The Memory Maker Project is a plucky little organization with a big heart and an even bigger imagination. Join us for a night of jollification and raise a glass to a year of community, culture and connection. We’ll begin with a toast to our incredible community who banded together, helping us spread joy to older adults who were isolated because of Covid-19. Next, enjoy a brief virtual art exhibit and poetry reading showcasing our participants' thoughtful work. The evening will conclude with a boisterous Art Talk led by our talented staff and volunteers. Have a good laugh and see what the Memory Maker Project is all about!
Your contribution will bring art and joy to older adults, people living with memory loss and their loved ones!
Click here to register and a Zoom link will be sent to you shortly.
Can't make it but still want to contribute? Check out our donation levels and receive some nifty swag. We'll probably send you the Zoom link, too... just in case you can make it.
What We've Been Up To
When the pandemic made it unsafe to visit our participants at care communities and cultural centers, we rose to the occasion, altering our programs practically overnight. We certainly didn’t have all the answers right away—we threw A LOT of spaghetti at the wall to see what stuck. What did stick, you ask?
EXPANDED MISSION We’ve known for a long time that social interaction is good for your health. Heck! Research finds that socialization is strongly tied to the long lives of folks living in Blue Zones, the places that are home to the most centenarians. (If you want to live a long time, make a friend). In contrast, prolonged isolation can lead to the deterioration of brain health. With this in mind, in 2020 we expanded our mission to include people living with memory loss, their loved ones, anyone over 60 wishing to maintain or improve their brain health, and people of all ages longing for an intergenerational connection.
MEMORY MAKER AT HOME As our first initiative in March 2020, we created and published a bevy of resources on our website to engage older adults, people living with memory loss, and their loved ones in the comfort and safety of their own homes. All of these free resources are made possible through generous contributions from people like you:
- Art of Conversation This online card deck shows images of art from around the world with accompanying questions to inspire storytelling and connection. Steve, one of our regular participants living with memory loss who sorely missed museum visits used this deck many times over the year with his aides. “It made things feel normal, even though I knew they weren’t.”
- Read-Along Stories We wrote these special books to be interactive and interesting for people living with memory loss (and anyone with a curious mind!). They are meant to read out loud in a small group, but are a-okay to read solo, too. Sally, who is living with early-stage Alzheimer’s, organized a Zoom call with her grandchildren to read one of these books together. “That night still glows in my heart.”
- Art Talks One of our talented Creative Aging Specialists leads this weekly Zoom program where participants gather to view and discuss artwork from around the world. This group started with one couple and grew into a tight-knit community of 22 former strangers who now share in personal and global milestones. According to Sarah, “I don’t know what I would do without this. It is my lifeline.”
- Memory Maker Hour Our director and friends at the Bundy Museum presented a weekly radio show broadcasted on the Bundy Radio station with old-time radio show clips, classic music, a bit of banter, and interactive questions. Bernadette and her mother, Josephine took a drive every Friday to listen to the weekly show. In a time when their world felt very small, the broadcast gave them something to look forward to each week (and the drive gave them time to check in on the ducks at the river!).
- Art Workshops Our Artist in Residence leads regular art making sessions on Zoom, engaging participants in watercolors, collage, and other media. Celia was shy at first about making art, but now regularly paints on her own and takes great pride in her work.
- Music Workshops Our resident music therapist leads music workshops inspiring storytelling, singing, movement, and songwriting. She will also teach a beginner intergenerational ukulele lesson series this summer!
SPECIAL PROJECTS We can never sit still for long. With our community's support, we developed these new projects when the need or opportunity arose:
- Summer Concert Series At the peak of social isolation, Memory Maker organized a summer concert series where 13 local musicians performed in the courtyards of 5 care communities. Over the course of a month, more than 300 residents listened through open windows or socially distanced outdoors, swaying, dancing and singing along. Allan, an administrator at one of these communities, was moved to tears seeing his residents’ smiles through the windows.
- Alone, Together Binghamton University Harpur Fellow, Hadar Arens, asked participants to document a week of their lives during the pandemic using photography. Chosen images were displayed in outfacing exhibits throughout the Southern Tier and in an online gallery, raising the volume on the voices that have been most silenced during the pandemic.
- Art on Wheels Pilot We partnered with local food and meal delivery services to send weekly art prompts to more than 200 community members who may not have access to technology or transportation. Ella sent us her drawing with a beautiful note expressing how therapeutic the experience was for her.
With your support, we will continue to offer these programs and many more!
The Memory Maker Project is a fiscally sponsored project of the Center for Transformative Action, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by governing laws.