Over the past six months, Covenant Woods participated in the award-winning program Opening Minds through Art (OMA). OMA is an intergenerational art program for seniors that provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement. Over the course of six weeks, residents, staff, and volunteers worked together to create abstract art in a social atmosphere, specifically in our Memory Support Neighborhood. The program was initially introduced in June of 2022, and it was an instant success.
The program would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers! Each volunteer is paired with a resident weekly, not only to create art but to inspire special connections. It is important for residents with different forms of neurocognitive disorders to have daily social interaction to not only produce endorphins, but to maintain a sense of positivity and inclusion.
“Engaging with the residents in this way reminded me of why I chose to volunteer here at Covenant Woods,” says a staff volunteer. “OMA quickly built a special culture within our community that enables us to bond with residents and change the way we communicate with them. Opening Minds Through Art is a wonderful program that gives residents the freedom to create beautiful abstract art while building strong relationships with their partners. OMA brings residents from across campus together and allows people from all walks of life to get to know each other and meet new people,” says Brook Brown, Recreation Therapist.
In early 2023, Art for the Journey, an OMA certified company based in Richmond, VA, hosted a special facilitator certification training. Our very own Christie Berry, Medical Records Clerk, and Christina Reilly, Nutritional Care Manager, earned their OMA aprons as official facilitators for the Covenant Woods OMA Program.
After each OMA program is completed, Covenant Woods holds an art show and silent auction in the Taylor Art Gallery on campus. Resident families, employees, volunteers, and guests are invited to purchase the artwork residents created all while donating back to the Covenant Woods OMA fund. This fund supports all future OMA programs as well as other Memory Support art programs.