You may have seen our last post, which broke down “what we’ve lost” as a result of COVID-19. Although our organization continues to face challenges, we have been able to pivot and continue to do what we do best: engage many communities in need.
Turning a program cancellation into a life-saving gift…
We experienced an unexpected way to give back following the cancellation of a highly-anticipated mosaic mural program at Emily’s House. Emily’s House is Toronto’s only hospice for children and families facing life-threatening illnesses. Featuring a home-like, comforting environment, it is a place of compassion, care, comfort, laughter, learning and play.
VIBE teamed up with the Ralph M. Barford Foundation with plans to engage families and patients to create a vibrant mosaic mural to brighten up Emily’s House. Unfortunately, this was one of 40 programs that we were forced to cancel due to the coronavirus.
Thanks to the launch of our online programs, we were able to extend a small employment opportunity to artist Cristina Delago, who was initially hired to lead the Emily’s House program. Cristina channeled her vast experience in mosaic-making into an episode of VIBE Makers, our artist-made content series.
Last week, a member of our team stopped by Emily’s House to donate a box of N95 masks that were purchased several months ago, for use in the mosaic program. Recent circumstances have changed the purpose of these masks so drastically; equipment once intended to be protective gear for young folks creating something special has quickly evolved into life-saving, hard-to-come-by devices.
We are staying in close contact with Emily’s House in an effort to begin our mural program once it is safe to do so.
Supporting Seniors who need us most…
At the request of our partner organizations, we are working on opportunities to improve the quality of life for seniors. Many residents of long-term care facilities only have a short amount of time to connect with loved ones using a community iPad. We employed Allison Buela, a VIBE Arts Educator and dance instructor, to develop a seated, adapted dance video for seniors to access from their rooms. This interactive, movement-based lesson is specific to elders and works to boost morale, improve mental health, activate the body and spark joy.
We are currently working with CAMH, Covenant House and many City of Toronto Long Term Care centres to bring the arts into the confines of residents’ rooms. We need your help to make these opportunities possible, so we can continue to relieve and care for these at-risk members of our community.