Kristin Reagin’s Girl Scout Gold Project benefits dementia patients at The Bridges Assisted Living & Memory Care Community in Riverview.

By Janet Noah

Newsome High School Junior, Kristin Reagin, goes for the gold with her recent project, ‘Medicine for the Soul.’ Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold is the most prestigious and the most difficult to earn with only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earning this award.

For the past two years Kristin, daughter of Tom and Lynn Reagin of Valrico, has volunteered every Sunday at The Bridges Assisted Living & Memory Care Community in Riverview. As Kristin played the piano and sang with the memory care residents, she realized the positive effect music had on them.

Kristin’s project ‘Medicine for the Soul,’ is based on extensive research conducted on the effects of music on individuals with dementia. “I am extremely passionate about this topic since I know how music can help bring joy to the lives of those with dementia. I also know that music has been scientifically proven to tap into memories that had otherwise been forgotten,” Kristin noted. Kristin’s goal to utilize donated iPods and create genre specific playlists for each iPod came to fruition; she recently presented the program to residents and staff at The Bridges.

The idea was only the first part of Kristin’s project. Next came the fundraising, applying for and receiving a grant and collecting used iPods through various drives. With over $750 raised, Kristin provided nine iPods with headphones, a charging station, a housing container that can be locked, and music from iTunes. The best and most rewarding part was yet to come. “When I placed the headphones on the residents and they began to sing and smile, I saw first hand that my project was working and residents were responding positively.”

Donna Steiermann, Executive Director at The Bridges, foresees many benefits for residents. “’Medicine for the Soul’ will be a wonderful addition to our community and will improve the quality of our residents’ lives,” she commented.

In addition to her ongoing commitment to the Girl Scout program, Kristin is active in Elite and Chamber Choir at Newsome High and is a member of their Cross Country Team. She also volunteers her time to sing and play the piano at Hope Lutheran Church of Plant City. As you might imagine, Kristin aspires to a career in music therapy or music education.