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Kids, Community Pitch in to Support Music Therapy Program

Sharon Paquette Lose • News • March 16, 2016

Last Friday was not only Ponte Vedra Softball Club’s season opener, but also the kick off for PVAA’s Change for a Change youth-led campaign to raise money for the Music Therapy Program serving special needs students in Ocean Palms, PVPV-Rawlings and Valley Ridge.

Music Therapy is provided free of charge to special needs students in these Ponte Vedra schools thanks to the efforts of the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach. Fundraising is crucial to keep this program in place for the future. The goal is 100% participation from PVAA players who are asked simply to pocket change from around their home through April 30th. No door to door solicitations are allowed.

Change for a Change is led and run by Small Steps, a local youth-led service group, whose young members support their schools and community through independent projects they develop and lead. Small Steps is raising awareness in the community of the CCPVB Music Therapy so that this new and vital Outreach Program can continue. Small Steps’ projects are no cost because they repurpose, reuse and recycle donated items. 100% of all donations stay local and support Ponte Vedra special needs students.

Jessica Richardson, Principal of Ocean Palms Elementary School and President-Elect of the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach, says, “I could not be more excited about the partnership that has been formed between PVAA and Small Steps to support the continuation of Music Therapy in three of our St. Johns County schools. A goal for the Small Steps program is to generate awareness of community needs through youth leadership. The Change for a Change program is a perfect example of how one idea from one Ponte Vedra student can grow exponentially with community collaboration. Small change, collected by many people, will make a big difference for the students who benefit from Music Therapy each week.”

Small Steps only partners with sports clubs and organizations whose leadership clearly supports a ‘players first’ or ‘students first’ philosophy. The support of the PVAA leadership for this philosophy was clear with Commissioner John Wicker’s statement, “We feel an important part of our job as a ‘community organization’ is to educate our players with ‘life skills’. Being humble and compassionate while helping others is an important life skill we teach. Your program is a great example of teaching those skills and paying it forward.”

Amy O’Brien, Competitive 14U North Florida Stealth Coach, says “Ponte Vedra Girls Softball is proud to partner with Small Steps. Change for a Change is led by a female student leader and role model. I think it is important that young girls have as many people to look up to as possible. I am excited for this fundraiser as a teacher and a coach, and I am looking forward to our teams raising money for this great cause!” As an ESE paraprofessional, Michelle Campbell, 12U North Florida Stealth Coach, has personally witnessed the benefit of music therapy.

In the next few weeks, every Ponte Vedra Soccer Club team needs one or two players to lead their team’s collection of change. Those PVSC Team Leaders will be advised when to pick up their team’s donation jar and simple instructions from the fieldhouse. After collecting weekly donations from their team, the donation jar would be returned to the field house the weekend of April 30th. Small Steps asks that you please encourage your PVSC player to step up and lead for their team. Thanks to Napoli’s Pastaria for supporting PVSC’s Change for a Change project.

If you are interested in pledge matching your participating PVAA sports club (PVGS already received two pledge matches of up to $500.00), or need more information on Change for a Change, e-mail smallstepspvb@yahoo.com. Please visit http://www.ccpvb.org/programs/outreach-programs for more information on the CCPVB Music Therapy Outreach Program. 

 

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