Memory BridgeMemory Bridge creates programs that connect people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to family, friends, and other people in their local community. We also create programs that reveal to the general public the depths of memory that dementia does not erase.
Our goal is to create a global community of people who, like us, are learning to listen to people with dementia for what they have to teach us about our own humanity.
What Volunteers Do
Memory Bridge educates empathy by teaching young people how to communicate with elders with dementia in emotionally meaningful ways. The program spans 10 weeks. Students and a Memory Bridge-trained teacher meet once a week for 2 hours. Each student in the program is paired with an elder with dementia. We call these elders Buddies. Students meet their Buddies in person during 4 of the 10 Memory Bridge meetings. For these meetings, students travel as a group to the long-term care community where the Buddies reside. During these Buddy Visits, students build bridges of meaningful companionship with their Buddies by embodying the Three Pillars of Building a Bridge: respect, attention, and energetic empathy. During the 6 in-class meetings--those that do not include the Buddies -- students learn how to communicate with their Buddies, and each other, in emotionally meaningful ways.
Students may only volunteer under the instruction of a Memory Bridge Teacher. To become a Memory Bridge Teacher, aspiring teachers must participate in a 5-day immersion training workshop during the summer preceding the school year in which they wish to facilitate the Memory Bridge journey. This requirement is on-going--each year of renewed certification requiring participation in the preceding summer's workshop--though subsequent summer training workshops are 3 1/2 days. Training for the Memory Bridge Initiative occurs at Bridge1, the Memory Bridge Learning Center, in Bloomington, Indiana, on the campus of Indiana University. Academic credits and CEUs are available for participating teachers.
This award-winnng program constitutes service-learning at its transformative best. We are looking for teachers who find the idea of leading young people into intensely compassionate communication experiences personally and professionally exciting.
For further details on becoming a Memory Bridge Teacher, visit the Memory Bridge website.
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For more opportunities, check the monthly calendar.