Friday Fave: Champions for Children

I write frequently about children with special needs and the work I (and all of you professionals and parents) do to make their lives better.  But today I want to talk about another group of children: those who have been sexually and physically abused.  This is somewhat of a taboo topic in our society, because people don’t want to think about the fact that this kind of abuse happens.  But the sad reality is that it does, and all too often.

April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois is carrying that awareness into May with with weekend’s Champions for Children Walk.  Tomorrow morning, people in 27 cities throughout Illinois will walk in support of the 10,500 abused children that Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) serve every year.

Working with law enforcement, medical professionals, and other agencies, CACs offer a safe, child-friendly environment for forensic interviews and medical evaluations of the child victim, and on-going support for children who have been abused, as well as their families.  My mom opened the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center here in Springfield just over 20 years ago, and my stepdad is the current executive director.  This year, in honor of the Champions for Children Walk, my mom and I collaborated on a song which will serve as the event’s theme.  You can listen below, and follow the link to download it for free:

Sometimes I wonder if it matters what I do
Is there anyone who’ll listen, or am I among the few
Who see the pain and hear the cry
And stop to question why?

Rise up and take a stand
Raise your voice, reach out a hand
Be a champion for a child
Speak the words she cannot say
Be the light that she’s been searching for
and give her strength to help her find her way

For a moment stop and wonder
How a child can live in fear
What are they telling us that we cannot hear?
What do they need to ease their pain
the tears that flow like rain?

Chorus

Just think of the changes that we could make
how different our world could be
when silence is broken and their voices are heard
when we open our eyes to see

Chorus

And even though you most likely don’t live in Springfield, or even Illinois, you can “rise up” and be a Champion for Children.  How?  By sponsoring me in tomorrow’s walk, if you feel so inclined.  Any pledge amount, from $1 on up, will go towards the child abuse prevention, education, and direct service to children who have experienced physical and sexual abuse.  Pledges can be made by clicking the “make a donation to this group” link at the very bottom of this page.

Although it’s been raining all week, we’ve been blessed with a beautiful forecast for tomorrow’s walk!  I’ll be singing “Rise Up” to kick things off, and then it’ll be time to get moving.  I can’t wait.  Hope you all have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend!  See you back here on Sunday for this week’s Sunday Singalong video.

Friday Fave: Boomwhackers & Black Eyed Peas

Today’s “Friday Fave” comes to you courtesy of fellow music therapist Kat Fulton, who lives and works in San Diego.  I had the pleasure of meeting her at last year’s AMTA Conference, and we’ve since stayed connected through Facebook and Twitter.  Kat is an expert drum circle facilitator and is truly an innovator when it comes to the use of percussion in music therapy, as you will see in a moment.

But first, are you familiar with boomwhackers?  These are plastic tubes that can be played either with a mallet or by “whacking” them against a hard surface.  They come in several different sets, including C Major Diatonic Scale, C Major Pentatonic Scale, a Chromatics set, and more.  You can see (and hear!) all of them here.

Boomwhackers might just have the silliest name of any instrument, but they  are quite possibly the most popular in my studio.  In one particular music therapy group, my young clients run for my boomwhacker basket every week and spend the first few minutes of our session playing them.

But now back to Kat, who wins the award for the coolest use of boomwhackers yet.  In this video, she plays the Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling” using only – you guessed it – boomwhackers. Prepare to be impressed:

You can read more about why Kat made this video, and how she’ll be using it, here. I was actually planning to feature this song in my upcoming “Sunday Singalong” video (showing how I teach my students to play it on the piano) but after seeing Kat’s video?  No way – mine would pale in comparison!

Friday Fave: Audible

When I was in elementary school, I only got in trouble for one reason: reading Babysitter’s Club books during class.  Not much changed throughout the years; I always had books in my desk, locker, and bookbag, because I loved to read and couldn’t get enough.  It frustrated my parents to no end, because they would buy be a new book and I would finish it that very same day.

I still love to read, but these days, I just don’t have the time.  How sad is it that I’ve had the same two books laying on the nightstand for two months now?  But late last fall, my friend Kimberly S. Moore (a.k.a. Music Therapy Maven) introduced me to a whole new way of “reading” books.   Audible is a website that sells audiobook downloads (either a la carte or through a membership) and I am hooked!

As an AudibleListener Gold member, I receive a monthly credit which allows me to download almost any audiobook I want.  Not only is the price completely reasonable ($7.49/month for the first 3 months, and then $14.95/month thereafter) but the selection is amazing.  I have a huge wish list of audiobooks I plan to download in the coming months.

The #1 reason I love audiobooks is the convenience factor.  I listen to them on my iPhone, which I have with me all the time.  A few of my favorite times/places to listen: the gym, getting ready in the morning, in the car, while I’m cleaning or cooking, and the list goes on.  I recently finished the book Getting Things Done by David Allen (which I’d recommend to anyone), and right now I’m in the middle of Excuses Begone! by Wayne Dyer.

I’d be curious to hear if anyone else has discovered the beauty of audiobooks, or if you stay true to traditional printed books.  Any Kindle readers here?  I’d love to try that out, although I’m not sure how much I’d love having one more thing to carry around with me.

Well that does it for this week’s edition of Friday Faves!  Thinking ahead: let me know if there’s a song you’d like to see/hear featured in my Sunday Singalong video…it could be one of my own or a cover (think Jack Johnson, Justin Roberts, Laurie Berkner, Jim Gill, etc.).  It’s a happy, sunny day here, and I hope the same is true for you!  See you again soon.

{List}en & Learn

I’m a list-maker.  I usually have at least two or three lists going at once: on my phone (I love the app “A Check List” for the iPhone), in my planner, and on a piece of notepad paper.  Not to mention the stacks of lists I’ve made containing ideas and future plans that have their own place on my desk.  Saturday is my designated day for tackling those various lists, but I thought I’d make one more before I get to work on them!

1. SleepPhones Giveaway winner Joann wrote to say, “The SleepPhones arrived in Friday’s mail. I used them last night. They are amazingly comfortable and the sound quality is pretty good. Thank you so much.”

2. My Facebook page is hoppin’ lately!  Hard to believe there are almost 700 fans…are you one of them?

3. This YouTube video has gone viral, and it’s easy to see why.  Who can resist an adorable elderly couple showing off their mad skills on the piano?

4. The Laurie Berkner Band’s blog is a new addition to my blogroll, and definitely worth a visit.  I love getting a peek behind-the-scenes of one of my biggest inspirations!

5. Read the Feed!  The easiest way to keep up with Listen & Learn is to subscribe to my RSS feed.  I subscribe to all my favorite blogs, and then read them all in one place via Google Reader.

I think that’s it for now.  My husband and I are finally tearing ourselves away from our Saturday Lost marathon (thanks, Netflix streaming!) so that we can attend to our respective to-do lists.  See you tomorrow for this week’s Sunday Singalong video!

Pin It on Pinterest