Tag Archives: volunteer

Old Dogs and New Tricks

 Before I started volunteering at the Spring Hills assisted living facility, I had taught students as young as three, and as old as 23, but I’d never instructed seniors.  I was a little nervous, but I hoped the passion I felt for art would be contagious.  Most of my students on that first day hadn’t drawn anything since elementary school.  They seemed nervous, too.  I heard them chatting to each other as I was setting up. “I can’t draw.”  “I don’t have any talent.”  “This is going to be awful.”  You can’t create in an environment of negativity.  Those seniors, much like my younger students, needed encouragement and a feeling of safety in order to move forward.  We began with a few warm-up exercises.  I watched awkward attempts at putting pencil to paper, but after a few minutes and a little motivation, something magical happened.  Creativity began to flow, and when it did, my budding artists began to loosen up and have fun.  They were letting go, making art, and learning.  Then I realized that I was learning, too—learning that I could adapt my teaching style to a new demographic.  I guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks.

“Sit”–Watercolor Pencil

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