Describe one of your favorite magical or break-through moments that you created or experienced with the help of the Drums Alive program.
I would say that one of my most wonderful experiences with Drums Alive, apart from getting the opportunity to train with Carrie and Karen, was when our ELYMCA superstars, our Drums Alive class for those with diverse abilities, were invited to the capital in Harrisburg, PA to show what our superstars can do. We brought Drums Alive into the Rotunda and over 40 individuals with a variety of diverse abilities showed off their skills for legislators and government officials that were there that day. It was confidence unleashed as they all drummed for over an hour with local newspapers and tv stations reporting this great news! Our day was such a great success as our goal was to create awareness and we know for certain our mission was accomplished that day!
Please describe your background.
I have been a group fitness instructor for over 32 years now and have been certified in everything you can imagine from step aerobics, regular group fitness classes, and personal training and of course Drums Alive. I have taught at many local gyms but have been an instructor at our YMCA now for 10 years. I was hired to coordinate the Silver Sneaker program for seniors which is a great functional workout for older adults. I have also started progression classes for the adults that need a bit of a more challenging workout. It has been great to see this program grow from 10-12 adults to 80 or more in a class. Yes at age 61 myself I can clearly see the need for these specialized classes and am proud to work for a gym that cares about everyone and not just those that are fit. 8 years ago I started a class for individuals with diverse abilities called SUPERSTARS. It has been amazing to watch these individuals improve their fitness level and confidence with Drums Alive.
What initially drew you into Drums Alive?
What drew me to drums alive was the fact that our y had seen where there was a training close to our Y. They asked me I wanted to go get certified and I said sure. I took a look at the workout and thought that it would be fun, little did I realize I was about to set out on a journey that would help others start to get moving and get excited about their workouts! When I went to the training they asked if anyone taught a class for individuals with special needs and as I raised my hand they said you will want to start drumming with them as soon as you can. Best advice I ever got! Never knowing how we were about to unlock the door of opportunities for these individuals in our communities!
What makes you want to share the Drums Alive program with others?
What makes me want to share Drums Alive with others is the excitement and fun that it brings. It is so different from anything else I have taught over the years but especially for those with diverse abilities the music and movement bring them to life. I have witnessed those that are non-verbal speak and express through drumming. I have been invited to bring it into special education classrooms and that has been so exciting as not only are the students responding we are educating those inside the school walls the effects and responses to Drums Alive. I have also been invited to drum at a mental health day program and the response from the individuals was amazing! So much fun! It has also been awesome to watch our seniors move to the music and dance freely to their favorite tunes. Many of our seniors with hip and knee issues say its a great workout for them as they don’t feel like they need to try to beat up their legs to get a good workout. Why wouldn’t I want to share the great news about Drums Alive and the wonderful things I am blessed to be a part of. All of these things said I see Drums Alive improving the quality of life for ALL individuals and so I say why wouldn’t we want that? We need to be sharing this great news with others. I am honored and blessed to be a small part of this journey!
How do you use the Drums Alive program to be of service to others in your community?
I would describe my part as an instructor for Drums Alive is bringing this program to life in our communities. Superstars program at our y began 9 years ago with an idea I had of starting a group fitness class for those with diverse abilities. Before we started drumming we had 7-8 individuals but once we started Drums Alive the word was out and now we get more than 45-50 individuals for this free program every Saturday morning. Making friends, socializing, drumming, dancing, and gaining confidence and taking that into our community has been amazing to watch. We have not only been asked to do a presentation at our capital in Harrisburg but we have been invited to college conferences for educators, and many other venues. So proud of this program and how it serves the community. I would be remiss if I did not mention the support of both my daughters Amber who has a diverse ability and Erica who is a special education teacher who has brought drums alive to her classroom. They have both been there to help me get this program started and now are instructors with Drums Alive. I couldn’t be more proud of what they both have accomplished with their trainings. Both totally different in how they present drums but both vital in spreading the good news! I also have the support of 6 amazing volunteers each Saturday and without them, we could not have a successful program. We are a team that works together to help encourage these individuals. Drums Alive has helped these individuals to gain the confidence to come to my other drums classes during the week at our y. I am so proud of this goal that has been reached because that’s what inclusiveness in our community and our gyms looks like. They all take part with pride and as I watch their faces it brings tears to my eyes to see how Drums Alive has helped improve their quality of life! The interaction with our y members has been such a great experience for all! I feel that is my role in taking Drums Alive into our communities!