When Sweet Readers started at the Nightingale-Bamford School, Damaris was working on a part time basis and about to go on maternity leave. Upon Damaris’ return, however, what started as a volunteer after school program, thanks to her unwavering commitment and dedication, became a full grade, community commitment.
Seeing the impact on both students and faculty, Damaris decided to test Sweet Readers as a way to meaningfully connect Nightingale Girls with Girls from The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem (TYWLS). Given all of the scheduling and logistics to not only bring two schools together on a weekly basis, in the middle of the school day, but also to bring into the school community adults living with Alzheimer’s and their care partners, for the average person, this initiative would have been a daunting task. Damaris has a can-do, stay calm, problem solving and adaptable nature and so this this ground-breaking, bridged program, now in its third year has impacted dozens of older adults and scores of students and is about to become self-sustaining.
Thanks to Damaris, girls from the two schools are learning to work together without barriers and together are discovering the possibilities for young people to impact a life for the better and possibly even change the way their generation engages with and for isolated older adults in need.
Damaris has become an exemplary ambassador for Sweet Readers and our mission, engaging students in both our generational and community building programs, expanding the support team at Nightingale to insure the community will be self-sustaining for many years to come and spreading the word at conferences around the world.
We are so grateful for Damaris!