A friend of mine reached out to me and asked if I wanted to come to her school and read to her 1st and 2nd grade class. Since I don’t have any children, this was a little bit of a stretch for me, but I said yes. I’m so glad that I did!
My friend talked to the Principal at the New Bedford Academy in Temperance, MI about having me come in a read to her class. The Principal said yes and also turned it into a fundraising campaign to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s.
The students were allowed to wear jeans, if they brought in $1 for Alzheimer’s. The students raised $76 and I will match the $76 that they donated.
I sat down and talked with the 1st and 2nd graders about what I do for a living, my support for Alzheimer’s, the importance of reading and I read a book to the students. The book was called “The Dog that Cried Wolf”. It was an enjoyable book to read to the students. They all enjoyed it and laughed along the way. They wanted me to read another book and come back tomorrow. I was asked about every question you could imagine and many that I was not expecting. They asked me if I met the president, if I voted and if I was Rich, since my name was Rich, etc. It was a really cool experience and entertaining.
I was also asked to talk with a group of 7th and 8th graders about Alzheimer’s, the importance of reading and what I do for a living. Three topics that I have no problem talking about.
I started out talking about what I do for a living and what I do to support the Alzheimer’s Association. I also talked about the importance of reading. This group of students asked a lot of questions about everything and had some interesting questions too. They even asked me if I like PB&J, bacon, favorite food, favorite color, favorite book as a kid and now, etc. They also asked me what was Alzheimer’s Disease. I was able to explain the disease, but when I mentioned how it impacted my life, it was a little difficult to talk about. I broke down for a little bit during the conversation, but regained my composure to finish the discussion. They asked a lot of questions about the disease and how it has impacted me.
This was a great experience to talk with the students and raise awareness. I hope they go home and talk to their parents about this disease and continue to raise awareness.
Raising awareness is not always about talking to people that already know about Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also important to talk to people that do not know about Alzheimer’s disease. We also need to start talking to younger people and get their support for Alzheimers disease.
When I asked the 7th and 8th graders if they have ever donated money or time to a charitable cause; the entire class raised their hands. This was really cool to see!
It would be awesome if the National Alzheimer’s Association started a campaign for the month of September to send out millions of advocates to all the public and private schools! The Alzheimer’s Advocates could explain the importance of reading, read a book/part of a book, discuss what they do for a living, discuss Alzheimer’s and how they were impacted by Alzheimer’s. The schools can also ask the students to donate money to wear jeans or something.
We could raise millions and also build our future generation of advocates for Alzheimer’s. We need to get the younger people involved in this cause! This is not a disease that we can ignore or assume that we only need to engage with older Americans as advocates. We need to raise awareness and raise it now.
Almost all the 7th and 8th graders were on Facebook; just think if we could get the youth of America to like the Alzheimer’s Association on Facebook and the Alzheimer’s Association actually shared content with their followers on Facebook.
Let’s End Alzheimer’s! Please also follow me on Twitter at @ALZandDementia #EndALZ