Art for the ages: Jordanna Boxer-Wachler promotes creativity, connection with senior citizens through service


Photo credit: Tavi Memoli

Junior Jordanna Boxer Wachler leads Art for the Ages, an organization that introduces senior citizens to art therapy and creates connection. Her passion for photography and service inspired her service project. “It’s honestly incredible what we’ve done with a lot of the seniors,” Boxer Wachler said. “You can just see their cognitive function has improved drastically, you know. Though we can’t measure that, there are several studies about art therapy and the impacts of that.”

By Taviana Memoli, Staff Reporter

What began as a ninth grade service learning project turned into a passion for connecting with the senior community through art. In September of 2021, Jordanna Boxer Wachler (’24) applied her service project to her greater community and founded her organization, Art for the Ages: an institution leading art projects and presentations at senior citizen homes across Los Angeles. Boxer Wachler also takes portraits of seniors, getting to know their stories and who they are.

Boxer Wachler’s most recent project was at Bentley Suites in Santa Monica, where she helped seniors make heart decorations out of yarn to adorn their rooms. She said this project promoted free expression and creativity while fostering connections with senior citizens. 

Boxer Wachler is a part of multiple extracurriculars at Archer and in her local community, including InvenTeam, Service Squad, Girls Who Code club and PAWS. She also works two days a week at a Pilates studio in Santa Monica. Inspired by her family’s love for service, she grew up volunteering in her community through food drives and passing out socks to the homeless. She said this is what sparked her passion for service and led her to think about ways she could implement her own interests into her service work.

“I knew that if I really wanted to make an impact, I needed to love what I was doing and have that personal connection with myself,” Boxer Wachler said. “I’ve always been very big into art, and so combining the two – art and community service — brought me to Art for the Ages, and I’m so happy.”

In her freshman year history class, Boxer Wachler was assigned a project in which students researched service opportunities and designed their own ideas for how they could make a difference within their community. The project was created to encourage student involvement in service and activism. This nurtured her curiosity and gave her a jump-start creating her own impact in the service world.

History teacher Margaret Shirk guides freshman on their service journey, and she has assisted Boxer Wachler throughout her process of creating Art for the Ages. 

“When we dreamed of this curricular change and really trying to inspire students to draft unique proposals, hers represented what we dreamed of, which was bringing student interest, passion and combining that with an issue that you want to make a difference on,” Shirk said, “so the uniqueness of it — thinking outside the box — I think it’s phenomenal.”

History teacher Beth Gold has also watched Boxer Wachler’s service project develop since she was a student in her ninth grade class. During COVID-19, she was determined to stay engaged with service even through a screen and began planning Art for the Ages with Gold by her side.

“I thought it was a brilliant idea to tap into her creative powers and to leverage those to bring happiness and joy to these…seniors who may feel cut off from family members, as well as to family members who want to see the dignity that still exists with their loved ones,” Gold said. 

A lot of people think service is limited to a soup kitchen. However, it is about how can you bring together your passions and skills and use it to give back. Her project really highlights that beautiful blend of talent, passion and interest.

— History teacher Margaret Shirk

In agreement with Gold, Shirk said that she believes Art for the Ages has reflected the true meaning of what it is to be a service worker and activist.

According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Aging, “arts shows promise for improving older adults’ quality of life and well-being, from better cognitive function, memory, and self-esteem to reduced stress and increased social interaction.”

Boxer Wachler said the art workshops hosted by Art for The Ages at senior homes aims to have this impact on the residents, bringing light to the lives of senior citizens, many of whom may not get to use their creativity and interact with other individuals often.

As Boxer Wachler continues to grow her organization, she looks to the community for support. She created a website for Art for the Ages so students can learn more about the organization and works closely with the Service Squad to encourage other students to get involved.

Gold said that her drive and aspiration to get more students involved in service is admirable, and she looks forward to watching Art for the Ages continue to grow.

“One of her initiatives that she wants to bring to Service Squad is figuring out how to find regular opportunities that are happening around to volunteer and to give that information to students,” Gold said. “She’s really excited about bringing opportunities up to the student body. That’s her major impact on the service squad this year.”