Music & memory go hand in hand. I’m guessing you are probably one of the gazillions of people worldwide who own iPods or other personal music devices. Chances are also pretty good that the earbuds you use to listen to tunes or podcasts or recorded books are probably not plugged into the very first device of this kind that you’ve owned. Most of us have worked our way through three or more personal stereo devices with upgrades and new models and integration with phones, etc. That’s a whole bunch of landfills-worth of no longer used yet perfectly viable music players out there in drawers and closets and boxes…what if your dust-collecting devices could truly change someone’s world?

Music & Memory improves the quality of life for the elderly and infirm through personalized music. They train nursing home staff and home care givers to create personalized playlists and music libraries for folks with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive and physical challenges—and the triggering of memories through favorite, beloved music can touch patients at a core level other treatments can’t reach. Personalized therapeutic music is changing lives…and you can be a part of it. There is a long history of scholarship about music’s effect on the brain, and using donated iPods to touch hearts and memories is such a simple revolution. Donate your gently used iPod device here, or donate a dollar amount equivalent to a new device here. Volunteers (like Kenny Chesney) share a passion for music and a desire to help elders by assisting in iPod donation drives in their local communities, visit with residents at care facilities, and also volunteer effort to target corporate sponsors, arrange local screenings of the documentary film Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, and coordinate benefit concerts and other events.

Think of how easy it is to change the course of your day just by putting on a favorite upbeat tune, or how you use favorite melodies full of personal memories to ready the mood for romance, or enjoying the fog of a cool afternoon, or increase your pace while out for a run–music does all of this so effectively. Now think of spreading that power around…and get involved.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation ( and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project ( Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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