Making memories matter while making a difference

By Blythe Alspaugh -

SIDNEY — Four Fort Loramie seniors have taken a class project and put it toward making a change in the community.

“I was excited when the girls chose to work with the Alzheimer’s Association. I think this cause is something that is close to a lot of people in our area,” Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Tricia Alexander said.

Ally Siegel, Jada Drees, Cara Meyer and Alyson Schmitmeyer are students in Alexander’s Leadership and Community Engagement course, which is a satellite program of the Upper Valley Career Center. The class project is a service-learning project based on the interests of the class, and at the beginning of the semester, the students break into small groups and brainstorm causes they have an interest in helping. Two goals of the project are to introduce students to the three T’s of philanthropy — time, treasures and talents — as well as enable the students to learn soft skills such as teamwork, time management and work ethic, and prepare them for their careers.

“I always encourage the students to pick something that they have a connection with or are passionate about, and I especially like that the group put an emphasis on the ‘Memories Matter’ theme. Not only is this a walk to raise money, but it is a day for friends and family to spend time together. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the everyday business of work and school that we can forget to enjoy the important moments like making memories with friends and family,” Alexander said.

Siegel, Drees, Meyer and Schmitmeyer all know someone that has been affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, and they wanted to focus on a project that could help others in the community who have also been affected by the disease. They organized the “Walk 2 End Alzheimer’s” as a competition between Shelby County communities. The town with the most participants will receive a plaque, and the walk is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7, at Tawawa Park in Sidney. Admission is $1 per participant.

“We knew community members would want to help us with our project since so many people have been affected by it as well. Considering all of us have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, it would be a project that we would work very hard towards and put the most time and effort into it,” Meyer said.

The walk will include live entertainment, games and refreshments provided for participants after the event.

“We hope those that attend return home with new memories,” Siegel said.

According to Drees, the group began organizing the event in late August. They started with researching Alzheimer’s and the different fundraising options available, and they decided a walk would be the most successful way to raise awareness. The group has since worked on designing t-shirts and reaching out to communities in the county.

Currently, there is an online donation alternative set up through the Alzheimer’s Association, with a goal of raising $2,500. According to Schmitmeyer, the response to the alternative alone has been successful, and they have already reached their goal ahead of the walk.

“We can accept donations until Dec. 31. The admission fee from the walk and the online donations will be given to the Alzheimer’s Association to help fight to end the disease,” Schmitmeyer said.

Siegel, Drees, Meyer and Schmitmeyer thanked Fort Loramie students Anna Detrick and Gavin Kemper, who will be performing at the walk, Alexander for guiding them through the planning process for the walk, and Matt Pleiman for creating the plaque that will be given to the community with the most participation.

“Thank you to those who have already donated and plan to attend our walk, we appreciate your generosity so much,” Drees said.

Those interested in donating can do so at

By Blythe Alspaugh

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