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Coloring club fills a void

Dona Wallace loved doing little things to keep her mind sharp—crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles—and above all—coloring. In fact, she loved coloring so much that she started her own club. Sadly, Dona passed away before she could attend a meeting, but thanks to her granddaughter, Leah Kerbs, her coloring club lives on.

“After she passed, I felt like I wanted to keep it going … to keep her spark through coloring alive,” said Leah.

So now, on the first and third Friday of each month, Leah and her mom Tammie, round up supplies from Dona’s personal stash and head to the community. The crowd that gathers for the coloring club ranges from 15 to 20 residents and new participants are always stopping by—especially when they hear that there are snacks involved.

“‘We’ve heard you make snacks,’ is what we sometimes hear,” said Leah. “They’ll come for the snacks and then stay for coloring or just hang out and talk.”

An additional attraction for the residents is Leah’s children—a kindergartener and a one-year-old—who frequently accompany her.

“They love the kids being there,” said Leah. “Little kids just bring life.”

The club has been such a hit, and its calming effect on the residents is so noticeable by staff, that club meetings have been extended from 30 minutes to a full hour. It’s that kind of encouragement that has kept Leah going.

“The staff has been so great in supporting us in this and helping get residents there or whatever we need during club. They’ve been really encouraging, which is nice. I felt awkward at first because I didn’t have any family there,” said Leah. “I feel like it’s definitely something that’s building relationships all around—with staff and residents.”

Looking at what the club has become, Leah has no doubts that her grandma would be pleased.

“She would love it! This is totally her thing,” said Leah. “She was always active and social and doing things for and with others!”

If you would like to participate in “Dona’s Coloring Club,” the club’s next meeting will be at 10 a.m. on February 15.

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