News From Your Neighbors – Neighbors Who Care, Inc


When good things become great

Neighbors Who Care is proud to be a founding partner of Creative Engagement Partners.

The coalition of community leaders known as Sun Lakes Creative Engagement Partners, which was established to enrich the lives of family members of people living with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and memory impairment, is experiencing a metamorphosis. As the popularity of the programs created over recent years has increased, Wayne Mangold, SLCEP founder, knew more was needed if the group was going to continue to expand its reach and its strength.

In the last two years, a coalition was assembled to duplicate a movement happening in Tempe and in other areas of the country. This movement includes supplying cognitive engagement opportunities to people living with various forms of dementia and memory loss. These programs, the music therapy program established a few years ago and a new program known as the Memory Cafe have taken off. Both programs are designed for both the caregiver and their partners to eliminate the feelings of isolation and loneliness when these diagnoses happen.

This spring, Sun Lakes Creative Engagement Partners began a series of changes implemented to promote long-term growth and sustainability. First, the board changed the name to Creative Engagement Partners as the reach for volunteers and participants has expanded beyond the Sun Lakes community. The next order of business was to receive IRS approval as a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit, making donations tax deductible under both federal and Arizona law. We are hoping to also achieve qualification for the Arizona Charitable Organization Tax Credit, making donations eligible for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on AZ income taxes, by late 2019.

Creative Engagement Partners has evolved from the organization created in July, 2016, to offer Music Therapy and CARES. (cognitive engagement and support group). CARES was later replaced by the Memory Café. The Memory Café joined the Music Therapy program in Spring of 2018 with a cadre of volunteers in place to welcome care partners living with dementia-related diseases and their spouses or caregivers. In the last year, participants have developed a family of friends who can help support each other and provide new socialization opportunities outside of the programs. The support of the community and Cottonwood Palo Verde Foundation has permitted these programs a chance to gain widespread popularity and to flourish.

The East Valley Memory Café now meets weekly the first four Mondays each month (except on Monday holidays). Each session begins at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and treats. Beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 11:00 a.m., the loved one providing care joins other spouses, friends and children for a support group session with facilitators, and the care partners receive a themed activity led by a skilled volunteer. All sessions are free of charge (except for TaiChiEZ on the fourth Monday, which is $5 per person) and are held at Sun Lakes United Methodist Church.

For more information about Creative Engagement Partners, the Music Therapy program and the Memory Café, visit