The Center For Discovery

At The Center for Discovery, people with disabilities work hard to find a way forward as they shape lives of meaning.

The supports we offer are grounded in the land and our community of care and education, which for many years has integrated food and farming, science and research, and health and wellness.

We are a vibrantly successful program that encourages people with intellectual and physical challenges to defy expectations, while simultaneously evolving new models for living.

What happens here matters everywhere.

  

Walter J. Scherr is a highly successful international businessman who overcame many obstacles through persistence, honor, and commitment. He grew up during the depression in Ozone Park, Queens, was diagnosed with tuberculosis at a young age and then quarantined at a large sanitarium for a number of years. Walter never forgot what it meant to be removed from society because of a disability nor the compassionate care that he received from his caregivers.

Walter was first introduced to The Center by his respected surgeon, Dr. George Todd, who invited him to tour the agency’s advanced programs and facilities. In response to what he witnessed and the high quality of care provided, Walter established the Vera and Walter Scherr Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to Center staff looking to pursue an advanced degree or continuing professional education/certification. This innovative program not only served to assist The Center by enhancing its workforce, but also provided the means to honor caregivers and recognize those who committed themselves to the caring profession.

More recently, Walter and the Scherr Family have gone on to champion the development of a Maker’s Lab and Learning Center featuring the use of such technologies as 3-D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers. In this environment, the engineering, artistic and design talents of people in the larger community will be joined with the specialized skills of The Center’s long-established Advanced Rehabilitation Technology Design group. Their objective: to create and encourage new technologies and devices that assist people with special needs, disabilities and age-related conditions – and share them with the world.

Learn More About Walter’s Life Through His Book: Walter’s Way

See Article About Walter in the Wall Street Journal

  This is Discovery Drumline

“DRUMLINE PRESENT”

With those two words, a group of five young men instantly stand at attention, raising the drum sticks they hold in their hands.

“MARKTIME MARK”

 Their feet begin to march in time.

 “FORWARD MOVE”

They march into their first formation.

  “DRUMLINE BEGIN”

 They begin to play the drums in front of them. Maintaining a steady beat, they play various rhythmic patterns with great precision and acuity. They are focused, dedicated, and unified as one unit. An impressive feat for any group, the success of this drumline group is all the more remarkable given the challenges the group members face and must overcome in their day-to-day pursuits.

This is Discovery Drumline.

Led by The Center for Discovery’s Music Therapy and Dance teams, Discovery Drumline formally began about one year ago, though its roots can be traced back much further. Many years ago, we began exploring the use of rhythm as a means for channeling and organizing the interfering behaviors of our students. We worked from the precept that rhythm is a great organizing agent, with the potential to impact focused attention, behavior regulation, and basic interactivity. After all, most aspects of human life involve rhythm, including the way we walk and the way we talk (Ross, 2016). The human body is driven by various rhythmic cycles with everything from our heartbeat to our awake/asleep patterns to the changing seasons (Hodges and Sebald, 2011). Luce (1971) purported that if a child learns to listen to their inner rhythmicity, they might learn to recognize and appropriately self-monitor mood fluctuations and behavior.

Our early experimental work in this area morphed into our “Socialization through Original Music & Movement Program”, or STOMP. Within STOMP, participants are led through a variety of interactive music and movement experiences using rhythm-based strategies. Ross (2016) defines rhythm-based strategies as the utilization of rhythmic elements to create, express, and guide successful therapeutic experiences. Rhythm-based strategies within STOMP include the use of chants, dances, creative movement, body percussion, drumming, and instrumental play. These strategies are presented within both free, improvisational formats, and within more structured forms. Participants use traditional musical instruments and dance/movement props, as well as non-traditional items such as chairs, brooms, garbage cans and newspaper, to aid in their rhythmical pursuits. The overall aim of the program is engagement in co-active, shared experiences through the unifying power of rhythm, leading to enhanced socialization.

The rhythmic beats of STOMP can now be heard in classes across The Center’s programs to noteworthy outcomes. Our Drumline group grew from a particular STOMP class where the participants showed significant rhythmic perceptiveness and musical intelligence. The team working within the group knew a next step was necessary and Discovery Drumline was born. Moving away from the various props of STOMP, Drumline participants now use traditional marching percussion instruments, including snare drums, tom toms, a bass drum, and crash cymbals. And, the expectations have grown. Participants must now learn and recall routines and patterns from session to session. They must integrate their rhythmic playing with their body movements, all while building the physical stamina necessary to wear the instruments. And, they are gaining a sense of responsibility and accountability as their individual part is integral to the success of the larger ensemble.

  “ABOUT FACE”

And with that, the Drumline retreats…but, without a doubt, the beat goes on.

 REFERENCES

  Hodges, D. and Sebald, D. (2011). Music in the human experience: an introduction to music psychology. New York: Routledge. Luce, G. G. (1971). Biological rhythms in human and animal physiology. New York: Dover. Ross, S. (2016). Utilizing rhythm-based strategies to enhance self-expression and participation in students with emotional and behavioral issues: a pilot study. Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(1), 99-105.

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Walter Scherr, Author of Award Winning Walter's Way, is a career businessman who was also an Associate Professor at Farmingdale State School and PhD candidate at NYU, He received his bachelor’s degree from Pace College attending night school, and his master’s degree from Hofstra University over the course of 15 years. He overcame many obstacles through persistence, honor, and commitment. He is a devoted family man, and an active philanthropist.

Co-Founder of The Vera and Walter Scherr and Family Foundation. Husband, father of four, grandfather of 11, and great grampy of 2. Principle and Board member of 1st publicly traded Facsimile Company. Director, CFO, Executive Vice President: Veeco Instruments Inc. General Manager of UPA Technology Division, Group Vice President at Litton Industries, Managing Director Sperry LTD.

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