Wishes and dreams came true for several people supported by The Arc of Delaware County as a result of a generous recreational grant of $10,000 from the Trustees of the NYSARC Trusts. When staff learned of this wonderful opportunity, ideas flowed forth as to how best to use this funding for those they support who might not otherwise be able to afford an experience that would greatly enrich their lives.
Annette Plath, Administrative Assistant at the Residential Office shared that when she heard about the NYSARC Recreation Grant opportunity, the idea of Shannon Robinson going to opera came immediately to mind.
Shannon has long harbored a love of the sweeping music of opera which was kindled by a chance connection in the Residential Office of The Arc of Delaware County. Several years ago, Annette was playing a favorite opera in her office when Shannon came in to deliver some mail to her. She immediately recognized a kindred “opera” spirit when she saw him become transfixed upon hearing the music and invited him to sit down and listen. Since then, Annette shared that Shannon has come in to her office many times, requesting to hear more opera music. “He is transported by it” shared Annette. She described how Shannon would relax into an office chair, put his head back and shut his eyes letting the music wash over him, occasionally uttering, “beautiful”. She noted “He particularly likes duets and arias, from Puccini including “Madam Butterfly, La Boh`eme, and Tosca.”
In August, Riann Warren, a staff member and Shannon attended “Madame Butterfly” at the Glimmerglass Opera. “I don’t think it hit him, what we were about to see until we arrived at our balcony seats”said Riann. “Then his face just lit up!” During the performance he became very calm and quiet as he took in every aspect of the performance. And during intermission Shannon talked about how the man and women were in love. “Can we come again next year?” he asked on the way home.
When asked about why he likes opera music in particular, Shannon shared that the music made him feel “peaceful”. When he feels upset or anxious he asks for opera music to be played. “It makes me feel calm.” “I thoroughly enjoy listening to music with him, it touches me,” said Annette.
In addition, remainder fund grants totally $1,660,500 were awarded to support NYSARC guardianship programs statewide. A total of $2,207,880 in remainder grants were awarded in 2014 to support recreation and guardianship statewide. NYSARC Trust Services administers supplemental needs trusts that enable people with disabilities to remain in their home and community while retaining Medicaid services and other government benefits. Information is available on how NYSARC Trust Services may benefit you: our website www.nysarctrustservices.org , phone 1-518-439-8323, toll free phone 1-800-735-8924 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org