Working with Hospice
I feel a special calling to play for people with life-challenging illnesses, as well as those grieving the loss of dear ones. People tell my music is helpful, soothing and healing to them in many ways, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to help others. I have had many profound experiences playing for people in hospices, hospitals and homes, at funerals and memorial services, and similar situations, and I am always interested in creating more opportunities to do so in the future. If you have need of my services in this area, or are interested in funding my hospice-related work, please contact me.
December 2004: Working with Hospice of Gold Coast, I have just received my third grant in support of my program providing music for hospice patients, visitors and staff at North Broward Medical Center in Pompano Beach, Florida! I am proud and grateful to report that the Endowment Fund at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Oakland Park, Florida, has renewed our funding for another year!
Over the last year and a half, I've had the privilege of playing for over a thousand hospice patients, family and visitors, and members of the wonderful hospice staff at North Broward Medical Center. This has included patients of Hospice of Gold Coast, Vitas Hospice, Hospice by the Sea, and Hospice of Southeast Florida. I've also participated musically in a hospice wing Open House for the entire hospital, a fundraiser for the Hospice Adopt-A-Room program, staff holiday and birthday parties, and other hospice activities.
During this time I've also collected CDs donated by numerous sources for a music library for the hospice patients. CDs have been donated by The CD Collector, Jazziz Magazine, Borders Books and Music, and many musicians and other supportive folks.
I have also gratefully received generous financial support from private individuals who wish to remain anonymous. Thanks - you know who you are!
This year Hospice of Gold Coast has also called upon me to participate in training new hospice volunteers, and to play at their annual memorial service in October 2004. This is the tenth year I have played at this wonderful memorial event!
December 2003: Working with Hospice of Gold Coast, I have just received my second grant in support of my program providing music for hospice patients, visitors and staff at North Broward Medical Center in Pompano Beach, Florida! This grant is from the Endowment Fund at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Oakland Park, Florida, a wonderful spiritual community I've been honored to play for on many sacred occasions over the years.
I've been visiting the hospice wing at North Broward Medical Center weekly since July 2003, as well as playing at the opening of the Kelly Welsh Hospice Family Room there in June 2003, and have had the opportunity to play for many wonderful people during each musical visit. The nurses on the wing have been extremely helpful and supportive in facilitating my music program, and it's been great to become part of the team! The feedback and evaluations I'm receiving from everyone involved are very positive, and I'm documenting my work there for future studies and grant applications.
I was even invited to come play during the recent JCAHO review at NBMC, a survey conducted every three years which is one of the most important evaluations hospitals and hospices receive. And I'm happy to report that the hospital received a very good report! The administration at NBMC has expressed interest in increasing the music and arts available throughout the hospital, and we're meeting to accomplish that goal together.
It has been my dream for some years now to create a program through which I could play for hospice patients on a regular basis, and I am thrilled that I have been able to do so, with a lot of support from Jackie Matuseski, Bereavement Coordinator at Hospice of Gold Coast, and all the folks there. This program is one of the lights of my life, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve many more people through my work there.
April 2003: I just received a Visiting Artist Grant from VSA arts of Florida to play music for hospice patients at Hospice of Gold Coast! I'm very honored to receive this support from VSA, and so excited about the opportunity to do more music for hospice. It was very fitting that I received notice of this award on April 16, my mother's birthday. Her passing when I was 16 is one of the things which most set me on the path to do hospice work. Among other reasons, I do this work to honor her memory, and to stay connected with her beautiful, giving spirit.
VSA arts of Florida is an organization that promotes arts, education, and creative expression, involving children and adults with disabilities, thereby strengthening the human spirit and improving quality of life for all. They've created a wonderful guide to Florida Arts in Healthcare called Piece by Piece. For more info on VSA, visit their website or call 888/844-ARTS (voice/TTY).
Based in Pompano Beach, Hospice of Gold Coast is a non-profit organization providing care, resources and support for death with dignity for the terminally ill and their families. I have played at their annual memorial service every year since 1995, at hospice staff and volunteer gatherings, presented joint music and information events with staff members, and played for numerous fundraising events. I have donated a percentage of my tape sales to Hospice of Gold Coast, and also donate numerous copies of my tapes and CDs to people facing difficult health challenges and the organizations that work with them. I've completed training for Volunteer Certification for this wonderful non-profit organization that helps so many people, and now help train new volunteers. I've also collaborated with Hospice of Gold Coast on several grant applications, all of which have received funding. I'm currently working with the Administration at Gold Coast to expand and develop my hospice music program.
I've made home and hospital visits to patients in conjunction with HospiceCare of Southeast Florida, as well as completing training for Volunteer Certification for this wonderful Fort Lauderdale-based non-profit organization. I have also played at volunteer and staff gatherings and fundraising events to support their important work, providing quality hospice care for residents of Broward and Dade Counties diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, and supportive care to their families and significant others regardless of their ability to pay.
Other Charity Work
I have performed at benefits for countless non-profit and
community service organizations.
These are some of the many I have worked with:
Broward House (who gave me a Volunteer Service Award), Gilda's Club, Habitat for Humanity, WLRN, WXEL, Florida Philharmonic, Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Hospice Hundred, Think Life, Broward Womens Lawyers Association, Joe DiMaggio Childrens' Hospital, PACE Center for Girls, Planned Parenthood, Center One, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, Women in Distress, Women In Network, Voice for Choice, CHARLEE, Public School Music programs, Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Covenant House, Peace Place, Broward Mental Health Association, Peace South Florida, JAM (Jews and Muslims and All), Daily Bread Food Bank, National Kidney Foundation, Catholic Hospice of Miami, VITAS Hospice and many, many more.
I used to love National Public Radio and help out regularly on and off air with their pledge drives. However, I have not been thrilled with their extensive abandonment of music programming or their inability to provide a truly independent news source in recent years. Nevertheless, I highly value some of their programming like This American Life and Michael Stock's Folk and Acoustic Music Show, so I'm trying to figure out a way to support the good things on NPR without endorsing the things I find problematic.