Brandon Oaks employee uses art to bring cheer to residents

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A laundry aide at a Roanoke nursing home is helping to bring a bit of happiness to her residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just wanted to make them smile, and it just went from there,” said Mallorie Marin, a housekeeper for the Brandon Oaks Life Plan Community.

For Marin, it all starts with a piece of paper and the swipe of a pen. Drawing has been her passion since she was 10 years old.

“I just watched cartoons like normal kids did, and I fell in love with one particular cartoon that came on Saturday,” Marin said.

Like many retirement communities, the facility’s limited visitor policy wasn’t raved by many residents.

Marin soon decided to turn their frowns upside down, and turned to the one skill she knew best.

“I thought that providing something cute would maybe help them think ‘Oh, that’s so cute,'” explained Marin, “and ‘I can’t wait to see something else next time.'”

With a single laundry ticket, her imagination went wild, creating artwork for residents on a daily basis. Since the pandemic, Marin has drawn over 100 sketches.

“Sometimes I get residents who draw a little something back, and then I try to add to it,” Marin said. “So we kind of have this little art relationship working out.”

Her idea soon became the talk of the community.

“Nancy was there and she said, ‘Oh I got some of those,’ and I said ‘Hey I got some of those!'” said Marin.

Buster Jones, a resident at the independent living community, remembers the exact day he got his first drawing.

“The ticket comes back, and all of a sudden I had this cute little art character that I think was a Christmas character, or Santy Claus,” Jones reminisced.

He and several residents soon banned together to create a special art exhibit in honor of Marin’s sketches.

“I know it made me cry, because it was so sweet and no one has ever done something so wonderful,” Marin commented.

With many people falling on hard times, Marin says it’s important, now more than ever, to take care of one another.

“I think everyone deserves a smile,” she said, “no matter what side of the fence you’re on.”

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