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College students find creative way to reach socially-distant senior citizens

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Art, in any form, is meant to evoke emotion. With that in mind, a group of college students—who make up the student volunteer group known as ASEZ—set out to give hope and bring comfort to senior citizens at the Brookdale Senior Living community in Loma Linda by donating hand-made works of art.

Since many assisted living and nursing home facilities have implemented new health and safety protocols, which prohibit friends and family from visiting due to the coronavirus pandemic, the volunteers wanted to focus their efforts on seniors who are unable to embrace loved ones at this time, being one of the most vulnerable groups among the population susceptible to Covid-19 complications.

To do this, ASEZ members from Victor Valley College teamed up with other ASEZ members from Antelope Valley College, Cal Poly Pomona, and College of the Canyons to brainstorm ideas. Each one pondered ways they could produce art for someone who might be longing to see a family member or needing a bit of encouragement. Art from the heart quickly became a theme. With paint brushes, canvases, and face masks in tow, the members set a date to meet outdoors and create the art together. 

The much-anticipated event came to fruition on August 9th. Despite the heat of a Victorville afternoon, students joyfully spread out and went to work putting pencils to pads. For many members, this was the first time they were able to see each other outside of video chats since the pandemic began. Having a feeling of camaraderie and human connection was an added benefit that made the outing that much more fulfilling.

The result? An array of art pieces that varied from fanciful and cheerful, to serene and inspiring. One such painting, featured an intricate web of delicate white flowers protruding from vines juxtaposed a vivid, electric blue background. Another painting featured a trio of cupped hands, belonging to a family, overlapping to envelope a brightly-hued, red heart.

“I hope that the art helps the seniors remember and know that people are thinking about them and that they are missed even though no one can visit them at this time,” said one of the artists. 

The effort produced over sixty paintings and drawings which were individually packaged and donated to the Brookdale facility this week on August 18. ASEZ members, whose mission is to save the world from a to z, hope to inspire others to do the same in their own communities for as long as the pandemic continues.

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