Creative arts therapy programs traditionally have been offered only in institutions and hospital settings. Heartsong has taken these experiences outside the walls to families in need, removing barriers and improving the quality of life for individuals with special needs and their families, regardless of household resources or income. Individuals with special needs is defined as those who may have one or more delays in physical, sensory, cognitive, speech/language and/or emotional development.
Heartsong is nationally recognized for its program that utilizes the powerful tools of music therapy and art therapy enabling individuals with special needs to express themselves, regardless of their verbal and motoric capacity. This is accomplished by using music and art in its many forms and styles to nurture an individual’s emotional, physical, sensory and cognitive development. Each individual is assessed and placed in a music and/or art therapy group where they enjoy ensemble playing and group interaction. Volunteers work with these individuals and are an integral part of the Heartsong program. Beneficial outcomes include increased self-esteem and self-confidence, development of social skills, enhanced communication skills, increased attention span, and enhanced motor skills. If you would like to volunteer in Heartsong’s programs, please click here.
We are determined and honored that Heartsong continues to provide a quality creative arts therapy programs created for individual with special needs and for their extraordinary families whom we serve. Our success is not by chance. It is the result of our focused leadership, dedicated teamwork, local volunteers and the ongoing support of our entire community. Through the generosity of so many, we have been privileged to serve over 1,200 children and adults and their families since Heartsong’s inception in 1992. Heartsong continues to make a lasting contribution to the life experiences of individuals with special needs, their families, the volunteers and the community.
Heartsong, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1992 by Gayle and Tom Cratty, whose daughter Jennifer had shown remarkable progress when exposed to music therapy during rehabilitation at NYU’s Rusk Institute after neurosurgery related to her cerebral palsy.
Because their options to continue music therapy for Jennifer in the community were extremely limited, the Crattys decided to create an organization that would take music and art therapy out of hospitals and institutions and into the community for children with special needs. Their appreciation of the tremendous financial and emotional burdens placed on families having children with special needs motivated them from the outset to provide a no fee program.
Their vision for Heartsong also included the concept of using community volunteers to work with the children under the supervision of the certified music or art therapist to facilitate the participation of these special needs children in a small group session, as opposed to the typical one-on-one therapy session in a clinical setting.
- 2008 – Heartsong introduces new Executive Director, Marion Anderson.
- 2009 – Heartsong relocates Concordia College location to Westchester School 29 in Yonkers, NY.
- 2010 – Heartsong implements a sliding scholarship scale.
- 2011 – Heartsong relocates Administrative Office to Family Services of Westchester and Good Counsel Academy, White Plains services location to Family Services of Westchester, Prime Time on North Street.
- 2012 – Heartsong consolidates all programming and administrative offices to dedicated space at 277 Martine Avenue, White Plains, NY.
- 2013 – Heartsong introduces Dance Movement therapy.
- 2014 – Heartsong introduces new clinical director, Sandra Ramos-Watt.
- 2017 – Heartsong introduces new clinical supervisor, Sean Plunkett.
Since its inception, Heartsong has provided music and art therapy to over 1200 participants on Saturdays with professional therapists and community volunteers committed to delivering music and art therapy in a stimulating setting for individuals with special needs. Heartsong provides quality music and art therapy programming to additional individuals in schools and other community-based programs located through-out the Tri-State area.
Heartsong and its Founders have received many awards and honors over the years in recognition of the creation and provision of a music and art therapy program to individuals with special needs in Westchester County and the greater New York metropolitan area.
The commitment of Heartsong and its Founders to the ideals of community service and their contributions in making a difference in the lives of individuals with special needs has been commended by, among others, the governor of New York and the New York State Senate, the Westchester County Executive and the Board of Legislators, the City of Yonkers, General Electric, Citibank, Volvo, and the I.A.H.D.-St. Jude Habilitation Institute.
Heartsong remains dedicated to continuing the vision of its Founders to provide a music and art therapy program to individuals with special needs to help these individuals reach their highest potential in an atmosphere that brings them great joy.