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Making a difference, one canvas at a time

St. Brendan High students share time, talent with patients at Lynn Rehabilitation Center

Senior Maya Netto shows her canvas as the art students at St. Brendan High prepare for a delivery to the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center at Jackson Medical Center's main campus. The students have created and delivered over 200 canvases since spring 2021.

Photographer: COURTESY

Senior Maya Netto shows her canvas as the art students at St. Brendan High prepare for a delivery to the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center at Jackson Medical Center's main campus. The students have created and delivered over 200 canvases since spring 2021.

Senior Christina Carvajal holds the canvases she created for the St. Brendan High School art program's service project "I Care Canvas."

Photographer: COURTESY

Senior Christina Carvajal holds the canvases she created for the St. Brendan High School art program's service project "I Care Canvas."

SYDNEY ANAZCO

Special to the Florida Catholic

MIAMI | For two years, students in the Art Club and Art Honor Society at St. Brendan High School have shared their time and talent with the patients at the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center.

Canvases created by St. Brendan High School art students are displayed at the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center at Jackson Medical Center's main campus.

Photographer: COURTESY

Canvases created by St. Brendan High School art students are displayed at the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center at Jackson Medical Center's main campus.

A Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center therapist spreads canvases created by St. Brendan High art students on a cart and delivers them to the patients for selection.

Photographer: COURTESY

A Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center therapist spreads canvases created by St. Brendan High art students on a cart and delivers them to the patients for selection.

The "I Care Canvas'' program allows students to create and share their original paintings with the patients at the center, located at Jackson Medical Center’s main campus.

Canvases are distributed to patients on special occasions, such as rehabilitation milestones, birthdays, or holidays spent at the facility. Over 200 works of art have been produced and delivered to the center since the program's inception.

Students spend time before and after school to complete the canvases and ensure that sufficient completed canvases are delivered to the center for each occasion. 

“The I Care Canvas program is a great opportunity [for students] to impact our community by using their talents,” said Isabel Cunill-Pola, art teacher at St. Brendan. "It is only in its second year, and the number of canvases produced has almost doubled. Thank you to the Sabres for their service to this local cause."

Gabriella Rios, a recent St. Brendan graduate, said the program was “extremely special because [the paintings] were going to a good cause."

Dr. Diane Netto, a St. Brendan parent ambassador and clinical neuropsychologist at the Lynn Center, coordinates the project alongside Cunill-Pola, the Art Club, and the Art Honor Society. She said the students’ works are being used as a tool to bring joy to the patients.

“The rehabilitation team at Jackson Medical Center have been using the canvases not only as a gift and memento to the patients for their time in the rehab facility but also as therapy,” Dr. Netto said.

“With patients who have impaired language skills, the canvases have been used to talk about the paintings, allowing for working on word-finding skills and verbal expression. For others, it offers an opportunity to talk about memories or feelings. The canvases are presented to patients on a cart for them to choose their favorite one along with an explanation about how high school students created them, which is all the more gratifying and meaningful," continued Dr. Netto.

Having worked at the Lynn Center for many years, she said it brought her great joy to have brought this idea to life with the help of the talented students at St. Brendan and their art teacher.

Sydney Anazco works in the Development Office at St. Brendan High School.