Individuality, expression, social connection and innovation are all driving forces behind Goddard House Community Initiatives, which engages diverse older adults from Greater Boston in participatory programming that includes art, music, dance and other forms of creative expression.
Many older adults, even those living in densely populated urban communities, encounter social isolation and loneliness. Goddard House Community Initiatives was created to share Goddard House’s creative energy, bringing the joy and fellowship of the arts to older adults living in the community.
Creative Aging Program
Goddard House is currently collaborating with the City of Boston’s Age Strong Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and Lifetime Arts to launch the Creative Aging Program (CAP) pilot, which will bring arts programming to three community sites throughout the City of Boston this fall. Through CAP, the program partners will be providing diverse, vibrant, and creative aging programming aimed at empowering older adults to age well and remain socially connected.
For the past five years, Goddard House has collaborated with FriendshipWorks in Jamaica Plain to offer MusicWorks, a program that reduces social isolation among older adults through the shared experience of music. MusicWorks brings participatory music and arts activities to residents of affordable senior housing in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Residents of these buildings have limited opportunities to connect with their neighbors.
MusicWorks offers socialization and engagement through culturally-tailored arts sessions. Participants are encouraged to be as hands-on as they desire by listening to live music, playing instruments, singing, dancing and drawing to the music. The program provides an opportunity for older adults to talk about what the music evokes by discussing what was popular at a specific time in their lives or their favorite genres, songs or artists.
Currently, there are over 250 participants in the program. MusicWorks has experienced continual growth in its commitment to build individual and collective connections through music.
Since 2016, Goddard House has funded scholarships for UMass Boston nursing students. Candidates for the Goddard House Doane Scholarships must have worked in the City of Boston for at least ten years as a C.N.A., L.P.N. or R.N. Students are recruited and screened for the scholarships by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Funding for the scholarships, and the specific eligibility requirements, were established by an 1851 bequest to Goddard House.
Each year, Goddard House hosts a reception to honor the scholarship recipients. Students share their stories, courses of study, and what it means to receive a Goddard House Doane Scholarship. Meeting the scholars and learning about their scholastic journeys – juggling family, full time jobs and academic studies – is truly inspiring. Their current careers are impressive; their hopes for professional growth and future impact are remarkable. Congratulations to all!