The Orillia & District Arts Council (ODAC) had applied for, and received, funding from the Federal government New Horizons for Seniors program in early 2022.
After extensive planning and community input, HeARTS was launched mid September in the Upper Room of St. James' Anglican Church. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there are themed art activities that encourage creativity, increase self-esteem, support friendship and social inclusion. A movement and dance component by local instructor Miriam Goldberger is a fun and physical health program addition that is quite popular. Church staff and clergy can attest to the exuberance of the groups.
Program participants do not need previous art training – the activities of the program help them discover unknown talent and the self-satisfaction of learning new skills. These group settings are intended to be a nonjudgmental space that nurture the act of creating which helps the mind to focus, to be calm and to explore a life outside of age-related conditions.
For elders who may be uncertain of committing to weekly classes, there is also a drop-in session that requires no registration – just show up! All supplies, snacks and fun are free of charge. The church lift is available for those with mobility challenges.
HeARTS also pays local musicians, arts instructors, and special guests to provide a variety of performances that highlight local talent within the arts and culture sector. We have enjoyed sessions with our own Judith Sophie and Susan Smith, as well as upcoming Christmas performances at local retirement homes by Errol Lee.
For more information contact Sukhi Kaur, Activities Manager heARTSorillia@gmail.com or Christine Hager 705-309-3351.