COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Association of the Performing Arts (CAPA) announced the launch of a new summer outreach program called ARISE.

The program aims to connect high school students with senior citizens through the arts.

ARISE stands for Arts Through Intergenerational Social Engagement. CAPA planned to start the program in 2020, but the pandemic forced it to postpone the program until it could safely have students visit senior centers in person.

Worthington Christian Village residents will be the first to take part in the six-week program.

“Worthington Christian Village has always been a great partner for us,” said CAPA Director of Education Amy Handra. “We’ve done a number of things throughout the years with them, so they’re the center that we decided to start this program with.”

Handra said a number of senior centers have contacted her about arts programs for their residents.

“And I was thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could create a program for high school students to go into the senior center environment and connect with senior adults, how impactful that would be,’” she said.

Handra runs a large teen program called the CAPA Marquee Awards, so her work with the students inspired the program that will be centered around sharing their unique stories through the fine arts.

“Storytelling through photos and found objects, storytelling through music, through dance and drama,” she said.

She plans to take the teenagers through extensive training before they begin working with the seniors.

“How do you speak and communicate with older adults, what kinds of things do you need to take into consideration,” Handra said. “What to expect when going into a care facility.”

ARISE aims to decrease loneliness, improve cognitive health, and increase the quality of life for seniors through interacting with students.

ARISE is looking for six to 16 current high school students to pair one-on-one or even two-to-one with seniors.

“They’re going to stay with the same senior throughout the six weeks, so they’ll really get to know that adult, and they will all be able to create a pretty powerful bond by the end of it,” Handra said.

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