I want to start off by saying how honored I am to have created a painting for an organization that makes such a difference in peoples lives here in Nashville. Fiftyforward is a nonprofit organization that offers endless opportunity to the elder population in our city. They have different facilities all over Nashville that offer a huge variety of activities and charities. From social events such as dances, to art classes, community card and pool games, knitting groups, and community bingo. They also have a food service that prepares food baskets and delivers them to elder people who are unable to leave their home. I could write a whole essay on everything they do, because it is endless!
Pam Brown took me on a tour of the facilities one day, and I was absolutely amazed. I saw bingo groups where volunteers were working with people with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other mental troubles that come with aging. I saw the people working behind the scenes of all the food deliveries they do on a daily basis. They told me about number of people and the amounts of ground they cover to make sure people are fed. I saw ladies sitting around tables playing bridge, having the grandest time. It made me smile so big seeing them all joking around, laughing, and having the best time. I then walked into the pool room where a group of men were playing pool, again, having the best time. I watched a group make jewelry, another group take a painting class, a group of ladies knit together while chatting. At one of the facilities I even saw a salon where they can get their hair cut and nails done! This organization literally has thought of everything that the elder community could use.
I was beyond inspired after this visit to their facilities. The biggest thing that warmed my heart was the amazing since of community they have brought into these peoples lives.
I have two grandmothers who mean the world to me. I lost my grandfathers at a young age, and I am so grateful to have two grandmothers who have influenced and been apart of my life thus far. My mom’s mom and I have a strong connection and love. She always makes me smile through my heart, and brings endless love into my life. My dad’s mom is who I give credit to for me becoming an artist. Since I can remember she had me painting and drawing. Since probably the age of three, she has always inspired me to create, taught me how to draw, and praised me with confidence in my art. My mom’s mom, Meme, has done the same in the way that she always fills me with love and confidence in my art. Meme will call me just to remind me how much she loves my paintings that she has hanging in her house. They are the most loving grandmothers one could ever ask for.
As we all know, as we get older, we lose people in our life whom we love. I experienced both of them losing the loves of their life, as well as even losing a son. It’s so hard to watch someone you love suffer from losing a person whom they have not known life without. One of my grandmothers went through depression after losing her love. I first hand saw her pain, and then saw how organizations like Fiftyforward change peoples live. Ever since she has joined that community, her happiness and excitement about life radiates. She is drastically happier and it makes me and my whole family so much happier to see her this way.
I can’t even imagine what its like to be with the person you love for 60+ years and then lose them. At the same time be losing a son, and all of your friends. I can imagine that it would feel like you don’t know how to live without them. I can understand how its easy to be isolated and depressed after experiencing that big of a loss. Everyone at this age is challenged with that kind of loss, with illness, and even without having any family or money. Fifty Forward is giving these people the opportunity to choose life: To truly live your life to the fullest and not give in. They have created such an amazing opportunity and community. Fiftyforward gives endless opportunity for elder people to socialize: to do any activity with old friends and new friends. Socialization is such a key factor in mental health and happiness. When we are isolated, depressed, and stressed/have anxiety it is impacting our mental and physical health (no matter what age you are).
When we are surrounded by love, we feel happier, and I believe that has a huge affect on our health.
Fiftyforward is giving these people hope, love, and community. I am so grateful I had this opportunity to learn about this organization and everything it does in this city that I love and call home.
My painting is being used on all the invitations going out all over Nashville, announcing their 60th anniversary. Fifty Forward has also made a variety of gifts that will be given to different levels of people who donate. The person who makes the largest donation will win the original painting!
To find out more about Fifty Forward, please visit their website:
To donate visit: