SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – When Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller was asked to judge Music Compound's Sarasota's Got Talent competition earlier this year, she had no idea the event would offer an opportunity to forge a new partnership. But then she met Jennifer Msumba, an adult singer-songwriter with autism.
Msumba is an aspiring musician who has her own YouTube channel and a blog, called "Hey look it's The Piano Girl." A combination of autism and obsessive compulsive disorder has created barriers to independent living for her; she currently lives in a community living facility in Wauchula, where she is learning the skills needed to transition to adult independent living. Msumba says that music has helped to increase her attention span, learn and retain information, and communicate better with others.
Miller was so impressed by Msumba that she has connected the young woman to interview and performance opportunities on WWSB ABC 7's variety show "Suncoast View" and Goodwill's radio show, "Tell Me Something Good." She also began discussions with Jenny Townsend, the CEO of Music Compound, about how the two organizations could work together, understanding that the therapeutic benefits of music could help individuals with disabilities to live independently, secure and retain employment, and achieve self-sufficiency.
"The American Music Therapy Association has compiled a comprehensive list of various studies that clearly show the benefits of music in helping people with autism to reach their full potential," said Miller. "Goodwill is a leader in hiring people with disabilities - including autism - as well as other barriers to employment. We feel this partnership will offer a unique opportunity for our team members to benefit from the therapeutic effects of music, just as Jennifer has."
Through the partnership, Goodwill will provide information and access to scholarships for Music Compound programs for its employees – thanks to a generous donor; Music Compound will share information about Goodwill's Job Connection free employment service to its members.
The Music Compound provides an environment to inspire, collaborate and educate children and adults in pursuit of their love of music. Members of the Music Compound have access to a wide array of learning opportunities intended to not only build music skills but also enhance confidence, communication, and social interaction abilities. Learning opportunities include one-on-one instrument lessons, group instrument lessons, music education, workshops, open forums to encourage music interactions, and performance and recital opportunities.
"Our goal is to transform dreams into reality by providing a contemporary and influential environment for all ages," said Townsend. "I can vouch for the social, emotional and therapeutic benefits of music for individuals of all abilities and skill levels. I am thrilled to work with Goodwill to share the joy and benefits of music with its employees."
For more information about Goodwill’s programs and services, call (941) 355-2721 or go to experiencegoodwill.org.
PHOTO ID: (From l-r) Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller, singer-songwriter Jennifer Msumba, and Music Compound CEO Jenny Townsend
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.
About Music Compound
The Music Compound was founded in 2016 with a mission to provide an environment to inspire, collaborate and educate children and adults in pursuit of their love of music. Through workshops, private and group lessons, studio rentals, concerts and open mic nights, the Music Compound offers members access to a wide array of learning opportunities to build music skills, enhance confidence and communication. The goal of Music Compound is to transform dreams into reality by providing a contemporary and influential environment for all ages. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 941.379.9100 or visit www.MusicCompound.com.