November 3, 2015

A Program’s Power

by Amanda Hayman

Alexis Gregos ’12, M.A. ’14, remembers the day she discovered a videocassette tape of her grandparents singing a song in Greek and played it for her grandmother, Alexandra Filios, who had been fighting a devastating battle with Alzheimer’s. Watching the tape temporarily erased Filios’ sadness and pain. Before Gregos’ grandmother passed away in 2010, music made her smile again.

Alexis Gregos ’12, M.A. ‘14 (right), is the community outreach coordinator at Music & Memory.

Alexis Gregos ’12, M.A. ‘14 (right), is the community outreach coordinator at Music & Memory.

It seems like fate, then, that Gregos is now the community outreach coordinator at Music & Memory. The nonprofit organization, founded by fellow Adelphi graduate Dan Cohen, M.S.W. ’78, has gained significant attention for its success in improving the lives of the elderly and infirm through the creation of personalized iPod playlists.

Fate’s role in the direction Gregos has taken is up for debate, but Gregos is certain of one thing: a paid summer internship program at Adelphi—the Jaggar Community Fellows Program—played a powerful part. Gregos was selected to participate in the program in March 2011 and was matched to Music & Memory.

That summer Gregos found her calling. At the end of her internship, Cohen offered her a part-time job, which she subsequently parlayed into her current full-time position. Spurred by her personal experience, Gregos is committed to Music & Memory’s mission. “There’s going to be a time for a cure” for Alzheimer’s, Gregos said, “but we can’t wait. We have to help those people now.”

Adelphi’s Jaggar Community Fellows Program is the region’s only university-sponsored internship program that pays students to work at local nonprofit organizations during the summer. The program began in 2010 with 16 organizations and 18 students, and by 2015, when it was named for generous donors Angela ’62, M.A. ’65, Ph.D., and Scott Jaggar, it had more than tripled in size to supporting 70 students at 48 organizations.

Music & Memory Older Couple

Music & Memory uses iPod playlists to help alleviate the ravages of dementia.

Last spring, Adelphi announced that the Jaggars, who are members of the Million Dollar Round Table and the Ruth S. Harley Society for planned giving, made a commitment of $875,000 to fund the Community Fellows Program. Angela Jaggar, a trustee of the University, taught and studied children’s literacy development and is the co-founder of New York University’s Reading Recovery Project. Scott Jaggar had a long career with United Parcel Service and was a member of President Ronald Reagan’s Grace Commission.

“There is nothing like working with people who are trying to make a difference for the better in this world,” Angela said at an on-campus ceremony last June. “Those of us who have been fortunate in life and have the resources also have a fundamental responsibility to help and improve the quality of life for those who are less fortunate.”

This article appeared in the Career Compass Fall 2015 Newsletter.
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