Many thanks to Chicago Catholic (our archdiocesan newspaper, which you may know by its former name of Catholic New World).
Reporter Michelle Martin and Photographer Karen Callaway reported on Harmony, Hope & Healing in the current edition. Here's part of the story, but follow the link at the bottom here over to their website to see the rest and more pictures, too!
Using music to help those coming back from strife
By Michelle Martin
About a dozen women gather at 8 a.m. on a Thursday in the sun room at Grace House, a transitional shelter for women who have been incarcerated.
They take a few minutes to pass a chime around and introduce themselves and say how they feel. Then they begin a program that includes reading, singing and breathing exercises, ending with a drum circle in which each of the women is encouraged to find her own rhythm and listen to how all beats work together to make music.
“That’s how community works,” said Tina Villapando, director of programming for Harmony, Hope and Healing. The organization is a not-for-profit that got its start 17 years ago using “the restorative power of music” to bring healing to people suffering the effects of poverty, substance abuse, violence and isolation.
Harmony, Hope and Healing, based out of Old St. Patrick’s Parish, 700 W. Adams St., works with several partner agencies at 13 sites and has a performance ensemble that includes graduates of its programs as well as volunteers.
Grace House offers its residents substance abuse training, education and job training as they prepare to live independently. Harmony, Hope and Healing’s weekly “morning meditation” has been available to residents for about four years. Participant Stacey Jackson said it’s her favorite group.
“I like music,” she said. “I’ve always liked music. I like listening to the songs.”