Remembering Ellen

In December, Orchard Village was saddened by the death of one of its beloved volunteers, Ellen Sontag. Ellen volunteered as an art instructor at both our day programs and Orchard Academy, helping clients express themselves through beautiful artwork.
Nancy Otter, Principal of Orchard Academy, remembers Ellen fondly, “Ellen was one of those few people who touches many lives and leaves a lasting memory for each person. For many of our students, it is challenging to get to school and be engaged during the day. They always looked forward to Ellen and were more than willing to participate in any activities she planned. She will be missed by all of us at Academy and how she touched each of our lives.”
Ellen spent much of her time volunteering with Orchard Village at our day programs, InnOVations and DiscOVer. Director of Community Day Services, Nancy Palella recalls that “Ellen started her journey with the InnOVations program during the beginning of the pandemic, … leading a class through Zoom. Ellen made it seem so easy and effortless. She was able to engage the individuals in a way that intrigued and excited them to do art!
“Ellen started in person in April 2021; the program participants could not wait to meet this extraordinary woman who captivated them through Zoom.…. She had a way of commanding the room and had everyone excited to work on art each week. Ellen made them feel special, as though they were true artists, and always made it a point to display their work throughout the program space.”
We are truly saddened by the loss of this remarkable woman and know she will always have a special place in each of our hearts.
Our condolences go out to Ellen’s family and friends. Ellen is truly missed by all the individuals she helped at Orchard Village.