Our objective is to ensure a fun and life-enriching experience for each participant.
The following practices outline our approach:
Our class instructors are professionals in their fields who have a deep interest in and compassion for people with developmental disabilities.
All of our programs and events are inclusive. Members of the general population are encouraged to take our programs, volunteer, and attend our events. We believe in the importance and positive impact of including and valuing people with developmental disabilities in our communities.
We have small class sizes to make sure that each student receives maximum individual attention.
Our instructors work closely with family members and agency staff to customize teaching approaches and best meet the needs of each student.
Here are the general classes we teach along with links to the cities where they’re currently being offered:
Students learn a specific process of acrylic painting as they work on the same piece over the course of 6 weeks, from a blank canvas to completion. They also participate in collaborative paintings during the class cycle, too. Along the way, instructors will introduce aspects of color theory, perspective, and various approaches to paint application, always mindful of each student’s capabilities.
At the end of the course, the paintings will be presented in a group show for friends and family.
Students receive vocal training, learn about song performance techniques, and then choose and rehearse both a solo song and a group song. They also visit an authentic recording studio, where they work with a professional singer who helps them record the group song.
At the end of the workshop, the singers participate in a live showcase where they perform their individual and group songs for the public.
Students learn how to write and perform an original song. They are taught the basics of songwriting and spend time co-writing with a professional songwriter, then record a demo of their original song in a professional studio.
At the end of the six weeks, students are given the opportunity to perform their songs for the public at a showcase event. Every student also receives a recording of their song on CD.
Students learn the fundamentals of point and shoot photography as they are taught how to see the world around them in a new way. The first class (instruction and orientation) is held in the studio. After that, students meet at a variety of scenic locations in the area where they can explore and take photos. The final class is held in the studio again, where the instructor reviews the photos with the students and helps them each select a final photograph to be printed, framed, and included in a group show.
Working as a comedy troupe, students learn the techniques of acting, improvisation, teamwork and comedic timing, as well as how to write, film, and perform in an original comedic sketch in the spirit of “Saturday Night Live” (but family-friendly).
At the end of the six weeks, the final edited scene is premiered to the public at a showcase event. Each student also receives an edited version of the show on DVD.
Students work with experienced musicians as they learn how to improvise musically in a group performance environment.
In the Music Collective workshop (Buffalo), students explore different instruments to discover their strengths and interests, then work together to improvise and create musical pieces. During the final class, they have an open rehearsal/performance for family and friends.
In the Jam Band workshop (Nashville), students form an ensemble using a variety of instruments, then learn to freely express themselves through guided improvisations, drum circles, musical games, and other techniques designed to encourage spontaneous composition. At the end of the workshop students will perform at a showcase event.
Instruments are provided for both classes, but students are welcome to bring their own instruments.
Students learn basic yoga asanas (poses) and breath work techniques designed to help them develop flexibility, strength, and balance. Each class is customized to address the needs of the students, and modified poses (e.g., chair yoga) are also taught for those who require alternatives.
Yoga mats and supplies are provided, but students are welcome to bring their own mat if they prefer. Students may come in their regular clothes or wear clothing that has room to stretch.