Today the staff shared with me that there is a possibility that the music program will not be able to continue. I can’t tell you how unfortunate that would be for the community but I am sure you are already aware of that. Some of my fondest memories of supporting the participants of our programs occurred while at Namaste Music.
Let me know if there is any way we at the Phoenix Day Programs can help keep this alive!
Here is a portion of my Journal I had to write. I hope it helps with getting what you need and thank you for letting me participate in the music program as well at your Day Program I had a wonderful time. Looking forward to working with you in the future.
While attending the Namaste Music Program I was in awe with the environment and how it radiated inclusion. The amount of satisfaction that these individuals gained from attending was very clear by all the laughter, giggles and dancing that was going on. The event itself is designed to include everyone no matter who you are. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet many amazing individuals by participating at this event. The level of participation varies depending from each individual. There is lots of room cleared for people who transportation methods of a wheelchair. I felt this instant feeling of inclusion by seeing the greeting with individuals coming in and wanting to shake each other’s hands. The people that attend this event are very exceptional people. They all have this open hearted way of including everyone around them and making it a wonderful and fun experience every time. The stage accompanies the band and many other individuals who pack it to its full capacity. All of the people attending have the choice to participate in a way that works for them. By either singing, playing percussion, standing up along side the band, and some may accompany the band with microphones on stage and dancing their hearts out. There are many different levels of communication used at this event. Depending on the individuals needs augmentative/alternative communication strategies are used and are very common. I noticed that many of the individuals used Sign Language as a way of communicating and well as individual ways of saying yes and no, when asked questions. The workers that attend have a wonderful time socializing with all the participants and other people attending. It is a very social event with lots of laughter and feel-good times. I believe that when music is surrounding people it brings out that feeling of happiness and movement. Even for those individuals who use a wheelchair, they can move and shake themselves to the music, having a great time.
The individual I support has attended the music program for over 10 years. It is a very important part of her week. She values the social interaction and the fact that it is an event that she can attend independently as it is a safe environment where she is accepted and valued.
It will be very sad for her if this activity comes to an end. She will no longer have a community based activity to attend on Fridays if the funding is lost.
I am a Community Support Worker with Community Living Victoria. I currently have the privilege of supporting two women who are always enthusiastic to attend and participate in Namaste Friday Music. In looking back in our day program records we have discovered that both A. and M. have attended EVERY Friday on a regular basis (barring sickness, or other exceptional event) since Namaste Friday Music first started. Over those decades Namaste Fri. Music has been a very real opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet many new friends. It is by far the most inclusive and participatory music event in town! Some people who attend get right up on stage, or in front of the stage, and use the guest microphone, to sing the song of their choice, with the band of professional and renowned musicians and singers accompanying them. And if by chance the band does not know the song, usually by the next week they will, and remember to call the guest singer back up so they can do their song. Not everyone goes up on stage, lots of other people sit, stand, walk or roll around during the music session. And they get to join in as well if they wish. There is a grab box of percussion instruments put out each Fri. to share, and some people, like M. and A., bring their own instruments to use, that fit their specific needs, so that the audience is actually part of the band. Friday music is a very popular place, and in true rock n' roll spirit is a loud and happy place. It is wonderful, as a support worker, to see people that have had issues with crowds and noise, totally at ease in the midst of Namaste Fri. Music - it is truly a transformative place. It is a place that requires cooperation to work, to take turns on stage, to share and return the instruments borrowed, to share the space and allow those that like to tour around a path through the crowd, to take into account the special mobility needs some people have and somehow in a wondrous way, it all works for everyone there.
During the years those of us that have attended have heard announcements of many, many birthdays, with the accompanying 'Happy birthday song,' along with announcements of new jobs, graduations, engagements, births, illness and people's passing. Namaste Friday music is truly part of the greater community and is a huge part of people's lives. For those attending it is the highlight of the week and a wonderful way to end the week on a high note.
I would be remiss to not mention, I as a support staff, through all of the various positions I have held at Community Living Victoria, since I was hired back in the early 90s, I have always been thrilled when, as part of my job, I was able to attend Namaste Friday music. It has allowed me to continue relationships with people I no longer support, but each Friday I am able to reconnect and it has meant a lot to me. As well, having such an inclusive event has meant some of the people I have supported in the past have been able to maintain relationships with people (other peers and support staff) that would have been lost.
While originally intended for people who moved out of Glendale institution into homes throughout Greater Victoria, to have the opportunity to reconnect, it has morphed into an event that encompasses many more people, including those young enough to still be in high school, to those entering their retirement years.
Both A and M are very willing to spend a portion of their day program budget on Namaste Friday music. Years ago it was a suggested donation of $1, but times have changed and prices have gone up, but even at the suggested $2 both A. and M. consider it the best deal in town and would be a huge hole that could not be filled if they were not able to go.
I am a community support worker in Victoria. I have worked for Community Living Victoria since 1988. I have also worked at Glendale Institution fulltime for 8 months. I was happy to hear that one of my Glendale co-workers had taken on the task of creating a PEERS venue that would keep the people that lived at Glendale in touch. That was particularly important to their families. As the community became more inclusive PEERS morphed into Friday Namaste Music.
Namaste hosts a music program that has the Victoria Arts and Music Community merging with the adults and high school aged children for a fully inclusive experience with the audience becoming performers. We have famous Victoria Band members jamming and playing requests and back up for the people both on and off the stage. Totally accessible.
The last day of the week can be such a transition for our folks as they head into their weekend. We see family members come and watch the show. I see everyone checking in with each other and making plans for the next week. You see people hugging, laughing and performing.
Since the suggested donation is $2.00 this allows for many people to attend that normally could not. Victoria wide support workers are looking for ideas that fit the budget and ability level of our clients. It is awesome to see the skill level and friendship expectations being met in such an inclusive environment.
If there is a way to change the structure of payment so it fits the policy of your infrastructure we would happily comply so a large number of the Victoria population, even some not physically in attendance, can continue to benefit in such a positve way.
In doing so we will come full circle. NAMASTE needs to be rescued to continue the dream of a venue where our past history of Community Inclusion comes to fruition. Namaste - where the light in me recognises the light in you. In music, In Friendship, in sharing the responsibilty of an inclusive community, I urge you to hold fast with us.
I am writing this of behalf of my client who has been attending namaste for 4 years now. My client looks forward to attending Namaste every week. Namaste gives my client something to look forward to all week long it is great motivation for him, I feel it would be a great loss to him if he was unable to assess this service in the future.