It was a sight that helped make the evening memorable: Ryan Lenz, age 18, and Curt Smola, 13 years, Fairfield residents, on the Band Together stage hammering it out on the Conga drums. Both concentrated on the music, and the expression on their faces conveyed their utter happiness. It was standing-room-only at Band Together’s 28th performance, held at the Fairfield Theatre Company, to benefit The Pilot House Special Needs Resource Center’s new Early Intervention and Family Support program. The Pilot House’s founder and President, Doreen Caruso, celebrated along with the guests. “It heartens me to see so many people enjoying the evening for the benefit our children and families. We are thrilled to have such wonderful support from the community!”
Oftentimes the family is turned upside-down when there is a child experiencing exceptional challenges. All attention is placed on that child and helping them overcome whatever their difficulty may be: autism or other developmental disability, mental health issues or significant medical problems. Identifying the need and getting support services to the family early give the child an improved prognosis and improve the quality of life for the entire family.
In general people are more apt to recognize parents’ need for help during a family crisis. Brothers and sisters are oftentimes forgotten, and they too need support. Beginning this Friday, October 12th, 2012, The Pilot House will run Sibshops workshops for siblings, ages 8-12, of children with special needs. These monthly groups meet on Friday evenings. Kids will enjoy a pizza dinner and play games with others who have similar sibling experiences. Participants will be able to acknowledge both the good, and the not-so-good, that comes with having a brother or sister with special needs.
Sibshops is just one of the programs made possible with the support of Band Together, a collaboration of two Fairfield musicians: Rob Fried and Jerry Vigorito. Their goal is to perform fun events in support of organizations that help families in need of a helping hand. They did just that last Saturday night. Over $25,000 was raised on behalf of The Pilot House. This money keeps fees down for all families and provides scholarships and sliding scale rates for those in need. Caruso expressed her gratitude to the Band Together team. “The Pilot House is so fortunate to count Rob and Jerry among its friends. Their support is instrumental for The Pilot House to continue its success.”
Band Together’s co-Director, Jerry Vigorito, shares his delight with the outcome of their events. He said, “Rob and I can give people a couple of hours to let loose and enjoy themselves.” He spoke about the boys mentioned earlier, “These kids wait all year to hit my Conga drums. The parents see their kids enjoying themselves and they just glow! That is why I’m doing it.”
Since its inception in 2006 and through the end of this year, Band Together will have raised more than one million dollars for local charities. Vigorito attributes its success to the partnerships it has formed with the beneficiaries. “We give the framework and the charity drives the crowds to the venue. The rest just happens.”
More information about The Pilot House, its programs or to make a donation can be found on its website, www.thepilothouse.org or by calling 203.292.8452.
More information about Band Together can be found on its website, www.bandtogetherct.com.