West Windsor-Plainsboro eighth graders give back for Silver Award project

Aria Mallick and Riya Karukapily, left, stand with the Princeton String Academy following its performance at the Artis Senior Living facility where the two girls brought in multiple musical groups to give back to Alzheimer's and dementia patients through the power of sound for their Girls Scouts Silver Award Project in Princeton Junction.

Aria Mallick and Riya Karukapily, eighth graders at Community Middle School of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District created “Music for Memory,” a therapeutic program designed to help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, as their project for their completion of their Girls Scout Silver Award.

The Girls Scout Silver Award Project is the highest award Girl Scout Cadettes can earn, and it gives them the opportunity to demonstrate leadership, improving social skills, while making the community better in the process.

When Aria and Riya heard music is an effective therapy for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients and it benefits patients in improving abilities to communicate with others and stimulating many parts of the brain, the girls decided to arrange a series of music concerts at Artis Senior Living, a local memory care at Princeton Junction, NJ.

They believed the synergy between generations and our communities was necessary, mutually beneficial and personally rewarding.

But, for the two girls, it was no easy task. Arranging a series of concerts required a significant amount of coordination, event and time management skills and networking while managing the schoolwork and other extra-curricular activities.

To arrange the music concerts, Aria and Riya reached out to several local artists, musicians, Girl Scout troops and local schools for more than five months. The two connected with hundreds of people via phone, email, fliers, social media and in-person meetings where they promoted the cause and invited them to perform for the senior residents.

Aria and Riya received positive responses and encouragement from several people, as many recognized the value of the project and a way to give back to the community. Most saw what the two girls were doing and  wanted to make a difference in lives and in the community, as well.

More than 65 performers including dancers, musicians and singers participated in various concerts.

Robert Ruffis Band, Room No.13 Band, Kavi’s Dance School, Westminster Choir, Millstone River School Chamber Orchestra, Mary Allen’s Music School, Princeton String Academy, Amy Tu’s WMCU Group, a local Girl Scout Troop 72916, Aayushi Mallik’s Music Group were among the several groups who participated in giving back to patients through the power of sound.

The residents at Artis joined the performing groups by dancing, clapping and singing along.

Aria and Riya were grateful to all of those who helped them put their Silver Award project together. The two were especially grateful toward Enrichment Director of Artis, Sarah Thompson, their parents and their project advisors.