Lifting Hearts with the Arts

Submitted by: Maya Joshi

Lifting Hearts with the Arts (LHA) is a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Maya Joshi, a rising sophomore at Walter Payton College Prep. Run by Chicago high school students, LHA partners with assisted living homes to bring joy and meaningful relationships to their residents, and others struggling with feelings of isolation, through virtual events and art.

We recently reached out to LHA to learn more about their organization:

What sorts of activities do you offer, and what is your favorite event you’ve held?

We offer one-on-one meetings between seniors and our youth volunteers in the hopes of building lasting friendships. Volunteers are paired with seniors based on shared interests! We host group activities as well! These activities include mini concerts, painting lessons, and even trivia games. My favorite event to hold is called Name That Tune. Over Zoom, I play the first 30-45 seconds of a song, and then the seniors attempt to guess the name of the song, the artist, and the year that it was released. I recently played the game with residents of a home for the blind/visually impaired and played songs from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 90s. They guessed every song correctly during the hour long session! They even taught me trivia about some of the artists and songs.

The Art of Covid- Lifting Hearts with the Arts
Ellie meeting with Elaine (LHA’s first meeting between a senior and volunteer)

What sort of response have you received from the assisted living residents that you connect with?

We’ve had an amazing response from the seniors we meet with. When shutdowns began due to the pandemic, seniors at various care facilities were unable to meet with friends and family and were essentially cooped up in their apartments. Although isolation helped safeguard them from contracting the virus, it definitely began to take a toll on their mental health. By being able to set up weekly meetings with a new friend, the seniors had something positive to look forward to.

The Art of Covid- Lifting Hearts with the Arts
Our volunteer Ellie performing during a mini concert

What message do you hope to share through your organization?

We hope to share that building empathetic friendships and bridging social gaps between generations using the arts as a platform is a great way to make the most out of a trying time.

The Art of Covid- Lifting Hearts with the Arts
We donated coloring books to a facility and the residents mailed us some of their beautiful artwork

To learn more about Lifting Hearts with the Arts, we encourage you to visit their website, and follow them on Instagram @liftingheartswiththearts