Janis Wolf's hope when she started volunteering for the Epilepsy Foundation of Chicago's Studio E spring session in March of 2013 was to give back to an organization that she loves. "The Epilepsy Foundation has helped me so much and I love being able to lend a hand with Studio E. I get to help others and make art at the same time and it is so rewarding" she said. Janis has helped others also living with epilepsy by talking about her feelings surrounding epilepsy and offering her kindness and understanding. She feels that she has lost moments to seizures but has found that there is a sense of purpose that comes from those lost moments if she can help others who feel the same way.
Janis was one of the first participants in Chicago's Studio E program."This program helped me so much at a time when I really needed it. Everyone was gracious, respectful, and talked freely about feelings, and their artwork. We had a place to have an audience, create and feel safe in our emotions. This was validated by our words, and most important our creations. Not everyone created art that was epilepsy related, but that did not matter because we could celebrate each other's talent, or simply the wonderful feeling of expressing ourselves through our art. When we talked about our work to the group the responses were validating. The way things happened was so natural and therapeutic, something I never experienced and I found I really needed to have it again. It is my chocolate."
Lacy Vitko, Program Manager and Art Therapist for the Epilepsy Foundation met Janis at the very first Studio E program. "When I first met Janis I was instantly drawn to her youthful spirit. Highly intelligent, self-aware, and artistic she also presented another side when she first began the eight week program. There seemed to be a shy and slightly anxious little girl hiding behind her bright eyes. Throughout the program I noticed that her personality expanded like a flower opening in the morning light. Studio E allowed Janis to express herself with others who are also living with epilepsy without feeling judged. Janis expressed feeling a sense of validation and freedom that she had not felt before. As a witness to her process, I was inspired by her courage to be vulnerable and her overall personal evolution.