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Series

Tom — A Sanctuary Where Children and Families Find Hope Through Music

Music saved my life as a kid. Fleeing a terminally destructive household, I found church and church music. I learned how to sing and play the piano. More important, I learned how music could fundamentally transform a human being. From that time forward, music has been my focus, my why, the core of everything I do.

Music is a portal that brings people to authenticity. It connects you to your emotions and to other people and their emotions. For people who are working through issues, music can be a powerful and safe way to start a conversation. It has been proven to be just as powerful as other types of therapy but not as intimidating. Music therapy is an evidence-based clinical therapy that can be unthreatening, accessible, connecting, and most of all fun.

I knew I had a pull to use music purposefully. And, I knew my responsibility was to use music to make a dent in this confusing world. So, I founded the nonprofit organization, A Place to Be, in 2010.  At A Place To Be, we use music therapy (and other expressive arts therapies) to help hundreds of people face, navigate, and overcome life’s challenges and disabilities, be they physical, emotional, or cognitive. Anyone— whether they are 3 years old or 90 years old—who is looking for a way forward is welcome to join us.

But kids are central to our existence—children with disabilities, those who might have tried to take their own lives, or are suffering from mental distress. The basis of our philosophy here is that every single kid needs to be listened to. We offer a retreat, a sanctuary, where teens can escape the pressures of life and find hope and validation.

Now in our 9th year, A Place to Be is having tremendous success, thanks to all our many supported and mentors. Our heart is here in Loudoun; it always will be. But, my big dream is to teach the whole world what music therapy is and what it can do. We are going to expand and create an embrace around our children & support as many families as we can in as many ways we can. The goal is to always help children and their families, to never turn anyone away for any reason.

This is all possible because we started right here locally, where people clearly understand what we are trying to accomplish. There are so many people in the county who are trying every day to do what’s right for society and the world. Won’t you join us and help us End the Need in Loudoun?