April screening benefit offers inspiration, education and a glimpse of the future by engaging a surprising audience.

ORLANDO, FL – ALIVE INSIDE, an award-winning documentary about the power of music to help those living with dementia, is coming to Avalon Church with a surprising new audience in mind – kids. The screening serves as a benefit to expand the intergenerational “Adopt an Elder / Build a Bridge” program throughout Central Florida and will include a Q&A session with filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett and renowned UCF Neuroscientist Dr. Kiminobu Sugaya.

The ALIVE INSIDE screening event takes place at the Avalon Church in Avalon Park on April 9 at 3 pm. Avalon Church is located at 13460 Tanja King Blvd., Orlando, FL 32828. Tickets can be purchased online at www.AliveInside.org/Orlando. A Q&A session with the filmmaker and doctor, along with a special musical performance by participating students follows the screening.

The film ALIVE INSIDE is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power triumphs where prescription medication falls short. This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen (founder of the nonprofit Music & Memory) as he restores a deep sense of self to those suffering from memory loss and fights a broken healthcare system to reveal music’s ability to combat it. Rossato-Bennett documents family members who witness the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and bestselling author Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia) and musician Bobby McFerrin. An uplifting cinematic exploration of music and the mind, ALIVE INSIDE’s inspirational and emotional story left audiences humming, clapping and cheering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.

Since its release, ALIVE INSIDE has fostered an explosion of over 2000 Music & Memory facilities across the country. A foundation emerged from an outpouring of interest and enabled Rossato-Bennett to further expand the vision of bringing music to elders. The Alive Inside Foundation’s key program, “Adopt an Elder / Build a Bridge”, includes youth and empowers them to become music detectives, finding songs that spark memories for dementia afflicted individuals while cultivating empathy and explaining aging. Both the giver and receiver benefit from this compassionate exchange.

In November, 2015, Orlando became one of the first U.S. cities to embrace this exciting program. Linda Taylor, founder of the Creative Care Association (CCA), was inspired by the film to invite Encore at Avalon Park (a music-themed assisted living facility) to co-facilitate a pilot class. Avalon Middle School and University of Central Florida came aboard enthusiastically and engaged their students. After viewing the film, students completed special training with Dr. Sugaya, experienced simulated dementia, and were paired with individuals living with dementia whom they visit weekly to find special songs that trigger memories, stories and connection. The results have been fascinating and inspiring, with students and residents alike benefitting from their time together.

Beyond using music as a means to bridge generations, the Alive Inside Foundation sets its sights on discouraging aging stereotypes. Their groundbreaking program helps students learn to forge relationships with seniors and demystifies senior care communities. Participants are educated and empowered to make an impact on the future of senior care. The program is so impactful that many students have chosen to continue participating this summer after their school year officially ends. The proceeds of this event will be used to fund the expansion of the program to additional schools and community youth programs. The goal is to have every elder living with dementia adopted throughout Central Florida, with youth bringing them their music.

As a result of the pilot program, Alive Inside Foundation and CCA have also partnered with UCF’s Multidisciplinary Neuroscience Alliance (MDNA), a think-tank comprised of researchers and educators dedicated to advancing cures for neurological conditions. Together, these agencies aim to inspire a movement that connects the generations through music, cultivates empathy in kids, and sparks aliveness in seniors.

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