Page 40 - BusinessWest December 12, 2022
P. 40

motivation to Continued from page 38 get the kids to show up. And
showing up is all we need sometimes.”
Music, Mental Health, and Extra Needs
According to the National Alliance on Men-
tal Illness (NAMI), bringing out emotions and thoughts through methods of verbal and non-ver- bal expression and exploration — such as dance
“Our enrollment did take a little dip, and it gave us time to think so we can try to be as equitable and inclusive and accessible as possible to our community.”
and body movement, music, art, and expressive writing — may deactivate the avoidance mecha- nism and enable the elaboration of emotions and distress. CMSS has created programs to offer just that to its students, including representa- tion in correctional facilities and special-needs classrooms.
The Adaptive Music Program (AMP) con- nects music education and special education to improve students’ lives, impacting their social/ emotional, academic, and artistic development.
More than 20% of the student population in
Springfield is identified as having dis- abilities that impact their learning. Music is a proven and effective tool to unlock learning potential in students with dis- abilities, yet the majority of these stu- dents have historically not had access to music instruction adapted to their needs. AMP partners with 14 public schools
and education centers throughout the Pioneer Valley, providing adaptive music classes for youth in preschool through high school in their typical classroom set- ting during the school day.
Another program CMSS offers is the Culture RX program, funded through the Mass Cultural Council, to link partner- ships between a cultural organization, like CMSS, and a health clinic or other partner in the Springfield community. Baystate Health and Behavioral Health Network (BHN) have partnered with the school and have prescribed their clients ‘social-healing sessions’ that steer away from, or at least complement, the tradi- tional model of prescribing medication.
“It’s primarily focused on giving the
patient an opportunity to be prescribed some- thing that gives them hope and healing, energy, social activity, togetherness — bringing them out of their homes from isolation into really stepping forward into places where they can connect with people on a very human level to do something fun,” Ford explained.
Meanwhile, the school’s Trust Transfer Project mobilizes youth, artists, faith leaders, educators, health professionals, and other community influ- encers to create works of artistic messaging that
The Prelude Preschool offers music and arts throughout the day as well as the regular school routine.
lead to improved public-health outcomes. This project leverages Springfield’s cultural assets to increase access to evidence-based public-health information (particularly around COVID-19 and vaccines), promote positive health choices, and foster hope and healing.
      Ford told Busi- nessWest that the pandemic has made
Continued on page 42
   40 DECEMBER 12, 2022

   38   39   40   41   42