This September, Easterseals will begin it’s Opening Minds Through Art (OMA), an intergenerational art program for people with dementia, founded by Dr. Elizabeth Lokon of Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center.
Susan Mordigal, an APA Scholarship winner in 2014, spoke at our August 2018 event. She was a stay-at-home mom for 16 years. As her children became more independent she began pursuing some of her own interests. She has been building the OMA program for Easterseals since early 2017. Susan is very excited because she is able to intertwine many of her passions in this role. She is a Licensed Social Worker with a focus on Health in Aging. Susan also loves art. Her first degree is in Fine Arts from Moore College of Art and Design. She received training at the New York Botanical Garden through their Botanical Art and Illustration courses!
She was so honored to receive the APA Scholarship that she framed it and put it on her wall with her Master Degree from the University of Cincinnati. Susan has seen amazing results from OMA. Her first experience with the program was as a volunteer at Cedar Village Retirement Community in 2014; she then earned her OMA Lead Facilitator certificate through training with Dr. Lokon and her team at Miami University in 2017. The OMA program at Easterseals will officially launch on September 11.
The Benefits of participating in OMA are many; for the artists:
· self-expression (especially for non-verbal folks)
· relationship building through 1:1 regular contact
· community engagement,
· increased dignity and self-confidence through choice-making.
For the volunteers:
· increased knowledge of disability and dementia
· gaining self-confidence through new relationship building with a different population
· fulfilling service learning or volunteer requirements
Susan says, “Having a high quality, enjoyable, evidence-based program should help increase enrollment in our Adult Day Service (ADS) program, which will mean we can serve even more individuals to further empower them. We are also hoping to increase awareness in the community at large about disability, and that the disability does not define the person-they are a person with many capabilities first.”
Easterseals has already had a couple of new enrollments due to the offering of the OMA program and they are expecting that it will improve satisfaction with overall ADS services. To fund the program, Easterseals applied to several foundations and received a grant from ArtsWave as well as a couple other local sources who wish to remain anonymous. As with most non-profits, there are budget constraints on the program. The more volunteers they have, the more participants they can offer the OMA experience. Volunteers attend 6 hours of training, then 10 2-hour sessions of working with a local senior on an art project. Selected pieces will be on display at the end of session art show in November, open to the general public.
If you are interested in volunteering or know someone who would be interested please reach out to Susan at 513.382.2144 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.