The Karen and Gary Dake Foundation: Child's Play Special Guest, Shamar Persaud

Shamar (far left) playing with the band using his Jamboxx

Shamar (far left) playing with the band using his Jamboxx

The Karen and Gary Dake Foundation for Children is having their annual event, ‎Child's Play 6: Shake, Taste & Twirl on April 16th to to raise funds for local children with disabilities. The foundation's goal is to provide children with disabilities access to equipment and services that will enable them to reach their fullest potential for participation within their families, communities and with their peers.

One of the special guests at the event will be Shamar Persaud, a local high school student who received a Jamboxx from the foundation. We chatted with Shamar's father, Shafeek about the Jamboxx and the impact it has had on his son's life.

"Shamar is 15 years old and he is diagnosed with Dystonia and Cerebral Palsy. These conditions cause muscle spasticity and restrict his movements somewhat. They also cause involuntary movements. He is cognitively excellent, and he's very social and friendly. And most importantly, he's always positive about life and his outlook on it. He likes school and what it offers him. And because he wants to contribute and become a part of almost everything beneficial to him he seems to build a special energy from the thought of that.

During middle school years at Mont Pleasant, Mr. Pray, the Band teacher invited him to band since he showed interest in playing music. He had Shamar test out the JamBoxx which the school bought and he included Shamar in the Jazz Band. Since then, Shamar has been playing the JamBoxx at school concerts and he even went to the Oneonta Jazz Festival and played. On realizing that the JamBoxx was making a great difference in Shamar's life I thought how wonderful it would be if he had one on his own.

That's when Mike DeCesare, who invented it, told me that The Karen and Gary Dake Foundation was willing to issue a grant for the purchase. I immediately felt happy and excited. As soon as Shamar received his JamBoxx his face lit up. Incidentally, he received it on his 15th birthday which was on October 13th, 2014. His perfect gift. He loves that device very much and what it actually helps him to do. He's able to be a part of something wonderful. Just being a part of a group of students on stage playing music helps him to realize his potentials. He's currently just playing in the jazz band, but he hopes to be able to read music properly and maybe create his own as well. He plays at home whenever he feels like and for everyone who visits, and the music sounds more and more beautiful. Sometimes I would ask him to play just so I can listen and relax. I am satisfied and happy to know that he's able to express his joys through playing the JamBoxx. And I'm happy that it was all made possible by help from great people at the Dake Foundation."

Now THAT is what this event is all about, and by attending you can help make a direct impact on a local child. Leading up to this event we want you to get excited about the positive change you can help create by sharing the #WhatsYourJam? campaign where local community members tell us what makes them happy and motivated. Want to be part of it? Just tell us, What's YOUR Jam?

Posted on March 26, 2015 .