LONGMEADOW – Carefully placed in the stone beds lining the walkway into the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation at JGS Lifecare sitting on exterior window sills are rocks ofg all sizes painted brightly with images of hearts, birds, faces, and silly bugs.
These painted stones are the handiwork of long-time JGS Lifecare volunteer Janice Lawrence, a resident of Genesis House, located on the JGS Lifecare campus.
“With COVID-19 and the protective restrictions on entering the nursing home, I am no longer able to visit and volunteer. I miss it terribly,” says Lawrence. “This is my home away from home. Painting these stones was a way for me to keep giving back.”
Lawrence began volunteering at Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence 15 years ago, offering manicures to the residents. For the past ten years she has been working in the volunteer-run gift shop at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home. Unable to perform her volunteer duties due to COVID-19, she found herself with a lot of time on her hands. To help her pass the time, her daughter Michele bought her some painting materials. Lawrence gave them a try, but didn’t see herself as an artist. It was on one of her daily walks on the JGS Lifecare campus that she got an idea.
Lining the sidewalk to the entry of Sosin Center for Rehabilitation are tumbled stones of all shapes and sizes.
“I enjoyed looking at the stones, and all of a sudden I found that they started to speak to me,” says Janice. “I see images in the patterns and shapes of the stones. I see a face, a bird, a heart, or a cute bug. This I knew I could paint.”
Lawrence started gathering stones – three or four at a time – taking them back to home Genesis House. She found inspiration from their shape and pattern, painted her image, and then returned them to their original place, with the goal of giving back and brightening someone’s day.
“When people are going in for rehab they have likely experienced a great deal of trauma. I want them to see something that makes them smile and tells them that someone cares,” Lawrence says. “I want them to be happy and feel good, knowing that they are entering a caring place and will soon be returning home to their families. I hope my painted stones help do that.”
Main Photo: Janice Lawrence holding one of her painted stone creations