PLATTSBURGH - Natasha Pecue and a group of her friends are taking part in an interesting initiative to connect with people with Alzheimer's disease.
Pecue and her friends have locally established an affiliate of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project, an initiative started in 2004 by Gary Glazner of Santa Fe, N.M. The project aims to enhance the quality of life for people with Alzheimer's disease by reading classic poetry to them, consisting of many selections they may have read themselves as children.
Prior to her graduation from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh earlier this year, Pecue was connected with the poetry project through her professor, Dr. Taher Zandi, and Laura Dominianni, who both work with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center.
"I didn't know much about Alzheimer's," admitted Pecue. "[Zandi] would talk about it and how there still really isn't much known and how researchers are still trying to figure it all out."
Pecue began volunteering with the Third Age Adult Day Center, a program located on the university campus which helps those with memory impairment conditions like Alzheimer's.
"The time I volunteered was very minor, but I was able to understand more about [Alzheimer's] through the people there," said Pecue. "There was a bleakness in their eyes, but when they would reminisce, you could see a spark in their eyes.
Dominianni introduced Pecue to information about the Alzheimer's Poetry Project, and Pecue thought it would be a beneficial program to start in the North Country. Upon graduation, Pecue immediately began seeking others interested in participating as presenters who would read to Alzheimer's patients.
Surprisingly, she didn't find much interest initially. However, through her friends, Pecue has established a group of 10 who have a sincere interest in the project, she said.
Jayme Trombley, Plattsburgh, is one of them. Trombley has always liked volunteering and said she was inspired by Pecue's determination to make the project a success.