New Executive Director Named for Fox Valley Memory Project

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

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Contributor: Mike Rohrkaste, Executive Director, Fox Valley Memory Project with additional contributions from Mary Rhode, United Way Fox Cities

The Fox Valley Memory Project, a funded partner of United Way Fox Cities, provides activities and resources for Fox Valley residents with forms of dementia and memory loss. The organization is a champion of connecting people affected by dementia with others in the community and the needed resources to live well with their care partners.

This past summer, the nonprofit welcomed Mike Rohrkaste as the new Executive Director. Mike will also still continue his role as a Wisconsin legislator until the end of 2020.
 
“My mom, who lived in Ohio, had dementia and unfortunately there were no resources like the Memory Project to help her stay connected to other people and to ensure she was receiving the best care available”, Mike shared. He saw first-hand how that isolation affected his mom. Being a part of the great work done by the Fox Valley Memory Project, Mike can see how the Memory Cafés and other social events such as a boat ride on the Fox River, bring moments of joy to people with dementia as well as the family members caring for them. 
 
The Fox Valley Memory Project also offers Purple Angel Dementia Awareness training for organizations and businesses. This training offers employees special training so they are able to offer support and hospitality to those with memory loss or other symptoms of dementia. Once the training is complete, the business or organization receives a Purple Angel decal to place in their window to identify their business as being dementia-friendly. If you are interested in Purple Angel Awareness training for your business or organization, please contact Brianna Jenkins, Program Coordinator, at brianna@foxvalleymemoryproject.org or call 920-225-1711.
 
Looking ahead, Mike has an overarching goal to ensure that all families in the Fox Valley know that there are resources, like the Memory Project, available to help them live well in our community with dementia. In the short-term, he would like to increase participants using the Memory Cafés and Mindworks (a brain health exercises program) and a refresher Purple Angel training for over 100 organizations. A long-term goal would be to explore new programs to help people living with a dementia and their care partners.
 
“It is truly an honor to have been selected as Executive Director for Fox Valley Memory Project, stated Rohrkaste.