By Yelin Jung
Vintage Voices and the James Hollister Wellness Foundation each won the $5,000 grand prize at the annual final round of the Do Good Challenge, April 26 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
Vintage Voices, a campus organization that performs nostalgic songs for homebound senior citizens to sing along to, stemmed from the idea of donating iPods to senior living communities. The prize money will go toward funding for future related philanthropy work.
According to Vintages Voices President Becky Goodridge, a junior hearing and speech, psychology double major, said listening to music triggers good memories, leading to reduced loneliness and an increase in positivity.
Vintage Voices has performed at seven senior residences, Goodridge said. After each performance, the group provides iPods for the residents, so that they can listen to their favorite music on their own.
“Faculty trains [residents] on how to use them, and then they can use them whenever they want,” Goodridge said.
Goodridge’s favorite part of their visits is hearing the stories and wisdom that residents have collected over the years. She also enjoys watching them dance and sing along during performances.
“Some residents can’t necessarily get up, but afterward, they tell us something like, ‘This just made my day,'” said Goodridge, adding that residents don’t get to see youthful visitors very often. “I think the biggest part that makes the difference is just being there for them.”
It’s a good feeling, seeing the reactions on residents’ faces when they come to perform, said freshman biology major and Vintage Voices member Thanuri Navarathana.
“One memory I have is of an old man who was doesn’t usually come out to events,” Navarathana said. “He stayed after and talked with us for 20 minutes, then followed us outside to say goodbye. It was very sweet.”
According to senior anthropology major Rachel Beiser, events like the Do Good Challenge raises awareness for college students about senior care and the aging society.
“Not only does it encourage and motivate innovative students to think about social entrepreneurship and different ways of helping address problems in society,” Beiser said. “It also helps share the different projects and venture that students are working on with other members of the community.”
Goodridge adds that the Do Good Challenge can encourage people to get involved in social activities.
“This is about more than just a music, this is about Alzheimer’s, dementia, anxiety and depression,” Goodridge said. “This is about the real people — our grandparents, parents, relatives — and maybe one day even you and me.”