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Who, What, Where & Why answered through Westward Ho collaboration around Earth Day Celebration, April 22, 2011

Arizona State University (ASU) Herberger School of Dance and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation have formed a partnership with the non-profit organization Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC) to design and implement a new model for collaboration that improves, enhances, strengthens, and sustains the highest quality of life for all people, particularly those aging citizens of Maricopa County.

This collaborative program of "Community Building" in an urban space is being piloted at the Westward Ho. ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation senior year students are on site providing health assessment and wellness education under the supervision of Kay Jarrell, Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing.

Health Fair organized and presented by ASU Nursing students...

The thematic focus of the day’s interdisciplinary activities invites all 300 residents at the Westward Ho to examine and explore health and wellness issues through the arts and preventive health instruction during a fun and interactive learning event. The idea is that the honoring and respect of Earth Day programming stimulates us to consider our interconnectedness with all life and respect for that fragile balance that exists in nature and our own bodies.

Public Ally interns assisted in the day’s events. They decorated containers of plants and provided one for each resident who left a message on a paper leaf as a wish (intention) for their community.

These desires were attached to a large plywood mural acknowledging the connection of the WWHo residents to the Earth Day Celebration 2011. Thank you Public Allies for all this preparation and facilitation. The Allies engaged in the initial planning and implementation of this project through a public participation process that we utilize for all our strategic planning.

During the many activities of the day Robert, a resident at WWHo, had Beatles’ songs playing as a sing along. Thank you Robert and all those who joined in. Great fun!

Everyone appreciated the music...

The Public Allies also provided snack packs along with the plants. Funding for these materials was available from the Cultural Arts Coalition under the coordination of judy butzine.

The Cultural Arts Coalition is an organization that utilizes ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) resources of a community to benefit the development of that particular community. They have been coordinating art making, exercise, and festival activities at the Westward Ho for the past eight months. The first step was to identify the community through recognition that a need existed as vocalized by the participants. In this case it was through the staff and a couple of residents.

Moving Communities through Creative Wellness explores how arts and wellness strategies positively impact the growth of self-sustaining, healthy communities. Pegge Vissicaro, ASU School of Dance, has been instructing these residents since the Spring during the Move and Dance 4 Joy! program. She introduced the residents’ performance to the audience midway through the morning. This collaboration has been coordinated by the CAC with permission from Linda Spencer, Director of Westward Ho management who lives on site.

Phase # 1 Breath Control and Setting of Intention for Movement: Intentional movement involves a purpose to inform interactions with the physical space.

For the dance, each participant chose a personal object to symbolize the natural world with which they performed. This introductory action promotes an awareness of the interconnectedness of all elements of life and the act that the participants are working together as ONE. The objects come from nature and are symbolic to each individual.

"Move as one body of energy lifting the arms up with quick purpose then allowing them to float down like feathers emptying the lungs as the arms return to resting position."

The Shared Value & Belief is that we all have an important role in this environment-each person is to be acknowledged and honored in the world. The residents are encouraged and included in designing the performance at all times. Their voices are VITAL in this process! Dr. Pegge Vissicaro, ASU School of Dance Professor, facilitates this instruction.

Phase # 2 Percussion/ Rhythmic - connecting to the Heart beat of the earth and aerobic movement in dance (communal: patterned and repetitive, beginning to connect with one another). This is all about having FUN and enjoying being with each other!!!

Phase # 3 Creativity and Social Integration without a score the individuals respond to one another in a free form manner...UNTIL THEY COME TOGETHER TO MAKE THE WHOLE...The sum of the parts creates the whole. All ages and physical capabilities make for this united movement and dance with intention...The whole body is approached as integral to this process: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Nursing students are on site to take vital signs including oxygen saturations before and following movement as well as provide additional wellness instruction. The students are also being mentored through this holistic approach to creative aging populations.

Sable takes Lee’s blood pressure before the Earth Day performance

In class, I absolutely love that we all relax first and stretch out, this is a calming process that also helps with connecting each person to one another, whether that realize that is occurring or not. Also, the stretching is simple enough and is not overly strenuous, which takes into account the population that comes to the dance class. Some of these people may not be as physically limber and this gives them an opportunity to engage from sitting position. The hula hoop: I had not played with a hula hoop since I was a little girl. Such a simple object can really connect a community and the music influenced the interactions and the way people move. I will definitely be coming back to dance class! - Sable Williams, student, ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

There was time for PLAY...

The final "Community Building Activity" of the day was facilitated once again by the Public Allies as the group played Earth Day Bingo.

Prizes were handed out! Most were winners of some item during the day.

We want to thank everyone who contributed to making this day special for so many...

******************************Photo Narrative by judy butzine


The Mission of the Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona: 501 (c) 3, a nonpartisan organization in existence since 2005: stimulates creative, analytical and leadership development for personal transformation and collective change through celebrations and multidisciplinary learning experiences.