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Bi-Annual Newsletter April 2011

Our prayers for others flow more easily than those for ourselves. This shows we are made to live by charity. ~ C.S. Lewis

Yes! Grace Rocks, Inc. is founded on a firm foundation. Hope, love, faith, generosity, and kindness are often revealed in the midst of trials and sufferings. Board of Directors President: Jane Martellino Vice President: Robin Welton Secretary: Kathy Curran Treasurer: Phillip Griffin Directors Debbie Bing-Zaremba, Esq. Lori Cadmus Clare Craven Advisory Committee Grants: Jeffrey Griffin Marketing: Chip Williams Legal: Scott J. Steiner, Esq. Medical: Avinash L. Mohan, MD Public Relations: Jay Cadmus Newsletter: Laura J. Martellino Photography: Kathy Marciante Accounting: John Barbosa, CPA Taxation: Bernadette Schopfer, CPA Graphic Design: Nancy Yonkers Graphic Design: Jennifer Zalewski Youth Representative: Sara Rizzo

A Letter from the President... When Andy and Cindy Sturm asked for prayers for their eight-year-old daughter Grace after she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor, people r e s p o n d e d . F a m i l y, f r i e n d s , a n d strangers answered the call, and a virtual prayer group was born. In August of 2009, a map of the USA was hung in Grace’s room with the heading: A Nation United in Prayer. Prayers were offered for Grace by individuals from every state in the USA for many months. No one could have predicted what would grow from that seed of faith.

Less than 18 months after the Sturms’ heartfelt plea, the IRS officially classified Yes! Grace Rocks, Inc. (YGR) as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Almost one year from the date of incorporating as a non-profit organization in the state of Connecticut, YGR was recognized as a 501 (c)(3) organization. This status allows us to seek corporate donations, apply for grants from other foundations, and it means that your donations are tax deductible (to the extent allowed by law), retroactively to the date of our incorporation.

Upon hearing this exciting news, Andy Sturm responded, “I am so happy that your tireless efforts continue to meet with such great success. May the good Lord continue to bless you in your mission to bring comfort where it is so very much needed.” As you read through our first newsletter, you will undoubtedly recognize the passion that compels every member of this community to continue the good work that began at the bedside of an amazing child. Jane E. Martellino President Board of Directors

Inside this issue

Fundraising Report page 2

Gratitude Award page 5

Music Therapy page 6

All Because of Grace page 7

A Year in Review: Dollars and Cents Over 50% of new corporations fail during the first year of existence. With our struggling economy and high unemployment rates, even the most reputable charities are facing difficulties in maintaining existing programming. Creative fundraising and low overhead costs are essential. YGR not only survived the first year, we are entering our second year on the heels of a successful fundraiser that caught national attention. Read more about the success of our first major fundraiser, the All Because of Grace cookbook by visiting our website, viewing a FoxNews interview, and reading various articles found in local newspapers.

FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 11/09-12/10 INCOME Donations for All-occasion and holiday cards: $6,777 Special thanks to Elizabeth Daniel and Nancy Yonkers for providing artwork for the 2010 holiday cards. Much gratitude to Infinity Printing for donating the full cost of printing over 6,000 cards. These cards are given as thank you gifts for donations received during fundraising drives.

General Donations: $2,000 Special thanks Peter C. Henry, Jr. and Family for their very generous donation of $500 which will fund one family grant.

Triathlon: $2,069

Special thanks to Greg Flower for competing in a Half Ironman Race on June 6, 2010 on behalf of YGR.

Bracelets: $551 A donor provided silicone “Lance Armstrong” type bracelets to use as a thank you gift to triathlon donors. As the bracelets caught the attention of Grace’s peers in the New Fairfield schools, our donor purchased another batch, and in no time at all we raised a decent amount of funds with no costs involved.

Memorial Donations: $425 Donations in memory of Alice K. Martellino by Will and Pat Stout, Jeffrey and Rebecca Griffin, and Philip and Eileen Griffin. Donation in memory of Howard Eaton by Philip and Eileen Griffin.

Cookbook Donations: Over $26,161 (including sponsorships).

GRANTS DISTRIBUTED THIS YEAR (12/09-12/10) ‣ Family Entertainment: $150 (Sponsored musical groups to Blythedale) ‣ Blythedale Transportation Fund: $250 ‣ Music Therapy $2,645 ‣ YMCA membership for a client to continue water therapy: $200 ‣ Physical Therapy mats for two families in Connecticut: $439 ‣ Gasoline gift cards: $400 (Distributed in increments of $50 to families with children in long-term rehab or weekly outpatient treatments.) ‣ Scholarship: $500 awarded to Maegen Brady ‣ Family Assistance Grants: $500 awards given to three clients: Ian (Connecticut), Ryan (West Virginia), and Julio (South Carolina). 2

A DIFFERENCE A DONATION C AN MAKE This first year Yes! Grace Rocks, Inc. relied solely on the generosity of individual donors. Now that we are officially a 501(c)(3) charitable, tax-exempt organization, we will begin the process of applying for grants from foundations and corporate giving programs.

Yet, donations from individuals will make up a major portion of gifts received by YGR. These gifts are extremely important--they are the only reason we can support families in need. Every donation is special to us.

“Thank you very much for the check you sent. It was the financial ray of light I needed in a month of medical bills pouring in, work cutting my hours in half, and insurance changing/deductible going up. Thank you for all the prayers. All hope and prayers are greatly appreciated.” -Grace Grant Recipient, December 2010

$25 Provides a gasoline gift card to a family commuting to a hospital or treatment facility. $30 Provides a gift of our cards and inspirational print to a family who needs hope and encouragement. $50 Provides parking voucher for one week while the child is hospitalized. $85 Provides one music therapy session. $125 Provides one physical therapy mat for the family to use at home. $200 Provides funds towards our new assistance/adaptive technology program. $500 Provides one family assistance grant or one college scholarship.

“My sincere thanks to Yes! Grace Rocks for the donation to our son Ryan’s care. As a parent of a son in a comatose state with severe brain trauma, we struggle with daily medical expenses. The donation has enabled us to continue his care and provide us with hope for his future. We agree that Grace does rock and are so thankful for the outpouring of love and support from the foundation.” -Grace Grant Recipient, October 2010


w o n k u o y d i D Each year, about

1 in 500

children sustain an injury to the brain serious enough to require

hospitalization. Boys are twice as likely as girls to sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury. An estimated


29,000 76% 130

children and youth die from TBI each year.

children and youth are hospitalized due to TBI each year.

of children diagnosed with a brain tumor are younger than 15.

There are

Each year

different types of brain tumors, making diagnosis and treatment very difficult.


more children

(10 each day)

are diagnosed with a pediatric brain tumor in

the United States.


children in the U.S. are living with the diagnosis of a primary brain tumor.

Sources: American Brain Tumor Association Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation

WAY S TO G IV E Matching Gifts: With matching gifts you can sometimes double or even triple your gift! Many employers sponsor matching gift programs. Call your HR office to find out more. Make a donation to YGR as a way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, special occasion or holiday work gifts. Honor a loved one with a memorial donation to YGR. A special YGR print will be sent to the family as recognition of your tribute. Gather a small group of family or friends and decide how you can contribute collectively to provide one “Family Assistance” grant this year. As a family, discuss ways to adjust leisure spending so that you can experience the joy of giving rather than receiving.


Yes! Grace Rocks Announces First Gratitude Award When we considered who should receive the first Gratitude Award, the recipient immediately became crystal clear. Without a doubt, the 2011 Gratitude Award must be given to Infinity Printing in Danbury, Connecticut. In October of 2009, when YGR was just a seed of an idea, we visited with the owners of Infinity Printing, Tom Tannone and Jack Walker. We explained our desire to print a batch of cards for our first fundraiser to honor and support Grace and other children. Without hesitation, Tom and Jack agreed to help. Not only did they provide design support for this initial project--they refused to take any compensation. Tom explained that Cynthia had brought them many clients over the years, and giving back was part of good karma. (Years earlier, Cynthia Sturm had contracted a number of projects with the Danbury, Connecticut company. Cynthia believed Infinity Printing would provide YGR with guidance, as well as fair and affordable printing rates.) When Infinity Printing provided us with first-rate greeting cards that first holiday season, their generosity enabled us to show Grace’s family and friends that we meant business.

To this very day, Infinity Printing has graciously supported EVERY print project since the inception of our organization. Due to their generosity, 100% of donations received for our cards directly supports the families we serve. Additionally, when we expanded our line of greeting cards, Infinity Printing provided technical support from their graphic designer, Anthony Varbero, Jr. Then, when we needed a banner for an event that was to be held only a few days away, Infinity Printing cheerfully accommodated us yet again. Tom, Jack, and Anthony have poured a positive energy into our organization that has allowed YGR to prosper, thereby allowing us to meet the needs of the families we serve. When the idea of a charity cookbook began to evolve into a significant project (due to the exciting participation of children’s authors and illustrators), Infinity Printing came to our rescue yet again. They were invaluable to us as they reviewed the bids we received from book printing companies. Furthermore, when we ran into a crisis with the cover design, Anthony graciously stepped in and provided his talents. Undoubtedly, Tom, Jack, and Anthony epitomize all that is good in the world: kindness, compassion, and generosity. I am not sure that YGR would ever have gotten off the ground without their selfless acts of service and charity.

Please Join us in taking our hats off to Infinity Printing. You can help us thank them by sending all your printing business to Infinity Printing at 87 Sand Pit Road, Danbury, Connecticut. Tell Tom, Jack, and Anthony that YGR sent you!


The Healing Power of Music Q & A with Connecticut Music Therapy Services Similarly, the Sundance Film Festival just premiered a film about music therapy, called The Music Never Stopped which is based on a case study by Dr. Oliver Sach. The movie features the work of Dr. Connie Tomaino, a music therapist at New York's Institute for Music and Neurologic Function.

What's the value of music therapy versus art therapy? Music Therapy and Art Therapy are an apples to orange comparison because they are both very different types of media and experiences. Music therapy is the use of music and the relationship formed within music to help a client increase his/her health. With someone who is recovering from a brain injury, we are looking at ways we can help them re-establish skills. It may be a combination of active and receptive experiences and include singing, creative movement, instrument playing, songwriting, and improvisation. In music therapy we are looking to help our clients with developing their fine and gross motor coordination, their communication and their self expression. At CTMTS, we feel the client/therapist relationship and music are central to a client's success, so we look carefully at what types of music our clients enjoy and how we can most help them nurture their success through music.

Music therapy treatment is a component at many hospitals and rehab facilities. Music therapists can be found collaborating and co-treating along with other more traditional methods like speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The research and clinical evidence is continuing to bear out that music can help clients to utilize impaired neural networks and to repair or re-route them. Music therapists can take advantage of this to assist with a client re-learning to speak through singing or re-learning to walk with a steady gait by walking to a steady beat. Each client is different of course, so music therapy goes far beyond a prescriptive service!

How do you monitor progress for each client?

Why should YGR provide a music therapy session once a week for a year during the rehabilitation period? Does it have to be for an extended period of time?

Measurable goals and objectives are set at the beginning of treatment and progress is noted and monitored as the therapy process moves forward. Far beyond just fun music time, everything a music therapist does has a clinical purpose. The beautiful thing is that our clients often ARE having fun while they work!

First of all, an established trusting relationship is an especially important part of the therapy process. A therapist, including a music therapist, is going to help a client move forward--gently pushing him/her to grow and develop. Can you imagine an elementary class having a different teacher each day? It is important for the client to trust the person who is asking them to work hard in their recovery. We also know that structure and predictability assist clients who are dealing with a recovery from a brain injury or surgery, and this structure is certainly more easily maintained by the same person over time!

Does insurance cover music therapy? Insurance sometimes covers music therapy but it is very much based upon an individual's plan. Generally, MT is not considered an in-network service. Answers provided by: Jennifer M. Sokira, MMT, LCAT, MT-BC Board Certified Music Therapist Founder and Director of Connecticut Music Therapy Services, LLC

Weekly home-based music therapy for a person who is continuing their recovery at home also allows for opportunities for the client to process his/her experiences and for family members to carry-over and continue activities even when the therapist is not there.

ABOUT MUSIC THERAPY The American Music Therapy Association

What do neurologists say about adding music therapy during the recovery/ rehabilitation period?

(AMTA) defines Music Therapy (MT) as an established healthcare profession that uses

The field of neuroscience and music therapy are certainly gaining a great deal of attention over the last several years. Even in the last few months you might have heard that Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is receiving music therapy as part of her rehabilitation from her recent brain injury.

music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses.


A Recipe for Success All Because of Grace Last spring, the idea of a cookbook was not even on the radar, which makes the success of All Because of Grace even more remarkable.

Approximately 225 people participated in the making of this book with 90% of the work being performed online. This project demonstrates the powerful utilization of the Internet in connecting people together for a greater good.

In less than eight months, we developed the concept of a unique charity cookbook, recruited over 130 children’s authors and illustrators, obtained sponsorship for the costs of printing the book, attended local holiday fairs, marketed the book through librarian networks and local newspapers, participated in a Fox News interview, and shipped over 350 packages to various individuals residing in 35 states.

The motivating forces behind this project: Love, kindness, and generosity. The story of young Grace touches the heart in a way that puts love into action. YGR believes that when you ask a person to give of themselves in a way that does not deplete or tax their time, energy, or resources, he/she will help. Our belief is that an individual can give what he/she has been gifted with because when you give of your natural talents and abilities you never seem to be depleted. It’s the miracle of giving. Such giving results not only in a sense of satisfaction, but there is something truly rejuvenating about sharing your gifts and talents. The success of our book required tapping into the unique gifts and talents of people from coast to coast. Once again we must thank the participating authors, illustrators, friends, sponsors, graphic artists, proofreaders, marketing and public relations specialists who willingly shared their gifts and talents.

The results: Over 1,600 copies sold in a tenweek period generating over $30,000 of profits.

Sara Rizzo,Youth Member and Jane Martellino visit Fox News, New York for an interview

Thank you to our major sponsors!

Anthony and Joan Rizzo 7

Our Mission Yes! Grace Rocks, Inc. provides support to families when their child is diagnosed with a brain tumor or brain injury. Bringing hope, love, and faith to families when they need it the most, YGR was organized exclusively for charitable purposes as a not-for-profit organization. As a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, your donation is tax deductible.

Valuing Your Donations We currently do not accept credit card transactions. The board of directors values your donations and therefore does not feel comfortable paying a service fee for the use of credit card transactions. As stewards of your charitable generosity, we feel an obligation to use your funds entirely for the purposes of our mission.

Privacy Policy

Tom Lovelett Today, 9:41 AM

Yes! Grace Rocks, Inc. (YGR) values and respects your right to privacy. Be assured that YGR never sells, trades, or gives your name, address, phone, or email address—any personal contact information—to or with any other organization or charity. Also, we do not publish a donor list on paper or online.  You will only be honored in a newsletter for special donations (memorial or program gifts) if you have agreed to having your contribution publicly recognized.

Future Plans Holiday Season 2011

Newly designed holiday greeting cards will be available through our website and area holiday fairs. A popular children’s illustrator will design a card this year.

October 2012 Health and Wellness Fair with 5K Race Meredith Keenan, Claire Dwyer, and Laura Gill will be working on their Gold Award for the Girl Scouts and have selected YGR as their charitable project. They will be key committee members for this upcoming event. Additional volunteers will be needed in planning for this family event! Contact Jane Martellino if you are interested in serving on a committee.

Yes! Grace Rocks, Inc April 2011 Newsletter  

Newsletter for nonproft organization that serves families when their child is being treated for a brain injury or brain tumor.