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Art for the Journey recently conducted an Opening Minds Through Art "practicum", the in-person portion of our hybrid training course at the fantastic Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, Virginia. The practicum follows a month long online course through Miami University, OH. The Art for the Journey trainers are grateful to have been able to create a safety-oriented, in-person practicum by partnering with the folks at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen and successfully certified ten individuals as OMA Facilitators. (Previously Art for the Journey certified three GACGA individuals to implement the OMA program including Cindy Rinker, Community Outreach Director. Adding one more certification for Amy Holland, Director of Development at GACGA will help the center continue to plan to create a community OMA center providing access to the best practice OMA program for elders living with dementia who are at home with a caregiver or living in independent housing.)

To date, Art for the Journey has certified over 100 individuals as facilitators of this award-winning program designed to help people living with dementia. With social distancing in place, we were able to conduct a practicum using volunteers to pair with trainees to re-enact and practice how to deliver the OMA program. We want to announce a big congratulations to our practicum participants! The positive impact delivered could equate to over 6000 individuals through the magic of person-centered, intergenerational best-practice program and community celebration all through the experience of creating abstract art!

To date, Art for the Journey has certified over 100 individuals as facilitators of this award-winning program.

Adapting our programs to the guidelines put in place by the CDC has been challenging, but nevertheless, we have learned so much about how to continue to "show up" for our community! Determined to spread the joy of the OMA program, our hybrid training practicum is one of several ways to become certified in OMA. Scripps Gerontology at Miami University and Dr. Lokon offer a fully virtual online version to become certified to facilitate OMA. Contact Cindy Paullin at cindy@artforthejourney to learn more or visit the OMA website (below).

The OMA program's mission is to improve the quality of life of elders experiencing dementia and Alzheimer's. This evidence-based, connection-driven program helps to reduce isolation through a one-on-one, volunteer-to-elder connection where the process of creating beautiful abstract art allows the elder to express themselves and develop confidence, connection, and pride. These newly certified participants have the skills they need to share the beauty of the program with elders all around our country. When things return to normal, this team will be ready to empower elders through OMA. We estimate that for every facilitator 15 elders are impacted, and for every elder 4 individuals (family members, friend, staff), for these 10 newly certified facilitators it is possible to impact 600 people.

Thank you to all involved, and a special thank you to our new Trainer, Dr. Dianne Simons for sharing wisdom and enthusiasm for this amazing best practice program designed by the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, OH, and Dr. Elizabeth Lokon. Thanks to all the volunteers, and especially to the trainees who are all now certified to provide the program or team with other Facilitators to make a positive impact in the lives of elders living with dementia.

To learn more about the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, visit their website here .
To learn more about OMA and becoming an OMA facilitator, visit the OMA website here .