Three local students concluded months of fundraising May 26, when they presented a check for $2,615 as a donation to the Music & Memory dementia-care program at Quarry Hill.

Currently pursuing nursing assistant certification through the Mid-Coast School of Technology, high school seniors Jenna Taylor of Camden, Brianna Garner of Union, and Kelsie Merrill of Hope said they decided months ago to make Music & Memory the focus of a community-service project they hoped to enter in the 2017 national SkillsUSA Championship. The competition challenges students to design and complete service projects on behalf of community causes.

The girls organized two spaghetti dinners and reached out to local businesses to raise funds for the Music & Memory project. Having received the top score at the SkillsUSA state competition in March for their efforts, the students are now focusing on the National Leadership and Skills Conference set for June 19 through 23 in Louisville, Ky., where they will compete against some 6,300 other entrants from across the United States.

Taylor and Merrill said they developed the idea for the campaign after hearing a talk by local Music & Memory volunteer Kristine Lerner. In addition, both girls had worked at Quarry Hill, where caregivers are certified to offer Music & Memory to residents with dementia, and had seen the program in action.

“We saw the difference it made for people,” Taylor said.

Music & Memory is a nationwide nonprofit that trains elder-care professionals and volunteers to use music to help those with dementia reconnect with their memories, their loved ones and themselves. Trained caregivers set up playlists of recipients’ favorite music, load the music onto iPods or CDs and then help recipients and their families enjoy the equipment.

According to the Music & Memory website, listening to music they have loved over the years “brings residents and clients back to life, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse, socialize and stay present.” In some cases, say practitioners, music can even succeed where dementia medications fall short.