Come See Our Pleasant Environment In Our New Sensory Room
It has been over a year since Tad challenged staff to come up with some ideas that would enrich our program. He said he would do what he could do to fund our ideas within reason. Well, that was all it took. I already had an idea and it was just a matter of putting the pieces in place. The classroom I work in, has a small adjoining room. This room at one time was used for speech therapy when Lucy had children enrolled. It has been used for various things since then the most recent being storage. With the help of my co-worker and friend, Sonja Mascella we began to work on transforming the room into a place for the clients to relax. Tearing off the paneling was time consuming but we did it. It was nothing compared to removing what was under the paneling. Material had been glued onto the walls to make it sound proof for the speech therapy classes. This was rough going but it was finally down to the bare walls. Enter Jim Klein, one of the client's fathers. This man is truly a blessing to me and the Center. He hung the dry wall, replaced the old wiring and added extra outlets. The outlets are out of reach for added safety and convenience. He replaced the lighting, ceiling, flooring and added shelves and trim. He put a light blue base coat on the walls. I am sure there are things he did that I've neglected to mention, but I know he will understand.
Next I placed a call to Vermilion High School's art teacher, Christen Schneid. I asked her if any of the art students would be interested in painting murals on the walls of the new room. We discussed ideas and decided since there were four walls why not incorporate the four seasons. Perfect! She said she would ask the students and she would get back to me. Well, thankfully they said yes! I cannot tell you how wonderful the teacher and students have been. They gave up their free time to come to the center and paint the room with a different seasonal scene designed on each wall. I will never be able to thank them enough for the wonderful work they did. They asked for nothing in return. I can only hope they know how special and talented they are and what a difference their efforts made to the room, to me and everyone involved.
There is more to the story, it is about the love and kindness three people showed in a gift they donated to put in the room. Jim and Denise Klein wanted to give me a birthday present for my last birthday. I suggested they get me something for the new room we were all working on. I didn't have any idea what it would be. Let the suspense begin! They would not tell me what it was, not even a hint. What made it worse was Sonja knew and promised not to tell me. Needless to say I was going crazy trying to figure out what it could be. The only thing I knew for sure was where in the room it was going to be used. On one wall there is a glass block window. Jim had run electric to that window ledge and this only added to the suspense.
One morning I came to work and went into the new room. What I saw took my breath away. The glass block window was encased with the most beautiful stain glass angel imaginable. Jim had installed lights between the glass block window and the angel. I cried, Sonja cried, we all cried. I could not believe it. Jim and Denise had ordered it from Cheryl Smiikowski, owner and artist from the Workshop Art Gallery of Oberlin. When Cheryl found out the window was for The Lucy Idol Center she donated her beautiful piece of art. She did not give a second thought about the time spent creating such a special piece, or the money she was losing. She knew the angel would never know a better place to call home. I feel Cheryl is an angel on earth for what she did.
My thanks goes out to all those that helped make the room a reality. Jim and Denise Klein., Christen Schneid, and the members of the VHS art club, Amanda, Anna, Codie, Erin, Jakob, Jordyn, Lexi, Natalie, Steven and Tori. I would like to thank the parents of the students for allowing them to donate their time and talent. You can be proud of what they did.
They are our future and they will make it a better place. Michael Mascella donated primer paint and took the time to apply it to the walls. Rich Lantz taped and finished the dry wall. To Sonja, you supported me from day one. I might have given up without your help and encouragement. Thank you, Tad, Martha and Carol and all the staff and visitors who showed their support in the making of this special area for everyone to enjoy some relaxation.
There are a few minor things to finish up in the room, nothing major. I would like to extend an invitation to everyone, please come and visit the Center. We love to have visitors! I keep saying "the room" but it deserves a real title. What should we call it? Some suggestions are Sensory room, Four Seasons room, The Quiet Place, Angels Welcome. All suggestions would be delightful. What does everyone think? Let us know.