Violin volunteer serenading at senior centers

Kimberly Krejcarek playing violin at Allouez Parkside Village, January 15, 2018. (Courtesy WLUK)

ALLOUEZ (WLUK) -- A Green Bay woman has been moonlighting on her time off to make a difference.

Her day job includes marketing for FOX 11, but on her off time she's striking a chord with seniors in the community.

For the past year, Kimberly Krejcarek has been giving up her Monday nights to give free concerts at nursing homes.

And even residents who have a hard time communicating are still able to find a way to say thanks.

Krejcarek is part of the promotions department at FOX 11, and helps write promos for stories you’ll see on newscasts later that night.

But every Monday night when her shift is over, she trades the words for music and donates her time with violin concerts to lift spirits.

Krejcarek splits her time by making the rounds at nine different assisted-living facilities for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“I just do it to get smiles of residents and to make their day," says Krejcarek. "Just playing the violin for an hour a week, it’s nothing. But it means the world to them, and I’m so fortunate and blessed that I can provide that music, that joy for them.”

Theresa Schmidt sat in on a recent concert with her mother Alice Bodilly, who’s a resident at Allouez Parkside Village. Schmidt says Krejcarek is able to lift spirits not only with what she plays, but who she is.

“I love her energy. She’s beautiful. And she just brings such a happy spirit when she comes," says Schmidt. "She makes me cry, a lot, because you know it comes so from her heart.”

Schmidt's mother agrees.

“Oh, she does that often," says Bodilly.

Krejcarek’s music list includes a mixture of religious to retro. And staff members at Parkside say it’s not only entertaining, it’s therapeutic.

“Music is huge, especially with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and it triggers memories, like Red River Valley or Amazing Grace," says Cassandra Buell, the Life Enrichment Coordinator for Allouez Parkside Village. "As you heard, a lot of them are humming or singing, so it’s a huge deal.”

Krejcarek says she enjoys the connection she's making with those that attend her concerts. “There was one individual who wasn’t able to talk," says Krejcarek. "And after my concert I went up to her and I said, ‘Oh, did you like the concert?’ And she gave me the biggest thumbs up, and that thumbs up meant the world to me.”

Krejcarek took up the violin five years ago specifically to one day play at assisted-living facilities. But in addition to the nine currently in her rotation, she's now expanded her concerts to a pair of local hospice facilities as well.

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