More than 40 calming photos made by a Wayne County woman have been chosen to be permanently displayed at a new $11 million YWCA campus.
Eugenia (Doll) Mills grew up in Dublin and graduated from Lincoln High School in Cambridge City.
She then went on to nursing school and eventually received a doctorate in nursing.
Her career path took her to Butler County, Ohio, where she was faculty and chairperson in the Department of Nursing at Miami University.
Now retired, Mills enjoys spending time in nature and documenting those experiences in photographs. She currently resides at Friends Fellowship Community in Richmond.
For her, “taking photographic images is a form of meditation – of open receptivity – a process of receiving rather than taking. It is a contemplative process, and requires a state of heightened awareness to what is around… a readiness to receive whatever presents.”
Friends Fellowship and Quaker Heights Care Community in Waynesville, Ohio, are among the many organizations that have benefited from Mills’ gifts of her photography talents.
Most recently, YWCA in Hamilton, Ohio, selected Mills’ images to be displayed in its new facility.
Wendy Waters-Connell, the Hamilton YWCA’s chief executive officer and executive director, has stayed in touch with Mills, her former Miami nursing professor, through the years.
Waters-Connell asked Mills, who remains her mentor, if she would be willing to donate photos for the campus.
Mills was president of Quaker Heights Care Community’s trustees when Waters-Connell was the organization’s chief executive officer. Waters-Connell says Quakerism has had a strong influence in her journey because of Mills.
“These images are trauma informed and stimulate peace and calmness in a population that has not experienced peaceful lives,” Waters-Connell said. “Violence and harm have been their normal existence. Eugenia’s art reminds them of a more hopeful place.”
The new 60-room YWCA campus includes 45 permanent supportive housing units and 15 fully furnished apartments on the emergency domestic violence shelter floor.
The Goodman Place Permanent Supportive Housing program is for chronically homeless, acutely homeless, or individuals at high risk of homelessness who have disabilities such as serious persistent mental illness and addiction.
In addition to programming for safety, the YWCA’s signature program areas include racial justice, civil rights and empowerment of women and girls.
During an open house in mid-November, Mills had the opportunity to see her art on the walls at the new campus.
She stopped counting at 40 pictures. YWCA staff believe the individuals who will be comforted by her images will far exceed that number.
A version of this article appeared in the April 12 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.