One of the best things about being involved with Little Friends is that good friends and neighbors often present opportunities that they hope will be of benefit to our clients. In March, we were presented with an idea that involved the presentation of improvisational jazz music to a number of our students. Alma Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Naperville and the energy behind this idea, had a vision that this music could have a profound impact on our students.

This vision materialized and our students were invited to observe a rehearsal of North Central College student jazz ensemble. Led by instructors Jack Mouse and Janice Borla, both in their own right accomplished jazz musicians, they took our young students down the path of understanding and interpreting jazz.

We had hoped that our students would enjoy the experience. We didn’t expect that an hour session would stretch to nearly 90 minutes, and that students would be raising their hands asking if they could sing and be a part of the rehearsal. To those of us in the audience watching this unfold, the impact that the music had on our students was incredible.

For some, it was apparent based upon how their body moved that they heard things that I didn’t hear. For others, the smiles created were something those in attendance won’t forget. We so appreciate the support of Brian Lynch of NCC and the entire Rotary Club of Naperville for their generous support. We also thank the students of the ensemble led by Jack Mouse and Janice Borla. What a wonderful and inspiring thing to do!

Most important, the experience was so positive that plans are underway to expand and share this in the community. The lesson is that music can be incredibly powerful regardless of challenge, especially Autism.