After reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams in Honors English at Scituate High School, Lexie Fidas, 15, was given another class assignment—to create a difference in society, much the way the characters in
the book did.
Fidas came up with an idea that not only would change the lives of others, but her own as well. Since one of the characters in Animal Dreams has Alzheimer’s disease, Fidas decided to help local Alzheimer’s patients create their own artwork at Riverview Nursing Home, near Fidas’ hometown of Hope, R.I. “I thought using art would be a great way to connect with Alzheimer’s patients,” she says. Although her grandmother had suffered from dementia, Fidas hadn’t had any experience with the disease prior to beginning her project.
“I included anyone who wanted to participate,” explains Fidas. She and her mother set up a drawing section with crayons, colored pencils and pastels, and a painting section with brushes and sponges. “Even though some of the patients didn’t know what they were painting, or didn’t remember how, they did it,” says Fidas. Afterward, she and her mom framed each piece and Fidas auctioned them off at her school. “We raised $80!” adds Fidas proudly.
“I decided to give the money to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, because all their donations go directly to research,” she explains. “This project was one of the most life-changing things I have ever done. Even though the people at Riverview may not remember me, I will always remember them.”