William Carey University has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation to fund university programs assisting adults with intellectual disabilities.
The grant is divided into two $10,000 gifts. One gift will benefit the “Harnessing Adults’ Full Potential through Music Therapy” program, which provides music therapy services to adults with disabilities at day rehabilitation centers. The goal of the program is to increase acquisition of skill-building and to promote activities for daily living, said Jim Pierce, an assistant professor of music therapy at Carey and the program’s director.
“Music therapy students help individuals with developmental disabilities gain social skills and independence,” said Pierce. “The funding personifies the good local communities can do when they work together.”
The second gift will go to the Quality of Life Project, which pairs intellectually-disabled adults with Carey students for recreational and educational activities. Activities include trips to local concerts and movies and one out-of-town trip per year to sights such as Graceland Mansion in Memphis or the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans. The project is now in its fifth year and allows for new experiences for both client and student, said Dr. Paul Cotten, project director.
“Not only do our students become better prepared to work with individuals with disabilities, but they also become aware of the special nature of their clients,” said Cotten. “An interdependent relationship is developed thanks to the opportunities provided by the funding.”
The gifts are awarded from the foundation’s Ann Morris Memorial Fund, which assists area nonprofit organizations with missions of enriching the quality of life for adults with intellectual disabilities. The foundation, established in 1997, seeks to strengthen the local community by connecting charitably-minded people to causes that matter most to them.