Gesher Human Services is a nonprofit that serves roughly 11,000 Metro Detroiters with intellectual disabilities. They help find and create work opportunities for these residents, and now, they’re collaborating with the College for Creative Studies and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to offer vocational skill building programs.
As part of the collaboration with the DSO, participants attend the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center once a week to meet with a certified music therapist and DSO musicians. Over the course of three months, participants learn how to play a variety of instruments, choose music they would like to perform and plan for a performance where they are accompanied by DSO musicians in front of an audience.
Paul Blatt is the CEO of Gesher Human Services, and Clare Valenti is the Director of Community Engagement at the DSO. They joined CultureShift to discuss the program and the importance of finding creative ways to build a more inclusive and equitable community.
“We have examples in society of music as therapy, but music therapy specifically really is this very special field of study, using music as a tool to intervene and help patients get to a certain outcome.” — Clare Valenti, DSO Director of Community Engagement