Move over “America’s Got Talent!” The Center for Discovery is bursting with artistic genius!
Tucked away in the picturesque Catskill Mountains – in Sullivan County, New York – The Center is home to over 300 adults and children with complex conditions. Every day, these individuals push the boundaries of possibility with unique opportunities in the arts, like music, dance, performance, and recreation.
On a recent crisp November evening, a group of adults, all members of a TCFD self-advocacy group, showed off their remarkable talents. And, their family and friends were awe struck! In fact, one mother, Cris, whose son
Anthony was a pianist in the show, gushed, “Who says all of you at The Center don’t perform miracles! Thank you!”
TCFD’s Director of Psychology, Chrystine Losinno, gave the self-advocacy group all the credit, “What made this talent show special is that it was their vision. They advocated for a talent show and they got one! They arranged auditions, the location, the format, and the finale, and they asked for permission to use the Big Barn and recruited Nick for the sound and music, and Matt for the lighting.”
From piano, ukulele, and poetry, to pop, dance, comedy, and even hula hooping, the performers – one by one (and sometimes in pairs!) – blossomed in the spotlight.
Tommy told his peers he’s taking his song and dance, and likely his hat, too – to Radio City Music Hall! His partner on stage was Rob Knight, a Community Integration Trainer. In fact, everyone was supported in practice and on the big night by TCFD team members from the departments of Psychology, Quality Assurance, Recreation, Music Therapy, IT, and others. Losinno and her team work regularly with the self-advocacy group to assist them in empowering themselves in various ways. “The talent show and its creation really represented what self-advocacy is all about,” she added. “Our self-advocates meet once a month to discuss what is important to them. We have been meeting since May 2019 and so far we’ve arranged attending a Self-Advocacy of New York State Conference (SANYS), have had guest speakers, climbed The Center’s Alpine Tower, and now the show. We look forward to creating more experiences in the future!” These
opportunities are clearly significant to the residents and their parents. Anthony’s mom, Cris, commented, “Thank you for giving Anthony the opportunity to perform and shine and feel great about himself!”
Sometimes the advocacy team have a little extra inspiration “up their sleeve” like they did at the end of the evening. They gathered on stage together and got the whole crowd going –with their rendition of the chicken dance! Anyone have a “golden buzzer?” The CENTER’S got talent!
For more information on the self-advocacy group, please reach out to the Office of Strategic Outreach and Partnerships at StrategicOutreach@tcfd.org.