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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

Abilities Abound Event to Kick Off Disability Awareness Month


Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

Written by: Mikaela ConleyFebruary 17, 2016

23-year-old Matt Savage, a self-taught jazz prodigy who has had a 14-year career as a musician, composer and bandleader, will be the keynote speaker/performer at the seventh annual Abilities Abound at Sweetwater Sound, Inc. The event will be Feb. 27, just in time for Disabilities Awareness Month to begin in March.

Savage was diagnosed with autism at age 3 and graduated from Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music, according to mattsavagerecords.org. Savage also teaches at Applied Behavioral Learning Services, a school near Boston for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Savage will open the event with a free two-hour jam session from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. that is open to anyone between the ages of 12 and 22.

After the jam session, a reception will be held including the naming of Spiece Fitness as the business of the year that has impacted the most individuals with disabilities.

Savage’s keynote address of telling his story will follow the reception and local students with disabilities will then be named scholarship and grant winners as well.

Tickets to the reception are $20 for adults and $10 for students and must be purchased before  the day of the event.

The event is sponsored by the Northeast Indiana Disability Awareness Coalition, a “consortium of disability organizations whose mission is to be a common voice and to advocate for equal opportunities on behalf of the disability community,” according to Jason Meyer, event chair for Abilities Abound and President and CEO of Passages.

“There are so many things that individuals with disabilities have to offer,” Teresa Harmeyer, development director at Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana and committee member for the NEIDAC, said. “It is unique being part of a group where we all have our own mission and vision but come together to support this cause,” she said.

Meyer said, “Abilities Abound showcases the exceptional talents of individuals with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities and those who support them.”