthly meetings looks like:
“We’re divided into committees that cover just about everything here,” Ellen said. “There’s the food committee, buildings committee, cultural arts committee, environmental committee, grounds committee, finance committee and more. During our council meetings, we basically evaluate what’s going on with each committee in their field and keep track of progress on new initiatives, while aiming to solve problems if and when they arise.”
Ellen explained that the council meetings offer each committee chair an opportunity to report on resident feedback from all areas of The Knolls. For example, committee chairs will report which activities and events were popular the previous month, and what might be planned in the weeks and months ahead. And, if a committee deems something in need of improvement, the council will inform The Knolls’ Executive Director, Michael Dobbins, of its findings.
The Residents’ Council works directly with Michael Dobbins to address issues raised by the community. Open lines of communication between the residents and administration are vital to keeping life at The Knolls running smoothly. “We look for the betterment of the community as a whole,” Ellen says, “because this is our home and we want it to be a good place to live. The executive board understands that.”
Using specialized skills and maintaining purpose
Gail R., a resident at The Knolls since late 2017, got involved soon after moving in: “I feel very strongly that if you live in a community you should be a part of that community. I got involved on the cultural arts committee, and then Ellen asked me to be vice president of the Residents’ Council. Ellen is a very good leader and I quickly said yes.”
Vice President of the Residents’ Council at The Knolls
Now that she has served as vice president of the Residents’ Council for a little while, Gail shared one of the most special qualities that she’s observed about the volunteers who comprise the council and the broader committees at The Knolls.
“One of the things that I’ve always admired is the backgrounds of the people who serve on the council and on these committees,” Gail noted. “For example, the people on the finance committee all have career backgrounds in finance, so they come with a lot of skills, which in turn helps make the committees and the community better.”
Furthermore, Gail commented that the committee members’ expertise and volunteerism heps them serve not just their community, but also fulfill their own sense of purpose. Gail continued, “This is a time of life when people want to relax, but these people choose to volunteer and guide the community. It gives them a sense of purpose and provides a way to feel valued among their peers.”
Getting it done
When asked about their favorite or most notable accomplishment that the Residents’ Council has achieved under their direction, Ellen and Gail shared two distinct successes.
“One of the things that [those on the council] strive to do is be very open to residents and especially new residents,” Ellen explained. “Many newer residents don’t know what the committees do, and for that reason might hesitate to get involved. We’ve recently generated mission statements for all the committees and packaged them together so that anyone can read about all them. Even if someone doesn’t want to get involved right away, this makes it very easy for them to get in touch with the committee chair and explore more. We hope that the mission statement packages will make people feel more welcome at committee meetings and within the community in general.”
From Gail’s point of view, one of the biggest accomplishments she’s seen—thanks to the Residents’ Council—was a thoughtful way to give back to a group who keeps the day-to-day life at The Knolls humming smoothly.
“Over time, the council has discussed things that they’ve wanted to do for the community on a broader scale,” Gail explained. “With input from the finance committee, we got the OK to collect money from residents throughout the community to form an employee recognition fund. Then, we divided the total equally and gave each of the service workers here [cooks, cleaning crew, landscaping, transportation, concierges, etc.] a holiday bonus.”
While those two accomplishments certainly stick out, Ellen and Gail are just happy to help keep The Knolls the welcoming and bustling community of active seniors that it is.
“It gets a little overwhelming because there are 10 committees to oversee and keep moving, but they all have an impact, whether big or small,” Ellen shared. “Personally, I am happy to be contributing in any way I can, because when you’re in a community, it’s good to participate, and I feel good!”
To learn more about the active, independent lifestyle at The Knolls right in the heart of Westchester County, feel free to get in touch with its friendly team. If you’d like, you can even take a personalized visit to The Knolls to get a firsthand look at life in this active community. Simply click here, or call 914-461-4517 to request your visit!