Posts Tagged ‘DMF’

How Music Lessons Helped

September 24, 2017 Leave a comment


The picture is old, but the content is recent on, featuring my latest story about James’ favorite place to rock out. Click here for the full article.

Monday Minute: Another Instance of James Traumatizing NYC Subway Riders

subwayHonestly, whenever I write a Monday Minute that involves the subway I think to myself, well, it likely won’t get any crazier than this, which is usually about the time I’m proven 100% wrong. But I really think that this time, it can’t get any crazier than this.

For full effect, I’ll skip an intro on this one except to suggest that you pretend you’re sitting next to James on the crowded subway, who is returning home from another fantastic DMF concert. It’s around 6:30PM. Past dinner, past medication time, past reason. Read more…

DMF Fall Events – You’re Invited!

September 23, 2012 Leave a comment

My absolute favorite season is the Fall, which brings along with it one of our all-time favorite activities – DMF. This season Daniel’s Music has some amazing activities and opportunities lined up – the first couple are listed below. If I wasn’t due so soon I would totally take on that 5K… hope to see you there regardless, though!

Hope all is well! We hope that you will be able to join us for some (or all) of our upcoming events.
Please know that we appreciate your continued support and participation and hope to see you soon (and often)!
All the best,
Daniel, Ken, Nancy and Mike Trush
Sunday, September 30th – 5K Race at 10:00AM in Prospect Park with Music That Heals (Rain or Shine)
We have known Kathy Lord and Susan Weber (Founders of Music That Heals) for many years; they played music for Daniel in the hospital when he was emerging from his coma back in 1997 and performed at DMF’s very first Music Appreciation Event on February 26, 2006. So it gives us tremendous pleasure to now be collaborating with Kathy and Susan and Music That Heals for its Annual 5K Race in Prospect Park. It will be a fun day with awards, medals, goodie bags and wonderful camaraderie. There will also be a PeeWee Race at 11:00AM for ages 12 and younger. Plus, DMF will also be singing the National Anthem to start the race!
Cost – $20 per participant ($25 on race day); $10 for the PeeWee Race
To Register for the race – click here or call the DMF office at 212.289.8912 or email us at
Tuesday, October 2nd – Special concert with jazz pianist and composer, Jeff Franzel, at the Yamaha Artist Piano Salon; an evening of music, wine and hors d’oeuvres from 6:30pm-9:00pm

We have had a wonderful relationship with Yamaha, since Daniel met Lori Frazer, current DMF Board Member, at an AARP convention in September 2008 (no Daniel is not 50 but he knows people who are). The bond has strengthened through the added participation of Dr. Barry Bittman, CEO of Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute (also a DMF Board Member) and Bonnie Barrett, Director of Yamaha Artist Services here in NYC.
Yamaha Artist Services has arranged a special concert at their Piano Salon at 689 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, with extraordinary jazz pianist and composer, Jeff Franzel, who has performed alongside such legendary entertainers as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Mel Tome. His original songs have been written for and performed by artists as diverse as Josh Groban, Placido Domingo, Clay Aiken and N’Sync.
The evening promises to be intimate and inspiring with wine and hors d’oeuvres and a special performance of Hear My Voice by the DMF Voice Technique class.
Tickets are $50 and seating is limited. Please RSVP to:
or call the DMF office at 212.289.8912. Credit card payments accepted at click here or checks can be made payable to Daniel’s Music Foundation, c/o The Trush Family, 1641 3rd Ave. #21A, New York, NY 10128.

Top Ten: Favorite Extracurricular and Social Activities For Special Needs Kids in NYC

January 25, 2012 1 comment

Disclaimer: This “Tuesday Top Ten” was bumped (rudely shoved) to Wednesday for the first time ever thanks to Beth Israel Medical Center, where we spent 5 hours in transit/waiting and 10 minutes with an actual doctor yesterday.

Moving on…

I’m almost hesitant in posting this week’s Top Ten because I don’t want people crowding up all of my favorite activities, but my altruistic nature has won so you are about to benefit from my experience, trials and errors, hours spent googling “special needs activities NYC” and not least of all my frugality (a fancy word we like to use for cheapness). In fact, many of the activities listed below are among my favorites because they are quality programs at low or no cost, though the ones that do cost a few more dollars are certainly worth it if they’re on the list!

There are obviously a bunch of other amazing activities and experiences in the city that didn’t make my Top Ten, but IMO it’s a pretty good problem to have such a large pool of choices! To clarify, the programs on this list are all extracurricular activities that include social interaction and meet regularly (so one-time events, general public venues and private lessons were not considered).


1. Daniel’s Music Foundation: Take it from a music teacher, this one is far and away the best introduction to music you can make for your special needs child (or adult). Not surprisingly, there is a waiting list and altruistic though I may be, I’m not giving up my spot! This amazing program runs from September through May, offering music classes for all ages and abilities. If you haven’t already, read one of my many admiring posts about the Trush family (founders) and their fantastic foundation. Cost, free.

2. West Side Baseball (Registration ends on Tuesday, January 31st!) The Challengers division is open to children with any disability, ages 5-18. This program runs April through June and meets in Riverside Park – we’ve enjoyed 3 seasons and are looking forward to our fourth! Cost, $150 (scholarships available).

3. Safe Haven Hoops: for children 5-18. This program runs December through March. **Though the season is underway, special needs players can register anytime during the season for the Champions division. Cost $120, scholarships available. Thanks to this wonderful program, James has shown remarkable improvement in shooting baskets and not crying when others shoot baskets.

4. WSSL: Special needs soccer for ages 5-18. The VIP division meets September through November at the North Meadows in Central Park. Cost, $150, scholarships available.

5. Fitness For Focus: Special needs martial arts classes for kids ages 4 and up. Sessions available year round at 2 locations. There are free trial classes being offered January 29th and 30th! Email for more details or to register for a free trial. Cost, varies (early bird registration discounts offered).

6. Adaptive Swim Lessons provided by NYC Parks – though we have only participated during the summer, there are opportunities year round throughout the city. In fact, free adaptive swim lessons and aquatic exercise therapy (for up to 12 people at a time) are being offered this Winter/Spring for anyone interested, including special needs school or adult groups, at locations in all five boroughs. For more information please call 718-760-6969 or email

7. Achilles Kids –  offers a school program and an extracurricular year round program that meets every other Saturday. Saturday sessions include training activities that integrate free-play, games, and nutritious snacks to make the experience fun and provide racing opportunities. Even better, the entire family can participate.

8. Adaptive Track and Field program provided by NYC Parks –  for kids ages 5-16 with (and without) physical and developmental disabilities, offered in multiple locations citywide. What’s really neat is the big integrated track meet at the end of the summer at Icahn Stadium (with many adaptive events), which was a really great experience for James to participate in (except for the starting gun). Even more appealing, the schedule is very flexible – we did once a week but could have done more. All of the equipment and t-shirts are provided. And, it’s free! Go to for last year’s information – I’ll post 2012 info when I get it!

9. Special Needs Aquatic, Cultural and Athletic Programs at Riverbank State Park. To me, this one is such a hidden gem, not just for the special needs population but for anyone with young children who doesn’t want to pay Manhattan prices for Manhattan classes. As noted in their program guide, “the physically challenged can participate in most of the free programs, activities, and classes. They may receive daily discounts or free admission.” However, there is a plethora of activities and classes for “special populations,” no matter what the disability (or age). Costs are low or free. Click the link to browse the Riverbank State Park Fall/Winter Program Guide 2011-2012.

10. KEEN – a national, nonprofit volunteer-led organization that provides one-to-one recreational opportunities for children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities at no cost to their families and caregivers. Neither income nor the severity of a child’s disability is a barrier to joining a KEEN program. This program meets on select Saturdays around the city and is open to athletes 4 to 21 years of age. For more info call 212.768.6785 or email


Okay, now don’t all go register for everything at once!

Did I miss your favorite? Did I get someone’s contact info wrong? Please leave it in the comments section.

DMF Music Video Online (Thank You Song)

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

You’ve heard me rave about Daniel’s Music Foundation on numerous occasions, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this video with you. Last Spring DMF was invited to speak at the prestigious Gel conference and just this past week their performance was put online. During the presentation Daniel performed his own composition with a small group of members, teachers, and one DMF parent – me. Coincidentally with the holiday this week, his piece is titled “Thank You Song.” Listening to it always makes me feel incredibly grateful, among other things.

Though it pains me to be in pictures of any kind (much less moving pictures), the music and story in the video is special enough to make an allowance, just this once.

Click here to watch DMF in action!

And, make sure to check back for updates on the DMF Winter Concert coming up on December 11th.

You’re Invited to the First Annual DMF Benefit Cocktail Party! November 8, 2011

October 13, 2011 Leave a comment
Dear Guest,
Daniel’s Music Foundation (“DMF”), a non-profit organization located in New York City, offers free music classes to people of all ages with physical and developmental disabilities. DMF humbly began in 2006 with one keyboard class and just five members. Today, we proudly offer 32 classes, serving 150 members with an ever-growing waiting list.
Daniel Trush and his family learned of the profound effects of music on the brain’s ability to recover from injury, after he suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm at the age of 12, leaving him in a coma for 30 days. Understanding that music played an important role in his recovery, the Trush family founded DMF to share the restorative power of music with others in the disabled community.
DMF believes that friendship, self-esteem, and socialization are ingredients vital to a successful life. While Daniel was fortunate to have the benefit of an involved family and community, many others are not given the same level of support needed to reach for and achieve a level of personal fulfillment. At DMF they are always welcomed into our community.
At this first Benefit event, we will celebrate DMF’s growth and wish to thank all of you for your support. However, there are still many deserving people waiting to be enrolled and it is on their behalf that we ask you to consider sponsoring a class, so that we can continue to serve more members.
We hope that you join us on November 8th when we present the first DMF Champion of Hope Award to Jason Zillo, of the New York Yankees Organization. He is the creative force behind Yankees’ HOPE Week and is responsible for selecting DMF as an honoree this past summer to perform both on Broadway and at Yankee Stadium. The memories of that day are forever etched in our hearts.
On behalf of the entire DMF community we thank you!
Warm regards,
Daniel’s Music Foundation Board of Directors
Click here to download the invitation to this incredible event.
There will be a fabulous performance and even more special guests - hope to see you there!

The First Foorce Contest Is Finally Here!!

Where is the summer going?! Ironically, I have found myself with less time than usual during the past couple of months – between catching up with doctors’ appointments while school is out (11 down, 4 to go), shuttling kids to swimming, track, gymnastics, and playgroups, family vacations and of course, Foorce events, my calendar has turned into a scribbly, blackish smear instead of the neat and organized list I so adore.

So it’s Saturday afternoon and we just got back from a really fun time at Bounce U (I highly recommend for special needs and typical children) – my MO is to post in the wee hours of the night, but because of the amazingly good time we have shown our children (and because they are otherwise occupied for the moment) I do not feel guilty taking a minute to get this contest started!

Okay, it’s now Sunday morning… as you can see, I live in a time warp.

Picking up from where I left off, look up at the top left corner of my homepage. You should see a “slogan” under The Foorce that says:

strength; energy; power; any body of persons combined for joint action.

It’s one of the definitions for “force” that I felt described the kind of force I wanted my blog to be full of. And, I was getting a lot of emails at the time and really felt the need to get the site going, slogan or not. So, like other posts that have been done in the midst of chaos or under time-pressure, looking back at the slogan I began to feel that it was “not quite right.” The more I looked, the less I liked. More readers looking, even less liking.

I have received numerous compliments on my catchy blog name. Unfortunately, I can take very little credit since my last name was the creative inspiration. If my last name had been “Smith” or “Jones” I would probably be holding a contest for a blog name, too.


That’s where you come in. I need a new, catchy slogan. One that I could put on a business card that would help describe the type of blog is. It should be something to do with the word “force,” though force doesn’t have to be in the actual sentence. There are lots of popular “force phrases” to get you started: “force to be reckoned with,” “use the Force,” “force multiplier,” “driving force,” etc. You can tell I’ve been brainstorming :), though not very successfully.

“Rules” and Other Guidelines I Made Up

The contest starts now and will go through October 1st, 2011. You can submit as many ideas as you like. The top 3 slogans will be placed in a poll on this site from October 1-31, 2011. At the end of October the phrase with the highest number of votes will win 1st place and will replace the slogan on this site. The top 3 slogans will all receive a prize (see below for details).

To submit an idea to the contest, email me at with your name, a way to contact you should you win, and your slogan/catchphrase. The subject of your email should be FOORCE SLOGAN CONTEST SUBMISSION. Because of the high volume of emails I have been receiving lately, it is important to put this line in your subject heading so that I don’t mistakenly overlook your submission.


I solemnly swear not to enter any of my own ideas into the contest to try and win one of these prizes (though I seriously want to)! Instead of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes, 1st place will get to pick from the prizes (listed below) first, 2nd place will pick between the two prizes that are left and 3rd place gets the remaining prize. The prizes listed below are not in any particular order.

Early Intervention Games: Fun, Joyful Ways to Develop Social and Motor Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing Disorders

Though this book says “Early Intervention” in the title, I’m seriously thinking of ordering it for my 10 yr old because the “games” seem like great ideas 1) to work on some of his phobias, 2) to try new skills in a silly and subtle way and 3) to play with James and his younger siblings at the same time.

As you can see when you click the link above, the book gets great reviews and is geared toward a wide variety of children. However, if this book doesn’t seem like the right fit for your child(ren), our donor has generously offered to provide a copy of Attention Games instead. Thank you, Amazon!

DMF Memorabilia Extravanganza!

DMF continues its AAA trend (All-Around Awesomeness) by donating  bunch of great items to my little contest. The prize includes a DMF tote bag, hat and umbrella. Like its founders, Daniel’s Music Foundation items are attractive and high quality, and promote an incredibly worthy cause in NYC.

One Year Subscription to Something Special Magazine

Something Special Magazine is a publication geared toward parents raising special needs children. I looked through some back issues (available online) and was thoroughly impressed at the high quality and relevance of the articles – I’ve always been on the lookout for a Parenting-type of magazine that was actually pertinent to James, and this definitely fits the bill.

The creator and editor, Katrina Laygo, has five children, one with autism (I thought I was busy!). She not only runs this amazing publication but recently started Georgia’s first Higher Education Scholarship Fund for graduating seniors that have a diagnosis of autism or cerebral palsy, the Nathan’s Something Special Scholarship Fund, INC.

Ready, Set, Go!

I have high hopes and look forward to finding a great new slogan for The Foorce!!

Come See DMF Sing the National Anthem Tomorrow!

Just a reminder that if it doesn’t rain too much, DMF will be singing at the Brooklyn Cyclones in Coney Island tomorrow. I plan to bring the kids and my dad a little early to enjoy what should be an empty beach beforehand.

For those of you who missed my previous invitation, the Brooklyn Cyclones play in Coney Island and their stadium has an ocean view. Add to that the beach, aquarium, boardwalk and even a circus nearby and you could make a day of it – it’s a Wednesday with a 50% chance of rain, so not a crowded day, either. The stadium is an easy subway ride so no rush hour traffic to worry about. The game is at 7:05pm on a school night, so we may have to miss a little bit of school that day (or sleep in the next day) but I’m sure the kids will forgive me.

DMF sings the anthem on the field before the game and then we’ll stay and have a blast in a section together. There are only a few tickets left at the price listed below, but I’m sure you could get tickets at the box office tomorrow too. If you would like to order tickets or find out more, see the email copied below:

To our friends,

Hope all is well!

Just a reminder that Daniel’s Music Foundation will be singing the National Anthem again at the June 22nd Brooklyn Cyclones game (starts at 7:00PM). Last year was a memorable evening and we decided to do it again and the Cyclones agreed!

The cost of each ticket is $16.One of our members, Artie Elefant is coordinating this effort. Please contact him directly or on his cell phone at (917) 328-1352 if you are interested in joining us. And of course, you can always contact us at

We look forward to to seeing you there! Play ball!

Warm regards,

Daniel, Ken, Nancy and Mike

Hope you can make it to this unique, fun opportunity!

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