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Finding Your Voice with Goodwill Columbus

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” -Neil Gaiman

COVID-19 has changed the way we all live. Goodwill Columbus Work & Community services, provides programming to approximately 150 individuals a year with intellectual disabilities and mental health challenges. The pandemic especially impacted those individuals we serve. As individuals returned to Goodwill programming full-time, the program focused its efforts on getting back to work and providing activities in smaller groups, that would provide therapeutic value to enable individuals to express their feelings around the trauma of the last year, through self-expression and creativity…finding your voice. The program received a grant through the Harry C. Moores Foundation to provide additional programming in the arts and technology.

Some of the programming included:

Finding your Voice Through Music has included 2 workshops in collaboration with We Amplify Voices (WAV), a Columbus non-profit to collaborate with community musicians to write and produce 2 songs and create 2 music videos. Goodwill had an album release party in June to celebrate the music created by WCS and ADS with album cover art, by Charolette McGraw at the Goodwill Art Studio & Gallery.

WAV is committed to creativity and expression, which bolsters a more diverse arts community and a thriving creative ecosystem in Columbus. It’s a platform that gives rise to new voices, as well as offering an opportunity for professionals to connect with young talent. The group workshop dynamic offers a safe space for participants to show up and share what they’re going through in a safe space. The mindfulness and meditation practices learned during the workshop provide tools for them to continue their journey of self-discovery after the workshop is over. Participants gain empathy and respect for different life experiences, affirmation and validation of self-worth, and a fuller appreciation and recognition of their talents.

Finding Your Voice Through Drama has included a staff training by Kevin McClatchy, Associate Professor of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts at The Ohio State University, on the Hunter Heartbeat Method. Created by Kelly Hunter in England nearly 10 years ago, the Hunter Heartbeat Method uses a series of sensory drama games produced from Shakespeare’s text to improve spacial awareness, develop facial expressions, and increase motor skills in individuals on the spectrum. WCS is using the training to create opportunities for individuals to express themselves through the dramatic arts.

Finding Your Voice Through Dance will include workshops at the Clintonville based dance studio, Flux and Flow, that include body awareness, self-expression and creating choreography to accompany a hip-hop remix version of one of the songs that the WCS participates created with WAV. Dance is a powerful tool not only for self-expression, but also for holistic well-being, as dance unites all aspects of an individual, mental, physical and emotional. This element of dance and movement makes it an excellent activity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to experience an enhanced quality of life.

For further information, please contact Tiffany Martin, Director, WCS  [email protected]

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