When a Chicago high school student found herself limited in activities due to the pandemic, she created an opportunity that would not only occupy her time, but the time of others.
“Art brings people together. It’s really calming in times where we don’t know what’s going to happen next with COVID,” said Maya Joshi.
When she could no longer spend time with her grandparents due to the stay-at-home order, Joshi realized they weren’t the only senior citizens who were alone.
“In some of these facilities, they aren’t allowed to walk down their hallway,” Joshi said. “So they’re really restricted to their room. So that hit me in the beginning. I wanted to gear the program toward facilities, but we want to help anyone I can.”
The local nonprofit Lifting Hearts with the Arts does just that.
Started by Maya, her twin sister and two friends, the four have rounded up over 80 seniors and 25 high school volunteers. They cater to both senior citizens and the visually impaired or blind. From mini-concerts to trivia games to Bingo and art activities or even one-on-one sessions, the options for entertainment are endless.
So are the opportunities for learning.
“Even before COVID, the social gaps were increasing, so I feel like this program is a good way to bridge those two generations, especially because there is so much we can learn from seniors about their generation,” Joshi said.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.