Community News

Merrick Students Fundraise Art Supplies for Families with Alzheimer’s

A group of students, connected through a leadership course at Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, NY, sought to start the new year on a giving foot. Supporting both local businesses and their community, they turned to the Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia (LIAD) Center to make a hands-on impact.

“Art therapy, beyond supporting creativity, stimulates fine motor skills and exercises memory in many ways,” said LIAD Center Executive Director Tori Cohen. “Right now so many families are isolated and these supplies are essential to someone with any form of memory impairment. We are so thankful to these students for spreading so much joy to our families right now, especially to their caregivers.

The class’s inspiration for this fundraiser stemmed from their classmate, Jenna Schanstra. “My grandma, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is very into art and drawing,” Jenna said, “so I thought it’d be sweet to give back stuff like that. [It] reminds me of her.”

Within only two weeks, the ambitious group of students organized a fundraiser to provide diagnosed individuals the gift of art. From crayons and markers, to paint and yarn, their collection of donated items grew rapidly.

“Our mission was to spread awareness and make an impact,” said Isabella Cespedes, Junior at Calhoun High School, “if you do something for someone else, it makes you feel good inside and can make a difference in someone’s life.”

Thanks to the generosity from the class and its fundraiser supporters, the LIAD Center can continue its mission to improve the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

To learn more about the LI Alzheimer’s & Dementia Center’s programs and services, visit

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