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LONGMEADOW, Mass. – People are smiling as they visit Sosin Center for Rehabilitation at JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow, MA. Carefully placed in the stone beds lining the walkway into the building, and carefully balanced on exterior window sills, are splashes of color and glimmers of light, in the form of brightly colored painted rocks.  Rocks of all sizes and shapes are decorated with painted images of hearts, birds, faces, and silly bugs.  You can’t help but smile when you see this whimsical, welcoming surprise.

Janice Lawrence close up of painted rockThese painted stones are the handiwork of long-time JGS Lifecare volunteer Janice Lawrence, a resident of Genesis House, located on the JGS Lifecare campus.  “With COVID-19 and the protective restrictions on entering the nursing home, I am no longer able to visit and volunteer.  I miss it terribly!” exclaimed Janice.  “This is my home away from home!  Painting these stones was a way for me to keep giving back.”

Janice began volunteering at Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence fifteen years ago, offering manicures to the residents.  For the past ten years she has been working in the volunteer-run gift shop at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home.  Unable to perform her volunteer duties due to COVID-19, Janice found herself with a lot of time on her hands.  To help her pass the time, Janice’s daughter Michele bought her some painting materials.    Janice gave them a try, but didn’t see herself as an artist or someone who could paint with proper shadows and perspective.  It was on one of her daily walks on the JGS Lifecare campus that she got an idea. Janice Lawrence decorated a window sill with painted rocks

Lining the sidewalk to the entry of Sosin Center for Rehabilitation are tumbled stones of all shapes and sizes.  “I enjoyedlooking at the stones, and all of a sudden I found that they started to speak to me,” says Janice.  “I see images in the patterns and shapes of the stones.  I see a face, a bird, a heart, or a cute bug.  This I knew I could paint!”

So started Janice’s retrieval of stones – three, maybe four at a time – which she walked back to her home at Genesis House, with her walker.  She would find her inspiration from their shape and pattern, paint her image, and then returned them to their original place.  This was her special way to give back and brighten someone’s day.  “When people are going in for rehab they have likely experienced a great deal of trauma.  I want them to see something that makes them smile and tells them that someone cares,” commented Janice.  “I want them to be happy and feel good, knowing that they are entering a caring place and will soon be returning home to their families.  I hope my painted stones help do that.”

People find many ways to give at JGS Lifecare, and we thank Janice for finding her special way of giving!  Even amidst all of the concern of COVID-19, Janice found a way to lift hearts and make a lot of people smile!

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About Sosin Center for Rehabilitation

Sosin Center for Rehabilitation opened in December 2016.  It is the first Green House® certified nursing and rehabilitation facility in western Massachusetts, offering physical, occupational and speech therapy in a warm, personal setting that’s designed to feel like home.  It consists of 2 home, each with 12 private rooms that have full, private bathrooms.  Family-style dining, spacious living room and den, and multi-season screened porch are in each house.  A multidisciplinary team develops an individualized and comprehensive plan of care for every resident with an abundance of one-on-one interactions as well as group socialization. For more information, call JGS Lifecare at 413-567-6211 or visit JGSLifecare.org. 

About JGS Lifecare

JGS Lifecare is a leading health care system serving seniors and their families.  JGS Lifecare services include nursing home care (The Leavitt Family Jewish Home), rehabilitation services (Sosin Center for Rehabilitation), assisted living (Ruth’s House assisted Living Residence), adult day health care (Wernick Adult Day Health Care), home health, hospice and palliative  care (Spectrum Home Health and Hospice Care) and independent living (Genesis Lifecare). For more information, call JGS LIfecare at 413-567-6211 or visit JGSLifecare.org.