Smile Dolls turn frowns upside down


Akshay Talwar has developed lots of friends as well as contacts during his time as owner and president of Rhode Island Medical Homes, Inc., also known as the still expanding 22 acre Briarcliffe Campus located at 49 Old Pocasset Road in Johnston.

One such case surfaced recently when officials at the Cranston Senior Center contacted Talwar in regards to a project the sewing class was doing that would directly benefit residents at Briarcliffe Gardens, a state of the art facility that prides itself in offering a new concept in memory care at the assisted living residence.

That sewing class – which is located on the second floor of the Cranston Enrichment Center – contacted Talwar about a unique donation women like Ann Tanzi, Beatrice Charlonne, Helen Okolowitcz and Bina Gehres wanted to make to residents at Briarcliffe Gardens.

“They’re called Smile Dolls,” said Penny Riddensdale, the Activity Director at Briarcliffe Manor. “This is awesome; these Smile Dolls will aid in enhancing the quality of life for our Alzheimer’s and dementia residents by providing the opportunity to express their parenting instincts of being nurturing and loving.”

To which Pam Raymond, the Assistant Activities Director at Briarcliffe, added: “These Smile Dolls will be comforting for our residents; they will absolutely love these dolls.”

In all, the expert sewers at the Cranston Senior Center donated 100 Smile Dolls for use at Briarcliffe Gardens during a recent presentation coordinated by David Quiroa, Executive Team/Assistant Director of the Cranston Department of senior Services.

“These ladies are all very, very talented,” a visitor to the presentation said. “It’s obvious there has been lots of special care and love that’s displayed that pile of dolls on that table.”

Quiroa, heaped praise upon “our excellent sewers” – Helen Okolowitcz, Ann Tanzi, Beatrice Charlonne, Felicia Lema, Robert Finney, Gina Gehres and Josephine Gemma.

Each doll in the donation featured a special tag that read: “This Smile Doll was hand-made by Cranston Senior Volunteers.” 


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