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Art connecting generations: Assisted living resident creates coloring sheet for youngsters at Galena ARC, primary school


GALENA–When Jen Trebian, administrator at Galena-Stauss Senior Care Community, saw some of the artwork of assisted living resident Toby Leskanich, Trebian had an idea.

Visiting with Leskanich for the regular COVID-19 testing, Trebian asked Leskanich if she would be able to draw a turkey for the kids in the community to color. Trebian was thinking specifically of her daughter, Emma, who has missed her visiting to the senior care community since the pandemic set in. Trebian saw the coloring activity as a way to connect the generations.

Leskanich was up for the challenge and before long had produced 20 drawings from which Trebian could select.

Attached to the drawings was a note from Leskanich telling Trebian that she’d tried her best, with a reminder that Leskanich was turning 89 on Nov. 24.

The drawings were perfect and all the more meaningful given the love that was poured into the project by the artist.

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Trebian picked one and sent it to the Galena ARC and to Galena Primary School Principal Jill Muehleip. Trebian also shared the drawing with Galena-Stauss employees in hopes they’d share it with young people in their lives.

Sonya Bussan’s ARC preschoolers got to work coloring and painting the turkey.

“I think it is such an amazing feel good story connecting people in our community across generations,” said Bussan.

Several classes at the primary school also participated.

Muehleip said when she sent the turkey to staff in an email she suggested the students color it and perhaps write notes to the artist. Muehleip also encouraged the staff to take pictures of students at work on the project to share with Leskanich. Many of the drawings, complete with colors added by the students, were returned to Leskanich to show appreciation for her talents.