In partnership with Social Ventures, Inc. CompassionHarp was set to receive the benefits of its not-for-profit status. A successful fundraiser and educational social was launched in the spring of 2014 and weekly visits to Cayuga Ridge Skilled Nursing Facility ensued in earnest. In addition, two group homes were served and also a handful of referred individuals needing care.
In 2017, CompassionHarp formed a partnership with Ithaca College focusing on a newly formed student club, Healing Through Musical Companionship. Through a generous grant from the Park Foundation, a program was established through to bring students from this club into Cayuga Ridge to be with residents one on one as ‘musical companions.’ This program continued through 2019 and connected several isolated residents with college companions.
A second certified therapeutic harpist came on board in 2018. Pamela Goddard completed her training that July and earned her certification through the International Harp Therapy Program. She serves patients at Cayuga Medical Center and visits long term residents at several skilled nursing facilities. Pamela says, “My inspiration and aspiration to do this work grew out of musical care that I’ve shared with Jayne, over years as a volunteer with Hospicare. Music has always been a part of my life. And, a desire to help ease suffering and serve the community is a strong motivation for me.”
March 2020 brought several changes to CompassionHarp, as we learned how to offer Therapeutic Harp in the time of COVID. Across the country, therapeutic musicians were creative in learning new ways to connect. At the same time, it was vitally important to bring music and connection to those who are isolated in long term care.
That spring, Jayne Demakos took the opportunity to work as a full time music thanantologist (playing palliative music for the dying) for a hospital complex in Washington state. Pamela Goddard continued as CompassionHarp’s sole provider just as health care settings closed down due to the pandemic. For over a year, therapeutic music was made available—remotely via zoom—to skilled nursing facilities.
During 2021, CompassionHarp gradually was able to return to in-person service, thanks to vaccinations, frequent testing, and other COVID protections. Pamela learned to play in a PPE gown and to sing while being masked.
CompassionHarp currently brings therapeutic harp and voice to Cayuga Nursing and Rehab, Beechtree Center, and Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, NY. We hope to expand our service, as pandemic restrictions shift and (hopefully!) begin to lift.