In 2007, Kelly Willenborg purchased a 1978 Volkswagen Bus at Mid America Motorworks' Spring Swapfest and regularly attended Funfest for Air-Cooled Volkswagens at the company's corporate campus in Effingham, IL. A few years later she turned to Performance Choice, the company's interior manufacturing division, to upgrade the interior with a full charcoal gray carpet installation. Willenborg and her VW returned to Mid America Motorworks one more time to spread the word that she is selling the Bus to raise funds for Music and Memory.
Music and Memory is an organization that trains nursing home staff, elderly care professionals and family care givers to create personalized playlists on iPods, which are used as treatment for those struggling with Alzheimers, dementia and other cognitive and physical challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories. According to Willenborg, music therapy studies have been shown to reduce agitation, boost cognitive processes, help get seniors to eat and bathe, and even reduce anti-psychotic medication by 50 percent.
A native of Central Illinois, Willenborg is selling her VW to aid in establishing the Music and Memory program in five regional elderly care homes. The sale proceeds will go toward the purchase of 75 iPods, as well as training for the medical staff at each facility. Music and Memory is a non-profit organization that strives to improve elderly quality of life by introducing music into their daily lives. This program has now been implemented in 16 states and 4 countries.
Willenborg's passion for the cause led her to start her own organization called The Healing Jukebox, which provides interactive drumming sessions for seniors. A community wide iPod drive is being held Feb. 4 -Feb. 11, 2013. The drive is accepting gently used iPods from Apple only, iPod cables and chargers, cash or check donations made to Music & Memory and iTunes gift cards. Donations can be dropped off at Chestnut Family Music in Effingham, IL and the First National Bank locations in Effingham, Dieterich, Newton, Teutopolis and Lake Sara.
If you are interested in purchasing the VW Bus or have questions about the iPod drive, please contact Kelly Willenborg at 217-254-2149. For more information on Music and Memory or to donate, visit www.musicandmemory.org.