2024 Grand Service Project
Banding Together was founded in 2009 by the parent of a child with autism and two music therapists to meet the unmet needs of youth with special needs in our community. Families were experiencing firsthand that music was an effective and motivating modality to help their loved ones develop. However, they were frustrated that they couldn’t access music therapy services due to lack of financial resources for their children while already being burdened by the costs required to care for individuals with special needs. After years of trying to help families find alternative funding sources (e.g., insurance or state funding), the 3 founders decided to start a nonprofit to meet this need. Banding Together is a grassroots organization that wouldn’t be where it is today without supporters who believe in our mission: to bring unique music opportunities to individuals with special needs in our community. This is accomplished through key objectives that include providing music therapy scholarships and free programs such as Jam Sessions and Soundcheck Jams.
To date, over $109,000 has been awarded for music therapy, adapted lessons and camp scholarships to 200 individuals (ages 2-22 years) with special needs.
Since the Jam Session program’s inception in 2012, San Diego locations have quadrupled. The program was piloted at a fifth national location in Miami, Florida in 2017. Each year, 56 Jam Sessions are held totaling over 250 sessions to date. Historically, this program has served nearly 900 individuals ages 13-38 with special needs and has trained over 500 volunteer mentors. A significant highlight for the Jam Session program in 2016 was a surprise performance from Grammy Award winning guest musician Jason Mraz.
In partnership with Surfdog Records, the Soundcheck Jams have engaged 24 touring musicians and 50 individuals with special needs. This unique program gives individuals with special needs the opportunity to shine onstage during a nationally touring band’s sound check at a local music venue. Past musicians have included Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, The English Beat, Elvin Bishop, Michael Franti, Shaun White (Olympic gold medalist and guitarist) and Grammy award winner Ziggy Marley. More than 150 professional musicians have participated in our programs and fundraisers.
Visit https://bandingtogethersd.org/ to learn more.