Abilities First Receives ACM Lifting Lives® Grant to Benefit Music Therapy Program

WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. – November 1, 2022 – Abilities First is pleased to announce it was awarded an $8,500 grant from ACM Lifting Lives®, the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music dedicated to improving lives through the power of music. 

The grant will fund the purchase of percussion, rhythm, and adaptive musical instruments for the innovative musical therapy program, led by Noah Pomerselig, at the Abilities First School at LaGrange (Firemens Way).

Pomerselig, a graduate of SUNY New Paltz, is a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) who has a strong background in working with medically frail children, and in the fields of community mental health and hospice care.

“Abilities First is grateful to Academy of Country Music’s ACM Lifting Lives® for its commitment to health related initiatives,” said Abilities First President & CEO Jeffery Fox, Ph.D. “Noah is passionate about the positive impacts of music therapy, and this grant will help bring out a side of his students that often goes unseen.”

The music therapy program at the Abilities First School helps students achieve non-musical goals through the use of intentionally designed music experiences, which include drumming, singing, songwriting, therapeutic improvisation, and musical storytelling. Both the group sessions and individual sessions help students build skills and find new ways to communicate, learn, and play through music.

This grant will vastly increase the range of musical instruments available to all the students in the Firemens Way program, including drums that can be played with the smallest of movements and a piano that is controlled with just eye movements.

“Music helps these students grow in new and unexpected ways by encouraging them to be more self-expressive and creating a space for social interaction,” said Pomerselig. “For our non-verbal kids, to have a voice through a piano, guitar, or drum is incredibly important.”

About Abilities First: Founded in 1962, Abilities First is a nonprofit organization serving the needs of those with developmental disabilities from preschool through adulthood. With more than 600 dedicated employees committed to providing educational, vocational, residential, habilitation, and family support services, Abilities First gives individuals with disabilities and their families the support to attain independence, self-determination, integration, and acceptance by others. In serving over 1,400 children and adults throughout the Hudson Valley region of New York State, Abilities First holds a long-term commitment to creating a cohesive culture of compassion, empowerment, and respect for these individuals through education, exploration, and experience. For more information, visit www.AbilitiesFirstNY.org or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AbilitiesFirstInc.