“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
My service project was done at a local private school called Progressive Pediatric. Progressive Pediatric is a school for children with special needs. I volunteered in the afterschool program. I worked with the music therapists that worked at the establishment in order to get experience for my major, which in music therapy. I am unable to include any photos due to the privacy of the children I worked with during my service project. In order to include photos of the children I would have needed to acquire permission from all of the parents which I was unable to do.
The reason I chose to do my service project at Progressive Pediatric is because I have passion for children with special needs. I think it is so fascinating how children with special needs think and how they perceive the world in a different way than typical children, especially musically. Most children with special needs are hypersensitive when it comes to the senses. Their hearing is hypersensitive so certain frequencies in music can be very irritating and sometimes painful to them. When this happens, some of these children go into what most people call a meltdown. A meltdown is very close to a panic attack, these meltdowns will sometimes bring loud screaming and holding of the ears. It is difficult to pull a child out of this state but it is possible. As a musician, I love music, it is a part of my life and it makes me incredibly happy. The reason I want to become a music therapist is to help children with special needs enjoy music they way I do.
When you work with children with special needs, you make a special connection with the children you work with. They see you as a friend as well as a mentor. They see someone who is bigger than them but is willing to sit and hang out with them when most people won’t. Unfortunately, the world is a cruel place. These children and teens with special needs have been told that they are not good enough, that they are not smart enough and that they are too different to make it in the world or make a difference. I love being with these children and letting them know that they are more than their stereotype. That they are smart, caring and beautiful people who can do anything they put their minds to. That is my impact and that is why I chose to volunteer at Progressive Pediatric for my service project.