Briseily Cejudo, ‘25

April 18, 2023
Biology major supports creative experiences for all generations in Richmond

By Joanne Bong, '25, Communications Assistant for Equity & Community

As a biology major on the pre-med track, Briseily Cejudo, '25, never expected to work in an artistic environment. 

"When I was searching for a volunteer program, even though I’m pre-med, I wanted to seek more diverse experiences," Cejudo said.

As a first-year in the Bonner Scholar Program, Cejudo was introduced to Art for the Journey, a Richmond nonprofit focused on art for all generations.

"Art for the Journey is really about working with art in order to feel less stressed out," Cejudo said. "It’s a way to cope with anxiety or to let creativity flow."

She was especially drawn to Art for the Journey for its Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program which works with individuals with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and other neurocognitive disorders. The program provides opportunities for creative expression and social engagement in a therapeutic environment.

"There are around ten elders at the nursing home, and I worked with them by encouraging and conversing with them and being a supportive companion throughout the art process," Cejudo said.

Along with providing healing to these individuals, the program has also helped Cejudo in her personal life.

"After working at Art for the Journey, I began to draw and paint as a way to destress at school," Cejudo said. "I was never really good at being creative, but the volunteer work made me feel so relaxed that I’m also incorporating it into my life."

Cejudo is now working at Anna Julia Cooper School where Art for the Journey is providing art classes to youth in Richmond’s East End. The students are learning creative techniques and visual literacy with the goal of nurturing self-expression and outward engagement.

"My favorite part about volunteering at Art for the Journey are the students," Cejudo said. "I really enjoy seeing the creativity and effort put into their artwork throughout the class period."

Through her studies and volunteer experience, Cejudo is finding new ways to enrich her own life as well as the lives of the community by combining her interest in the medical field with art and self-expression.

"These programs really help introduce new ways to grow in all stages of life, even for me as a volunteer."