United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) Foundation Receives $50,000 to Continue Arts Initiative for Older Adults

 Chelsea, MI, March 02, 2018 – The UMRC Foundation received a Seeding Vitality Arts U.S. grant of $50,000 from Aroha Philanthropies to support a second year of arts instruction for UMRC’s residents at Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC).  This grant is one of just fifteen awarded to nonprofit organizations nationwide by Aroha Philanthropies.

“We are thrilled to have this unique opportunity to provide meaningful arts instruction for the older adults we serve,” says UMRC Foundation President, Wendy Brightman.  “By incorporating the arts as a vital part of healthy aging, this generous grant from Aroha Philanthropies supports UMRC’s goal of providing innovative care of the highest quality for our residents and their families.”

In the first year of the Seeding Vitality Arts initiative, CRC residents had the opportunity to explore a variety of arts classes, including watercolors and pottery, theater and creative writing, and chimes and ukulele, each taught by a local arts instructor, explains CRC Life Enrichment Coordinator, Hazel Mead.  “Our residents in Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Kresge Healthcare and Rehabilitation were all able to take part in these classes, and their reactions were overwhelming!  They loved it!  We are over the moon to be able to continue this project for our residents for a second year,” says Hazel.

A culminating event follows each eight-week arts course to give participants the opportunity to share their achievements with their family, friends, fellow residents, staff, and the general public.  “Last year’s culminating events included theatrical readings and story-telling, art exhibits, and a ukulele concert with an audience sing-along,” says Hazel.  “It was wonderful to see the sense of accomplishment on the faces of each participant, and to see their loved ones taking pictures!”

The project team looks forward to bringing back some favorite classes and instructors in year two, as well as introducing some new art forms, including acrylic painting and jewelry-making.  Sandra Drabant, who taught pottery last year, says, “I love to help people find a way to appreciate and express that imaginative and creative part of themselves.  I’m thrilled for the opportunity to share my love of the arts with our residents again this year.”

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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