Posted by: Kallie Sulanke on Jan/23/2017


When Hillcroft Services, Inc. introduced its music therapy program in 2014, three clients signed up for the opportunity to participate. One year later that number had swelled to 60, with further expansion anticipated.

Anna Wamhoff, neurologic music therapist at Hillcroft, attributed the program’s growth to its obvious benefits and measurable results. However, success brought challenges. Hillcroft serves clients whose ages range from 5 to 75 and whose diagnoses include—but are not limited to—autism, dementia, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Used musical instruments, generously donated by community members, do not always accommodate the unique needs of individuals with certain disabilities.

“A client who has limited range of motion in the upper body requires very different adaptive instruments and equipment than a client with fewer motor control issues,” explained Wamhoff in her grant proposal. A $20,682 Community Foundation Quarterly Competitive Grant enabled the Hillcroft staff to purchase items specifically created for use in therapeutic settings.

With the addition of the new equipment, the therapy services department has been able to better meet client needs. A young person with autism uses the bass bars for a sensory-based experience; an elderly client can sustain skills and reminisce when playing the autoharp. And the experiences extend outside of a therapy room, as well.

Music therapists worked with the therapy department to plan a concert at Muncie Civic Theatre to celebrate disability awareness month to showcase the new instruments and client abilities. The concert led to additional donations. Chimes, blocks, pianos, guitars, a drum set, and audio equipment helped improve the quality of life for individuals served. Instruments and equipment continue to be used and enjoyed by all.

Quarterly Competitive Grants are funded through unrestricted and field of interest endowment funds at The Community Foundation. Applications are accepted from nonprofit organizations. Proposals are reviewed by a committee of volunteers and selected in a competitive process. Learn more about Quarterly Competitive Grants or how you can contribute.

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