While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, it has also presented many opportunities for addressing the needs of my community, as well as personal growth. Thanks to a generous grant from the Earl/Mendillo families, I was able to initiate another year of art therapy and mindful wellness to patients at the Cleveland Clinic-Florida Medical Centers. Building upon the success of the pilot program I helped create last year with the Cleveland Clinic, this summer’s efforts focused on producing over 100 additional kits for COVID-19 and cancer patients. Due to the unfortunate resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Florida over the summer, there again was a need to bring emotional support to isolated patients. Many of the efforts included finding alternative sources for supplies and also expanding the content of the Art Therapy & Mindfulness kits. The new and expanded kits, rolling out later this month, will include expanded resources for guided meditation and stress relief.
My internship with the Cleveland Clinic and the support of Deerfield Academy’s Center for Service and Global Citizenship (CSGC) also led to an unexpected opportunity to share insights regarding the arts and wellness with a larger international community. In June, I was invited to participate as a panelist with globally recognized artists, Surabhi Saraf and Harold Offeh, on a webinar for students in China to discuss the positive impact of artistic expression and emotional wellness. It was an honor to have this extraordinary opportunity to connect with talented artists and an audience of over 1,000 students. The connection I made with one of the artists led to additional meetings about bringing more interactive and technological-mediated art to patients at the Cleveland Clinic in the future.
-Kaitlyn Kelly ’22