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Archive for Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cottonwood provides activities for disabled older adults

New art show features work by participants

October 27, 2013

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Cottonwood Inc. Retirement Enrichment Services participant Kathy Aaron turns the roller on a press during a printmaking workshop on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Cottonwood Inc. Retirement Enrichment Services participant Kathy Aaron turns the roller on a press during a printmaking workshop on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Hans Summers peels apart a print he made with help from art educator Cynthia Woodard Padrón on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at the Lawrence Arts Center. Artwork made by Summers and other members of the Cottonwood Inc. Retirement Enrichment Services program is on view and for sale at the program's annual art show, which runs through Nov. 28 in the lower level of the Arts Center.

Hans Summers peels apart a print he made with help from art educator Cynthia Woodard Padrón on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at the Lawrence Arts Center. Artwork made by Summers and other members of the Cottonwood Inc. Retirement Enrichment Services program is on view and for sale at the program's annual art show, which runs through Nov. 28 in the lower level of the Arts Center.

Artwork created by Cottonwood Inc. Retirement Enrichment Services program participants is displayed in the lower level gallery at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Artwork created by Cottonwood Inc. Retirement Enrichment Services program participants is displayed in the lower level gallery at the Lawrence Arts Center.

With a little prompting, Kathy Aaron slowly turns the wheel of an intaglio press in the Lawrence Arts Center printmaking studio.

Aaron beams when her helper, Cottonwood Inc. staffer Andrea Rogers, displays the colorful results.

“Oooh, wow,” Aaron says. “I did that!”

Every weekday, participants in Cottonwood’s Retirement Enrichment Services program can be found engaging in leisure or learning activities of their choosing. The day program is for intellectually disabled adults like Aaron, who are over the age of 62 and retired or working part-time.

“Especially after a long life, you want to decide how you want to spend your time in your old age,” said program coordinator Micki Self-Loveland. “And having an intellectual disability shouldn’t limit those options.”

Cottonwood Inc., a not-for-profit organization based at 2801 W. 31st St., helps disabled adults with living arrangements, job placement, volunteering, learning and recreational opportunities.

The Retirement Enrichment program, which has about 25 participants, is geared toward older adults, who have varying levels of mobility and energy, Self-Loveland said. The program offers a variety of options and allows participants to choose which ones they want to do.

Some activities happen at Cottonwood, such as breakfast and coffee, arts and crafts, watching movies and playing games. For other activities, participants get out into the community, including lunch at Douglas County Senior Services, music therapy with Kansas University students and visits to the Lawrence Public Library.

On Thursday afternoons, interested participants — like Aaron, who participated this week with several other retirees — visit the Arts Center for printmaking.

Colorful art they have created is featured in the Retirement Enrichment art show and sale, on view in the Arts Center’s lower level until Nov. 28. This year’s theme is “World Inspired; Community Created.”

The annual sale is not a fundraiser for Cottonwood, Self-Loveland said. The artists themselves, some of whom have limited financial resources, get to keep profits from the works that sell.

However, she said, the main goal isn’t to make money. Financing is a challenge for the Retirement Enrichment program, she said, but so is community awareness.

“We want everyone that we serve to be seen with dignity, and sometimes that’s not what they experience,” she said. “We see this as an opportunity to allow the people that we serve to really shine in the community.”

Comments

Daniel Faith 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I truly think that disabled kids deserve to be paid more attention to. So far there has been not enough funding which makes it quite impossible to make some improvements and equip classes. I understand that it has been a lot going on, but we need to invest in people even if they aren’t that healthy as we are. They have a right to work: history shows that there were some really good writers among disabled people. Unfortunately, I do not remember their names. But you can look for qualified writing services at MyEssayService. Let’s look forward to changes!

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Jeanne Gardner 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks to the Lawrence Arts Center for providing the venue for this yearly event. This is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year for these special artists....and hopefully because of this article people will seek out their works of love that are displayed in the basement of the Arts Center. "The artists" were in attendance Saturday from 10am to 12noon and were all proudly wearing thier name tags deeming them "featured artists'. Even more special were the employees of the Cottonwood Retirement Enrichment Services that spent Friday evening and Saturday morning determined to make this event a success. They even brought homemade cookies and refreshments to add to the festivities. We are so lucky to have such dedicated, loving, caring and devoted care givers in our community that provide this wonderful service to the intellectually disabled in their "senior years." Thank you Cottonowood employees for truly "enriching" the life of my sister, Kathy, and all of her special friends. You are the greatest!

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