This letter has been reprinted with permission.
I thought I would write and express my personal gratitude to you, your school and in particular, the children who come every now and then to sing, dance and brighten the lives of so many people. It seems like such a short time ago when you first wrote to express an interest in having the children come and interact with clients here at our agency. I say it “seems” like a short time ago but it was July 26, 2010, nearly a year ago! Hard to believe how quickly time really does fly by…and it does.
In general, the people who come to our day-respite programs have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia and our primary goal has always been to provide opportunities for socialization and promote active participation. We are well aware of the benefits of music therapy and we have a wonderful music therapist Mr. Hakeem Leonard who has for the past several years helped to mold and enhance our respite programs. We have always seen an appreciable difference among all participants during music therapy and in general there is a mood “bump” that occurs following a music therapy session. However, I say this with all sincerity, there is nothing that can compare to the interaction of children with our clients and the change that takes place during and post event. In the truest sense of the word, it is a transformation. We have videotaped the segments and we have watched them time and time again (they never get old) but it is clear that during the children’s interaction with our clients, the clients are actively engaged and all smiles.
Patty, you and the children and the other volunteers who accompany you on your trips over here have made such an amazing difference in the lives of the people you teach. I just wanted to say thank you and to let you know how much we appreciate you and your school and above all, the children. They do indeed make a difference and we are so grateful for your participation.
Bill Wertman, MSW
Alzheimer’s Project Executive Director