This month we celebrate the talented residents and staff members who make our organization so special. We are in awe of you.
Here’s a look at just a few individuals who are exceptionally talented. Going forward, we hope to feature more residents and staff in our monthly newsletters. It seems we have an abundance of talent on our campuses!
The adored receptionist at Ruth House, Jackie has been creating ceramic works of art for over 30 years. Making ceramic sculptures began as a way for her to relax. As Jackie explained, “I was a stay at home mom of three young kids, and I needed time to myself. I decided to try ceramics and loved it!”
Eight years ago Jackie decided to start giving ceramic classes at her house. Since then, her classes have been in huge demand. Participants come every Friday night to paint a variety of objects: original outdoor décor for their yard, traditional holiday decorations, and colorful gifts for the home and office. “It’s gratifying to see how excited the students are when they complete their projects.” Said Jackie, adding, “We laugh a lot!”
Cohen Florence Levine Estates
At a young 90 years of age, Carmela Maria Leone Favorito has seen it all. Born in San Nicola Italy in 1931, the third of eight children, a devastating earthquake caused her family to lose everything right before her birth. For the first year of her life, her family took shelter in a cave. Growing up, Carmela’s life was clearly one of hardship, but through it all, Carmela never lost sight of what was important to her: hard work, loyalty, and family.
Carmela’s Story, a memoir written painstakingly by Carmela with the help of family members, chronicles Carmela’s life from when she was a young girl in Italy until she was in her mid-70’s. It is a fascinating story of life, loss and the meaning of family. A second printing of Carmela’s book will be available this summer.
CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR
As mom to three active children, local author Christina Tuohey, Director of Marketing and Outreach at Ruth’s House Assisted Living, understands the importance of raising kids to be free of gender stereotypes. Cristina is the author of the acclaimed There Are No Girl Colors!, which creatively tells the story of a child who learns that every color should be appreciated free of gender norms.
Inspired by her children and her own childhood, Christina wrote the book as a way to teach her children that color is gender free. Christina grew up with very artistic parents and always viewed colors as gender neutral, but she realized that was not the case for everyone.” I started noticing that my boys would refuse certain cups, or toys, or crayons just because they were not traditional “boy” colors,” said Christina. “Now It makes me feel good knowing children are learning that all colors should be loved and celebrated, and that there are no girl colors, just colors!”
Katzman Family Center for Living
Resident Marie Diciccio has always loved to paint, at one time dreaming of going into Art School. But times and money were difficult, so she took the practical route and became a bookkeeper and sales associate. After moving into Katzman Center, Marie’s love for art quickly resurfaced.
Last year, Marie attended an activity art class and resumed her artistic endeavors. In fact, she now has several pieces that she proudly displays in her room. As Marie explains, “I’m no Claude Monet, but I love the sense of expression and creativity that comes with my artwork,” says Marie. “It truly brings me great joy.”
Ruth Riceman has made hundreds of quilts. After taking lessons, reading books, and studying the art of quilting, Ruth began experimenting with her designs about 30 years ago. She soon became well-known for her beautiful pieces and was gratified when people started commissioning her to make quilts for them.
Ruth can easily pinpoint her most memorable quilting project. She organized a group to make quilts for women in the Framingham penitentiary who were about to have babies. Ruth and her friends worked non-stop and ended up completing 75 one-of-a-kind quilts. Ruth recalls the women were so touched to receive the quilts. “If you are lucky enough to have a talent,” notes Ruth, “you have to use it to help somebody else.”
Leonard Florence Center for Living
Mike was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 but had been experiencing symptoms as early as 1995. An engineer, Mike had to out his dream of obtaining a PHD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry on hold. Despite that, Mike uses his talents every day to inspire the residents at the Leonard Florence Center. Currently, he is volunteering his time for a project in collaboration with Google. Mike is testing out different apps that will help individuals who cannot speak have the ability to choose from any number of synthesized voices.
Despite Mike’s ALS diagnosis, he lives a full, active life, going on trips, socializing with staff and residents and giving tours to visitors at the Center. Mikes explains it best. “When I was diagnosed, my doctor told me to get my affairs in order, as I may only have a few years to live,” recalled Mike. Alluding to his busy life, Mike added with a smile, “I’m sure this isn’t what he meant, but I hope you’ll agree that my affairs are very much in order.”
Kay has always been actively involved with the community, often being honored for her civic work. She volunteered for over 30 years at the Peabody Senior Center and received the prestigious “Peabody Person of the Year Award” as well as the “Peabody Community Spirit Award.” In 2015, at the age of 95, Kaye was recognized as a true role model for seniors and awarded the celebrated Peabody Torigian Award. Even today, at 101, she is an active member at the assisted living, always on the go and helping people.
For Kay’s 100th birthday in 2021, Peabody Mayor Edward Bettencourt issued Kay a “Congratulatory Proclamation.” The look of surprise on Kay’s face was priceless. After an impromptu speech, Kay was asked the secret to her longevity. “That’s easy,” she replied with a smile. “I’m Italian!”
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