Nonprofit gives kids with special needs artistic experiences

Life Long Dreams started simply enough: with one child and one mother. Today, the nonprofit hosts scores of children and brings kids with special needs together to express themselves artistically and find the confidence to share that expression.

Cathy Warriner knew her child, Zach, was having a hard time in school and that he tried to keep a low profile for fear of being picked on or bullied. It was a strategy that wasn’t always successful. He had always liked singing and had a talent for it, so she gave him a toy microphone and soon discovered it was a transformative tool. Gone was the shy, retiring child, and in his place was a confident entertainer.

The nonprofit Life Long Dreams sprang from that seed with weekly classes for children and young adults with special needs in a variety of artistic endeavors, including performance and visual art.

Andelyn Olsen brought her son, Dallin, to Life Long Dreams, 1785 E. Sahara Ave., on the recommendation of a caseworker at the Desert Regional Center, 1391 S. Jones Blvd., a state agency that Olsen describes as a clearinghouse for people with disabilities.

“My son Dallin has always loved music,” Olsen said. “Before he could talk, he could hum. He has perfect pitch.”

Dallin has autism spectrum disorder and has been taking drum lessons at Sport-Social, 7055 Windy St. He has been drumming for a year and a half at the east valley business designed to build self-confidence, social skills, and positive behaviors among kids of all ages and abilities. Life Long Dreams seemed like the logical extension to that study.

“Dallin has really poor motor skills, but he loves playing the drums,” Olsen said. “I wondered if he’d like to do some other things that were music related.”

She and Dallin came to Life Long Dreams six months ago, just in time to be part of the nonprofit’s annual showcase in November at Sam’s Town, 5111 Boulder Highway.

“I didn’t get to watch it because I was backstage taking care of some things for the production,” Olsen said. “My mother came and watched along with my other children and Dallin’s father. They all loved it.”

Genevieve (last name withheld), a singer who often performs with her friend Mark Giovi, has been involved with the charity and the show from the beginning.

“Eight years ago, one of the founders asked me to help out putting on the show, and I’ve been there ever since,” she said. “I helped get some other performers involved, and I give vocal instruction every Saturday.”

The school is staffed with volunteers, many of them working professionals such as Genevieve and Giovi, who donate their time because they feel the non-financial rewards are so great.

“The students really enjoy it,” Genevieve said. “They work hard. There are no disabilities in our classes. It’s all special abilities because all of us have a special ability. Anything they do, they do because they love it, and they really want to do it. They’re all dedicated students.”

The annual performances allow any student who wants to be a part of it to perform on the stage in front of an audience of hundreds. The nonprofit has extra sessions before the performance to give the students more time to rehearse. Genevieve said the program is looking for another venue this year to give the kids another opportunity to perform because that’s what they love.

“With Life Long Dreams, they all have the opportunity to be the stars,” she said. “They learn their dance steps. They learn their music. We have professionals to support only.”

She said that she’s found the students to be dedicated and diligent and added that they work harder than other students she’s worked with, and they never complain that the work is too hard.

“My friend Mark has written a song called ‘A Different Kind of Normal,’ and we’ve adopted it,” she said. “People say, ‘It’s normal to do this,’ and I say ‘What’s normal?’ We all have our own normal.”

Danny Titus, president of the board of directors for Life Long Dreams, has been involved with the program for several years, originally coming in to help them with technical aspects not directly related to the children.

“They need some photography, video and some design work and a website,” Titus said. “Those are all things I do, and for the first three years, when they called, I did what they needed and made sure everything looked good.”

About a year ago, the nonprofit was undergoing some organizational challenges, and once again, Titus answered the call and came in to do what needed to be done.

“They asked me to come in and help,” he said. “I had no idea I’d end up running the organization.”

He wasn’t sure about taking the position, but it was the kids who finally convinced him.

“I came in, and the kids all remembered me and greeted me and gave me hugs,” Titus said. “I was blown away. I had no idea they would even remember me.”

Olsen was very impressed with Life Long Dreams the minute she walked in the door, she said, as was Dallin.

“The feeling there of love and acceptance and family was something that I’d been looking for ever since I moved to Las Vegas five years ago,” she said. “I felt like I was coming home.”

Visit lifelongdreams.org or call 702-415-8184.

To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email ataylor@viewnews.com or call 702-380-4532.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Entertainment
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like