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Meet Linda Alderson of Audrey’s Angels

Today we’d like to introduce you to Linda Alderson.

Linda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Audrey’s Angels, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in 2001 by Audrey and Bob Alderson after their personal experience when seeking a suitable care solution for an aging relative. After selecting a small group care home for their aging aunt, they discovered that most of the residents lived in isolation with few, if any, visitors and very little social engagement. The Aldersons felt called to improve the residents’ lives. They decided to bring dynamic outside energy and joy into the homes through live music programs. They recruited five volunteer Music Angels who provided weekly music programs to the residents in that single home. Bob and Audrey soon realized there was a pervasive community need for engaging enrichment programs for senior residents living in small care homes throughout the Valley. Today, Audrey’s Angels serves 150 of the approximately 1200 small group eldercare homes in Maricopa County with 75 Music and Craft Angels providing 500 program hours each month.

We also provide weekly music enrichment programs to disabled adults in partnership with the nonprofit STARS, as well as provide music and craft programs to 9 Adult Day Enrichment Centers that offer respite care.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a joy to provide these programs over the last 16 years! We have a remarkable group of Music and Craft Angels who are always happy to travel the Valley and share their talents as well as a dedicated Board of Directors. We are a small staff of two, so funding the growth of our organization has always been a challenge.

Audrey’s Angels – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our mission is to enrich the lives of elderly in small group homes through live music. Since 2001 we have been accomplishing this mission by providing live, therapeutic programs that bring important benefits beyond entertainment. Our music program sing-a-longs can maintain or improve language skills and group activities encourage socialization. Interaction with our Music Angels can help to alleviate the loneliness and isolation felt by most of the residents by providing creative activities that get them involved and offer a time to share fond memories. The homeowners and care providers share that through our programs residents are more engaged and less depressed. Most simply stated, the programs are a regular, weekly outside event that bring joy and engagement for the residents while touching their hearts and engaging their minds. For many residents we serve, we are their only connection to the outside world.

It is our understanding that we are the only nonprofit in the area offering this unique service to the senior care homes. We envision a community where the elderly are a connected and validated part of our society. We are proud of the fact that we are bringing joy to the lives of these often forgotten members of our community!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
It does my heart good every time I have the opportunity to observe the positive impact our program has on the elderly in our community. They tell me how thankful and appreciative they are and always say to our Angels, “Thank you! Please come back soon!”. When I see these remarkable people singing, clapping, smiling and interacting with our Angels it makes me so proud to know that our efforts are making a difference in their lives!

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