North Shore Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara Hanan

April 2, 2014 By vincent-uribe

Retirement doesn’t mean taking it easy for Barbara Hanan. After retiring from her full time position as a school nurse in Chicago, Barb has continued to substitute at local schools while also maintaining a busy schedule of volunteering and social activities. We’re so grateful to be one of her volunteer sites! NorthShore artist Quinn Zenner, an expert interviewer, spent a few minutes getting to know Barb. Check out their conversation below to learn more about this active senior!Quinn: I have a couple of questions for you, Barbara. How did you hear about The Arts of Life?Barbara: I heard about The Arts of Life from a friend of mine.Q: A friend of yours? She told you about us, I guess.  How long have you worked here?B: About two years.Q: Wow. Did you know any of the artists before you started volunteering?B: Yes, I knew one artist: Amanda.Q: My friend! Okay! How long did you know her?B: I knew Amanda for about 3 years. She went to the High School where I worked.Q: What do you like about The Arts of Life?B: I like working with the artists. I like helping them w/ their art. I like seeing the art when it’s all finished.Q: Ah. That’s really articulate. What kind of work do you do when you’re volunteering here?B: I help the artists come in from the bus.  I help them put their lunches away. I help them put their coats away. I help them get set up for the artwork they will be doing that day. Also I help with the lunches.Q: What’s your favorite task?B: At Arts of Life?Q: Well, anywhere….B: To work with people.Q: Oh really? What do you like most about helping us at the studio?B: I like to help the artists create the picture that they want. After the picture is finished, I like seeing the artist feel good about themselves for doing their artwork.Q: Like emotions, right? Could you explain more about that in detail?B: Let’s say somebody is drawing a house and they’re not sure what color to make the house. We’ll talk about it… Like, “What color is your house, the house where you live? Do you like that color?” I make suggestions.Q: Are you an artist?B: I am not really an artist.Q: Do you have a favorite artist?B: I like Andy Warhol and I like Renoir.Q: Andy Warhol?! That name sounds familiar! What do you do when not at The Arts of Life?B: I volunteer at my temple in the Caring Connection. Also, I substitute as a school nurse. I sing in a choir. I’m in a book club.Q: What did you do before you retired?B: I was a school nurse at Jackie Vaughn High School. It’s a school for students with disabilities.Q: Is that with and without disabilities or just with disabilities?B: All of the students have disabilities.Q: The reason I ask this question is because there are people with disabilities and people without disabilities. There is a mixture of people in the world.B: The students I worked with all had developmental disabilities and sometimes physical disabilities.Q: That was very challenging I bet.B: I liked it very much. You’re right — It was a challenge.Q: How many years?B: Almost 40 years.Q: Wow. That’s amazing.  You have a long history!B: I do.Q: I’m glad that you had a chance to express yourself.B: Thank you. It was so enjoyable to talk to you. Q: You’re welcome!— A big THANK YOU to Barb for all she does at the North Shore studio! If YOU are interested in becoming a volunteer like Barb, fill out our volunteer application!