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Helping seniors and persons with disabilities attain and sustain
maximum independence, well-being and health.

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Client Story

He found a voice through art and music. OMA program empowers Nathan and others with cognitive challenges.

When Nathan was 14, a drunk driver struck him while he was riding his bicycle, leaving him in a coma for a year. “It’s a miracle that he’s alive,” said his mom, Cheryl.

The accident left Nathan with aphasia, which is caused by damage in an area of the brain that controls language expression and comprehension. People with aphasia, as well as many people living with dementia, have a limited ability to form speech and communicate.

Now 51, Nathan has found solace in LCSNW’s weekly art and music classes. For the past three years, these sessions have brought immense joy to his life, sparking his spontaneous singing to the theme song, “You Are My Sunshine” —a first for Nathan, who previously struggled with communication due to his traumatic brain injury.

LCSNW is the first and only organization in Washington State providing Opening Minds through Art (OMA) classes. We pair trained volunteers with people who have dementia or other cognitive challenges. Together they create works of art, fostering compassion and understanding among younger generations. OMA also provides much-needed respite for caregivers in a landscape where support is scarce.

We have a special group of volunteers from the University of Washington-Tacoma’s School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, whose participation over two quarters has enriched the experience for all. About 30 nursing students engage with participants during the weekly OMA sessions, passionately contributing to the program’s mission.

This year, LCSNW’s commitment to those living with dementia, traumatic brain injuries or other cognitive challenges was recognized on a national level. LCSNW won the award for the most submissions to the inaugural art show hosted by national OMA leaders.

Among LCSNW’s talented artists, Nathan stood out, winning the Fan Favorite Award — a testament to the transformative power of art and music in his life.

LCSNW offers several social-engagement activities for people in the South Puget Sound area who have dementia and similar challenges. Activities include Memory Walks and Memory Cafe gatherings. 

Volunteer Profile

Kathy Shank

Kathy has been an active volunteer in our Greater Puget Sound District since 2019, when she first signed on with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, then began helping the Santa for Seniors team.


Although Kathy started volunteering to assemble gift bags, she quickly offered to help pack boxes, decorate ornaments, tie tags and put together small acknowledgements. She also brings her love of crafting, as she made 500 little yarn gnomes to add to senior gift bags last holiday season.


She also hosts gatherings at her Lakewood, Washington, home and recruits friends, neighbors and students to paint ornaments and suncatchers. All these items are included in holiday and spring gift bags for isolated seniors.


Kathy is one of the most generous people we know, and we are thankful to have her as an LCSNW volunteer!

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By the Numbers

Santa for Seniors

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Gift Recipients




Counties Served

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Dementia Services / Caregiver Support

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Clients Served

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Senior Companion and Senior Friends

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Clients Served 



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Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

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Foreign Born Elders

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Clients Served

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Senior Media

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Senior Scene Newspaper Copies


Where to Turn Resource Guide Copies

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“This program gives me purpose, extra money to live on, and satisfaction. My clients cannot wait for the days that I come. I have made many new friends.” 

Senior Companion Program Volunteer,
Greater Puget Sound

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