Using their talents and their time, teens are helping to enhance the quality of life for seniors in our community.
MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: A group of high school students in New Jersey has started an organization with the goal of helping the 600,000 Garden State residents battling Alzheimer's and other dementias through community service and independent projects.
Founded by high school students; Bill Zhang, Holmdel High School, Anjay Ambegaonkar, Colts Neck High School and Sachin Naraparaju, Manalapan Hight School, Dementiaid was launched the summer of 2019.
These students were all high school freshmen when they started volunteering at Millenium Memory Care, a local community living facility for Alzheimer's and other dementias patients. While their hundreds of hours of service were meaningful, they realized that many of these living facilities struggled with a lack of volunteers, ways of effective communication between patients and caregivers, etc. Realizing the significance of these issues, Bill, Anjay, and Sachin co-founded Dementiaid at the end of their sophomore year. The mission is to improve the quality of life for people who are affected by Alzheimer's and other dementias.
Initially, they worked to accomplish this goal by asking friends to join them in their service at volunteer facilities. Since then, Dementiaid has gathered students from over 6 schools and logged in over 500 hours of community service.
Through this organization, they plan on creating "projects" ranging from apps to conducting research studies that will benefit those impacted by Alzheimer's and other dementias. Already, their website features student projects including apps that can facilitate communication between patients and caregivers, to a research project testing the effects of exercise on the cognitive functions of Alzheimer's patients. In addition to featuring projects of their own, they are encouraging students and members of their community to share their own ideas so that they can be featured on their website as well.
"We believe that Dementiaid will provide participants amazing opportunities not only to offer their services and connect with patients and their families but to also build and innovate...we hope to work together to produce ideas that have the potential to impact the world in meaningful ways," Bill said.
Now, as rising juniors going into the next year, Bill, Anjay, and Sachin aim to continue volunteering as well as working with students across NJ to come up with impactful projects in order to further their mission of "improving the quality of life for people who are affected by Alzheimer's and other dementias".