KEENE - Creative Healing Connections recently named Naj Wikoff as president emeritus. Wikoff, a Lake Placid native and resident of Keene Valley, founded the organization in 1999 with Fran Yardley of Middle Saranac and Peggy Lynn of Red Creek, and led the organization since its inception.
Wikoff is a consultant to many leading hospitals around the United States and serves a founding and steering committee member of the National Initiative for Arts in Health in the Military, as an ambassador for the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, as arts coordinator for the Lake Placid-Wilmington Connecting Youth and Communities Coalition, and as a scholar for the Lesley University Institute for Arts in Health.
Creative Healing Connections is a nonprofit agency serving women with cancer and chronic illness, veterans and military families. The organization's mission is to provide creative experiences that promote healing and growth. "Naj led the organization as board president for more than a decade," Executive Director Martha Spear said. "Without his leadership, vision, energy and hard work we would not be where we are today."
Creative Healing Connections is gearing up for an ambitious series of events in early 2013 including a retreat for military families co-sponsored with Homeward Bound Adirondacks at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, a retreat for caregivers to be held at Valcour Conference Center near Plattsburgh, a showing of the Oscar-nominated documentary "Invisible No More" at Lake Placid Center for the Arts in May, and the annual Mad Hatters Ball, featuring Roby Politi, on March 21 at Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid.
Additionally Creative Healing Connections will host its traditional, well-loved Arts and Healing Retreats at Great Camp Sagamore, and two healing retreats for women veterans at Wiawaka Holiday House on Lake George in August.
"Naj has a certain genius for combining healing and the arts," Incoming board President Gail Doering of Saratoga Springs said. "He created something important that fills a critical niche in our community. We are pleased that he will continue as a vital and active member of our team in his new status as president emeritus."