Central Virginia men dealing with substance abuse and mental health disorders are marching to a different drummer to overcome their personal challenges. They're taking part in one of 10 pilot programs funded by the community's generosity.
Region Ten is awarding $52,000 to pilot programs from yoga to catering and African drumming.
William "Whit" Whitten leads the weekly drum instruction at Region Ten's Dual Recovery Center. Men at the center are recovering from mental health and substance abuse disorders.
"We listen to one another and we learn from one another," Whitten said. "These men love it. I hope they love it as much as I do."
Drumming is one of 10 programs funded this year by Power of Ten grants.
"They would not be able to be done," said Region Ten Board Chair Susan Fletcher. "A lot of these things are not included in what is reimbursable with regular funding streams."
Each grant promotes treatment through experiences. Fletcher said, "It is a stimulus for them (staff) to come up with innovative programs."
Lorenzo Gray discovered the drumming class as part of his treatment at the center. He focuses and finds self-control. "I had courage and I had faith," he said. "We do a little drumming and have a good time and follow his orders. This program helps you mentally keep your stability."
The program provides an outlet for men who often feel trapped by their disorders. "It's like a flow," said participant John Hudson. "My spirit feels like I'm doing something for somebody."
Whitten works up a sweat, with a smile on his face and a life lesson for his students. "Peace, love, respect for everybody," he says at the end of every class. "The only time you look down on somebody is to help them up."
An anonymous donor is matching every dollar - up to $10,000 - given to Power of Ten through the end of the year.
Donations should be made out to Region Ten, Inc:
Mail to: Power of Ten, Region Ten Community Services Board P.O. Box 164 Charlottesville, VA 22902
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