Join us for a restorative day supporting, embracing, and celebrating all those journeying with dementia including individuals living with dementia and their care community of caregivers/care partners, family, and friends. Through music, movement, nature, walking meditation, art, improv, storytelling, reflection and more, we will rediscover our wholeness and restore strained relationships. Our day together creates a fun, safe, non-stigmatizing and non-medicalized environment. Here we will grow a sense of wellness and community by providing real and practical tools for daily restorative practices.
In our impatient, fast-paced, information age, those of us living with memory challenges often feel devalued, without purpose, isolated and left behind. We sometimes need more time in line and on our computers and phones. We have trouble “connecting” as we try to navigate our increasingly digitized world of apps, logins, PINS, and passwords. Society may consider and value a humanness that is more like machines and computers. But on this day and in this community, we will experience – and remember - through fun and purposeful activities, a renewed sense of hope and a restored sense of wholeness and belonging.
About the leader(s)
Mary Childs is a Creative Arts Specialist whose extensive background working with artists to foster their creativity has led her to the understanding that creative activities stimulate and support the brain and soul in surprising, unconventional, and gratifying ways.
While accompanying her parents through their journeys with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, Mary recognized the value in using the arts and creative experiences to enhance the lives of people suffering from these disabilities, as well those of their care partners. By providing alternative avenues of expression and connection, Mary believes that we are able to have continued access to the integral parts of ourselves, no matter what our challenges.
She has provided her services through Memory Cafes, Respite Programs on dementia friendly cruises with Holland America, and as a Facilitator through Revive and Thrive retreat programs.
Mary resides in Florida and Western Massachusetts.
Emily Kearns, is the Founder of Balik Kampung, which began as a mixed media installation, shown at Merrimack College’s, Thagaste Gallery, last summer. More than an installation, however, Balik Kampung aims to create and facilitate opportunities for cross-cultural sharing and understanding, cultivating cross-cultural heart. Emily was an American Field Service (AFS) foreign exchange student in 1977 and spent the year with her beloved Muslim Malay host family in a Malaysian Muslim village, Kampung Melayu Majidi, Johor Bahru. During the year she attended Lower Form Six at English College. She has returned five times to the same kampung to visit host family and friends and continues her relationship through social media. Recently, Emily joined her Malay family celebrating the end of Ramadan with the holiday, Eid. Through a cross-cultural family ZOOM session, bringing together family from the Malay village, Andover, California, and Virginia, she participated as their “eldest daughter,” in their important ritual of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is truly her heart’s home. Emily is a sociologist with a life-
long interest in culture, ritual, and identity. She earned her PhD at Boston College and her Executive MBA at Northeastern. She is an installation artist, Reiki Master, and dementia specialist. For more information, visit www.balikkampung.org