We Care Arts

Monday, May 22, 2017

Meet Stephanie

Meet one of our many active artists who have become a huge part of our We Care Arts family.  Stephanie has been coming to We Care Arts since 2005 and we can definitely see how much her time here truly means to her and how beneficial for her health and well being. 

 Stephanie has spent her entire life growing up in Dayton, Ohio.  She is the third child in the family with two brothers and one sister.  She attended Fairmont High School then went on to vocational school studying restaurant management.

Stephanie’s favorite colors are teal and green.  She enjoys watching dramas and Grey’s Anatomy.  She likes to listen to Christian and country music.  Some of her hobbies include embroidery, hanging out with her cat, Cosmo, and swimming. 

Stephanie has a learning disability but doesn’t let her disability slow her down from being actively involved in the community.  When she was eight she began participating in the Special Olympics.  She did swimming, track, and bowling during the Special Olympics when she was younger, and continues to do bowling.  Stephanie expressed how much she loved the Special Olympics when she said, “I like being with my friends and always have fun with the competition.” One day her friend Walter from church told her about his experience at We Care Arts and she decided to start attending.  One of her favorite things about coming to We Care Arts is hanging out with friends.  She describes it as “Fun to hang out with people from different backgrounds and who have other kinds of disabilities.” Her favorite kind of art activity is painting on wood.  She has one favorite water color painting at home that hangs on her wall.  On Mondays when she comes to We Care Arts she likes to be involved with the sign language class and has helped us out by performing a few songs she learned in the class at some of our special events.  She truly enjoys learning sign language because she wants to be able to communicate with other individuals who are deaf or non-verbal, including her 21-year-old nephew who has autism.  She had an amazing experience signing “I love you” to her nephew and he signed it back.  That meant a lot to her just like that means a lot to all of us to be able to show our love and support to each other.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Let's Get Our Flowers Blooming

Paint Your Own Flower Pot!  

Get into spring with the We Care Arts’ Paint Your Own Flower Pot event!  Kids (of ALL ages) can paint a small flower pot any way they like, and we will plant a flower in it, all for $5. We provide all the supplies and our “Garden Gnomes” will be there to help!  Join us on Saturday May 20, from 10 to 2 in the Town and Country breezeway for this fun and creative event!

We used to have our Garden Party event around this time of year, but are sorry to have discontinued it. With the new fundraisers and classes that we have added in recent years, we thought that we needed to ease the workload for our already very busy staff! But we hope that all the people who enjoyed our pot painting part of the Garden Party will come to Town and Country and let their creativity fly!  

This is the perfect place to do a fun activity, network with others, and enjoy the shopping center.  Please mark your calendar and spread the word with your friends and family.  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Let's Celebrate Mobility Awareness Month!

Come join We Care Arts in playing a major role in celebrating Mobility Awareness Month.  The month of May is a special month committed to bringing people living with disabilities the mobility solutions they need to live a life full of achievement, independence and prosperity.  

We Care Arts is more than proud to have the privilege to serve many individuals who experience mobility issues.  We want to make sure they receive all the equipment and services they need to be as independent as possible.  We also strongly encourage self-advocacy and advocating for others no matter where you are in the community.  

According to the Mobility Awareness Month website the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), made up of over 600 members, reaches out to communities across the United States and Canada to raise awareness of handicap vans, trucks and specialty vehicles, hand controls and steering aids, transfer seats and seating solutions, wheelchair tie downs and other adaptive mobility equipment available

Like the NMEDA and many other organizations, it is our priority to spread awareness and ensure all individuals with mobility challenges are fully active and incorporated in our community.  Below are some interesting facts that highlight the importance of celebrating Mobility Awareness Month.  

Did You Know?

  1. Over 18 million people in the U.S. and Canada have mobility issues
  • People with disabilities constitute the largest minority group in the United States and the only group anyone can become a member of at anytime
  • One in five elderly have mobility issues
  • There are mobility equipment manufacturers, dealers and certified driver rehabilitation specialists in your community dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities
  • Automotive mobility solutions are available for people with disabilities, enabling them to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles

Were you surprised about some of the things learned or realized from these facts?  We truly hope that you take this special opportunity to promote Mobility Awareness Month, not just during the month of May but every chance you get.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Are you seeking any volunteer or internships opportunities?

 At We Care Arts we are truly blessed to have strong relationships with local universities/colleges in the greater Dayton area. Several of those colleges are Sinclair Community College, University of Dayton, Wright State University, University of Findlay and Kettering College. Some of the volunteers come anywhere from 10 hours to 25 hours each semester or come in for a one day observation. After the one day observations students attending typically
complete a project with their university/college to reflect on their experience. In addition to volunteers we typically get work study students from the University of Dayton. The volunteers and work study students work one on one with our clients. The volunteers have a wide variety of majors ranging from psychology to business and medical majors. Two students from UD will be participating in a semester of service this summer. On average we have about 1-5 interns every semester. This coming fall we will have students from UD’s sociology department and two students from Sinclair’s mental health department joining us.

Our clients benefit greatly from the volunteers. Some of the volunteers and clients are the same age. This allows the volunteers to understand the clients’ lifestyle and gives the clients a peer to socialize with. Having the students come gives us an extra set of eyes and ears which, is also beneficial to our clients in many ways. The students may notice something that the staff does not.The volunteers do a variety of tasks aside from working with the clients.We are also truly thankful to have volunteers to do tasks that the staff doesn’t always have time to do.

One student that volunteered in the past was studying to become an art teacher. She wrote an article on how she originally thought she would teach our clients about life but also found that the clients taught her about life. A lot of the volunteers have never been exposed to individuals with disabilities before.
We also had another previous volunteer who spent a summer with us. She was originally in medical school but after her time at We Care Arts decided changed her major to medical research. She didn’t want to work with clients and have to give them bad news. We are more than proud to hear that she opened a lab and helped invent a drug with her professor at Berkeley University. The drug is an alternative medicine for chemotherapy. We love having volunteers because we believe it is important for the local schools to be involved in their community.

If you or anyone you know are looking for volunteer opportunities or work study experience We Care Arts is an excellent place to do so. Click here to learn more about our programs http://www.wecarearts.org/ and if you have any question or want more information please call us at (937)252-3937.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Meet Another One of Our New Artists

     Last week we highlighted the importance of celebrating Autism Awareness Month and being sure all individuals effected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are fully active and incorporated in our communities.  We hope that you will take this opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of your friends, family, clients, or colleagues who are effected by ASD.  This week we would like to introduce you to Mazen Abdeldayem, another one of our many artists who have recently become a special part of our program. 

     Mazen started coming to We Care Arts in 2016 and we quickly learned that he loves the ladies! Our art teacher Jessie is a particular favorite (of course, she is young and cute!), but he has many friends here. Mazen acts as through he is shy, but he really likes to hang out with our Wednesday afternoon group, which includes some of his special lady friends. He sometimes comes for lunch and they all share food and fellowship. Mazen is very funny and likes to tease the people here at We Care Arts. He is very happy when he comes here and says that he enjoys working with all our teachers.

 Mazen was born in Egypt and his family moved here in 2016. He attended school in Egypt, finishing high school where he enjoyed all his subjects. He is continually working on his English language skills, and everyone here is happy to help him learn new words.  He generally paints when he is here and he is always eager and willing to do his art. . He likes color, with silver being his favorite. 
     We all enjoy interacting with Mazen and he has brought a lovely energy into our studio. His ready smile and his friendliness toward all our artists has really put some spark into Wednesday afternoons!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Celebrating Autism Awareness Month

Let's celebrate Autism Awareness Month and get the word out as much as possible! April is a special month that gives us the opportunity to support those on those that are on the Autism Spectrum and have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Autism has become an extremely prevalent condition among the population worldwide. We Care Arts is proud to have the privilege to work with individuals with Autism and make sure they are fully active and incorporated in our community activities. Read the below biographies and see how much these artists, who have experienced ASD, have enjoyed their time at We Care Arts. 

Steven came to us in 2013 and at first liked to work by himself with little interaction with others. Then one day, he chose to sit with the afternoon sewing class which is mostly older ladies. Ever since then, he makes a beeline for his ‘peeps’ each week and seems to really enjoy his afternoons with them. They all eat lunch together, sharing food and camaraderie. The ladies love drawing Steven out, joking with him and his socialization skills have increased dramatically after their loving attention and friendship.  

Elysse is curious and chatty and livens up the back room when she is here. She very much likes to draw and has also done some very inspirational paintings. We have used her painting as images on some of our mugs and they are very beautiful! Elysse has been coming to our program since 2015 and tries to keep her work schedule adjusted so that she can attend for her weekly Friday art class here.

Jacob has been coming to us since 2013 and loves anything that has to do with cartoons or anime. He began by painting, but showed himself willing to try all kinds of new art media. He painted a table that he built with a Mario Brothers design, which sold at our 2016 Spring Auction. Jacob has since moved to paper mache projects and just completed a fabulous dragon head. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Does Art Really Help Reduce Stress?

April is Stress Awareness Month and We Care Arts gladly takes part in spreading awareness and helping people find ways to manage their own stress.  We all know that managing our stress and enjoying life as much as possible can greatly contribute to living a healthy life.  We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve individuals of all abilities through art as we know that doing any type of art is such an amazing way to relieve stress. 

While art therapy is its own field, you can use the benefits of art to express your creative side and drawing skills to reduce stress and get in touch with your feelings. I think most of us knew this instinctively as kids: virtually all of us know the joys of sculpting something (with play-dough), painting something (with fingers), or drawing (with crayons and other materials).
However, other than making random doodles in the margins of a page while you’re on killing time, if you’re like most adults, you don’t express yourself with art like you did as a kidThere are many reasons that art is a great stress relief tool, even for those who don't consider themselves to be artistic.

One of the reasons that clinical art therapy is effective is that the act of drawing and creating art can help you relieve stress in several ways. Here are some ways that creating art can alleviate stress.

Distraction: Drawing and art can take your mind off of what’s stressing you, at least for a few minutes. And when you’re finished being engrossed in your sketches, you should have a clearer head with which to tackle your problems again.

Flow: There’s a certain quality of being called “flow” that experts say is very beneficial for us. This refers to a state of being completely engaged in something to the point of being in a near-meditative state. It carries many of the benefits of meditation, leaving you much less stressed when you’re done. You can experience ‘flow’ when you’re doing creative activities like writing and even gardening! You can also get it from drawing.

Self Care: Just the act of having a hobby can make you feel more balanced in your lifestyle. Sometimes, with all of life’s responsibilities, we forget that we need and deserve ‘down time’ and self-care. Taking even a few minutes on a regular basis to devote to a hobby can give you more of what you need in this area.

And, with drawing, you have the additional benefit of being left with something beautiful (or at least interesting) to show for it!

Read more about the other research-proven benefits of art and creative expression for stress relief.

One excellent way to use drawing for stress relief is to maintain a sketch diary. Keeping a sketchbook can be a form of journaling, and it can be cathartic, creative, and stress relieving. You can use a journal for personal art therapy and stress management in the following ways.

Draw Out Your Emotions: Sketch pictures that describe your feelings related to things in your life that are causing you stress currently. If it’s in the back of your mind anyway, this could be a way of processing your related emotions, reducing some of the stress they carry.

Process Old Stress: Sketch abstract pictures that express feelings related to past stressful experiences, as a way of processing your emotions and healing.

Keep a Sketch Diary: Keep a ‘Dream Sketch Diary’, and sketch scenes from dreams you’d like to remember or better understand.

Record the Beauty in Life: Keep a sketch diary of what you think is beautiful in life.

Draw the faces of those you love, places that bring you peace, or other pieces of beauty. The process of sketching can be a great stress reliever, and revisiting your creations can also bring you some peace in the future.

Enjoy Coloring Books: Start enjoying some of the adult coloring books that have become popular—they can be especially relaxing for those who don't feel artistic, but want to create easy, beautiful, and stress-free pictures.

To make a long story short, any and all types of art can make a huge difference in your health, even if you don't feel artistic at all.  We hope you will try any of these things or other artistic ideas and see what helps you feel better less stressed.  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

We Care Arts Weekly Programs

Image result for art class

Are you looking for a weekly art class or something fun to get involved with in the community?  We Care Arts wants to make sure all of you know about a couple of our many programs we provide during the week.  I was honored to interview two of our art teachers, Alicia and Marie. They are each privileged to be able to teach an art class once a week at churches in Fairborn and Tipp City.

Alicia teaches a class in Tipp City, her classes are on Thursdays from 4 to 5:30pm at the Lutheran Zion Church on 3rd Street.  Alicia’s students are children from the ages of 10-17. All of the students have various special needs. Alicia has been teaching the group since the fall of 2008. They do a variety of art projects but mostly focus on painting. They also do clay projects, jewelry making, decoupage, and much more. The class gives the students the opportunity to keep their art once they are finished or give them as generous gifts.  Alicia determines their next projects based off of what season we are in and off of the students interests. They try to mix up the media so they don’t do the same techniques every week.

Alicia can definitely see that the students have lots of fun and they get to socialize with their friends.  Their parents and transportation providers can stay throughout the class and get the opportunity to socialize with the other parents/transportation providers. When they stay for the class they get to participate in helping the students with their projects. 

The socialization aspect has changed some of the students. An inspiring example of this is one of the girls didn’t speak and had separation anxiety from her grandparents. Now she doesn’t stop chatting and her grandmother can often leave to run errands.  

 Marie teaches a class on Wednesdays from 1-4pm at 100 East Main, Fairborn at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Marie’s students are all adults with various types of disabilities. Marie’s students do decorative painting on wooden signs that are then sold in our two store locations upon completion. The students get to keep a percentage of the profits from the projects that are sold.  Marie tries to keep the group projects simple since they need to finish the projects to be sold in the store. Marie picks new projects based on what she thinks our customers will be interested in buying. 

One positive thing we have noticed about this class is how the students feel happy to be out and a part of the group and they get a sense of accomplishment when they finish a project. Marie has three wonderful volunteers who help the students finish their projects. The volunteers all have wonderful relationships with the students. They randomly enjoy surprising the students by baking for them or bringing them delicious treats. 

For most of Marie’s students, this is the only time that they leave their house and socialize all week. The students were very shy in the beginning and didn’t know each other at all. Now they joke with each other and have become friends.  Since the students established their amazing supportive friendships, now they even truly enjoy calling each other throughout the week between classes.   

 If you are interested in becoming involved in one of these classes or know anyone who could greatly benefit from participating, please contact us at (937) 252-3937  or visit our website, www.wecarearts.org for further details and contact information.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fun Spring Market

     We’d love to see you at the Spring Market at Town and Country Shopping Center on the 2nd Saturday for the months of April, May, and June! Since we have a store in the shopping center, we are happy to participate in this handmade crafts sale, held in the breezeway from 10am to 3pm.

     We are featuring a few of our wonderful artists at this event, where you can come and talk to them and see their creativity in action!  Each month, we have 2 of our artists join us at the Spring Market and work at their art while you can watch them and purchase the wonderful work that they do.

As we said in our blog last week, Todd makes our wonderful personalized coasters, and he will be one of our featured artists. His coasters can have maps of any area of your choice, or your favorite, very special photograph! At the sale, he’ll be working on special coasters for spring.

Ruth is our resident Sewing Queen, and she makes many of our aprons and microwave bowl holders, which are so popular!

Kathleen, Aylsie, and Aaron all work in ceramics, and do very different things! Kathleen’s unusual ceramic bowls are loved by our customers and we have a hard time keeping them in stock. Aaron does his very unusual ceramic sculptures and you’ll never see anything like them anywhere! Aylsie puts her own unique designs on mugs and creates real works of beauty.

Jo is our guru of animal art! She uses a variety of media in her portraits and rivals anyone in the ability to capture the beauty and essence of the animals she portrays.  She is happy to do a portrait of your favorite pet and you can see their image just pop off the page!

They’d all love to talk to you about their passions for art!