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Winston-Salem teen holds iPod drive for dementia patients

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- It started out as a small service project, but for 17-year-old Daniel Hudgins, an Eagle Scout project quickly turned into much more.

“I was hoping for a few,” Hudgins said. “But what I got was more than I expected.”

In March, he started an iPod drive, getting friends and family to help him collect used iPods, headphones and iTunes gift cards.

All of it to be donated to the music and memory program at Williams Adult Day Center.

The program uses music to help seniors with dementia deal with anxiety and other issues.

“The music kind of brings them back,” said Mariah Adkins, music and memory coordinator.

Within three to four weeks, the high school junior collected 67 new and used iPods, including 40 brand new iPod shuffles, nearly 30 used iPods and 11 headsets.

“It really blew us away,” Adkins said. “It floored us.”

He also collected nearly $500 in iTunes gifts cards.

“Even if I don't see the immediate impact, I always like knowing that what I did that day will make a difference,” Hudgins said.

The teen, who wants to study nursing, says caring for seniors is something close to his heart.

He often does home visits with his church youth group.

“Most of their friends have passed away or their family has passed away,” he said. “So, just seeing how happy they are to get a small note or even a phone call.”

So far, the donation has had a positive impact on seniors like 74-year-old Jim Herndon, who has dementia.

“I can relax and just listen,” Herndon said.

Just about every day, Herndon listens to country music on his donated iPod shuffle.

“Nothing to bother me,” Herndon said.