Having worked in the nonprofit sector my entire life, I've always known that "it takes a village."
Recently, however, I deeply felt the privilege of playing my small part in mobilizing a "village" of awareness (and funding!) for an extraordinary man and organization: Arthur Bloom, founder of MusiCorps – who uses the healing power of music to breathe new hope and life into our wounded military heroes.
Several months ago, a colleague and dear friend - knowing my love of writing AND passion for the healing power of music - approached me to write the application to nominate someone she believed deserved to be the 2014 CNN Hero of the Year.
Arthur Bloom, a Juilliard and Yale School of Music grad, one day walked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and saw once courageous war heroes, now with PTSD or without limbs, lying hopelessly in rows of beds staring at the ceiling, in limbo, awaiting their next doctor appointment, but no vision – or hope – for their future.
Arthur simply thought: “Music is needed here.” And was he ever right!
Mobilizing a village, as it turns out, is truly about understanding connections – or to continue the metaphor – knowing your neighbors. There were countless connections prior to my part in this process, however I am profoundly grateful for Sharon to make the connection between my passions for writing and the healing power of music, and to approach me to write the nomination.
What a privilege and honor, yes, but just one little piece I played in a brilliant, magical web.
For me, however, this is deeply personal...
When I was 15 years old, I lost my father to cancer, and if music (specifically the oboe) were not in my life, I'm not sure I would be here today. Music was cathartic and healing, and eventually led me on a miraculous journey to The Juilliard School, performing on Broadway and around the world, and eventually higher education, earning an M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership at USD and now Writing for Good.
When I was approached to write Arthur's nomination, I knew first hand the healing power of music, but less about our wounded veterans. What I learned shocked me, and resulted in my writing this opening statement:
Every hour, a veteran commits suicide.
Our American military “heroes” risk their lives, defending our country and freedom, only to return with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, missing limbs, and little hope for a future. The freedoms for which they so bravely fought, now seem unattainable to them. One man, however, is changing that.
Arthur Bloom is using music to heal, restore hope, and improve the quality of life for our courageous veterans during their long, lonely journeys to recovery.
In 2007, Bloom created MusiCorps, an innovative music rehabilitation program to engage wounded veterans in advanced-level music creation. From rap to heavy metal to opera, veterans are mentored by professional musicians. Rigorous, yes. But they soldier on supported by the camaraderie of mentors, the music, and each other.
Today, for those that connect to music through Bloom - healing, not suicide - is their future. For these military heroes, one man has become their hero: Arthur Bloom.
Music saved my life. My words merely attempted to connect my personal experience and passion for the healing power of music to one community citizen, Arthur Bloom, whose powerful work is changing - no, saving - the lives of veterans every single day.
As it turns out, this village of support for Arthur’s work is beginning to thrive.
Arthur Bloom/MusiCorps was indeed selected as one of CNN's Top Ten 2014 Heroes of the Year, and will receive $25,000 and invaluable media exposure on CNN.
But it doesn't stop there....
I would be incredibly grateful if you could help in any way to continue to build the village, and here’s how:
Thank you, and remember….
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead
by: Derek Floyd / Writing for Good - Advancing your mission through grants and more...