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About Purple Pals

Purple Pals is a 501c3 non-profit organization that aims to provide fun, freedom, and friendship to seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's. We believe that connecting seniors with college students can enrich their lives and create meaningful relationships. Our organization is dedicated to improving the lives of seniors and their caregivers by providing a safe and engaging environment.

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's while giving their caregivers a chance to care for themselves. We accomplish this by connecting seniors with college students for companionship and social engagement. We strive to create a community that provides support, compassion, and understanding for seniors and their caregivers.

Executive Board Team

Dedication. Expertise. Passion.

Meet our Executive Board team and find out what drives them to enhance the quality of life for seniors and their care givers.


Paige Harding Founder & Executive Board President

Paige Harding, a Dodge City native, became passionate about the fight to end Alzheimer’s when her grandmother developed Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 57. Throughout her grandmother’s journey, Paige witnessed how Alzheimer’s affected her entire family and how it will affect her family for generations to come. Paige has participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for the past 12 years, served as a board member for the Walk, served as a community educator, and her favorite endeavor has been the creation of Purple Pals. Paige founded Purple Pals at the University of Kansas in January of 2019. Purple Pals connects college students to people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease for enrichment, while giving caregivers a chance to care for themselves. Paige hopes Purple Pals will be at colleges all across Kansas within the next few years and maybe someday the entire nation. In addition to her work with Alzheimer’s disease, Paige is currently in her third year at Washburn University School of Law. 

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Melissa Koppers Executive Board Vice President

Melissa is from Kansas City and is the Executive Board Vice President of Purple Pals and was the President of the University of Kansas Purple Pals chapter for over two years. She created partnerships with health care centers across Douglas County. Melissa graduated from KU with a degree in Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science with a concentration in Organizational Behavior Management. Melissa is a Human Resources professional with consultative experience.  Melissa is passionate about helping seniors and their caretakers by providing companionship, hope, and enhanced facilities and resources to seniors and their loved ones. 


Abby Harding University of Kansas Treasurer

Hi, my name is Abby Harding. I’m from Dodge City, KS currently attending the University of Kansas. This year will be my 4th year participating in Purple Pals. I joined Purple Pals because of my grandmas passing from early onset Alzheimer’s. I’m really excited to watch Purple Pals continue to grow and blossom.


Janelle Harding Secretary

Janelle Harding is a family nurse practitioner.  She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1997.  She is the granddaughter and daughter of two persons afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. She has experienced first-hand the hardships this disease can cause families of persons suffering from Alzheimer's. As a mother of three, she is committed to the mission and success of Purple Pals due to its unique impact on young people and families of persons with Alzheimer's. 

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Chapter Leaders
We currently have chapters at the University of Kansas and Oklahoma State University. We are in the process of creating more across the United States.

Emma Stahl University of Kansas Chapter President

Hi I’m Emma Stahl and I’m from West Des Moines IA. I’m a senior studying marketing and sales. I love to run and entertain. I became involved in purple pals my freshmen year and have loved the connections I have made and the opportunities to work with seniors!

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Charlie Goree
University of Kansas Executive Team Member

Hi, my name is Charlie Goree, and I am from Wichita, Kansas. I am a junior studying biochemistry on the pre-dental track. I am a huge outdoorsman, and love to be outside as much as I can! I became involved in Purple Pals at the end of my sophomore year, but am very excited about what I have already experienced. I am newer to the organization, but am very thrilled about the new faces I will meet, and the impact I can have. 

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Anya Thompson Oklahoma State University President

My name is Anya Thompson. I’m a student at Oklahoma State University and an aspiring Geriatrician. I have always loved working with the elderly and want to make it my life’s work. Purple Pals has expanded community outreach to geriatric facilities and student awareness to the disparities faced by older adults. We are all affected by Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases, in some capacity. To be a part of Purple Pals is a great honor of mine. 


Karley Myers Oklahoma State University Vice President

Hello! My name is Karley Myers and I am a student at OSU studying speech pathology. I find enjoyment in seeing the light in those lives at the senior living centers and at the Life Center here in Stillwater! Purple Pals has brought me great love and a new perspective on the population I may be working with.”


Jenna Curry 
Oklahoma State University Treasurer

I am a senior at OSU studying speech pathology with a minor in ASL. I love working with kiddos but joined purple pals as my good friend in my same major invited me. It’s been such a joy meeting new people at the senior living homes and the Life Center! As for the future, I plan to move to Tulsa to start graduate school for speech path starting Fall 2024! 


Apply for a position on our Executive team!

Purple Pals Executive team application coming soon!

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