A very special collaboration took flight mid-pandemic and resulted in 1,000 crafted Wings of Hope, which is the name of the latest exhibit at Park Place of Elmhurst. Park Place Life Enrichment Director Lisa Stoik had a vision to connect residents and their families by folding origami birds, and it was a fluttering success. “It was a way they could work on a project independently with a collective result and shared collaboration. I wanted to find a way to help residents feel connected during this lonely pandemic,” says Lisa. Excitement for the concept built as she discovered the meaning of the origami bird in Japan is a symbol of hope and peace.
“A perfect message for 2020 and beyond,” she says.
People were invited to submit origami birds of any type, size, and color, and Wings of Hope began to fly in from as far away as Massachusetts and California. “A total of 1,000 birds came through boxes, baskets, and envelopes.” Lisa says with a laugh. “My office was overrun with birds.”
As origami birds arrived in flocks, Linda and Larry Korbus, daughter and son-in-law of Park Place resident Helen Maurer, volunteered their skills in organizing and hanging this beautiful compilation of hope. The empty walls were transformed into a magical rainbow flight of 1,000 origami birds migrating towards the dining room. Shades of red, yellow, green, and blue gracefully travel down the walls as if a gentle breeze carried them in waves. If you listen carefully, you may just hear the chirps and flutters and feel the whispering wind carry you.
The collaborative nature and timing of this project was providential,” says Lisa. Following the Park Place 99.5% vaccination rate, the dining room was officially re-opened on February 12th. The exhibit unveiling naturally became part of this celebration. As residents arrived to commune together for the first time since last spring, they were welcomed by the beauty of 1,000 wings of hope. “When residents came through, the joy was palatable,” says Lisa. “It added to the excitement for brighter days ahead.”
The Wings of Hope collaboration became a favorite of residents, and to recycle this joy, the exhibit will move to the Park Place Health and Wellness Center building this summer for more residents to experience. And this fall, the 1,000 birds will take flight once again at Timothy Christian School, where students can be creatively inspired. Who would have thought this COVID-19 collaboration, crafted with care, would bring such joy and hope for so many people during this difficult season? In Matthew 6:26, Jesus reminds us not to worry in these times: “…as He does for the birds in the air, God cares for you...”