MARYLAND

'Calendar girls' of Riderwood Retirement Community

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The women of the Riderwood Retirement Community in Silver Spring are taking it off - at least partially - in the name of charity.

“We wanted to do something edgy but classy and I think we succeeded,” said Kay Bowers, Miss December.

The women decided to put together a calendar to benefit the Benevolent Care Fund, which provides financial assistance to residents who run out of money.

Miss October, Charlotte Gilchrist, understands just how important this funding can be for those who are in need.

“We never know what our outcome will be and whether we are going to need it ourselves,” she said.

Riderwood’s executive director Chip Warner said, “It's the community getting together to support the community.”

A good cause indeed, but how does a woman in her 70s or 80s find the confidence for all of this?

“I think that my 25 years with the D.C. police department has prepared me for anything, including this,” said Pat Howell, a retired sergeant who serves as Miss April.

Miss September, Michiko Hansen, said in her picture she tried to use an apron to cover up as much as possible.

“I put it as high as I could, and they kept saying a little bit lower, a little bit lower,” Hansen recalled.

Meanwhile, Levern Allen - Miss March - thought her pillow covered up just enough.

“I love the way it turned out,” she proclaimed.

Having fun is a way of life for this group of vibrant women. For the shoot, Virginia Nitkiewicz – Miss June – reveled in her biker glory.

“I’ve never ridden a Harley before, but I felt right at home on it,” she said.

Then there’s the part about telling your family.

“I said, ‘you know - when I go to the great beyond, that's how I want you to remember me – as Miss July,” Sylvia Valentino said.

With support of family, friends and the community, the ladies are hoping to raise as much money as possible through sales of their calendar.

They’re asking everyone with a few dollars to spare to buy a copy and celebrate life with laughs.

“We play we pray we share we care so we tried to show that in the calendar,” said Beth Gordon, Miss November.

The calendar costs $15 each, and are available online at www.riderwoodlife.org/BCF.

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