One of our most aspirational missions at the Davis Phinney Foundation is to create healthy Parkinson’s communities all over the US and Canada; yet, as we continue to grow and evolve, we never stop thinking about how we can support and nurture our communities today.
At the forefront of this for us is meeting people where they are–in their local support groups, online, wherever they are on their path to living well–and creating highly personalized, positive interactions at every step… those small sparks and victories that add up to a life lived well.
Which is why, in honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we wanted to share an activity from our Sidekicks™ program that may inspire you to reach out to someone in your community.
Parkinson’s Sidekicks is an intergenerational program that brings together school-aged youth and people with Parkinson’s to share their stories in fun and creative ways that promote mutual understanding and foster connections. Since its launch last year, this program has connected many people with programs at three initial locations, and the feedback from both sides has been wonderful as the program expands to 10 locations this year.
Here’s feedback we received from Eric at Movement Revolution, who helped facilitate the Sidekicks program in Chicago.
“It’s been an honor to host this wonderful program with the Davis Phinney Foundation and Lundbeck. Our collective mission to enhance the lives of those living with Parkinson’s shined bright every Saturday at Sidekicks. I’ve been inspired to see the youth of the group so attentive, helpful, insightful and caring with our people with Parkinson’s. I’ve seen some great relationships that have stemmed from these workshops, and I hope everyone now has a better understanding of the world and those around us. The energy and spirit of the kids and adults allowed us all to laugh, socialize and smile together. This is a happy place, one that provides hope and empowerment. The Sidekicks program allows us to see good in others, no matter what may be affecting our lives. As my daughter’s favorite show ‘Daniel Tiger’ says, ‘In some ways we are different, but in so many ways, we are the same.’”
Since not everyone has the chance to participate in a face-to-face Sidekicks program, we’d like to introduce “Sidekicks Anytime.” This is an opportunity that allows people to participate in Sidekicks activities no matter where they’re located. Our hope is that each person who reads about this activity, called StoryPrints, will make a new (or deeper) connection with someone in their community and create a memory they won’t soon forget.
Perhaps you’ll invite a neighbor, a family member, the person who cuts your lawn, someone in your support group, or a new friend you’ve made, to do this with you. It doesn’t matter who you invite; it only matters that you make a connection and enjoy the time you spend together.
If you’d like to learn more about Sidekicks, watch the trailer and then reach out to our Sidekicks Program Manager, Kayla, to see how you or your organization can participate in a Sidekicks program near you.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy completing the Storyprints art project with someone from your community to celebrate Parkinson’s Awareness Month. We look forward to hearing about your experience.
If you’d like to share your finished project with us, please send your stories and *images to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to share a few on some of our channels.
*By submitting your image to email@example.com, you grant the Davis Phinney Foundation the right to use your image and likeness (if applicable) in all forms and media and waive the right to inspect or approve any publication or written copy used in connection with the image.