As part of our celebration of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we’re excited to announce the launch of a new program in collaboration with Lundbeck called Sidekicks™: Uniting Youth and People with Parkinson’s. The program kicks off this month in Tampa. Programs in Chicago and Boulder will soon follow and then we’ll roll out the program in up to seven additional US cities this fall.
Sidekicks is a program that harnesses the power of intergenerational relationships by bringing together youth and people with Parkinson’s to share stories in fun and creative ways that promote mutual understanding and foster connection.
Sharing stories is a powerful way to reflect on our histories, connect the past with the future and foster deeper connections both within our communities and in the wider world. Sidekicks is designed to go beyond the retelling of facts and events, providing opportunities to weave personal moments together to impact our knowledge, our attitudes and even our self-esteem.
How Sidekicks Works
During three highly interactive, 60-minute sessions, school-aged children and people with Parkinson’s will work together to create projects like handprint art, imaginative ideascapes and rock art that will allow them to express themselves and gain insights into one another’s experiences. The fourth and final session will be a Storysharing Showcase Event and Celebration.
Each workshop will be co-led by a volunteer youth leader and a leader from the Parkinson’s community. We provide a complete curriculum, cover the cost of all program supplies, provide pre-program education for youth to understand more about the Parkinson’s community and provide training for facilitators to prepare them as program leaders.
Surveys will be given to participants before and after the program to evaluate its benefits. For people with Parkinson’s, the optional surveys will assess the program’s impact on their feelings of social connection, self-esteem and feelings of isolation. For participating youth, surveys will assess the program’s ability to enhance their knowledge of Parkinson’s, positively shift their attitudes towards people with Parkinson’s and help them learn ways to practice a positive mindset, despite challenges.
Get Involved with Sidekicks
To learn more or to get involved, visit ParkinsonsSidekicks.com and join the Parkinson’s Sidekicks Facebook community at www.facebook.com/ParkinsonsSidekicks. As this program rolls out to more locations, we’ll be looking for youth organizations interested in participating and facilitating, organizations with people with Parkinson’s interested in participating, volunteer facilitators, program volunteers and sites to host.
If you have any questions about Sidekicks, contact Gabriella Dimotsantos, Community Outreach Program Manager.