The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation has awarded William Carey University $20,000 to benefit programs that assist adults with intellectual disabilities.
The $20,000 grant is divided into two $10,000 grants. One of the grants is for “Harnessing Adults’ Full Potential Through Music Therapy,” which provides music therapy services to adults with intellectual disabilities at day rehabilitation centers. The goal of the program is to increase acquisition of skill building and to promote activities for daily living.
Music therapy students work closely with Nicole Ribet, a music therapist with Ribet Rhythms Music Therapy Services and a 2013 graduate of WCU, to help individuals with development disabilities gain social skills and independence, said Jim Pierce, assistant professor of music therapy at WCU.
“Students can work with clients and interact with them, providing benefits to both parties,” said Pierce. “These grants personify the good local communities can do when they work together.”
The second $10,000 grant will go to the WCU Quality of Life Project, which pairs students with adults with intellectual disabilities for recreational and educational projects. The project, now in its fourth year, allows for new experiences for both the client and the student, said Dr. Paul Cotten, project director.
Pennie Young, a case manager with Ellisville State School who has worked closely with Cotten on the project, said the grants make a world of difference in the lives of clients. Clients and students together attend multiple outings each year, including to Carey Dinner Theatre, local concerts and movies, among other activities. The group also takes an out-of-town trip once a year, such as to Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis or to the aquarium in New Orleans.
“Because of the efforts of the Foundation and of William Carey University, we can go on trips that do enhance the quality of life of those we work with,” said Young.
The grants are awarded from the Ann Morris Memorial Fund, which was set up to enrich the quality of life of intellectually challenged adults. The Foundation exists to strengthen communities by connecting charitably minded people to causes that matter the most to them.