A Touching Story

One of my goals as a writer is to always add value to peoples lives when I write.  When I write which is fairly regularly my style is to write how I think, which is not always the most effective and astute way but it is my style.   Yesterday I went to see a movie in Medellin, Colombia.  I am heading back to Florida today (I love the $2.50 movie here) so I figured I oughta get one in before I split.

The movie was “The Soloist”, of course I am an emotional movie goer therefore I got to shed some tears throughout.  As you may know my human service experience is ecclectic to say the least.  The movie reminded me of my days in mental health, in fact I was blessed to be a part of developing a music group back in 1995 with and for folks with significant  mental illness.

Let me take you back a bit, in 1995 I was working for a government agency with one of the greatest people on all the earth as the Director, her name is Diane Johnson.  One day I went in to Diane and asked her if I could utilize some funds to rent a recording studio so that some of my clients could jam.  You see so many of our participants were musicians.  Most were garage band type of musicians ranging from guitar players, piano players to violin & flute musicians.

Well long story short the next day my direct supervisor Kathy Rogers came to me and said Dan, go see Ellen Healion the Director at Hands Across Long Island’s (HALI) and talk to her about your idea she will give you space to do this without needing to rent a studio.  So that is what I did, the State of NY and the County of Suffolk ponied up some cash and allowed me to purchase instruments and hire on a couple of teachers to help folks advance.

The highlight for me came in 1998 with Hands Across Long Island’s tenth anniversary celebration.   HALI is a human service, mental health agency run by and for mental health consumers.   The agency was holding a Ballet performance by the Eglevsky Ballet, the orchestra?  None other than the HALI Dream-Makers!  Here they were, people that three years earlier some were homeless, hopeless, addicted, some in serious turmoil, were suited up in Tuxedo’s performing with a world class ballet troupe.  I cry when I think about this, parents after the performance coming to me and Ellen thanking us for giving back their childs lives!  Wow, it all came rushing back to me sitting in that theater yesterday watching the “Soloist” completely comprehending exactly what was happening and the power of it all.

Life is good…  Enjoy the Journey!

Go, Go, Go…

Dan 🙂