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