Regina elementary school’s students have started using art to help the seniors rekindle some wonderful memories from their past. Through conversation and art, the youngsters and the seniors bonded.
Common Weal Community Arts, the not-for-profit organization, is constantly trying to create social change through art. The students from Ethel Milliken School and the seniors from Regina connected with each other through a project called Hello In There.
During the program, the students would work with seniors, trying to help them combat the mental health impacts of isolation.
Shaunna Dunn, the outgoing southern artistic director for Common Weal Community Arts, stated:
“As soon as COVID started that need and the amount of isolation that individuals were experiencing just amplified. So we were really looking at how can we still connect with individuals in long-term care, especially when they’re feeling additionally isolated.”
Before meeting with seniors, the students received a file containing biographies collected by the care home. Then, the students created a memory box based on the seniors’ stories.
The students were overjoyed with the project, and they have stated that meeting with seniors and hearing their stories was a “one of a kind experience” for them. The seniors also enjoyed this project. They have successfully connected with the youngsters, enjoying the time spent with them and even getting some presents in the form of artworks.
Shaunna Dunn confirmed that seniors really did enjoy this project:
“Individuals who are experiencing depression might suddenly have something that they’re looking forward to each week and feel they have a voice. I’ve seen those really big shifts, just through a seven-week connection with an individual who’s there to listen to them, and to give them space to have their life validated.”