From letters to podcasts, senior citizens are getting the opportunity to get creative

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich (WJMN) – The Marquette Senior Center and the Senior Theatre Experience has created a program that allows seniors to tap into their creative side. As a result of wanting a COVID safe way for seniors to still be able to get their creative juices flowing, Miore Cleary, the Program Coordinator for the Senior Theater Experience created the Letters from Home program.

“Participants sign up to receive a letter prompt which I write,” Cleary said. “Then once a month you get brand new writing prompt for creative writing and you can take it however you would like it, whether that be sharing a story from your background of life experience, or just maybe even more. In terms of creativity, maybe it’s just a made-up story. So what from there, they send that letter in a pre-addressed envelope, and it gets sent to me. And then I respond to their writing piece.”

Cleary has even taken this program a step beyond just writing back to them and has allowed these stories to come to life. With the permission of the author, the story will then get recorded and published on a podcast called “Senior Theatre Experience the Podcast.”

“It’s been wonderfully successful it was accepted on Apple, Spotify, all the major platforms, which has been really great,” Cleary said. “Also within it was a series called “Elders Speak” and that was for seniors living in a senior facility, and they were just basically sharing stories of their life experience, while they were in isolation.”

Tristan Luoma, the Arts and Senior Services Coordinator for the City of Marquette says the need for for programs like this is the key to encouraging seniors to stay creative no matter the age, skill level or the time off.

“A lot of people think that after kind of formal education settings or maybe outside of those more formal art workshops or specific learning the media type of experiences,” Luoma said. “The keywords that are, you know, you can’t really go beyond that and it gets harder and harder to find these new ways to kind of engage and promote those so being able to do stuff like this to remind people that no, you can practice creativity at any point in your life you can pick stuff up that you may have dropped with you. A few years ago, a few decades ago, what have you.”

If you would like to get involved with the Letters for Home program or any of the other senior arts programs the Marquette Senior Center has to offer you can contact Tristan Luoma directly by phone at (906) 225-8655 or via email at tluoma@marquettemi.gov.

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