We are very excited that Priscila, one of our students from St. Andrews Regional High School, will be publishing her book. I Remember is based upon her experience with Voices in Motion. She wrote it and did all the water-colour illustrations herself.
Rick and Erica have been working alongside Priscila and offering some guidance in the publishing of her first book. We need to encourage our students and give them a voice for their experience. Priscila does this through her artistic and written creativity.
Here’s an interview with Priscila and her parents about I Remember.
Q: Have you always enjoyed writing?
A: I used to only write for English class, but when I started writing the book for my Religion class, I realized that I liked writing. This is one of my first creative writing projects that I’ve done by myself. The words and the illustrations.
Q: Has art always been a part of your life?
A: Yes, I always draw in my sketch book and I paint some of the paintings from my house. It’s always been a stress reliever for me. So when I was doing the illustrations for my book it just felt as though I was painting.
Q: What was your inspiration behind the book, I Remember?
A: For my project, I had to choose a project that relates to me personally. My teacher suggested that I write about Alzheimer’s disease and being in the Voices in Motion choir. Being in the choir has been a special part of my life so I realized that if I did a project on it, I would become more connected to it.
Q: What is the central message in the book and why do you think it’s important to share?
A: I think it’s important to know that people with dementia shouldn’t be treated differently just because they have Alzheimer’s. No matter how much you struggle, there will always be a song in your life that you will remember. I think that the central message of the book is that music helps everyone no matter who you are.
Q: How can this book be a resource for others to learn about dementia?
A: I think that when people first hear about dementia, they are intimidated because it’s such a big topic. Through the story you learn about Alzheimer’s Disease. People maybe are scared to go onto a website and read about it. I feel that the book is very relatable for people. They aren’t scared to read a story about dementia, where they may be afraid to read a brochure or an article on a website about it.
Priscila’s parents: Joseph and Maria Kumar
Q: What have you noticed about Priscila since she has been active in the Voices in Motion choir?
Joseph: I wanted her to be in a choir. More than just being in a concert, I wanted her to develop her voice. We had a faith group and prayer meetings where she could sing, but we wanted her to develop her singing voice. Then the intergenerational choir came along. She enjoys it so much. She met new friends and she was bubbling over about that choir. When she’s happy; we are happy.
Maria: When we came to Voices in Motion’s first concert, we saw the inclusion of all the ages. I was really proud of my daughter. The whole program was flawless. I could have easily sat and watched that concert for two hours or more. I can see the happiness and the joy that she has from Voices in Motion.
Q: Do you think it’s been a positive experience for Priscila to be involved in this choir?
Joseph: She has not had the opportunity to live close to her grandparents. Her grandparents are back in India and she is an only child. So when she goes out and meets older people, she sees her own grandparents in the seniors. A grandparent’s love is different from a parent’s. I was afraid that she’d miss out on the love of her grandparents. So I wanted her to consider the seniors at Voices in Motion as her grandparents.
Q: What did you learn, Priscila, that was important to you as you reflect back on your experience with Voice in Motion?
Priscila: Sometimes I would struggle with talking to people I don’t know. But Erica encouraged us to make conversation with new people and it made me come out of my shell. So in addition to improving my voice, I was also able to improve my interaction with older people.
Prisicila’s book, I Remember, is currently in the final stages of publication and will be available in time for our final spring concerts. Priscila has asked that all the proceeds from book sales to be donated to Voices in Motion. Thank you, Priscila!