Jo Dickey Foundation approves grant for music therapy sessions
Lisa Bailey

A chorus of support rings out for Jason as he prepares to start music lessons in May.

“I’m hoping Jason is a happy man,” says Nina Pickburn of the Jo Dickey Foundation, which approved Jason’s application for a grant to fund the sessions.

Nisha Pandey, a residential care worker at posAbilities’ Altesse House, says Jason looks forward to the music therapist’s visits.

Jason and residential care worker Nisha Pandey show the $1,000 cheque received April 8 from the Jo Dickey Foundation to fund Jason’s music sessions.


She says the minute she told him he was going to have a teacher, Jason’s happiness grew and he continues to sing around the house.

“Jason has an opportunity to do something he really wanted to do,” Nisha says.

She describes the music therapy as “another step to his success” and further building his self-esteem and confidence.

That process really took hold when Jason combined his love of music and video games with community involvement.

During this time, his joy of singing came to light.

Nisha says Jason’s melodious voice was discovered as they enjoyed their weekly lunch date at a Chinese restaurant. She was surprised to hear him sing the song playing on the eatery’s sound system.

The same thing happened on a return visit. Jason, with a radiant smile, asked the restaurant manager to play the same music repeatedly.

PosAbilities family services and communications co-ordinator Monique Nelson, after learning about Jason’s musical interest, put him in touch with the Jo Dickey Foundation.

She and Nina, whose son had been supported by posAbilities, had been collaborating to raise awareness of the foundation grants available to people supported by posAbilities.

They now hope Jason’s story will inspire others.

“I hope this precipitates many more applications to the Jo Dickey Foundation because they’re there, they’re ready, and they want them,” Monique says.

Nina is passionate about the Vancouver-based foundation’s work, noting it is a way to enhance the quality and enjoyment of life for adults who have developmental disabilities.

The foundation funds the wants of individuals with money fundraised and donated.

“What is exciting to me is . . . we make people happy little by little,” Nina says, noting previous grants have funded everything from a computer with special components for a legally blind person to trips to Disneyland and New York.

Nisha says the application process isn’t difficult and encourages others to apply.

In addition to the music therapy, Jason will continue to participate in a weekly sing-along group at the Community Living Society.

He’s been attending the sessions for a few months now as another avenue to pursuing his interest.

To learn more about the Jo Dickey Foundation, visit the website at

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