Walnut Hills News
When Alice Ryter moved to Walnut Hills in September 2017, she knew it was where she belonged, so the sign next to her door reads A Belonging Place. This sign isn’t just about where Alice lives, it reflects the way she makes people feel when they are in her presence, wherever she is. Alice embodies the word belonging, helping others feel included, connected, and embraced.
One of the ways Alice embodies belonging is through being a volunteer. She spends hours each week giving her time and self to young and old alike.
Alice loves children and began volunteering in elementary school classrooms in the late 1980s. She helped her kids learn skills in all subjects, but her favorite tasks were in reading and writing. In 2010, when her husband became ill and passed away, Alice took time off from her volunteering, but she returned to it in 2012 and has been active ever since.
“Children are spontaneous and live in the moment,” says Alice with a smile. “They help erase worry.”
Currently, Alice volunteers two mornings per week at Chestnut Ridge Elementary School in Walnut Creek, a public school that serves many Amish children. Twice per month, she visits Carlisle Valley Amish School. She is also active in the “Read With Me” program, reading with children from Walnut Creek Elementary who walk down to the Walnut Hills campus once a week.
In addition to her work with children, Alice also volunteers as a companion in the nursing home and as a seasonal docent at the German Culture Museum in Walnut Creek. She spends two days per year volunteering at Crossroad Child and Family Services in Fort Wayne, Indiana, delivering quilts from her home church to children receiving treatment there.
If that wasn’t enough, Alice’s love of writing has led her to write devotionals for her church and more than 200 letters per year to friends, family, and residents from various nursing homes. She was also the go-to person to write memorials for friends and neighbors because of her sensitive and expressive style.
School children, seniors, Walnut Hills staff, museum visitors, and visitors to her home all find belonging when they are with Alice. Among the 90 words the school children recently used to describe her on her giant birthday card are wise, smiling, helpful, witty, jolly, friendly, and loving - all qualities that make people feel like they belong.