Cynthia Casey, 51, a resident at Greenwood Care and Rehabilitation Center at 1139 Main Avenue, was recently named winner of the national contest Art From the Heart for her poem “Knowing You.”
Before the win, her poem was chosen from entries at 11 other skilled nursing centers located in Connecticut and Rhode Island as the regional winner.
Last week, Casey was informed of her victory and awarded a certificate, which she has framed in her room.
“I was so surprised and then I almost cried,” Casey said in an interview Tuesday. “I called my sister and she said she’s proud of me.”
Art From the Heart, based in Oregon, is an art center and gallery for adults with developmental disabilities. It aims to encourage people of all abilities to grow as artists, as well as build positive relationships with others. SunBridge Healthcare, a national healthcare organization with more than 200 facilities in America, sponsors the annual contest.
“The art contest creates an opportunity for our residents to be honored for their artistic talents,” Michael Lopes, administrator at Greenwood Care and Rehabilitation Center, said in a press release.
Casey, who writes for the monthly resident and family newsletter at the Center, wrote the poem in March.
“We had a writer’s group, but that kind of fizzled out, and me and this other resident kept writing and writing,” she said. “I had a few ideas, and then, all of a sudden, when I was with this other resident the whole thing came together.”
Casey has been writing since she was a child and said poetry is her favorite genre. When she was younger, she used to visit a church to write poetry. She also enjoys reading and often reads to a small group of residents.
“I like to read out loud,” she said.
Additionally, Casey makes weekly announcements at the center to alert residents of activities and spends free time exercising, going for walks, as well as attending Bible study classes.
But for Casey, writing is the best way to spend a day. Further, Casey said the contest helped her realize something very important.
“I learned through time we need to replace the ‘I can’t’ theory with the ‘I can’ reality,” she said.
Being with you makes me smile.
Please sit and stay awhile.
To me you are a true friend
Up until the very end.
For you’re as gentle as a dove.
I feel your inspiring love.