What an exciting day April 22nd turned out to be for Cabrini of Westchester. On that day, Deborah Mosley, a trained storyteller, Ellen Tessitore, a certified NY State Teacher and Lorraine Campanelli, Director of Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, NY presented a workshop at a national conference. The workshop, ‘Intergenerational, Intercultural Art and Storytelling for Healing Depression, Anxiety and Isolation,’ was presented virtually for the Expressive Therapies Summit 2021.

In 2019, prior to COVID, Deborah, Ellen, Dr. Paulette Sansone, our Grant Writer, and Lorraine submitted a proposal to the Expressive Arts Summit about a program that they created. The program, ‘Expressive Arts: Improving the Well-Being of Adult Immigrants and Elderly Nursing Home Residents,’ was being held twice a month and involved some nursing home residents and some of our CIS clients. The proposal was accepted and we were going to be off to Los Angeles in April 2020!

Due to COVID, the program was postponed for one year. One year later, traveling and being in groups was still not permitted, so it was decided that the program would be held virtually. Debbie, Ellen and Lorraine presented a 3-hour workshop via Zoom. Lorraine discussed the need to reduce depression, anxiety and loneliness in both populations. We then spoke about how we started the program at the nursing home and how the program was designed. We wanted those in attendance to experience the actual program which involves a story, discussion and an art project based on the story. Deborah told the participants the story, The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi. There was a discussion about the book and how it affected each person.

Ellen had the participants create their own banners Using different materials (the list of needed materials was sent prior to the workshop), each participant created 3 squares. One square had their name, one had something that describes them and the third square showed something that they are interested in doing. The participants were wonderful! They not only added to the discussion about the story, they also shared their art work and why they chose certain symbols, etc.

We shared a picture of the quilt that was created by the residents and CIS clients who attend our program. Everyone loved the quilt and felt it was a great way for people to express themselves. The quilt is displayed in the Rose Room at the nursing home.

It was a beautiful experience. We all felt so honored to have been chosen to present at a national conference. We were asked to share our email addresses because the people wanted to stay in touch and have us help them as many wanted to recreate the program.

~ submitted by: Lorraine Campanelli, Director, CIS

Presenting via Zoom at a national conference are from left: Lorraine Campanelli, Director of Cabrini Immigrant Services, Dobbs Ferry, NY; teacher Ellen Tessitore; and trained storyteller Deborah Mosley.

The quilt created by Cabrini of Westchester residents and Cabrini Immigrant Services clients is proudly displayed in the Rose Room at the nursing home.

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