I just read that it costs $250,000 to raise a child to age eighteen. That is just for one, neurotypical child. That doesn’t even account for if your child happens to want to be involved in an especially expensive hobby… like horseback riding or scuba diving!
For a family with a child with special needs, this number can quadruple, according to The U.S. Department of Agriculture. That equates to almost one million dollars to raise a child with special needs. These costs can include anything from medical and hospital bills, tutors, prescription costs, assistive and adaptive equipment around the house, private schools, and therapies.
Since there are so many therapy options available for a child with special needs, families can find themselves desperately wanting to help their child as much as possible, and, with best intentions, enroll their child in several different therapies. These bills quickly add up, with some being covered by insurance and some being paid for out of pocket.
For us in the field of music therapy, we do not have the luxury to be considered a “mainstream” therapy yet, such as Speech Therapy or Occupational Therapy, so we aren’t afforded the luxury of being a “given” when it comes to insurance reimbursement. We have come a long way, and it certainly helps that we are gaining recognition at the state level with licensure, including here in Georgia. At The George Center for Music Therapy, we work hard to bill insurance and are quite successful receiving insurance reimbursement for many families for our services. Some families use one of various waivers for services, and some families pay for music therapy out of pocket. Regardless of their funding source, inevitably, there may come a time in which a family must discontinue services due to financial reasons. Their deductible may renew, they may run out of funds through their waiver, or a family emergency must take financial precedence over therapy services for a period time. It is heartbreaking to hear that a family must stop services for financial reasons.
This is where… drum roll please…. Our non-profit comes in- The George Center Foundation!
The Foundation was started as a way to help those in need to receive access to quality music therapy services. In 2018, we were able to donate about $10,000 in scholarships to families and organizations in need. That is AMAZING! It has been so wonderful to be able to have an avenue to receive donations that go straight back to the community and to our clients who benefit from and love what we do.
We are having our very first large-scale fundraising effort this month, called the Shamrock Shindig. It will be held at Peach and The Porkchop, which is a delicious restaurant right down stairs from our office. We have partnered with more than 15 organizations in the community to receive items for our silent auction, and we will be having live music, performances by our very own Teen Rock Band, drinks, appetizers, a raffle, and a respite for children with special needs provided by Reclif. This is a fundraiser that you do not want to miss, as the proceeds will go straight to families and organizations in our community to open the door for them to receive music therapy services. It will be so much fun, and you will be able to see all your favorite music therapists from GCMT there!
Our dream is one day be in a position where money is no longer a hindrance for people to receive music therapy services. Fundraisers such as the Shamrock Shindig is a step in that direction for us, and we truly hope you can join us!
For more information and to buy your tickets please visit our website at https://www.thegeorgecenter.com/shamrock