Getting to know Ann is something I will always be grateful for. She has taught me so much about what it means to live each moment and to really make the most of today. Her positive attitude and bright nature continually rub off on me, and I always leave each class with a huge smile on my face, ready to take on anything. Ann continues to inspire me every day, and I know now that it is very possible to live a fulfilling and independent life, no matter your age.
As today was our last time with one another, I decided to bring a gift for Ann. I brought her a candle as well as a scarf. She loved both and even asked me to put the scarf on her. I was assuming she meant that she wanted me to tie it around her neck, but she quickly told me, “No! I want it like how you have it!” I proceeded to wrap the scarf neatly around her head, similar to how I wear mine. The fact that Ann was so keen to try the headscarf spoke volumes to me. It is evident that we have formed a special friendship over the course of the program, one that transcends any potential religious or age barriers. This experience with the PALETTE program has been absolutely wonderful and I am really glad to have participated.
Mariam Abuagla, graduate student in Pharmacy
Today was the second to last session of the PALETTE program with my PAL, Ms. Osmalov. We painted our totem from last session and worked on the mirror painting as a part of our class project. My PAL and I decided to draw a rose, taking turns leading the drawing while the other followed with the brush. Honestly, we couldn’t have done it without each other’s help. We always relied on each other for support. At the end of the day, Ms. Osmalov said, “we are better than Pablo Picasso”, she quickly added “in our own eyes”.
I have to say, early on in the program, I was nervous meeting my PAL. Now, I can confidently say there was never a dull moment with Ms. Osmalov. I find an appreciation of how art is used as a bridge connecting different generations. Through our conversations about culture, religion and age, I realized that we have a lot in common. Thanks to the PALETTE program, I have established a solid friendship with my PAL and developed a more positive set of lenses regarding aging.
Omar Hassan, graduate student in Pharmacy.
Sometimes the most random objects can bring back the most special memories. I brought in a toy car that my grandparents had given me as a symbolic gift one year. Feeling this car without seeing it, reminded Edith of the second car that she owned: a pink Plymouth. Telling the story of her car put such a light in Edith’s eyes. She gushed about how special the car was to her and how much she loved it. We recognized our age specific cultural differences by describing our favorite cars. I told Edith how pink cars are a very rare sight now and how most people my age buy black and white cars. Edith shared that hot pink and light blue cars were very popular when she got her car.
Edith brought a Faberge egg necklace that was given to her at her retirement party. She said that she had retired two times prior, but kept returning to work. The necklace was dainty and simple. It reminded me of the future that lies ahead of me in the workforce. Although I did not view the necklace until after our paintings were complete, I used the chain and raised details of the necklace to inspire my artwork.
Grace Prestiy, graduate student in Social Work