Answering the Call to Public Service
Dupage County Board District 3
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DuPage County Board
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DuPage Care Center-DPCC
Ashley Helmi is a student at Indiana State University studying Recreation Therapy. She is currently finishing up her 560-hour internship with the DuPage Care Center Recreation Department. Including in her internship is implementing a special project. Ashley came up with the idea to start a choir at DuPage Care Center for the residents. She told residents that you did not have to be able to sing, just have a love for music and want to have fun. Eighteen residents signed up and joined her for a biweekly practice of their music. Ashley chose 3 songs, “Just The Way You Look Tonight”, “Blue Skies”, and “Stand By Me”, for the residents to practice. The residents came twice a week with energy and excitement that filled the room every time. As the COVID-19 pandemic caused changes to happen throughout the facility, choir was looking to be cancelled altogether. Ashley did not want the residents' dedication and hard work to be thrown away because of the changes and cancellation of all-house activities. She decided to take a technological approach to create a virtual choir that the residents could listen to and show to their loved ones. She chose to record “Stand By Me” solely because the message of the song speaks about kindness and love to one and another. Ashley had each resident record their voice individually and then she layered them all together using music recording software. Then Ashley went to all the neighborhoods and recorded videos of the residents singing and dancing. As the safety precautions began to change, the way she recorded also changed. Some of the clips in the video were made before the social distancing precautions were implemented. Ashley then put the audio and video recordings together into one virtual choir to be shared with friends, family, and anyone with a love for music. Ashley stated, “I believe that everyone can sing as long as they feel what they are saying. Music is a universal language that brought our choir together when we could not be physically together.”
The DuPage Care Center is so grateful to Ashely for creating such a wonderful opportunity for the residents and being able to adapt to all the changes the center faced. This has become such a beautiful project that we are so happy to share with all of you!
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