Creativity and service a celebration

“Moving Life Forward through Engagement, Employment and Hidden Voices at the 1st Annual Sound Community Services Awards Gala”

Gino DeMaio kicked the evening off to celebrate the achievements of individuals in the Employment Services Program and healing arts therapy groups with the question “How do you define engagement?”The 1st Annual Awards Gala was held Friday, November 18th, courtesy of La Luna Ristorante located at the Holiday Inn in New London. The formal dinner was sponsored by many local agencies with support from several community partners, volunteers and donors. Sound Community Services is taking recovery a step further with engagement through employment services and therapeutic arts. The overwhelming success of the programs called for a celebration of the accomplishments by participants and collaborating partners throughout the region.

Getting Ready

The Employment Services Program shared videos that portray the challenges of finding, obtaining, and keeping a job by people in recovery. They show how the stigma commonly attached to addiction and mental illness weakens confidence and fosters unease. With undivided attention from the crowd, peers shared words of encouragement for others to find strength. The hope and joy found in overcoming these obstacles is a valuable step for many and an accomplishment of its own. The Employment Services Program is run by Program Coordinator Joanne Richards and her team of Employment Specialists. Their aim is to facilitate growth, independence and financial stability.

The healing arts expression awards followed in celebration of the courage and honor behind the submissions. All the work is published in “The Hidden Voices of Sound 2” created by Rachael Mullen. She is a licensed therapist who specializes in providing clinical therapy for those afflicted by substance abuse and mental health conditions. The collection of inspirational, sorrowful, and eye opening masterpieces is spectacular and, more importantly, the people behind them are Extraordinary. While the artists shared their journey through recovery I could feel the intentional energetic presence of the audience which was followed by tears of vulnerability, acceptance, empathy, and compassion.

Rachael concluded, “The purpose and value behind this publication is driven by the enlightening experiences I’ve encountered throughout my career. Once I removed the stigma that veiled my eyes I realized that, by allowing myself to be vulnerable, I was able to finally hear the hidden voices. I strongly believe society must enable individuals suffering from trauma, addiction, and mental illness to open their hidden wounds to truly begin the healing process. Additionally, I’ve found that these individuals have Extraordinary powers deep within themselves. Having a platform for expression allows them to regain control, purpose, and valuable self worth in their lives. In turn, engagement, empathy, and compassion uplift our society as a whole.”

Sound Community Services will continue to create engagement and further outreach of recovery. All of the proceeds from the book will be used to provide therapeutic art lessons within the community. To give the gift of hope and provide others access to the healing arts expressions please visit the soundcommunityservices.org/support and purchase your copy of the book. Your small tokens of engagement will Move Life Forward this holiday season.

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