When Miami Palmetto High rising senior Lily Weinbach watched a documentary called Alive Inside, about a man who gave Alzheimer and dementia patients iPods with personalized playlists, it spurred her to action.
She was inspired by the fact that those patients who received the iPods with personalized music began to sing and some who hadn’t talked before began talking. She wants to create that kind of miracle for people at the Palace Nursing Home in Kendall.
She’s collected iPods and is working to load them with music that is sung by Palmetto drama students. The playlist is determined by the music preferences of the folks at the Palace. She likes the idea that the project is so hands-on.
“Donating iPods to the organization, you don’t get the one-on-one feeling,” she says. “You want to feel good and you want other people to feel good.”
Weinbach plans to visit the nursing home a few times over the summer to collect her music data. Then she’ll put a sign-up list in her drama class asking for volunteers.
I know a few people who work with sound,” she says. “They can help me make up pretty professional recordings.”
She’d already collected around 25 iPods before the end of the school year.
“In addition to having our playlist, we’ll go and collect data,” she says. “We’ll see what songs and what genres they like. Songs that are a part of those genres will be uploaded to the iPods.”
Community service is important to Weinbach. She’s in the Social Justice Teen Fellowship at Temple Beth Am. The teens do monthly community service.
“They took us to Immokalee to meet with migrant workers,” she says. “That whole world is so close to where we live. We talked to a few of them, we learned their stories.”
The kids also went to Hialeah where they worked with a program that builds houses.
“We painted a house for an old woman,” Weinbach says. “She was sick and she couldn’t do it and she couldn’t afford to pay to have the house painted.”
Another month they went to the Chapman Partnership for the Homeless where they prepared the dinner and served the food.
“That was emotional,” she says.
Social Justice teens have to apply to be a part of the group. They are required to be a temple member and need a recommendation letter from a teacher, employer or the rabbinical staff.
She’s been in BBYO since eighth grade and has moved up the ranks. She is currently programing vice president.
She’s attended BBYO conferences and conventions. The last convention was the Regional Convention in 2016, held in Plantation.
She also attended the International Convention in Baltimore in 2016.
“There were kids from all over the world,” she says.
At school, Weinbach is a member of Thespians, the National Honor Society, the English Honor Society, the vice president of members and activities for the Jewish Student Union and a member of the student cabinet.
This past year, Weinbach participated in the Thespians competition in the small group musical category. They sang the song Mama Who Bore Me from Spring Awakening. They did the song in sign language as well.
“We got Critic’s choice,” she says. “It was the best piece I ever was a part off.”
In May, Weinbach won the PAW Award for outstanding citizenship. When she goes to college, Weinbach plans to major in English Literature.
“I love to write,” she says.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld