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Bradenton ‘color junkie’ gets wish granted to video chat with favorite painters

Helga Sortiriou learned how to make paint from her favorite company, Daniel Smith. It fulfilled her Wish Of A Lifetime.

BRADENTON, Fla. — The best teachers never quit learning.

“A few of my students have actually not only painted pictures but have sold pictures and that makes me feel really good,” said Helga Sotiriou.

The Bradenton woman has been teaching painting classes at Freedom Village of Bradenton for three years. She was the latest resident to receive a Wish Of A Lifetime when she visited with the leaders of Daniel Smith paint company in October.

“I learned a lot about how they do what they do,” said Sotiriou who calls herself a “color junkie”.

The company sent her samples of rocks used to create unique paint colors. Sotiriou enjoys watercolors. Her works adorn the walls of her home. She also is very proud of the color palettes Daniel Smith sent her. She was able to spend 40 minutes on a Zoom call with a chemist and other paint designers and asked them many questions.

“You guys are magicians,” he said on the call. “If it weren’t for COVID, I think it would be on a plane and be out there.”

Her granted wish taught her more about paint colors than she ever knew. That knowledge will help her continue getting better at the passion she’s still trying to perfect.  

“I am able to be a better teacher,” she said. “You know, enthusiasm is almost as contagious as COVID. The more that I can project fun and enjoyment and learning, hopefully I can take others along on the ride.”

To date, 17 residents of Freedom Village of Bradenton have received a Wish Of A Lifetime, including one person getting the chance to water ski in October.

“Wishes connect seniors to people, purpose, and passions to eliminate feelings of isolation and help them live vibrant, purposeful lives,” says the Wish website. “A true Wish of a Lifetime achieved makes other goals seem possible, and encourages our Wish recipients to keep dreaming and pursuing their passions.”

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