Milford Beacon
  • New arts program dares elderly to think 'Outside the Box'

  • There's a cure for senior citizens in Milford who suffer from boredom on Wednesdays.
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  • There's a cure for senior citizens in Milford who suffer from boredom on Wednesdays.
    It's a new arts and crafts program called "Outside the Box" and it's held at the Milford Senior Center on Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. The program started on Aug. 7.
    Outside the Box, created by Milford resident Helene Bowen, is intended to get folks to look at ordinary items in creative new ways. For instance, think of making a handbag or clock from an old cigar box. Or consider converting a cookie tin into a jewelry box. Whatever you'd like to create, the power is yours to do so.
    During each session Bowen brings in basic craft supplies and examples of her own nifty creations – such as the clock she made from her husband's cigar box – to give participants ideas of things they can make on their own. Bowen also encourages participants to bring in items like cookie tins that they might have lying around their home to be decorated with sea shells or something else that's witty.
    Outside the Box was born from Bowen's desire to make money while using her college education. Although she holds a bachelor's degree in interior design from the University of Maryland, the retired Bowen says it's difficult finding a job in her career field in Milford.
    "I'm over 65 and there's no place for me to go," she said. "I don't want to work in a retail store where I have to stand on my feet all day."
    Considering Bowen's been converting her husband's cigar boxes into creative crafts for nine years, Bowen decided to create Outside the Box. In June she pitched the idea to Kathy McFadden, the program and activity manager for Milford Senior Center. McFadden says the timeliness of Bowen's proposal and her imagination for the program made it a win-win for the Milford Senior Citizen and Bowen.
    "It was one of those things where people were asking for crafts, and we had just closed the gift shop [in June] to turn into another program space," McFadden said. "Then [Helene] comes with a great sounding program. It was one of those things that just came together at once."
    In addition to helping seniors get their creative juices flowing, Bowen believes Outside the Box could also earn participants some extra cash.
    "It might give them the incentive to create more things and encourage them to sell things on their own," Bowen said. "It'll make them proud."
    A free 30-minute session of Outside the Box is available for potential participants. For more information, see IF YOU GO box.
    WHAT Outside the Box arts and crafts program
    Page 2 of 2 - WHEN 1 to 3 p.m., Wednesdays
    WHERE Milford Senior Center, 111 Park Ave., Milford
    COST $14 per session; $50 for four sessions; a free 30-minute session is available for potential participants. For more information, see INFO.
    INFO Visit milfordseniorcenter.net, email Helene Bowen at artsidethebox@gmail.com or call her at 422-2274
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