Summer is one of the founding Sweet Readers who participated in both The Poetry of Art program at the American Folk Art Museum and Storytelling through Art at MoMA. We celebrate Summer for her kind and generous heart, the beauty in her writing and the gentle and caring way she connected with the older adults. Here’s how Summer describes those experiences:
“Sweet Readers is meaningful to me because when I do it I feel like I am helping people that can’t remember the fun things so I can come again the next time and do it over. I think somehow, somewhere deep in the seniors hearts, they can remember the Sweet Readers.
The first program, I was a little more nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know what it would be like with the seniors.
In the second program I found this nice, sweet, lady, Sarah who was easy to relate to… there was Sarah and she loved to read, like me, had a dog, like me, and she went to the same sleep-away camp my sister was at during the program!
I liked, in Sweet Readers, how everyone was nice and sweet, even the seniors’ helpers were very patient with them. Even though the only way the seniors would remember the Sweet Readers is if there was magic, I still believe there is magic in their hearts.”
Here are excerpts from letter that was sent to The Met after another Sweet Readers program, from a participant’s wife:
“The Sweet Readers program in which Ted, myself and our son Henri participated in on Sunday was indeed – sweet. Not only was Ted’s partner, Summer, a beautiful girl on the outside but truly a beautiful human being on the inside. She took on the challenge of communicating with a senior whose dementia limits his memories of his past experiences and sometimes finds words difficult to express himself in the present. With the help of the painting “The Contest for the Bouquet: The Family of Robert Gordon in Their New York Dining Room” Summer was able to elicit Ted’s visual reaction to the piece as well as bringing him back to his own life experiences of family gatherings in his own home. He was able to relate to the room in the painting of the Gordon family collection of paintings on the wall – being an avid art collector himself…Their partnership creating part of the larger quilt was quite pleasant and joyful to Ted – due largely to Summer’s guidance.”