Local Girl Holds Birthday Party at New Pond Village in Walpole

This article, written by Mike Gleason, was published on April 19, 2019, by the The Walpole Times.

Children's birthday party

A Walpole senior living facility played host to a rather unusual event this month – a birthday party for a 9-year-old girl.

Though Millis resident Lillyan Hanson did not know any of the people at Walpole’s New Pond Village, she decided to hold her party there as a way to spread happiness to its residents.

Tess Hanson, Lillyan’s mother, said she had asked her daughter what she wanted for her birthday, and she raised the idea of hosting her party at a senior facility.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Hanson said.

Hanson noted, though the request was a surprise, Lillyan had previously asked about doing Christmastime volunteer work. It had been difficult, however, to find opportunities for such work for a child of her age.

Tasked with making this new request a reality, Hanson began seeking out local senior living communities on the internet.

“I really wasn’t sure where to start looking – I was just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best,” she said, adding that she had inquired with New Pond Village through its site’s “contact us” page. “I think I titled the email ‘Unusual request.’”

Hanson said she didn’t know what to expect – she just wanted to find a facility open and accommodating to the idea.

Adam Manchester, the campus executive director for New Pond Village, said the thought was indeed not the kind usually received at the facility.

“If we have a request (for a party or event), it’s typically because some residents have family members who wish to celebrate,” he said, adding that Lillyan’s plan was a welcome surprise. “Our residents were so unbelievably thrilled… they were just floored at the thought of it.”

Hanson said the event itself had food – attendees sat with the seniors, had lunch and played bridge.

“Lilly got to call out the numbers for bingo, which was a lot of fun,” she said. “We did have a cake, and there was an arts and crafts corner – it was a lot of fun.”

Lillyan, facility officials noted, had asked that – rather than giving gifts to her – attendees provide gifts for the seniors instead.

The birthday party, Manchester said, left quite an impact on the New Pond Villagers.

“They’re still just glowing over it,” he said. “I don’t know if Lilly realizes what she did in asking for this… it really just touched their afternoon.”

Lillyan herself said the idea came from a relatively simple place.

“I like helping others,” she said.

Manchester said, if the family ever wished to return to New Pond Village, they would be welcomed with open arms.

New Pond Village