“If you see it in your mind, you’re going to hold it in your hand.”
Bob Proctor from the book “The Secret”
Today I hold this beautiful company called The Culture Connection in my hand. The journey towards my vision, this vision I now call The Culture Connection, has been impassioned, moving and enlightening for me and hopefully those who have been a part of this pilgrimage. Several years ago I saw all of this in my mind, I had no idea how I was going to get there but step by step the pathways were laid out before me because I trusted and never let go of that vision.
I knew I wanted to help people, particularly children and the elderly. I knew wholeheartedly that there were lessons learned in my life that I wanted to somehow convey to these demographics, especially children. As a writer, I often feel as though I am a channel and that although I am a consummate researcher, interviewer and studier of the subject matter I am writing about; when I actually sit down to write the final piece, the words flow through me onto the paper from something bigger than me. I create from my heart not my intellect. I often wish that someone had instilled the understanding of this deeper self to me when I was young. There is a lot of power in this and once you really know this, it is impossible to not want to share it with the world. Enlightened people, enlightened children cultivate enlightened communities.
So I am often asked the question how did this all start. Outside of my internal motivation, pragmatically I do have an answer (LOL) but like I said, the unfolding of each step just seemed to happen on its own and present me with new opportunities. Each rung I gripped on the ladder led me to where I am today.
Eight years ago, a few days before my Mother passed away she said to me, “Stacy you have to write, you have to stop everything else and just write, do your art, it is who you are, always have been and always will be.” On that very day, I left corporate America and began focusing on what I truly loved and was meant to do; I began writing. I threw myself into all things artistic, joined numerous literary and poetry groups, became a House Manager at a local theater and rearranged my life in order to live my passion. I started to write for several local and national papers and magazines, attended as many cultural events as possible and read my work at open mic nights.
It was at one of these events that James Ciervo, veteran Recreational Director at Water’s Edge Nursing Home asked me if I would not mind bringing some of my poet friends to read for his residents. I gladly agreed. What I witnessed on that day was eye opening. The response we had from these wheelchair bound residents was astonishing. Their eyes grew wider, their frowns turned upward and they were present, clapping hands and asking questions. I saw firsthand what the arts were doing for them. They were stimulated and engaged and wanted more.
I embarked on a quest to find out all I could about neuroplasticity, cognitive functioning and researched this somewhat “new” idea about the correlation between arts and culture and its effects on the brain. I sought the advice of experts in the area and developed a poetry program that came to be one of the most sought after and solicited series in the Therapeutic and Recreation arena for Nursing Homes and Rehabilitation Centers in the Tri-State area.
I watched Alzheimer Patients remember their wedding songs, patients who barely speak mumble adjectives describing feelings of joy and sorrow, retired school teachers talk about their students; the list goes on and on. These sessions turned out to be more a gift to me and my teachers than our company was to them.
As my senior poetry company was gaining momentum, a colleague of mine who has a very successful children’s art studio in The Hamptons invited me to work with her and sit in on her classes. I saw the same type of reactions I was receiving from the elderly in these children. As they painted skateboards, sneakers, and small canvases, these children were captivated, focused and inventive. After experiencing the actual real time responses to art and culture from these two demographics, I knew it was time to expand my company’s goals and infrastructure to children and incorporate all the arts. For me there was no other alternative, I had seen and experienced too much to not move forward with this venture.
So here we are………….☺
With Love, Stacy