A Place To Be 

Grant Recipient 2017

A growing issue facing communities and their school systems today is the mental health and disability challenges facing teenagers and children. Societal circumstances have placed new challenges on teachers – their training doesn’t emphasize dealing with mental health issues, for instance. A Place To Be is a non-profit focused on serving families and children facing the most difficult mental and physical challenges through Music Therapy. Their mission is to help people face, navigate, and overcome life’s challenges using clinically based practices of music therapy. Scott is the Chairman of the Board & President of A Place To Be.

The Virts-Miller Foundation is currently focused on two areas of support for A Place To Be: development of the therapy staff, and in-school mental health programs for K-12 children.  Programs for the education and training of Music Therapists are not common around the country and so the recruiting and retention of therapists with critical skills is a challenge. The Virts-Miller Foundation has helped develop and fund A Place To Be programs to successfully attract and retain music therapists.

One especially successful program has been The Same Sky Project which features a traveling group of performers who advocate for and promote messages of empathy, love, inclusion, acceptance, and inspiration through music and performance. The Same Sky Project showcases a changing group of teens, each with different physical, intellectual, and developmental challenges, who perform original shows at local school assemblies in an effort to communicate their daily struggles and aspirations to fellow classmates.

Popular shows such as Behind the LabelA Will To Survive, and, most recently, Abira and the Mountain and Music & Emotion, have played before more than 70,000 local students. The Virts-Miller Foundation has been instrumental in funding these special shows. In 2017, A Will To Survive, the original rock-opera style musical tackling the sensitive topic of suicide prevention in teens, played to a sold-out audience at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.