Ridge Area Arc welcomes The Rhythmic Arts Project (T.R.A.P.)

Ridge Area Arc welcomes The Rhythmic Arts Project (T.R.A.P.)

Tristan’s Legacy funding provides a new approach to learning 

AVON PARK – Ridge Area Arc received funding through Tristan’s Legacy and The Arc of Florida for the T.R.A.P. (The Rhythmic Arts Project) Drumming Program. Developed by Beach Boys drummer Eddie Tuduri following a spinal injury, The Rhythmic Arts Project is an educational program which utilizes drums and hand percussion instruments.

This unique curriculum educates individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by embracing rhythm as a method to address basic life and learning skills as well as reading, writing and arithmetic. Ten standing drums as well as several hand percussion instruments were purchased for Ridge Area Arc to implement the T.R.A.P. drumming program.

“My staff are some of the most creative and caring individuals I have the pleasure to know and T.R.A.P. drumming is right up their alley,” said Kathleen Border, CEO. “They will be using T.R.A.P. to teach everything for arithmetic to hurricane preparation in a way that is way too much fun to feel like learning.”

Ridge Area Arc Tampa Bay Executive Director, Sheldon Hershman visited the Adult Day Training Center to introduce the curriculum and meet the consumers and Arc staff.

“Our organization has utilized the drumming program in conjunction with volunteers. We have implemented the drumming program across all of our programs, as it has been successful with all levels of skill,” said Hershman.

Polly Stannard, one of The Arc of Tampa Bay’s board members, has been the driving force behind bringing T.R.A.P. to The Arc Tampa Bay. Stannard is one of the volunteer drumming facilitators and provides on-site visits to grant recipients.

Stannard emphasized the universality of rhythm and its ability to unite and foster participation for all. At our core as humans, we recall our own mother’s heartbeat and connect with rhythm throughout our lives. Stannard highlighted the creative expression opportunity as well as teaching basic skills such as coordination, concentration and educational elements. These elements can include counting, colors, sequencing and virtually anything else adapted to rhythm and repetition.

Each session begins and ends with positive reinforcement and combines four senses: Visual – students see the lesson; Tactile – students feel the instrument; Auditory – students hear the lesson spoken out loud; Speech – students speak the lesson. Lessons can be taught one on one, but work best in a group environment when others can support and learn from one another. All skills levels are encouraged to participate and all progress is celebrated. There is even a special “drummer’s handshake” shared by participants.

Ridge Area Arc will be retrofitting an existing classroom to house the T.R.A.P. program and is currently seeking sponsors to offset the cost of soundproofing the room. The Arc is also looking for volunteers for this new program that is sure to be a highlight for consumers. To sponsor or volunteer, please call 863-452-1295.

Sponsorships and volunteer opportunities are available. Call 863-452-1295.


Ridge Area Arc is a private, not for profit 501(c)3 organization, which was founded in 1957 by Franklyn and Mary Ellen Ward. Ridge Area Arc provides an array of services and support for nearly 200 families and individuals and is devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our vision is that every individual and family affected by intellectual disability in our service area has access to the information, advocacy, and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community. We work to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families have the supports they need to live an ordinary American life.


Ridge Area Arc consumers and staff participate in a T.R.A.P. session facilitated by Polly Stannard of The Arc Tampa Bay.

  The Rhythmic Arts Project is an educational program which utilizes drums and hand percussion instruments 

Arc receives The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant

Arc receives The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant

Arc receives The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant

Funds to benefit community outreach recreation programs

AVON PARK — Ridge Area Arc applied for and received The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant, through SHAPE America, for its community outreach programs. The grant was established by Dr. George T. Wilson and his wife, Irene in honor of their youngest son, Tommy.  Tommy was born with cerebral palsy and passed away in 1974 at the age of 16. Because of Tommy, Dr. Wilson became involved in recreation for developmentally disabled individuals. The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant focuses on recreational pursuits for individuals with disabilities and funds must go directly to supporting individuals with disabilities in recreational activities.

Ridge Area Arc is dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities and Special Sports Training and Recreational Services (STARS). STARS is a Ridge Area Arc community outreach program that focuses on sports and recreation for Arc’s consumers and individuals in the community. Special STARS serves children and adults with physical and mental disabilities in Highlands, Hardee, Okeechobee and southern Polk counties. Sports programs include softball, shuffleboard, bocce, horseshoes, volleyball, fishing, swimming, basketball, track and field, equestrian and cheerleading. 

Ridge Area Arc’s Special STARS/Community outreach is a unique program in the community. Each outing is disguised as “fun” and not only gives the opportunity for learning and community inclusion for the individuals served but also for the community’s better understanding of the unique obstacles faced on a daily basis by persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Special STARS serves several hundred individuals, nearly 40 percent of which are age 55 and over with two or more chronic diseases or conditions. This results in individuals being at an increased risk for mental and physical health issues due to a sedentary lifestyle.

Ansley Woods, Highlands County Area Director United Way Central Florida, submitted a nomination letter and praised the Special STARS program for its “unique ways of getting consumers up and moving, to keep them healthy and to have fun while doing it.”

“SHAPE America is a wonderful group of physical educators,” said Kathleen Border, Ridge Area Arc CEO. “We feel so blessed that they have recognized our great community outreach and our efforts in keeping our community healthy through sports and recreation.”

For more information regarding Ridge Area Arc or the Sports Training and Recreation (STARS) program at Arc please call Donna Scherlacher at 863-452-1295.



The SFSC volleyball team taught some basic skill techniques to the athletes and then played a couple games with them.