Tina Lough shows off the dress she made through Passages Inc.’s Creative Abundance program.
Michelle Thompson shows off the pillow she made for her family member, who graduates this spring.

COLUMBIA CITY — Passages Inc. recently celebrated the beginning of its newest program, “Creative Abundance,” with an open house May 26 at its Creative Learning Center.

“The mission of Creative Abundance is to enhance the social, emotional and physical well-being of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other perceived differences,” Passages said in a statement.

The organization aims to achieve this through partnerships, classes and exploration of the arts of all kinds.

Already, the program is meeting its goals and serving its clients, coordinators say.

Day Program Director Gloria Gonzalez described the program as one that “opens the opportunity for them to do what they want and make awesome art in the process.”

In some cases, it is changing lives.

“We have a friend who is not a happy person and has been difficult to engage with over her time here,” Gonzalez said. “With this program, she’s happy and social. The important part is that they are making their own choices. It offers a break away from the routine.”

Clients share Gonzalez’s enthusiasm. As participant Tina Lough said, “sewing gives me freedom.”

Jerrit Coffing enjoys the building opportunities provided through the program.

“I like building things out of wood because it keeps me out of trouble and motivated,” he said.

Michelle Thompson enjoys a wide variety of crafts offered by Creative Abundance, but particularly knitting and sewing.

“I like having fun and enjoying myself by doing this as a hobby,” she said.

She took the opportunity to stitch together a pillow for her family member who graduates this spring.

Passages welcomes help from community members who want to be a part of the program. Interested people may help in the following ways:

• Donate art supplies and materials;

• Volunteer time or skills;

• Collaborate by displaying artwork;

• Commission a piece of art; and

• Attend open public classes.

Anyone seeking to help the program should contact Gloria Gonzalez at ggonzalez@passagesinc.org.