As Manhasset Girl Scout Lauren Merola’s great aunt recovered in a nursing home from the effects of a stroke, she found the best way two could communicate was through her aunt’s recognition of the music she would often play during visits.
The Manhasset High School senior began to research the effect music had on patients suffering from cognitive diseases, learning that Alzheimers disease and dementia do not affect the portion of the brain associated with recognizing music and the memories tied to one’s favorite songs.
Then, she had an idea.
For her Girl Scout Gold Award community service project, Merola plans to host musical performances at nursing homes across the North Shore and collect new or gently-used iPods, headphones and stereo speakers for donation.
“The two main goals of my project are to ease dementia and Alzheimer’s patients’ lives, even for just a day, and to incorporate young singers and dancers in the show,” she said. “I want to bridge the gap between the older and younger generations through a common interest, which is music.”
A longtime Girl Scout and member of Troop 520 of Manhasset, Merola has already set a Sept. 27 show at the Atria at Great Neck with seven acts of solo and group singers and dancers, and said she is looking to schedule more performances in the coming weeks.
Merola will have to fill 85 hours of community service for the project, and said she has been working with local Girl Scout leader and East Williston Deputy Mayor Bonnie Parente as her mentor toward the award.
“It’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work, but it makes up the majority of the project,” Merola said.
Those interested in donating toward her project can email Merola at [email protected].