Hello dear Musical Autist fans! This is CJ, and I’m happy to report that I ran 26.2 miles yesterday in the Baltimore Marathon and I’m actually feeling pretty okay today! Honestly, I’m not really that hardcore of a runner, the only reason I committed to this was to raise support for ideas that I believe in with all my heart = Sensory Friendly Concerts (SFCs) & The Musical Autist.
And here’s some exciting news, we raised $2436, exceeding our fundraising goal by almost $500!
Three years ago, I ran my first (and only other) marathon. I had recently come out of an intensely-low season of my life, where the only thing I knew very certainly was introspection and spiritual solitude. It was in that quiet season that ideas started to come to me = about autism and the arts and the need for acceptance and accommodation within our society. As Aristotle said, “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, therein lies your vocation.” By the time I ran my first marathon, I felt like my ideas about a “sensory friendly” concert gave me a constant supply of mental fuel that kept me going throughout training and on race day. Three years ago they were still just barely ideas, coupled with an eager learning curve of the Neurodiversity Movement, and a few SFCs under my belt – all of which kept me inspired and brainstorming.
Now to think that in the past 3 years we’ve done 20+ SFCs, we’ve gotten our 501c3 nonprofit status, we have 90+ music therapists that are interested in taking our continuing ed course that I’ve been developing with Lyndie Walker, MT-BC (our grant writer and Director of Programming) and Blythe LaGasse, PhD, MT-BC (my co-author in this paper which was published earlier this year and manager of www.mtned.com where our course will be hosted) in order to bring SFCs to local communities around the world.
And the greatest reward for me, that I can simply do some. small. part. in our society to promote ACCEPTANCE and public accommodations for people of neurodiversity, in particular those on the autism spectrum… and that by bringing music of the fine arts we PRESUME COMPETENCE in our audience members. (Remember, “hand flapping allowed!” and “EQUAL ACCESS to the fine arts.”)
I’d like to thank everyone who contributed:
Tim & Helen Ackerman
Helen Draves and Debbie Shinavier
Carol & Greg Diachenko
Ed & Donna Wojtysiak
The Kangas Family
The Cochran Family
Todd & Cindy Bauchspies
Jodi Lewis (Shen)
Kristin Kent & John
Mark & Hannah Ackerman
Glenn & Diane Schmincke
Kevin & Morgan Schmincke
Annette La Croix
Luke & Jody Elliott
John & Linda Krach
Also our Sensory Friendly Concert attendees on Oct. 5th, 2014, many of whom generously gave more than the $5 donation we ask for at the door to help cover venue costs. Many thanks to Creating Communities for their generous grant for this SFC, which enabled us to apply all donations at the door toward this fundraising goal.
Here’s a pic of my “race shirt.” Which was simply our logo printed out and safety pinned to my shirt. (Along with a sign that says, “Full” which is a part of the rules of this running festival, for those doing the full 26.2 marathon to wear this on their backs.)