Rebecca Felden is wearing her heart not on her sleeve, but across a special T-shirt as she heads back to campus this fall.
The graphic design student will start her senior year at UW-Parkside in September. For the last three summers – and during her college winter breaks – she’s worked as an activity aide at St. Ann Center’s Stein Campus, primarily in the northwest and southwest units. Working with people of different abilities and interests, she devises and oversees fun games, projects and other activities that also help strengthen various skills.
Being with clients is definitely the best part of working at St. Ann Center, and her co-workers a close second, Rebecca says. She’s already looking forward to seeing everyone again this winter.
So when she saw a Twitter post about an art teacher who’d had her students decorate a dress for her to wear to a student art show… she adapted the idea to help keep her memories close.
Using fabric markers, Rebecca hand-drew the St. Ann Center logo across an inexpensive T-shirt, then asked clients to add, in a variety of colors, small designs of their choice on the front and their signatures on the back. Creative art projects are an important part of the offerings at St. Ann Center – and many clients are talented artists. And this activity was immensely appealing all around!
As colleagues learned her plan, they wanted in. After a month of working one-on-one with clients, in the afternoons or during moments between other activities, Becca and more than 40 clients had decorated 12 shirts, including one for Shanness Williams, the Vice President of Activities and Intergenerational Development, and for Sr. Edna Lonergan, OSF, St. Ann Center founder and president.
Much to the clients’ delight, the crew wore their shirts this week on Rebecca’s last full day before going back to school, mugging for the camera with props like bright fedoras and cardboard guitars (part of an exercise program). It was tough to tell whose faces had the brighter smiles – the clients seeing the fashion show, or the wearers of the shirts designed just for them.