GreenSpring's Harp Therapy Outreach Program, the first in the nation, was founded in 1995 as an outgrowth of the American Youth Harp Ensemble. Today, it has matured into a nationally recognized program pairing youth mentors with disabled peers through partnerships with community agencies and schools region-wide.
The Harp Therapy Outreach Program offers harp and music instruction to at-risk youth and students with mental, intellectual and physical disabilities, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, and other emotional and neurological disorders.
This life-transforming experience not only provides these students healthy social interactions with their peers, from whom they are often isolated, but also results in clinically documented improvements in behavior and occupational motor skills. This innovative program utilizes the harp and music instruction to develop musical, psychosocial, and physical skills in disabled children and youth, enabling them to build life and social skills and develop friendships and peer groups that otherwise would be difficult to acquire.
Students with disabilities build life and social skills as they develop friendships and peer groups. Mentors benefit through experiencing a viable application of their music study, giving them direction and strengthening their chances for a college education or career in music.
In addition to peer mentors, the program includes a professional harpist/educator, music therapist and occupational therapist. A weekly evaluation tool measures the efficacy of the harp as a therapeutic tool. Progress in musical, psychosocial and physical goals continues to be recorded.