Oak Street Health Provides Grant to YMCA Artful Aging

The YMCA of Rock River Valley has launched another year of the Artful Aging program presented by Oak Street Health.  The 2-year grant that funded the launch of the program in 2016 expired. Oak Street Health stepped in and provided a grant to continue the program for adults 55 and over.

Artful Aging, presented by Oak Street Health, is a series of classes that inspire and enable older adults to learn, make and share the arts in ways that are novel, complex and socially engaging. Artful Aging programs are designed to bring joy, connection, improved health and well-being, and a renewed sense of purpose to older adults. The Y engages teaching artists from throughout our community to introduce dance, visual arts, photography and drama to community members ages 55 and older. 

“These classes have been life changing for participants,” said Michelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “We’ve heard from cancer survivors and widows who have told us the connection to others through art has offered more healing than they can express. When we told participants the program was funded to continue, one woman jumped up and hugged me. We are grateful to Oak Street Health for helping us continue this program.”

"Come Dance with Me," taught by Teaching Artist Valerie Soetermans, is currently underway through September 11. Participants are learning dance combinations applicable to jazz, ballet and tap, while also gaining confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment. “Photography in the Gardens,” taught by Teaching Artist Valerie Olafson, will run through September 20. 

“Tell Your Tale,” taught by local author Karla Clark, will run October 9 through December 4. Participants over the age of 55 will learn how the process of telling your own personal story is powerful and rewarding. They will learn the basics of personal story writing and create a story to keep to themselves or share with the world. 

 “We at Oak Street believe having fun and being active is important for good health, and we’re so excited for this partnership,” said Amanda Kirchner, Outreach Director with Oak Street Health. 

Classes are free to individuals 55 and older. Click here to learn more or register.

About Oak Street Health
Oak Street Health is a network of primary care practices for adults on Medicare. Our approach is well care, not sick care. By keeping thousands of patients happy, healthy and out of the hospital, we’ve built a healthcare model that works. Click here to learn more.