On November 10, the Kehrein Center welcomed 75 people to participate in “Aging Well Together,” a free program sponsored by Mather. Chair yoga, led by Creative Arts and Wellness Facilitator, “joy activist” Tiffany Denise Mitchenor, MFA, kicked off the programming, which was followed by a luncheon with entertainment provided by The Sistema Aggregation. Dr. Angela Lyonsmith, Director of Community Partnerships with Mather, shared that the event “is to welcome older adults 55 and better across the Austin neighborhood and beyond to engage in wellness programs that are enriching to the mind, body and spirit.”
Learn more about Mather programming in this Q & A with Mather representatives Dr. Angela Lyonsmith, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCPC, Director of Community Partnerships, and Tiffany Denise Mitchenor, MFA, Creative Arts and Wellness Facilitator.
What is the goal of the “Aging Well Together” events? What is the connection between the Mather Center and the Kehrein Center?
Dr. Angela Lyonsmith: The goal is to welcome older adults 55 and better across the Austin neighborhood and beyond to engage in wellness programs that are enriching to the mind, body and spirit. We are thrilled to reconnect with our friends and partners at Catalyst Schools and the Kehrein Center for the Arts to offer meaningful programming which encourages aging well and connecting around a shared love of good food, healthy practices and music that feeds our souls.
Mather’s Community Initiatives has been a longtime partner in the Austin neighborhood, and we are eager to kick off the return of our programs with events that focus on gratitude. In this season of recognizing what we are thankful for, we are so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with our old friends and the Kehrein Center, a historic community space which elevates storytelling, fine arts and creative expression. Mather’s community initiatives center creative engagement, brain health and lifelong learning to meet the wellness goals of adults 55 and better. We are thankful for the alignment in our goals of providing meaningful community engagement that celebrates the arts and cultural expression. The vision of Community Initiatives at Mather is an equitable society in which all older adults find wellness opportunities and resources to thrive within their communities.
The term “joy activist” is so beautiful! Can you describe why you use this term, and what the meaning is for you?
Tiffany Denise Mitchenor, MFA: In a world that is oftentimes chock-full of unsavory occurrences streaming into our daily consciousness, I find that it is easy and understandable for many folks to get lost in incessant feelings of despair, hopelessness, cynicism, and pessimism. As a joy activist, my personal mission is to intentionally swim against that tide of despair. Being a joy activist, for me, means operating from a genuine space of hope, love, kindness, care and joy as a means of collective upliftment.
How does your background in performing arts, and trauma-informed yoga facilitation influence how you create events for people?
Tiffany Denise Mitchenor, MFA: My background in performing arts and wellness modalities, along with a wide variety of lived experiences, has equipped me with a treasure trove of creative tools and inclusive language to apply to just about everything I do. I would say one of the most important tools is flexibility, fluidity, and the ability to respond to what is unfolding in the present moment. That is the main tool I use when creating new events, however, it is ultimately the people who attend the events that add the necessary flavor and spice!
Why do you do this type of work?
Tiffany Denise Mitchenor, MFA: Simply put, I absolutely love it! The synergy that is created amongst a group of folks gathering to breathe together, move together, share space together and collectively transmute pain to power is priceless. I’m deeply grateful to facilitate these gatherings. It is one of my greatest joys!
Is this an event that could be repeated in the future?
Dr. Angela Lyonsmith: Yes, Mather and the Kehrein Center for the Arts are excited to offer monthly programs that include a focus on well-being, lunch and live music - all provided free of charge. Our next event will be on December 8th with a theme of sharing our gifts. This will include a Yoga for All session, a delicious lunch, live performance of the Catalyst Circle Rock fine arts students and bingo with prizes provided by the Kehrein Center. We hope you will join us. We are excited to offer this program each month on the second Friday from 11am-1:30pm in the new year. We hope you will join us!
Aging Well Together participants said:
“Thank you for this event, I so enjoyed myself. This was a true blessing after a very hard week” “This was the best part of my day” “Thank you all so much for all that you do to encourage seniors; bringing people together through love” “Today made me feel that I matter too” “Bless you all for this wonderful experience” “Thank you for the beautiful attention and service you have provided to seniors, today everything was wonderful. Looking forward to the next one.”