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Kids needed for art program

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Shawna Holmlund, an Ottawa-based artist, has been conducting a weekly arts and crafts program at Rainycrest and she is looking for youngsters to help out.

In fact, she had put the call out in late July for children ages five-10 to join in this past Saturday’s session.

“I put it on Facebook and I had so many positive comments,” expressed Holmlund, who is originally from Fort Frances and has a father in Rainycrest.

“You’ll be paired up with a senior and see what you can create together,” she had posted. “It will be so much fun.”

People responded by calling it a “fabulous” and “awesome” idea, while several indicated they wanted to sign up.

However, despite the interest, only one youngster was on hand Saturday.

“It’s unfortunate because I think it would be a great thing to do,” Holmlund voiced.

But she is planning to try the session again next week, which might be the final week of the program as she is set to return to Ottawa soon.

Holmlund, who decided to spend the summer here with her dad, Bruce, noted the arts and crafts program has been running there since June.

“When I came, I wanted something to do when I was away because I’m not doing my usual art work,” she explained.

So she approached Rainycrest about doing a summer art program for the residents and they agreed.

“Every week is something different,” Holmlund indicated, citing the first week she had planned a painting activity.

“But it intimidated a lot of people so I changed it to more arts and crafts,” she said.

“Even though it was so simple,” she said of the basic flower design. “It was too much for them.”

Since then, she has led the residents in some other arts and crafts projects, including popsicle stick planter pots and frames, while Saturday’s craft, the one she intended to do with the children, was wooden animal signs.

“It came about in kind of an odd fashion,” Holmlund admitted. “I’m doing an art show coming up in September and it’s to do with roosters, so I had to cut out a rooster and I’m decorating it with buttons.

“And I thought this might be cool to do with the elders, but use all sorts of things to decorate it,” she expressed.

“Who knows, with the kids, what would have transpired?”

She indicated the craft was intended to hang on their wall or door.

“A lot were doing it for their door,” she noted. “They have their name on their door, but nothing else personalized, so I thought it would be a nice little personal touch.”

Holmlund said she wanted to get to know the residents first and then get the children involved.

“I think it’s really important for kids to know the elders as well as the elders to have that young influence on them because it makes it more fun,” she enthused.

“The kids have all their faculties and can make up for the residents who don’t.”

So she’s hoping she can get some more children out for this Saturday’s session that runs 1:30-3 p.m.

Ideally she’d like one child for each participating resident. Or at least one youngster working with two residents.

Holmlund is planning on doing a wind chime project and is also looking for donated items, such as spoons.

“If anyone has anything that would work as a chime, they can donate it,” she suggested, citing they can drop if off with the activation coordinator at Rainycrest.

“I would love to do this full time,” she enthused. “This is just something that I absolutely love and with kids it would be amazing.”

She stressed sharing her artistic talents with seniors is something very close to her heart.

“They need to have different things to enrich their lives,” she reasoned. “It opens kids eyes and it opens the seniors’ eyes to different creative things that they might never have had the option to try.”

Call Holmlund at 481-2571 or send her a private message on Facebook to sign up or to get more information.

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