The rain that had loomed in the forecast all week, suddenly ceased midday, allowing us to have the event outside...and it was a perfect afternoon! On paper, it was a gathering of teachers, Forrest's friends and their families, community members, and people that have helped Forrest since his accident. In reality, it was a gathering of friends - all joined together by one common factor...Forrest. As one of his friends said yesterday, Forrest has always brought people together, and yesterday was no exception.
In the middle of the food, drinks, and live music, Forrest and his INCREDIBLE group of friends surprised the guests with a Macarena "flash mob". Forrest has been practicing with his friends leading up to this event and we were excited to pull it off successfully. In addition to being thrown into the Macarena, those same incredible friends helped in all areas of the event - planning, set up, food preparation, greeting, playing live music, serving food, clean up and most importantly...being there for Forrest. Since the first day of the accident, his group of friends has formed a tight circle of encouragement, support and love around Forrest, during the good and the bad - brightening the darkest of days through visits, phone calls, messages and Skype. Yesterday, a few of his friends shared with the guests the blessing that Forrest is to them, but we know that Forrest is also blessed to have the group of friends that he has!
Tom spoke to the crowd about Music Therapy and APTB and shared a video of individuals from APTB as well as video clips of Forrests' progress over the past year of sessions. The garden party also gave Forrest a chance to show off some of the hard work he has been doing in Music Therapy with Tom. He sang four songs, including leading the guests in the choruses of "Lean on Me" and "Let it Be". Always the performer, he smiled the whole time and soaked up the applause and cheers.
At the end of party, Forrest was asked what his favorite part of the day was. His reply? "Seeing all the people here." We could not have said it better. We want to thank those of you that donated to "A Place to Be" as they strive to continue helping individuals with the challenges that life brings. Thank you also to all that came yesterday and helped to make it a day that none of us will ever forget.
Please read the message from Tom below and for pictures from the Garden party, please click on this link https://plus.google.com/photos/104896505187634843583/albums/5880227054876932177?authkey=CP-owonr-OzP7AE
You can also learn more about "A Place to Be" at http://www.aplacetobeva.org/
With Love and Gratitude on behalf of Rae, Kent, Forrest and Austin
Yesterday I got to spend the afternoon with a Hero of mine, Forrest Allen. Through months and months of patience, trials, tribulations and MUSIC we found his voice! The day was full of beautiful friends and families that watched this young man triumph beyond any of our dreams or prayers. People watched him sing from his porch. They watched in awe. As I looked down at many people I knew, and some I didn't, I saw tears falling on faces that were smiling.
HOW LUCKY ARE WE to be witness to a miracle? I was honest in my comments yesterday about thinking that perhaps his parents had too much hope in the beginning. WHO AM I to even think such a thing? People know me as a patient and driven person who works through hope everyday, but I have never had as much hope, patience, and unwavering dedication as Kent, Rae and Austin. I admire and want to be like them.
Forrest has a mission now - To HELP others learn that there is always tomorrow, there is always a way and there is always MUSIC!
All My Love and Thankfulness
- Tom Sweitzer (Forrest's personal Music therapist and FRIEND)