Older Youth Services students’ artwork makes memorable impact

OYS students pictured left to right are Nathan and Marissa. Pictured lower left is Nathan’s artwork for The Villages note card. Lower right is the City of Garrett sign Marissa helped to paint. City of Garrett photo courtesy of Facebook (City of Garrett).

“The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found
anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet
away. It is always on his doorstep.” Paul Strand

Marissa and Nathan, two graduating seniors in our Older Youth Services Program (OYS), enjoy expressing themselves through art. Recently, they used their creativity and attention to detail to design projects that will be seen for years to come.

Marissa helped her classmates at Garrett High School create a welcome sign for the City of Garrett and Nathan created the winning design for The Villages note card contest.

Nathan, 17, was among eight participants in the contest, which required a cover design that included the three children featured on The Villages logo. As the winner, Nathan received a $100 gift card. The note cards will be used by Villages offices statewide to send to donors, volunteers, and partners. A framed print of the design will also be displayed at Villages offices in Indianapolis, Elkhart, Fort Wayne, and Terre Haute.

Nathan’s winning design features a silhouette of three children with hearts displayed in different colors to represent connection, Nathan says.

“I really wanted to make something that challenged my understanding of perspective,” Nathan says of his decision to create a silhouette. “I also wanted to have some incorporation of primary colors.”

Marissa, 18, along with her classmates in shop class at Garrett High School, designed a welcome sign that will be installed at the city’s entrance.  She and another classmate spent three to four weeks painting the sign during class.

“It’s very different from any other artwork I’ve done,” says Marissa, who has created a mural for a local dance studio and is completing her first commissioned artwork. “My peers loved it. It reminded them of a beachfront.”

Both Nathan and Marissa will attend Ball State University this fall to study illustration and animation. They credit OYS for helping them prepare for college and life. OYS helps participants apply for jobs, find housing, manage money, and develop general life skills – essentials for living independently.  OYS case managers are essentially a support system for these young adults once they are out on their own.

“It was really nice to have more insight about finances and life skills that aren’t taught in school,” Marissa says.

Nathan, who is graduating this month from Riley High School in South Bend, said he is thankful for the staff at OYS who showed genuine interest in his well-being.

“I’m really grateful for The Villages for taking so much time to care for me and my family,” he says.

Contact us to learn more about how you can foster or support older youth at The Villages.

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