RPS News

Daniel’s Music Foundation Visits Rutgers Prep, Shares Message of Diversity Awareness Through Music

On Tuesday, February 5th, grades 4-8 were visited by members of Daniel’s Music Foundation (DMF), including Daniel and his father, Ken Trush. In 1997, while attending the prestigious Dalton School in NYC, one of five undetected aneurysms ruptured in Daniel’s brain, causing severe bleeding and a diagnosis that was far from promising. After 30 days in a coma, with Ken using music to help keep his son’s brain active, Daniel awoke and began an exhaustive 341 days of recovery before he was able to return home – but Daniel was different now, and the family “started a journey…that would provide meaning to Daniel’s life.”

Even while in his coma, Daniel heard the songs his father played, and this proved vital in his slow and gradual recovery. Thus began the Trush family mission; “helping people with disabilities enjoy music and smile.” Today, the program has grown immensely and each year “helps thousands of people with developmental and physical disabilities through a variety of music programs.”

DMF also visits schools to help students understand “differences,” as people with disabilities can become “invisible” to those around them. Many unaffected people shy away from these individuals because they just don’t understand them. As Ken stated, “We tend to label people, to put them in a box…but everyone is an individual.” During the assembly, we learned that we should not feel badly about these individuals. We tend to make assumptions, but instead, we should just be making friends.

During this assembly, our students got to meet Daniel and his father, as well as other members of the Foundation. We sang together and listened to their words of hope and advice. At the end of the program, our students were asked “What can you do when you meet someone who is different?” Their answers were right on target:

Do not stare.
Say hello.
Don’t make fun.
Wave and smile.
Don’t judge them.
Just be kind.
Have a conversation.
Invite them to play.
Don’t feel bad.
Get to know them.
Be nice.
Be friends.
Treat them as you would want to be treated.
Don’t let them feel left out.

Our students heard the message; “Be kind. Be human. There is ability in every disability.” “Be an instrument of change.”

For more information about Daniel’s Music Foundation, please visit:  http://www.danielsmusic.org