A new program at the Indianola Activity Center has Marvin Beakler getting up early on Tuesdays. His wife Shirley noticed something was up this week when Marvin had fixed his own oatmeal and was already at the table as she came into the kitchen to prepare his breakfast. “He usually has a hard time getting around in the mornings, but this program really has him excited. It’s the best thing that’s happened to him in a long time.”
Marvin, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, is participating in a new arts and crafts program at the center. It is offered free of charge to veterans of every era and is funded by an organization called Help Hospitalized Veterans. Each Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., craft care specialist Theresa Johnson is available to help veterans choose and work on craft kits like the wooden bluebird house and bird feeder that Marvin has been working on, to leather crafts, painting kits, and models of cars, motorcycles, planes and military vehicles.
Shirley says that Marvin is proud to show off his finished bluebird house to family and friends. “It’s the first thing I’ve seen him really excited about in a long time.”
Theresa says that working on the kits not only lends a feeling of accomplishment to veterans, but also gives them an opportunity to socialize with others. “The kits have varied levels of difficulty, and sometimes working on these kits can help a veteran with their fine motor skills. We’d just like to get as many of these kits out and help as many veterans as we can.” Vets can choose to work on the projects at the Activity Center, or take them home to work on them. All services are free and offered as a thank you to veterans for their service.
Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) provides therapeutic arts and crafts to America’s veterans and military community through Community Based Craft Programs. Theresa currently services veterans at the Iowa State Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Indianola Parks and Recreation,the Knoxville’s Senior Center, and several homeless shelters in the Des Moines area.
Jerry Luedtke, Recreation Coordinator – Older Active Adults 50+ with Indianola Parks & Recreation and a veteran himself, contacted Johnson about bringing the program to Indianola. “It’s a great program for veterans, and we were interested in getting more people out to the center to see what is offered here. We’re hoping that more people will take advantage of it in the weeks to come.”
Shirley Beakler agrees. “I want to see this program continue,” she said. “It’s given my husband something to look forward to each week.”
If you want more information about the program, contact Theresa Johnson at 515 441-1495. Or stop by the Indianola Activity Center on Tuesday mornings between 10:00 am – noon. The center is located at 2204 W. 2nd Avenue (Hwy 92 West).