While many know us best for our Ensemble and performances, we offer music programs for people recovering from homelessness, addictions, violence or other trauma in partnership with 10 agencies at 14 program sites--including recovery homes, shelters, day-treatment centers and Cook County Jail Women’s Division. Here are some highlights from fall programs at our three newest sites.
Program participants have been discussing gratefulness and generosity since the start of our current session in October.
Using our repertoire of positive songs, drumming activities, readings from Iyanla Vanzant videos from a new favorite, Prince Ea, group discussion and journaling, participants of all ages have been exploring the place that gratitude holds within their personal healing journey. Here are a few quotes and memorable moments from the session:
“I've been locked up for some time and this is the best program I have ever experienced,” a participant at Cook County Jail Women’s Division told us.
Staff at the Jail felt the same: “I've never seen the women respond so well to a program,” a staff member said. “Keep coming back!” We were able to increase our visits to the jail from every other week to weekly, thanks to generous support from an individual donor.
At Above & Beyond, one participant reflected on the song World's Greatest by R. Kelly: "That song really spoke to me, especially the line about being the lion in the jungle and being the little bit of hope when my back's against the rope. I've gotta move forward for myself and family."
As an outpatient treatment center, Above & Beyond, unlike many of our partners, serves men and women who ‘drop in’ during the day for classes and programs. We offer programming there every Tuesday. Some participants are regulars, while others come when they need the program.
As one noted: "Every time I'm in distress, I come to Harmony, Hope & Healing, and I always feel better when I leave." Another said about drumming--a regular feature of the class: "For a minute there, we just got out of ourselves and into everyone else... We were the circle."
Our other new site since January is Primo Center for Women and Children. One morning after a particularly long night, a participant told us: "We are really going to need the Peace Prayer today,” as she began singing and doing the moves to the song with her child. After another recent class, a child participant who had been mopey and withdrawn for the beginning half of the class, told us, "I'm alright. Somebody said something mean to me, but it's OK, because the music made me happier!"
A few other comments:
"I love HHH because it makes the uncomfortable a little more comfortable." St. Martin De Porres House of Hope
"Harmony, Hope & Healing and the Ignatian Spirituality Project have played such a big part in my recovery process and have helped me build a new way of living." Grace House of St. Leonard’s Ministries
"The drumming was so powerful. We were all able to see how such different people can come together to share an experience--to share life with each other!" Ignatian Spirituality Project Day of Reflection