We Care Arts

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Introducing another amazing talent at WCA

 This week, we would like to introduce you to John Deger, another one of our team of amazing artists.  He has been coming to We Care Arts since January 2012 after being referred by his therapist, and is more than happy to share his background, hobbies and passions for coming here.

John Deger was born in Centerville, Ohio. He is the youngest with two older brothers. While growing up, he enjoyed being the youngest as he was spoiled. 

John expressed some of his hobbies when he said, “I like painting, reading and watching sports, including the University of Dayton basketball team and the Cincinnati Reds.” 

He also truly enjoys advanced coloring books, mosaic art, and participates in two different bowling leagues.

 John shared how much he loves coming here when he said, “My favorite thing about We Care Arts is being around all my friends.  Everyone is so friendly."


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sharing Her Dedication

 We are thrilled to share what we learned when we interviewed one of our amazing art teachers, Sharen Eninger.  We have been truly blessed by her dedication to teach our clients for the past 15 years.  Sharon teaches a weekly art class of up to 35 students every Thursday afternoon from 1pm to 4pm here at We Care Arts.  During this class they work on all kinds of mediums, which can include painting, ceramics, oils, fiber art, weaving and much more.  She always asks her students what their dream project is and then comes up with a project to make that dream happens.  Sharen shares her enthusiasm when she says “I feel there is no project that is too big for them, they can do it!”  

  Every time they are ready to start a new project, Sharen gladly takes her time to sit down with her students and discuss their interests along with what is going on with the holidays at that point which would also help determine what may sell well in the shop.  Sharen’s favorite thing about teaching is being able to see her students leave class with a good sense of success.  It is always amazing seeing how art can truly help people feel better emotionally as well as have better self-esteem.  Sharen notices that sometimes her students get frustrated throughout the class but she describes the learning process as part of the journey, “It is like building with blocks, you first have to have a foundation.”

Another thing Sharen has observed during her teaching experience is that these art projects help to change the mood of her students in a positive way.  When they feel overwhelmed, they would break down the work into smaller parts along with focusing more on building friendships.  She encourages everyone that you should not compare your art work with other people as everyone is unique.  In order to make everyone in this class as optimistic as possible they are not allowed to say “can’t” or “won’t” but instead they can say “this is a challenge” or “this is difficult”. 
    One of Sharen’s many wonderful memories has been watching one of her students, Todd, grow.  When he first started he could only trace but as he continued learning and practicing he worked his way up to showing his artistic skills in whimsical paintings and coming up with his own ideas. 

We are so thankful for all of our wonderful art teachers who try their best to contribute to the lives of all of our clients.  Without Sharen and all of the amazing teachers, staff and volunteers, we would not be who we are today!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Special Holiday Cookie Walk!!!!!

 It’s cookie time again!!!!!!!

Our wildly popular Cookie Walk is Saturday, December 3 from 10 to 2 (or ‘till the cookies are gone!) here at We Care Arts, 3035 Wilmington Pike, Kettering.  

Come in, stock up on all our yummy homemade cookies for only $7 a pound and say adios to holiday baking this year! Or if you love baking, you can make us some goodies to sell at our event and help fund the programs we provide. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Here’s how you can help:
·         Bake and donate COOKIES!!! This year, we invite you to “think outside the chip.” We all love a good chocolate chip cookie, but during the holidays, it’s sharing those “special” cookies that we remember from our childhoods that make this kind of event so much fun. We’re looking for the cookies, bars, and candies that you remember making with your mom and grandma: tassies, nut horns, snowballs, shortbreads, bourbon balls, pizzelles, luscious fudge. Beautiful and unique cookies are big sellers!
·         Come and buy cookies! Leave with dozens of different cookies for your family to enjoy. Tell your friends to come too!
·         Volunteer! We’ll need folks to help us to plate cookies on Friday, and will need cashiers and “cookie runners” throughout the day on Saturday.

    If you are interested in volunteering or baking for this event, please learn all about it on our website at  WeCare Arts  or contact us at 937-252-3937.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Let's celebrate world diabetes day

Let’s celebrate world diabetes day on November 14th 2016. This is the day for us to show our support and spread awareness for any and all issues related to diabetes. World diabetes day was established in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization to promote the growing health concerns of diabetes. In 2006, United Nations made world diabetes day recognized as a special day to spread awareness of the cause, outcome, and prevention of diabetes.

What is diabetes?
Diabetes happens when the body cannot produce enough insulin or it can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This condition can cause people to experience heart conditions, blindness and lower limb amputation.
There are two types of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is heredity and Type 2 can be associated with your diet and lack of exercise. Regular exercise activities can truly help to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

How does stress affect diabetes?
When a person is under stress it can affect their eating habits and the amount of physical activities that a person will do.  Stress can cause loss of appetite or skipping meals, as well as eating unhealthy food such as chips and candy, or not exercising enough.

How can art help people affected with diabetes?
Performing artistic activities is an amazing way to relieve stress. Art therapy truly helps people get their mind off of stressful life activities and gives them something to enjoy.  Once a person does anything related to art such as painting, drawing, photography, gardening, and wood working, they are more likely to have less stress and better eating habits with more physical activity. All of this can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
We Care Arts is the perfect place to reduce your stress and socialize with others. This positive environment can truly contribute to reducing major health risk such as diabetes. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Jeanette McElwain, and her passion for art!

This month we are proud to introduce you to another one of our talented clients, Jeanette McElwain.  She eagerly shares some of her passions and hobbies along with her passion of coming to WCA. 

 Jeanette McElwain, was born and raised in Texas. She has been in Ohio for approximately five years. She has two sisters and one brother.  Jeanette said some of her hobbies are “drawing, all kinds of ceramics,  bowling,” and she has been actively involved with learning American Sign Language for about one year. Jeanette was referred to WCA by her case manager from Montgomery County.  

She began coming here in February 2014.  Her favorite thing about coming to WCA is glazing clay and interacting with the people. Coming to WCA has really helped her emotionally because she feels happier, more relaxed, and more interactive.

She has recently shown her talent at learning sign language at our latest fund raiser in October when we performed the song "I Love You" in ASL.  If you want to watch our fun and exciting performance please click here

Thursday, October 27, 2016

How can a simple paper towel make such a huge difference?

Have you ever wondered how WCA can serve so many people since we are a non-profit organization? You would not believe how much time, supplies and money is needed to allow us to contribute to the lives of as many people as possible. 

We couldn’t provide our services to the over 1,300 people we helped last year without the help of our supporters in the community and dedicated volunteers.  Without this support, we wouldn’t be able to help our clients enhance their lives and achieve greater self-confidence and independence. 

Donors come in all shapes and sizes around here! Last year, we had 448 volunteers donate 5,553 hours of their time to We Care Arts. According to the Ohio Department of Labor, volunteer time is valued at $23.07 per hour. That means that last year, our volunteers contributed $128, 107 of in-kind service to us!

We have donors who pledge annually  to pay for a client to receive our services for a year. Other donors pledge to buy supplies or pay for operating expenses. Corporations like to fund our programs for high school students or kids on the Autism Spectrum. Goodwill of the Miami Valley lets us have its truck whenever we have need of it, besides donating gift cards to their stores. Kettering Health Network has just become a generous annual sponsor of our special events. 

If you are looking for a place to make a real difference and impact the lives of many people, please consider donating your time, supplies or donations to our organization   Thank you so much for helping us become who we are today.  

Below is a list of supplies that we could greatly benefit from:

Paper towels
Toilet paper
Michael's gift certificates
Cornell Studios gift certificates (clay and glazes)
Glass beads for jewelry
Jewelry tools
Card stock and envelope packages (white, cream, brown)
Sewing scissors
Palette paper
Tracing paper
Graphite paper
Watercolor paper (any color)
Oil paints and watercolor paints (tubes)
Watercolor pencils 
Colored pencils (Prismacolor brand)
Different size canvases 

For additional information please visit our website We Care Arts or call us at 937-252-3937.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Holiday Open House

     Come join us for our Holiday Open House. This is a fun event for the whole family! Kids (of all ages) can make their own creations at our Make It/Take it station. 

      For a $5 donation, they can make 3 different ornaments and gifts of their choice from our large selection of crafts.  All types of craft supplies will be furnished, and ideas and help are available from our friendly “elves”.

     Meanwhile, Mom can shop for one-of-a-kind gifts in our unique Gift Shop.  And think about it, Mom…Let the glitter and paint fall on OUR floor!

We Care Arts

3035 Willmington Pk.

Kettering, OH


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Let's Celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and a chance to spread awareness, advocacy and inclusion throughout the community. During the month of October, WCA is proud to celebrate our clients with Down Syndrome and make people aware of their abilities and accomplishments.
According to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)one in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down Syndrome the most common chromosomal condition.

Many of our amazing clients here at WCA have Down Syndrome. We are more than proud to introduce you to one of these talented artists, Walter May.  He stands up to express his pride and support of his own condition and shares his interesting accomplishments and passion for WCA. 

Walter May was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He shared a very interesting experience when he said, “When I was a baby I almost died because my throat closed up on me, with all the prayers from my family and friends I am happy that I am alive.” His hobbies include collecting and recycling pop cans, watching soap operas and playing with the Buddy Up Tennis program at the Kettering Tennis Center. He heard about We Care Arts through Terry Schalnat, our Executive Director, when she came to Belmont High School to teach an art class and he decided to start coming here in 1992 after graduating from high school. Walter’s favorite things here are friends and painting, which is his favorite art medium. He says that painting makes him feel good inside and he likes painting larger wooden projects where he can take his time and really concentrate.



Thursday, October 6, 2016

We Care Arts helps local high schools

Have you ever wondered what programs We Care Arts provides every week to our clients? We want to share with you about the many different classes and programs available. Some of the teachers go out into different high schools, nursing homes and other mental health facilities to teach art classes to youth and adults with special needs. We have a couple of special education classes from local high schools come to our main facility every week to learn and create art. 

I recently interviewed one of our art teachers Diane Zubrick who teaches an art class to the special education students from Centerville High School every Thursday at 9:30 am. During the interview, I learned that the students enjoy many different artistic activities such as working with clay, painting and sculpting. 

 Diane has truly noticed how this art class has helped the students improve their self esteem, especially when they create a piece of art they are proud of and enjoy sharing it with others. Throughout the class their moods greatly change in a positive way. Many of the classes have come for several years. Diane expresses her passion when she says, "I really enjoy seeing them mature and grow in their art." She continues to emphasize how creating art truly helps them when she says "some of the students go to work at at Meijer after class. I feel that creating art puts them in a good frame of mind to perform better at work." 

It is a true honor for our staff and volunteers to contribute to the lives of individuals with all abilities through art.

If you would like to learn more about our services and other programs here at We Care Arts as well as our other locations, please check out our website

Monday, October 3, 2016

What's new at We Care Arts?

We want to keep you up to date on the exciting and wonderful things that are going on here at We Care Arts. Last month the Commission on Accredited Rehabilitative Facilities, CARF, came to survey our facility and programs. 

What does that mean for us? 

CARF is an international independent organization that provides accreditation services worldwide at the request of health and human service providers such as We Care Arts.

The purpose of CARF is to survey organizations to ensure they are able to provide appropriate services, programs and facilities to individuals with all abilities.  

The survey will tell us what we are doing well and ways we might improve. As a result of this survey, we hope to continue our accreditation status. 

As part of the survey, the surveyors interviewed people who receive services, their families, our staff, and others. Some questions the survey team members might ask people are: 

  • Do we provide a clean and safe setting?
  • Do you receive the services you need and want?
  • Are you treated with respect?
  • Do you take part in planning your services?
  • Are you told what you need to know about your services?
  • Are your questions answered in a way you understand?
  • Do you know where to go with questions or concerns?

We Care Arts would be honored to again receive this valuable and prestigious recognition!  

If you would like more information about CARF, please visit their website at: www.carf.org/.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Let's Sign Together

Image result for sign language

Hello everyone, my name is Mallory.  I write the blog for We Care Arts every week.  This week I want to introduce myself and tell you about my amazing experience teaching sign language to some of our clients.  First, I want to explain how I discovered We Care Arts and began to develop a strong connection with them.  Last year I was completing my Bachelor’s Degree at Wright State University and I had to do a final internship prior to graduation.   My academic advisor told me about WCA so I contacted them and did my internship here for four months.  I have a rare neurological syndrome called Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere that caused me to become legally deaf blind and a quadriplegic.  I use sign language and lip reading as my primary way of communication.  Despite my multiple disabilities I am determined to work with individuals with a variety of disabilites and help them any way I can. 
           During my internship, I did many different projects. Teaching sign language to a few clients with the help of my sign language interpreters was one of the primary projects I did.  Every week I would create  a document focusing on a specific topic to teach the following week.  Once the list of words was completed we would copy and paste pictures of the individual sign on the document for each client to keep and practice on their own.  Some of the topics included animals, holidays, activities, colors, and many others.  It always makes my day to see how much these clients truly enjoy learning sign language.  Sign language is a wonderful way for them to be able to communicate with others who are deaf, hard of hearing, or non-verbal. 

I recently started working on staff at WCA part time so I continue to teach sign language to those same people along with any new clients who are interested.  We are currently learning the signs to the “I Love You Song”.  I am thrilled to announce that some of us might be performing this song at our upcoming event Celebrate Your Style. 
Come see us perform on Saturday, October 8.  Celebrate Your Style will be held at the NCR Country Club from 10am to 12 noon.  Please click here if you want to register: http://wecarearts.org/about-events.php.  We hope to see you there!  I will continue to keep you updated on the clients in their journey to learn sign language. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month

Let's show our respect and support to those affected by Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  The month of September is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month.  TBI is caused by strokes or sudden trauma to the brain after a fall or other aggressive activities effecting the brain.   According to website, Scioto.com, 5.3 million Americans are living with a disability caused by a TBI and face many challenges to live full and productive lives.  Traumatic Brain Injuries are the top cause of death and disabilities to individuals under the age of 44.  Awareness and educating people as well as communities about the common causes, symptoms and prevention of the destructive nature of a TBI.

According to Jackie Biggs, manager of the TBI art therapy program of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at Fort Belvoir, Va., who works mainly with vets who have returned home after receiving TBI during active service.  Many times her clients express reluctance when Biggs introduces them to art therapy.  One common excuse is "I am not artistic and have not done it since I was young." However, after she continues to encourage them to give it a try, then the "magic happens".  Their reaction shows a sense of surprise when they say "Wow!  This feels like medicine!  I haven't felt this relaxed in a long time.  My head hasn't been this clear in a long time!" 

Biggs explains that therapy works at the cellular level in the brain, restoring connection s that might have been damaged during a traumatic event.  Admittedly, art therapy is not a magical cure, but clients experience progress in how they deal with issues and it creates an opening to help them put words to what they are feeling.

We Care Arts is proud to contribute many art media services to individuals who are effected by TBI and many other disabilities for their personal expression through art.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Art Promotes Healing For Anxiety and Depression

Jen Swafford has always used art as a way to cope with life while growing up. Painting and using a variety of colors is an activity that she finds very peaceful and it helps to release emotions like stress and grief.  She finds that managing her stress helps with her chronic pain issues.
Jen loves it at We Care Arts.  She loves to learn different art techniques.  She likes to do watercolor and is now learning to paint on glass. She also enjoys painting silk neckties and scarves, and working in polymer clay and multimedia.  Her favorite projects have been painting scarves and doing multimedia, because she had never done those before.

Jen has 2 jobs. She works at the We Care Arts store at Town and Country Shopping Center.  She also works as a wavier provider, with a 16 year old girl with developmental disabilities.  She has been in therapy for her anxiety and depression issues and met a friend there who told her about WCA.  Later, when she had to cut way back on her work hours because of health issues, she started coming to WCA.
Jen could not pick just one favorite thing about being at We Care Arts.  She loves the atmosphere, the people, and getting to make art!