We are 2 moms of adults with autism and related disabilities who in March 2018 launched a private GoFundMe campaign to create a handbell choir to improve the life skills of individuals like our family members by playing music together. We had barely time to celebrate our ringers' progress (increased attention spans) and donations that allowed us to reach Year 2, when the pandemic shut down in-person classes in Jupiter Florida.
That month, Exceptional Ensembell became a nonprofit, and this May over a dozen ringers signed up for virtual classes using their own bells which we bought and safely delivered. And from May to October 2020 we've seen tremendous increases in interaction among ringers and with the instructor, plus a new Level 2 music skills class builds on bell-playing to teach songwriting, reading music, and different musical styles. Yet it's worth "noting" that individuals of all ability levels and various special needs (autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome) all enjoy the music.
So this GoFundMe Charity campaign is a lemonade stand that resulted when life handed us lemons! Our goals in Year 3 are to sustain the program, to showcase ringers' talents through virtual performances at holiday times, and to provide scholarships so all interested families can afford to participate.
If you are a past donor, we'd very much appreciate your continued support and hope you and new friends of our choir will consider making tax-deductible donations. You can learn more about our adventures, including seeing videos of songs, by visiting www.exceptionalensembell.org and our Facebook page.