After attending the Namaste music event, I was impressed with how many people attend and look...

After attending the Namaste music event, I was impressed with how many people attend and look forward to this event every week.  A father of one of the participants told me that it would be the best part of my week and undoubtedly it was!  There is a strong sense of community there between friends, family, and support workers.  Regardless of a person’s means of communication, the smiles and laughter exchanged between the people there showed me that this is an event that ought to be well-supported. 

It is my understanding that the funds for the event are significantly lacking and it is only out of the generosity of certain individuals that the event is able to continue.  While it is greatly appreciated that the church that hosts the event offers their space free of charge, the number of attendees is constantly growing, so much so that there is barely enough room to accommodate everyone.  The Namaste music event needs to receive more funding so they can cover the costs of a larger facility, pay the band, and meet any further dues.

I think that music speaks to and on behalf of every soul.  People with disabilities are not often given the chance to be heard, but at the Namaste music event their voices are heard quite loudly!  Please listen and respond to the excitement.

Carolyn Hunt
We have three individuals that LOVE Namaste on Fridays.  Thank you for working so hard to see that...

We have three individuals that LOVE Namaste on Fridays.  Thank you for working so hard to see that this program can continue.  I will have one of my fellows who can express himself in writing. I will ask him to write to you what Namaste means to him.  We can video tape some other interviews too, if this helps. 

I guess that going to the media to have them do a piece about Namaste would require hundreds of consent forms?  Would it?  I hope that we can help in any way possible!

Sheila Barrett

Orillia House
I’d like to write in support of the invaluable program that you run out of the church every Friday...

I’d like to write in support of the invaluable program that you run out of the church every Friday morning. I send my support not only as a staff member from Garth Homer but mainly as an advocate for my cousin Shane. Every Friday Shane gets to arrive and engage with his peers, an opportunity that he may not otherwise have as he now receives day services out of his house on a one-to-one basis due to the day-program setting no longer meeting his needs. He gets to stay connected with his peers from his previous programs and for an hour and a half be a “Rock star”. Some people may dream of being a star, and only be held back by their own inhibitions. Where as Shane has no inhibitions and already sees himself as a star, but would not be able to find a place that would accept him and let him shine; this is the magic that is Namaste. Having people with disabilities have a spotlight where they feel like they are on top of the world, a place where they are equal to their idols that they hear on the radio. There is no judgment, only applause and our population would be hard-pressed to find anything that could even come close in comparison.

I wish you and your staff all the best in fighting for such a valuable program!

P.S.-I’d encourage you to listen to the young lady who plays the piano & sings before everyone arrives- She is amazing!! I could see her being captured in a “montage” video to help show Namaste’s assets. (seems like something you’d see on “Ellen”) Just a thought…

Amber Woodworth
The two clients that I bring to Namaste are very much in need of Namaste, it helps them with social...

The two clients that I bring to Namaste are very much in need of Namaste, it helps them with social development, they get to see their friends and they also are able to play musical instruments and learn new songs.  I think it would be awful of this music program was cut, and there would be an awful lot of upset people.
Jennifer Cooper 

Garth Homer Society
I work at Phoenix Human Services as a caregiver. My coworkers and I  have been taking individuals...

I work at Phoenix Human Services as a caregiver. My coworkers and I  have been taking individuals to the Namaste music program for approximately 17 years. It is the highlight of the week for our participants and for the individuals in the community. Everyone we see at Namaste is rockin' it out--dancing, singing, and socializing. Everyone has so much fun at Namaste.  It is always a joyous occasion. We have met so many friends at Namaste--life long friendships have been started as a result of our going to Namaste.

We were saddened to hear that this program is in jeopardy due to a decrease in funding. We really hope that the decision will be made to keep the program running. It would be a huge loss to our community if the Namaste music program no longer existed. 

Fiona Yaki, Joel Ridewood,Russ Griese, Rob Dunn, Sylvia Sylvey, Derek Walsh, Heather Gibson, Megh Blackburn, 

Bill Cino, Lillian McGee, Renee Laboucan, Gail Albrectson, Kirsten McVicker, Maria Helgesen

Phoenix Human Services
My name is Kim Dillon; I’m an Employment Specialist with Garth Homer Society.  I have a few clients...

My name is Kim Dillon; I’m an Employment Specialist with Garth Homer Society.  I have a few clients who have gone to the weekly Namaste music jam on Fridays, and one client in particular who attends regularly.  All of these clients love the event, and for the one client I mentioned, it is one of the most important parts of her week.  Not having this event in her schedule would be of huge detriment to her quality of life. 

Many of the people I support have limited social opportunities.  The Namaste music jam provides a fun, safe activity where they can socialize and feel connected to others.  If Namaste didn’t happen each Friday, the client I speak of would only have one other opportunity each week to see her friends.  Moreover, the event provides an venue to practice social skills in a supportive environment; something crucial to being a positive member of the community. 

Please consider continuing to fund Namaste so that the music jam can continue.  The health and well being of some of the most vulnerable members of our community depends on it!

Kim Dillon

Garth Homer Society

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