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Bouquets to make their day

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FLOWERS FOR FRIENDS: ASI staff member Ashley Smith, right, hands flower bouquets to ASI client Michelle Davis to place on the dining tables at Parkview Home.
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ARRANGEMENTS: Jason Rogers, Tim Troyer and Brandi Lee pose by a group of bouquets that they helped arrange at ASI Frankfort.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

Created through a partnership between Abilities Services Inc. and Center Township, Flowers for Friends is a new program in which ASI clients use donated flowers and vases to create new floral arrangements. ASI clients then deliver those bouquets to various locations around the community.

ASI's first delivery went to Clinton House Health and Rehab Center. On Wednesday, ASI DSP Ashley Smith drove clients Michelle Davis and Brianna Binder to Parkview Home to drop off bouquets for the residents there. Lunchtime was over when they arrived with the floral arrangements, so Michelle and Brianna left bouquets and handmade cards on each table in the dining area to surprise the residents when they returned for dinner.

“It felt great,” Davis said. “Helping other people through flowers makes you feel good. Delivering letters and all of that makes you appreciate what you have. If I can do one special thing for them, so be it. If I can make one of them feel good, it's a good deal.”

“It makes me feel really good because I am putting my feet in someone else's shoes,” Binder said. “One day, that could be me. It is about treating people the way you want to be treated.”

Parkview Home administrator Chris Overman said the community support is always appreciated and accepted.

“I always welcome any community support,” Overman said “As a matter of fact, we have food coming today. There was a United Way event at Paul Phillippe and had food left over. We went and picked that up. We are always open and have always had great community support. (Our residents) always enjoy it, too.”

ASI Frankfort has been working on the project for just over two weeks now.

“We just had kind of a silent kickoff,” Michelle Leonard-Smith, ASI CEO and executive director said. “What we are doing is a program that we have named 'Flowers from Friends,' and it is modeled after a non-for-profit in Knoxville, Tennessee. that is called 'Random Acts of Flowers.' I was able to reach out to the CEO there a couple years ago and get the model. The only thing that she said is 'Just do me a favor and change the name, but make somebody's day.' That is what we are doing. We are setting out to make somebody's day.”

Leonard-Smith says that donated flowers from florists and funeral homes are used to make bouquets. They then make cards and deliver all of it to nursing homes, hospitals or any place where “they need someone to cheer them up.

“(The flowers) are finding a second life,” Leonard-Smith said. “Our art studio is based on up-cycling. Something that would have gone in the landfill or found its way into someone's trash gets a second like and an opportunity to bring someone joy.”

There are 49 clients at ASI Frankfort, and Leonard-Smith says that they get really excited when the flowers come in.

“I had a great group first thing this morning that was ready to wake up early, come in and put some flowers together,” she said.

Leonard-Smith says that ASI Crawfordsville has been doing the program for the past year.

“We did about 400 vases last year that went out to the community in Montgomery County so, being the competitive one that I am, I feel that we need to blow that number out of the water here in Clinton County.”