In 2017-2018, Sun City residents participated in the 300-Drum Project. Residents volunteered to make and paint Native American style 10” hoop drums for Children living in the 30 Maricopa County Group Foster homes. There are 10 children living in each home. Every month on the fourth Friday, two houses, 20 children, participated in a one-hour facilitated drum circle at Lakeview United Methodist Church. Afterward the children were presented with their own African Djembe or Native American Style drum along with a drum beater and carrying bag. Residents were instructed in making and painting the drums by Dr. Lydia A. Woods, who is the Founder of Drum Arizona, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, formed to provide communities with the experience of African Djembe and Native American style drumming.
In 2016, Drum Arizona gave away 100 Native American style drums to children who were homeless or hospitalized. Sun City residents living in several Senior Living communities helped to accomplish that goal. After the success of the 100-Drum Project, Drum Arizona partnered with the Sunshine Angels. The Sunshine Angels are a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that exist to support and enrich the lives of foster children in the care of the Sunshine Residential Homes in Maricopa County. The Sunshine Angels have been volunteering and helping foster children since 1999.
Sandra Hurst is the current President of the Sunshine Angels and made a presentation to the United Methodist Women’s group at Lakeview UMC in October of 2016. After hearing the presentation Dr. Woods was inspired and envisioned the 300-Drum Project. Sandra Hurst introduced Dr. Woods to Dr. Monique Williams who is the Maricopa County director of the Sunshine group homes and the 300-Drum project was launched.
This month the last of the 300-drums were given to the children picture above. For safety and privacy reasons the children’s faces cannot be shown. They posed for the photo with the drums they received held in front of their faces.
Giving drums to children is the major objective of Drum Arizona, Inc. The organization is supported by donations and uses the funds to purchase materials to make/paint the drums. In 2017, they received $16,000 in donations. Dr. Woods’ vision was to help alleviate some of the symptoms children experience during traumatic times such as homelessness, hospitalization or foster care. Therapeutic effects of drumming range from relieving stress and tension, encouraging socialization, self-expression, to connecting with others just to name a few.
Soon Dr. Woods found that as the seniors participated in making and painting the drums similar effects were happening with the volunteers. It’s been a win-win situation for both the seniors and the children. Drum Arizona also uses African Djembe drums during the drum circle experience. African drums were also purchased and given to children alternately with the Native drums each month. Partial proceeds from the purchase of drums handmade in Africa went to feed hungry children in Africa. So not only were children here at home helped but also children in Africa. Now that’s a Win-Win-Win scenario!
A new project is now formulating. The 1,000-Drum Project to begin in 2019 and continue thru 2020. Drum Arizona will facilitate a one-hour drum circle with foster families and their children. Then drums will be given to children living in foster families. There are approximately 500 certified foster families in Peoria, Glendale, Surprise, El Mirage and Sun City. It’s an ambitious two-year project but with the help of Sun City volunteers and their neighbors, it’s a “Done Deal!” Volunteers are always needed and welcomed, call Drum Arizona, 623-219-9143.