Director and Founder Victoria Hart’s journey towards working with people with cognitive loss began when her father was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a type of fronto-temporal dementia. A professional opera singer and voice teacher with a Doctorate in Music, Vicky used a variety of skills and modalities to connect with her father and provide meaningful engagement with him throughout the years of his illness. She found that despite his disease process she was able to help her father access memories, language abilities, and emotional responses that on the surface appeared to have been lost.
This powerful experience with her father and her subsequent volunteer work with people with dementia led Vicky to make a career change. Vicky is now a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) who works with seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and those in the early stages of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
In March of 2019, Vicky was hired by the Main Line Adult Day Center in Bryn Mawr, PA to create a new program geared for seniors in the early stages of memory loss. Thus, “The Club” at MLADC was born. This on-site program continued until March 13, 2020, at which time Vicky reconfigured the program for an online format because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Club Online continued through August 31st, 2020, at which time MLADC was forced to completely cease operations due to the ongoing pandemic.
At that point, Vicky launched A Gathering of Minds to continue the kind of engaging programming and community building that had been so successful with The Club and The Club Online. Vicky continues to provide A Gathering of Minds members with original daily programming that engages, intrigues, enlivens, and reconnects people with their authentic selves and with others.