70 Guests Gather to Support My Second Home Music Program

70 Guests Attend Party at Salon D to Help My Second Home Continue Its Music Therapy Program

02/21/2013

Mount Kisco–Where there’s a will, there’s a way or so it seemed at Salon D recently, when 70 guests paid $25 each to raise $5,000 to help My Second Home, an award-winning intergenerational adult day program, continue its successful Music Therapy initiative. Dawn DiDomenico converted her beauty salon into a fashionable party site by reconfiguring the reception desk on wheels into a bar and turning the washing sinks into ice containers. Fleurish provided the flowers, PepsiCo the water and O’Shaughnessy the wine. The rock band “Bad Habits” performed for the crowd.

“It was heart-warming to see people eager to help us continue our music therapy program and  donate items to ensure that our party was a success,” says Christy Ruvituso, Marketing Coordinator for My Second Home and Coordinator of an innovative new program called Evening Edition, which is designed for adults eager to enhance their cognitive functioning. Last year, Connie Tomaino, Executive Director/CoFounder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, provided My Second Home with an $8,000 grant to offer music therapy. Since March, board-certified music therapist Mary Schleissmann has been visiting My Second Home once a week to work with the participants.

“More than 25 of our regular participants line up in the hall waiting for Mary to begin,” explains Ruvituso, who spearheaded the fundraising get-together. “They love the music so much.”  For one participant who has aphasia, which is characterized by the inability to retrieve words, trouble speaking and a flat affect, the program has been a true Godsend. When this man hears “When the Saints Go Marching On,” he is able to sing the entire song and even dance with the therapist. “He finds a sense of self through the music program,” explains Rina Bellamy, Director of My Second Home. Music therapy, adds Bellamy, provides both physical and cognitive benefits. “You have to help people who are experiencing mental and physical challenges from aging through art or music therapy,” says Bellamy. “You can’t just rely on medication, which may make them sleepy and groggy.”

Established by Family Services of Westchester in 1998, My Second Home provides older adults the chance to interact several times a day with children in the adjacent Mount Kisco Child Care Center. The different generations get together to sing, garden, do arts and crafts, dance and practice yoga. To enroll a family member in My Second Home’s innovative intergenerational program, contact Rina Bellamy at rbellamy@fsw.org.

Sine 1954, Family Services of Westchester has been providing mental health and social service programs to Westchester residents. Today, FSW offers more than 50 programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults, and families each year through seven family centers spread throughout the county. To learn more about Family Services of Westchester, check out the organization’s website at www.fsw.org.