What my grandma means to say, JC’s one-act play, gives elementary school-aged children and their families the chance to learn in a gentle way about how Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can affect a person and what they can do to support someone living such a disease.
The setting provided by the play encourages children to ask questions in a safe-feeling environment, removed from the emotion that attaches when such an illness affects someone close to them.
Professional actors took JC’s play into local elementary schools in March through a project for which the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay (ASTB) received an $8000 grant from the Thunder Bay Community Foundation.
JC welcomed the new partnership with ASTB and applauded the Society’s initiative to engage elementary school-aged students in learning together about dementia through “What My Grandma Means to Say.” ASTB donated a copy of the storybook about Jake and his grandma to each school’s library.
The project includes an art dimension by giving each student the opportunity to contribute a square that will be assembled into a memory quilt, one for each school. Here’s a link to media coverage of the program in Thunder Bay. http://www.tbnewswatch.com/entertainment/196736/Living-with-Alzheimer%27s. Shaw media posted its coverage on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_I-HKvPkuE.
Here’s a video that shows how to stage “What My Grandma Means to Say” as a play for elementary school-aged students. Performed last October by actors from Prince Edward Collegiate Institute in Picton, Ontario, for 200 students from C.M.L. Snider School in Wellington, Ontario, the play kick-starts discussions to which kids bring their questions, their own perceptions and their experiences about supporting someone who is living with Alzheimer’s. The production was made possible by a community partnership between the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward County, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute and JC Sulzenko and by financial support from The Community Foundation of Ottawa and The Organix Foundation, Montreal. The March issue of Canadian Teacher Magazine profiled the video among news items on page 34. http://www.canadianteachermagazine.com/pdf/CTM-MarApr12.pdf