Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Wards of the State embrace Drum Therapy Project

Published:Friday | October 16, 2020 | 12:17 AM

Children from six children’s homes monitored by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) are expressing excitement and joy for the Drum Therapy Project, which was recently implemented in the homes by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in partnership with the CPFSA.

Doreen Haye, caregiver of the Homestead Place of Safety in Stony Hill, St Andrew, said that the Drum Therapy Project has been very therapeutic for the children in the home.

“They are into it and on to it. They are excited and thrilled about beating the drums. Many of them wake up in the mornings with excitement and ask if I was ready to start the drumming lessons,” Haye said, exuding excitement.

For children at the Manning’s Child Care Facility in St Elizabeth, the drumming sessions are a welcome break in their daily routine.

“The experience is very good, and learning the techniques in knocking those drums is enjoyable for the wards. They love it and just the fun of the music. We hope to continue the activity,” she said.

Warren Osbourne, caregiver from the St Augustine Place of Safety in Clarendon said he thought that the Drum Therapy Project would have been a ‘walk in the park’. He, however, had to reassess the activity as he realised that beating the drum involved learning many techniques.

“One of the things I have observed while passing on the knowledge to the wards is that they gravitate towards it. They look forward to the sessions. We have incorporated it in their activities, and they are enjoying it,” he said.

Jesse Golding of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts has been training the caregivers to impart the knowledge to the wards of the State. Golding said that drumming is innate and helps to relieve stress and anxiety.


“One of the benefits of drumming is really grounding and centring us in the here and now, and that alone speaks wonders to anybody who participates and particularly our nation’s children,” he said.

Rosalee Gage-Grey, chief executive officer of the CPFSA, said the partnership with the VPA is a welcome one as the Drum Therapy Project has enabled the wards of the State to learn a new skill and has been keeping them engaged through the pandemic.

“It has been beneficial to approximately 250 of our children. This partnership has come at an opportune time. Since the beginning of this pandemic, our children have mostly stayed in, and so we have to come up with creative ways to engage them while ensuring that their educational and psychosocial and physical needs are met. Research shows that drumming accelerates physical healing and boosts the immune system. Based on the outcome we have seen, we can agree that is in fact true,” she said.

Professor Elizabeth Ward, chair of the VPA, said scientifically, drumming has proven to have made a big difference in the lives of children as it is a form of therapy to those who have been exposed to trauma.

“We have been working to get this spread far and wide in Jamaica. We thank those at CPFSA and their willingness to implement this project,” she said. “We know that music in the homes is a concrete demonstration of how together, we can reach some of the most vulnerable children in our society,” she added.

Professor Ward said persons can contribute to the project by donating on the GoFundMe platform at or to the Violence Prevention Alliance (Drum Therapy), NCB account number 061-033-629.