Lauren Serge | Staff Writer

While music and art can speak to people, they can also help people speak to one another.

For nine years, the Melodic Connections program has built a foundation around aiding students with disabilities through the utilization of art. From June 19 through the 23, the program sponsors The Art of Being Social summer camp at the Mason Community Center, where young children practice social interactions through drawing, music, and drama.

Music therapist Liz Novak said the camp helps to infiltrate social skills to the students in a natural and entertaining manner, rather than being advised to.

“Without realizing it, they are able to use a melody to have a conversation,” Novak said, “A ton of growth and change is visible through their enthusiasm with the arts.”

The camp influences volunteers by introducing them to children with disabilities. Volunteer Connor Grimes, who studies music therapy at Ohio University, said he was intrigued by the progress that became available to the students when they started working together.

“It’s really cool to be able to use the music to improve their daily activities,” Grimes said. “Kids that would never interact are given opportunities that arise from the art to do so.”

While the camp provided the children with useful people skills, Grimes said the children granted the adults a priceless insight.

“I’m very excited and grateful to have this experience,” Grimes said. “It’s really rewarding to use something you love to improve others’ lives.”

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Photos contributed by Melodic Connections.