June 14, 2019
Volunteer Denise Nonomura is a Stratford artist with a passion for sharing her love of art with others. Before retiring to Stratford and following her dream of painting professionally, she had a career in health care, working in a hospital pharmacy. Denise has been with HPHA for over two years volunteering on the inpatient units.
During Denise's volunteer role she met a patient who wanted to sketch and she took this opportunity to share her skill and passion for art as a form of friendly visiting. Each week the patient looked forward to her visits and had more sketches to share with her.
From this interaction came the idea of helping other inpatients by creating an opportunity for them to reap the benefits of art which can include stress relief, positive emotions, improved problem solving and communication skills. Denise shared her vision with Cheryl Hunt, Corporate Lead Volunteer Services who went to work thinking of a good fit for Denise's idea.
Cheryl approached Christina Sebben, Manager Inpatient Mental Health & ED (Stratford) about the idea and after planning activities were completed, a weekly art group for the Mental Health Unit was launched. At this group Denise introduces patients to many art forms including clay, acrylic painting and drawing, along with craft projects and provides instruction and guidance.
“Our patients enjoy the time they spend with Denise. It brings them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment,” says Christina.
“It just made sense,” adds Cheryl. “To match a talent to a need within our hospital is a wonderful feeling. As a result, many more volunteers have been introduced to our Mental Health Unit to support our patients on a social level. We have such passionate and committed community members within our organization, the HPHA is truly blessed.”
Christina and Cheryl will continue to work together to create an inclusive volunteer program for our Mental Health unit with a focus on improving our patients' experience.
L to R: Christina Sebben, Denise Nonomura & Cheryl Hunt