Brilliant sunshine was rivaled only be beaming smiles at Canterbury Woods this afternoon, as the area's premier retirement community welcomed a special group of visitors for a fun-filled summer celebration.

Residents and staff from Canterbury Woods hosted a Teddy Bear picnic for dozens of youngsters from Buffalo child care centers.  The event was planned in conjunction with Read to Succeed Buffalo, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing childhood literacy and improving student achievement by placing a priority on literacy for children birth to age eight.

Reading is a central component to the many events that Canterbury Woods plans in conjunction with Read to Succeed Buffalo.  Today, Canterbury Woods residents read bear-themed books to the children on the sun-splashed lawn before the youngsters enjoyed a tractor ride chauffeured by Rob Wallace, Canterbury Woods president and CEO.  Afterward, the multi-generational group shared a special lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and fresh vegetables, along with activities and music.  Each child received a surprise gift of a small teddy bear, ensuring that the day ended as brightly as it began.

"As a Canterbury Woods community, we look forward to events like this as much as the children we host," said Wallace.  "Watching the interactions between our residents and the children and seeing how everyone's face lights is priceless."

Canterbury Woods has developed a strong partnership with Read to Succeed Buffalo over the past few years.  The organization has sponsored outings for children, including, an outing to see a performance at Shea's Performing Arts Center and a holiday party.  Residents and employees also volunteer to read to children at inner-city day care centers, to help promote literacy.

"We hope that, in our own way, Canterbury Woods is having a positive impact on these children's lives," Wallace added.

Opened in 1999, Canterbury Woods provides life care to seniors age 62 and older with assured access to assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitative services.  The unique retirement lifestyle at Canterbury Woods gives residents the opportunity to age in place in an environment of their choosing.  Seniors select a residence for their current lifestyle, and gain the ability to change their level of care - at no additional cost - she the need arise.

Canterbury Woods was the first senior living community in Western New York to offer a life care continuum and is sponsored by the Episcopal Church Home & Affiliates, which has been providing healthcare and related services to the Western New York community since 1858.  For more information, visit www.canterburywoods.org or call (716) 929-5817.