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Ellie Parr Kim Madison.jpg

Call it kismet, serendipity, or a “God wink.” An Arbor Terrace resident recently experienced one of those crazy twists of fate that seem like more than just coincidence. 

A little background: Beginning in August, residents of Arbor Terrace Peachtree City have served as volunteers for an ice cream program in partnership with a nearby school, Oak Grove Elementary.  

Children at Oak Grove can purchase ice cream after they have eaten their lunch, with proceeds benefitting the school. But principal Dr. Felecia Spicer had a problem: not enough volunteers to staff the sale every day.  Arbor Terrace agreed to supply the volunteers.


Each school day, two residents travel to Oak Grove’s cafeteria to work for about two hours, selling the ice cream to the students.  Residents also organize and run the entire effort, led by chairperson Audrey Bennet, a resident and a retired educator and principal. 

It’s a win-win-win.  The sale helps the school; the residents enjoy the project; and of course, the kids love the ice cream. 

“Many of our volunteers are retired teachers and the remainder are thrilled to be volunteering because of the joy they receive from the children at Oak Grove,” said Meghan Lowry, Arbor Terrace Peachtree’s Engagement Director.

“I can't convey what a wonderful blessing the ladies of Arbor Terrace have been to our school,” said Dr. Spicer. “Every day, they make us smile and give us reason to be grateful for our newest volunteers.”

A Near Miss

First grade teacher Kim Madison always takes a moment to greet the volunteers in the cafeteria, especially when new volunteers show up.  On a recent Tuesday, she was in a bit of hurry and almost didn’t stop, but something made her change her mind. She greeted the two Arbor Terrace residents working that day.

When one of them introduced herself as Ellie Parr, Kim was speechless.  Ellie Parr had been Kim Madison’s fifth-grade teacher.

“You may not remember me …” Kim said, “But you were one of the teachers responsible for my choosing this profession.”

Ellie did remember her.  Kim went on to say that, just a few days earlier, she had shared some 'Mrs. Parr's class' stories with her daughter and father. She’s planning to bring a photo of her fifth-grade class to share with Ellie.

“It’s thrilling to see a former student become a dedicated teacher,” Ellie said.

In Kim’s mind, the fateful reunion over ice cream was more than just happenstance.   

“I feel that God was reminding me of my purpose as well as the impact I have on my students,” she said. “It wasn't just what I learned in Mrs. Parr's class, but the care and support she showed me during my time with her that made me love her so much.” 

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Steven Sanders

About the Author: Steven Sanders

For over 35 years, Steven has dedicated his life to serving seniors as a CEO in luxury retirement living and long-term health care settings.