FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 31, 2011
Johns Creek Teen Wins Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Volunteer Challenge
Student Learns Life Lessons While Leading Activities at Sunrise Senior Living
NEW YORK, NY—While Vedika Rajasekaran, 17, of Johns Creek, GA, spent her summer doing creative activities like karaoke and baking, it was the unique individuals she shared these experiences with that made the summer one of her most memorable ever.
Rajasekaran was today named the winner of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) Teens Volunteer Across America Challenge for her exemplary volunteerism with residents with Alzheimer’s disease at Sunrise Senior Living, a senior living community in Johns Creek.
AFA Teens, a division of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of, America that is aimed at educating and engaging youth, held the competition this year for the first time. It is designed to foster intergenerational communication and understanding, and groom the next generation of leaders in the Alzheimer’s community.
Among the many lessons Rajasekaran took away from the volunteer experience, “I have learned to be more patient; a warm smile is almost always rewarded with a smile in return,” she recounted in the brief essay that is required in the competition.
The teen began volunteering at Sunrise to “coalesce my Indian ideals for elder care with the American culture,” she said. “The elders of our society have led their lives, and made their contributions for us, but it is our turn now to give back and be with them in their hour of need.”
The high school senior spent six to eight hours each week over seven weeks leading or participating in karaoke, baking, arts projects and other activities.
According to Onshalique Wilson, Sunrise’s activities and volunteer coordinator, “Vedika is a natural leader, organized, focused, professional and passionate. She is also very observant to the residents’ needs, and willing to advocate on their behalf.”
When notified of her accomplishment, Rajasekaran said, “ It makes me proud to know that someone appreciates the work I have put into helping patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”
As the winner, she will be receiving an iPad from AFA.
Through the AFA Teens division, teens are encouraged to set up AFA Teens chapters in their communities, express themselves on a bulletin board and through creative works, and seek support from AFA social workers. The division also holds an AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship and a Video Competition each year.
According to a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and United Hospital Fund, more than one million children nationwide care for sick or disabled parents and grandparents; Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are the most prevalent illnesses. As many as 5.1 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease, and the incidence is rising exponentially in line with the nation’s aging population.
For more information about AFA Teens, visit www.afateens.org or call 866-232-8484.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free hot line, e-mail, Skype, and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Contact: Carol Steinberg