Last week almost 80 students met at The River House Adult Day Center in Greenwich to make Valentine’s Day cards for senior citizens in the community. These students are part of the Open Arts Alliance’s cast of MARY POPPINS Jr.
Open Arts Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit social service organization that uses therapeutic arts programs to educate students and senior citizens in our community.
Through volunteerism with senior citizens – many of whom are veterans with mobility issues, Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia – students have hands-on opportunities to use the performing arts as a means of inter-generational connection.
Students in the cast range in age from 4-years-old to 17, but are brought together through their love of theatre and social service.
Open Arts Alliance Executive Director, Rocco Natale, said that the mission of Open Arts Alliance is to use theatre as a means of teaching students about volunteerism with diverse populations.
“All of our shows have a social service component,” Natale said, adding that last fall when their students presented the local premiere of FROZEN JR, they made blankets for home bound senior citizens and donated plush FROZEN toys to sick children at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. “We are so excited that our cast members not only have a chance to participate in the arts, but to give back to the senior citizens who have given so much to our community,” he added.
Each year Open Arts Alliance runs classes in arts enrichment for senior citizens, focusing on the population of aging adults with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, and this craft is not only an extension of the educational opportunities offered free to senior citizens in the community, it is an effort to engage the student population and give them the chance to give back to the seniors in our community.
“This is a great tradition that we look forward to continuing annually,” Natale added.