For my 2017 summer, I spent 20+ hours a week working in Hope Hospice under their Art Therapist. This has been a life changing experience. Hope Hospice is an incredible organization to be a part of. The many lives they touch mean something to each and every person. I was lucky enough to be able to work in their Art Therapy department under the Art Therapist, Danielle Brant. During my time, we visited homes, centers, assisted living, etc. where we would work individually with a patient that were terminally ill, diagnosed with a life long disease, or even a spouse of a Hope Hospice patient. Being able to see first hand how the process of Art Therapy works really helped me grow and learn as a person and in this career field.
Aside from visiting patients in their homes we also started a project called Artist in Residence. For these projects, every other Friday we would come up with a simple and relaxing craft out in the lobby for patients and their families to participate in during hard and stressful times. I was able to witness how just making a simple Para cord dragonfly or a painted rock could make someone feel at ease or like they weren’t alone through this. Everyone got to benefit from this experience because you were able to feel the kindness being spread from one person to another. I was able to come up with my own craft for Artist in Residence as well!
Another project I was able to participate in was called The Legacy Project. During this project I was partnering with the volunteer coordinator of Hope Hospice and re-visioning The Legacy Project for patients and family members. This project gave patients who had little time left the opportunity to choose a memorabilia item to leave behind for their family. Some of the projects that I contributed to the project were a Mosaic made up of multiple photos that then zoomed out to be one photo. I also was a part of designing a record with handprints (pictured below).
One of my favorite experiences throughout this whole summer was working at the PACE center. I was able to practice what I had learned from Danielle and apply it and use the skills all on my own. I worked with participants one on one and built a bond with them. After we got to know each other we would meet regularly and have therapeutic art sessions and created a safe space for each person. I got to know some amazing people and hear a ton of interesting stories.
All of these experiences brought me closer to my goals of really understanding Art Therapy as a whole and finding out if this path was right for me. After my internship concludes I will be graduating from Florida State with a Bachelors Degree in Art and will be continuing to have relationships with the participants and patients at Hope Hospice as a volunteer.