Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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March 31, 2012

Annual benefit riding into its 40th year May 19

GOSHEN —  Ride-A-Bike is a fundraiser for ADEC and its clients with special needs, but it is also an event that demonstrates a community “that gets it,” according to an agency official.

ADEC Vice President Larry Bontrager spoke at a kick-off event Thursday at the Shoots Building in Goshen, which serves as a day center for ADEC clients and a coffee shop that employs clients.

The 40th Ride-A-Bike is scheduled for May 19 with registration at 8:30 a.m. at Concord High School and the ride kicking off at 10. Participants may choose from open road biking courses of 20, nine or five miles on the country roads south of the school. Participants can also sign up for a one-mile walking course in the neighborhood surrounding the school. The goal is for each participant to gather pledges, with anyone raising $250 or more winning a prize. The top fundraisers will win grand prizes.

Bontrager said Thursday that community of Elkhart County is a community “that gets it — that understands it,” he said of ADEC’s commitment to helping people realize their potential.

“This is the longest running event of its kind in the county,” Bontrager said. It is also ADEC’s largest fundraiser.

Bontrager said in the 40 years the community has supported ADEC through the ride, many generations of the same families have participated.

Each year, the event focuses on one particular service ADEC offers its clients. This year’s focus is on recreational therapy and music therapy.

ADEC’s recreational and music therapy programs serve 123 clients at day programs, including the Shoots Building, in schools and in private homes.

“We are thrilled to be featured in Ride-A-Bike this year,” said Michelle McGuin, director of the programs. “We’ve seen clients progress by leaps and bounds.”

Musical therapist Jordy Blitz said the program is the “use of music to achieve non-musical goals.”

“With music therapy, we are seeing a completely different side of these clients,” she said. “Music is unique in that it is a whole brain activity. You don’t need that speech side to sing. Stroke victims have been known to get their speech back” (through music).

Krista (Jay) Riblet also spoke at the event, explaining the impact music therapy has had on her son, Jonathan, 13.

Born prematurely, Jonathan developed cerebral palsy and began to show signs of developmental delays at 9 months.

Jonathan has his therapy after school on Tuesdays,” Riblet said. “He knows when it is Tuesday.”

Riblet said since a very young age, music has had a profound impact on her child.

“When he was a toddler and not speaking, we knew through music he was inside,” Riblet said.

Jonathan would clap his hands to the beat of Barney’s music and the first song he learned to sing was “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter.

Singing has improved Jonathan’s speech, Riblet said. Instead of staccato and abrupt sentences, his voice has become more conversational.

Music therapy has helped him physically as well she said.

“Strumming a guitar, beating a drum — it’s speech therapy, physical therapy, developmental — and the kids don’t even know it is therapy,” Riblet said. “They know it’s fun.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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