Rebirth of Fox Valley Memory Project
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Families gather at a Memory Café hosted by the Fox Valley Memory Project
Contributor: Jill H. Grambow, Executive Director, Fox Valley Memory Project
Fox Valley Memory Project is celebrating its rebirth! Originally operated as a program with Lutheran Social Services, the Fox Valley Memory Project (FVMP) provides activities and resources for those with forms of dementia and memory loss. FVMP applied to be an independent nonprofit agency and received approval in August. We are also very excited to now be a United Way Fox Cities Partner Agency. I was hired as the new full-time executive director, and we have a new logo and new office space at Goodwill Community Campus on Appleton Road in Menasha.
However, many things about FVMP remain the same. The vision of FVMP is to ease the burden of dementia and memory loss, by providing support and resources for people living with dementia throughout the Fox Valley region. The bread and butter of our programming continues to focus on opportunities for social connections and community engagement.
The most notable social activity is the Memory Café. There are nine FVMP cafés per month located throughout Appleton, Kaukauna, Kimberly, Menasha, Neenah, and New London. Cafés take place in community locations and are facilitated by a team of volunteers with experience in recreation/adult programs. The cafés each have a theme for the month and include a variety of activities, from games and projects, to guest speakers, learning experiences, conversation, laughter, and refreshments. It’s a casual atmosphere where those with memory loss can enjoy camaraderie and feel comfortable among friends.
Other social activities include a monthly dinner at a local restaurant, as well as meet-ups in the community. Many friendships are built among participants, and they enjoy getting together in casual settings throughout the Fox Valley. We schedule and advertise meet-ups in the FVMP newsletter. FVMP friends get together at outings, such as music programs in parks, local plays and performances, museum and art programs, and other area events.
It has always been my secret wish to be a radio DJ. So I had a great time joining Nanci Micke, from United Way Fox Cities, for an interview on WHBY radio on February 27. Please click here for our full interview (Interview begins at 23:45).