Scouts look to bring Music & Memory program to seniors
For their Silver Award project, Troop 50051 Girl Scouts Anika Bhagavatula and Victoria Fox are collecting gently used iPods, iPhones and headphones, which they will use to start a Music & Memory program at Wilton Meadows Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.
Music & Memory is a nonprofit organization that brings “personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology,” according to the organization’s website.
“With all the donations of iPods we receive, we will personalize them for each resident by uploading their specific music preferences,” said Anika and Victoria, both eighth graders at Middlebrook.
“With this, we hope to make our local senior friends smile just a little bit more each day.”
The program helps “elders with dementia unlock memories and rediscover the soundtracks of their lives,” said the girls, pointing out that “studies have shown that playing music from their past helps them relive past memories and brings joy to their lives.”
The duo began working on their project last summer. Their first tasks were to get the word out through emails and social media, and to establish drop-off donation boxes throughout town. Donation boxes can be found at Wilton Meadows, Middlebrook School, and in the lobby of the Wilton Police Department.
“At this point, we are still collecting and gathering all the gently used iPods, iPhones and headphones and configuring them for use,” the girls told The Bulletin on April 25.
Late last month, they set up a table outside the Village Market to collect donations, and will do so again Sunday, May 6, from 11 to 4.
Anika and Victoria said they chose to bring a Music & Memory program to Wilton Meadows for their Silver Award project because they “knew it would bring a lot of smiles and brighten the days of the residents there.”
“We both love to listen to and play music, so we thought it would be a perfect project for us that was a very natural fit with our interests,” said the girls, who both play the clarinet.
Anika and Victoria said they expect the best part of their Silver Award project will be “going back to visit our friends at Wilton Meadows, and enjoy seeing their faces light up as they reminisce and cherish listening to the music from their past that brings back such great memories.”
The hardest part, they said, has been collecting devices and headphones, and they are hoping to collect “one for each of the Wilton Meadows residents so that each resident has a dedicated iPod, personalized with their favorite music.”
Their goal is collect 65 iPods or iPhones.
In order to earn the Silver Award, the girls must put in 50 service hours, and after that, they said, they will “reflect on [their] journey from start to finish and share [their] accomplishments with fellow Girl Scouts.”
The ultimate goal of their project, they said, is to “establish an ongoing program at Wilton Meadows that will bring great joy and comfort to the elders residing there.”
“We believe that the benefits of this program are enormous and if it is successful, it can be replicated in other senior living centers,” they said.
“With our Silver Award, we want to make a meaningful contribution to the community we live in.”
So far, the girls said, they have found the project to be “very rewarding” because they have “learned how to plan, organize, and execute a project of this size.”
They said it’s also been “a lot of fun” to meet “many wonderful families in Wilton who have encouraged and supported our efforts.”
Anyone looking to donate gently used iPods, iPhones, or headphones may drop them off in front of the Village Market on May 6, but those who can’t make it that day can email the girls at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Music & Memory, visit musicandmemory.org.