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A group counseling session 

On a balmy September evening, plaintive notes of piano music floated up to a second floor classroom at the Ware Center from a brightly painted street piano below. Inside the classroom, staff, volunteers and interns from Music for Everyone (MFE) took a short break from a training they were attending to sit quietly and listen, awed by the synchronicity of the moment.

The MFE team in the classroom above was learning about trauma, resilience and trauma-informed care, as part of MFE’s commitment to becoming a trauma-informed organization. A trauma-informed organization is one that has been adjusted to consider the role that violence and trauma play in the lives of people seeking mental and physical health services. At the heart of this effort is a new initiative called “Music for Everyone’s Well-Being” which will explore, assess and leverage the power of music as a healing tool.

Research shows that music can play a role in helping individuals and communities to cope with trauma, whether it be through music therapy or community music-making programs.

“When we began planning our Music for Everyone's Well-Being initiative, it became apparent that training was needed to help us more fully understand the community we will be serving,” Deb Rohrer, MFE’s Director of Development explained. “Participating in LG Health’s trauma-informed care training was a great first step in giving our musicians and mentors another tool to understand and better serve individuals seeking healing. This training opened our eyes to the myriad challenges facing individuals who have experienced trauma. It helped us and validated our efforts to provide music as a tool for healing.”

MFE’s goal through this initiative is to serve as a community resource to further promote music’s potential to positively impact public health in Lancaster County.

MFE’s work toward becoming trauma-informed is part of a partnership with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and Let’s Talk, Lancaster. The trauma training LG Health provided for their team was the first step.

“The training we received was not only very informative, it was eye opening,” said John Gerdy, MFE’s Founder and Executive Director. “It brought home the importance of properly training our musicians by giving them an understanding of the challenges facing many of the students they interact with. Participating in this workshop will make our music mentors more effective educators.”

As a follow-up to the training, MFE will begin to review their policies, procedures and programs to understand the role that trauma may play in the lives of the people MFE serves. With tools and technical assistance provided through the Trauma Informed Lancaster County initiative, MFE will work over the next year to implement relevant and attainable policies, procedures and/or changes to the physical environment to become more trauma-informed.

Trauma support throughout the County

Trauma training and technical support is available at no cost to Lancaster County organizations that are committed to becoming a trauma-informed organization, as part of the Trauma Informed Lancaster County initiative. The training is provided by support from the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Behavioral Health Community Impact Fund, Let’s Talk, Lancaster and the Counterdrug Joint Task Force.

For more information, contact letstalk@livewelllancaster.org or 717-544-3820.

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