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Want To Be Inspired?

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

A Programming Strategy that Appeals to the "Whole Person"

This post is only for activity professionals, community members, and individuals of any age, stage, ability, or background, who want to be inspired. Four recent films are featured in this article. All four films center around inspirational individuals from diverse backgrounds.


Share multicultural, intergenerational, programming strategies that appeal to the "Whole Person." Several areas contribute to a person's wellness, such as emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, and physical health. Additional health and wellness areas include creative, cultural, and cognitive health, as mentioned in Betsy Best-Martini's Long Term Care manual. I shall share activities inspired by four films and welcome you to suggest other films that would inspire those for whom you care and with whom you work.


The reasons that I chose the following four films is that they appeal to the "whole person," are intergenerational, and are filled with memorable music. The primary performers in the films range in age from under 12 to over 90 years old. The music is sung/played/and/or composed by individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds. Since many of our Activity Professionals have multicultural heritage and most are desceded from immigrants, I chose to feature films and related musicians (i.e., composers of the films' theme music) with diverse backgrounds. My own extended family is composed of individuals from many backgrounds, which is why I choose to be a lifelone educator/student.

Featured Multicultural Films (organized by country/culture of origin)


Angela Alvarez, a 95-year old immigrant from Cuba, was just nominated a few days ago for the Latin Grammy 2022 Best New Artist award. She is featured in Miss Angela, a new documentary film presented by Andy Garcia about the discovery of her songs, chronicling 91 years of her extraordinary life. She composed her first song at age 19, but didn't sing professionally until she was in her 90s (Washinton Post, 11/10/2022).


Encanto, a popular feature animation film, streaming on Disney+, tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a wondrous, charmed place called Encanto. The magic of Encanto has blessed every child in the family with the power to heal – every child in the family except Mirabel. The musical features songs by Manuel Miranda, who created the Broadway musical, Hamilton.


Maria Carey is the youngest of three children born to Patricia (née Hickey), a former opera singer and vocal coach of Irish descent, and Alfred Roy Carey, an aeronautical engineer of African-American and black Venezuelan-American lineage. Among her most popular songs is "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special, a 2020 film, centers around a holiday crisis in which the North Pole has to call Santa Claus's friend, Mariah Carey, to help.

African American

Say Hey, Willie Mays! 2022, follows Mays’ life both on and off the field over five decades as he navigates the American sports landscape and the country’s ever-evolving cultural backdrop, all while helping to define what it means to be one of America’s first Black sports superstars. Source. PS. Mays is now in his 90s and still actively contributing to the world.

How Can You Launch "Whole Person" Activities from These Films?

Here's an example of how you could plan your monthly community calendar by launching a baseball theme with the new film, Say Hey, Willie Mays!

I chose to feature Willie Mays because whether or not you are a baseball fan or African American, there's a good chance that you and your community members are familiar with this popular baseball player, who started playing in the major leagues around 1948. Many of my extended family members collected baseball cards (and still do!). Did you or yours?

You can plan your monthly program by showing the Willie Mays film and follow up with related "Whole Person" health activities throughout the month (i.e., physical, emotional creative, cultural, cognitive, social, spiritual). View examples below:

  • Physical Health – Mays' "range of was limitless"(Koppett). Consider devoting one physical activity a week to playing ball with soft foam baseballs and lightweight plastic bats or other safe group or individual ball sports (i.e., with adjustable height plastic training tee or table tennis or Pickleball or unlimited ways you can exercise with a ball).

  • Emotional Health– Mays said, “I can do my best for my people by doing what I do best” [play basesball] (Hirsch) What do your community members like to do best? Prepare food? Take walks? Garden? Listen to or play music? If they like music, consider playing and reciting the lyrics to ""Say Hey! The Willie Mays Song or to songs from favorite films or to songs composed by favorite songwriters.

  • Creative Health – Mays was inventor of the “basket catch”. Practice the basket catch with a lightweight inflatable or foam ball or Draw Willie Mays or other inspirational heroes, under the instruction of an artist (or freehand, if desired or already a artist). Grandparents might enjoy drawing with their grandchildren Pokeman or other Anime and Manga Manga characters.

  • Cultural Health – Mays was/is a role model for African American and other younger baseball players). Ask community members who are/were their role models? Listen to their stories about their heroes, when they were growing up.

  • Cognitive Health “Mays had extraordinary baseball intelligence, as he seemingly always knew how to make the correct next move on a baseball field.” (Erskine) What are your elders' cognitive skills? Play word games or card games,i.e., Hangman, Trivia questions, Scrabble, baseball card recognition, baseball Bingo, Baseball Wordle, or other games around baseball themes or other themes that interest them.

  • Social Health – Mays cared deeply about his players, about their finances, their family, and their well-being, and he would help them (Hirsch). Ask your community members whom they care about, how they currently or could demonstrate caring to others.

  • Spiritual Health – Mays has a compelling sense of himself as a spiritual being who is the searcher and the seeker of truth. Discuss with community members their spiritual or religious beliefs, Ask community members how they currently celebrate, or celebrated in the past, winter holidays. Hold a multicultural winter holiday fest, featuring recipes from different countries, community members who talk about and share music/poetry/artifacts of their culture or winter holiday of origin. .

Do you already, or would you be open to featuring one film a month, followed by related "Whole Person" health activities throught the month? You could show more films during the month, such as Miss Angela, Encanto, and Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special, but just feature one film per month, such as Say Hey, Willie Mays, to "make a home run" with activities related to the film during the month.

We shall share more ideas/best practices (and a dash of Holiday Cheer!) related to the "Whole Person" at MAP's Wednesday, December 14, 2022 4 pm Pacific Zoom Meeting. Click here for a slide show peek.


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