Baxter Brem, a 15-year-old high school student in Portland, ME, volunteers his time brightening the lives of elderly residents at the Fallbrook Woods assisted living facility. He began volunteering because he had an interest in spending time with the elderly and wanted to make a contribution to his community that would mean something to him personally as well as help the people he came in contact with. Baxter first visited Fallbrook Woods in July of 1998. The activities he chose were to play music, do arts & crafts, talk with residents and help them write letters to their friends and family. Many of the ideas he came up with have been incorporated into the facility’s Saturday Activity Program.
Baxter spends every Saturday afternoon and two to three weekdays after school with the residents. He organizes a social, distributing ice cream cones or cookies and drinks to the residents. He plays music from their era, singing and dancing with many of the residents or conducts a sing-a-long. He might be found talking to the residents, playing games or tossing a ball. He brings laughter, fun and the joy of life to the residents.
One of the residents particularly looks forward to Baxter’s weekly visits. They have developed a very special bond, and the resident regards him as the grandson that she never had. He brings joy to 98-year old woman’s life by singing songs with her and laughing constantly.
Baxter has become an integral part of the Saturday Activity Program. The residents, as well as the staff, enjoy and depend on his afternoon program. He is described as a mature, responsible and dedicated individual. His out-going personality, entertaining skills, understanding and caring ways have made a difference in the lives of the Fallbrook Woods residents.