A Message from The Founder
I’m so thankful for your interest in The Beat of Life, in whatever capacity it may be. I’d love to share a little about myself, which will naturally include a little of the backstory of the beginning of The Beat of Life.
It took my life journey in its entirety to arrive at the eventual creation and launch of this organization. My personal and professional experiences, my musical background, and my faith have all funneled into and fueled this vision and passion to use music to transform – and potentially even save – the lives of the most vulnerable and challenged among us.
But like most Founders, that journey actually truly started beating within the younger me’s heart, at just 9 years old in my hometown of San Diego California, with my own tumultuous life story. Because of some extraordinary challenges throughout my childhood that began with the 12-year year high-profile incarceration of my father and subsequent loss of all worldly possessions and life as I knew it, (read more about that story here) I developed early on an incredible empathy for the downtrodden in the world, and a strong calling within to spend my life helping others overcome the trials of their own. So I got my Bachelor’s Degree from The University of San Diego and went into the field of social work.
But I was also a songwriter and musician, and had used music constantly as my own therapeutic tool. As happens with many, I also caught the music bug in college, and especially developed a love for songwriting. I had been gradually discovering that some of my greatest moments of healing from a past full of pain came most profoundly through music. In many ways and at many times during my struggles and battles, I can honestly say that music quite literally saved my life.
I began performing, writing, and recording with many fellow musicians, artists, and bands in San Diego, and eventually became part of a duo with one of my best friends. My passion for using my life somehow through human and social services led to my eventual choice of study. But my music and human/social service passions began to grow simultaneously, like two separate strands…but strands that, unbeknownst yet to me, were about to become very much intertwined with one another.
I began my social work career working with youth and teens often referred to as “system kids” – those in the foster care/residential social welfare system who were suffering immensely from lack of an in-tact and healthy family; those who had parents in prison, parents on drugs, apathetic parents, deceased parents, or some combination of all of the above. Because of my own experiences, I had a keen understanding of what they were going through, as well as a fierce compassion for these kids. And I became so passionate about stepping in at a time when I believed these kids could still be reached and salvaged and given a chance at building a successful life regardless of their families or their past.
However, it was when I was offered a position in San Diego to create, from the ground level up, a therapeutic music program at a brand new residential facility for teens in the social welfare system that I began to first experience the true power of using my passion for music within and alongside my social work, as a therapy for others. But much more important than simply a “dream job” for me, I witnessed something that took my breath away.
I saw in full color how it was music that brought these kids back to life… it was music that ministered to their confused, angry, and often hopeless spirits, and that possessed the power to heal them, and save them, when no other therapy, or anything else being offered to these kids could. It was music that allowed for the healing of the soul within, so that all other healing needed could then follow and become possible.
And it was in those moments that I now believe I was being given a message of what I was meant to do with the music inside of me… to use it not only as a healing agent and creative outlet for myself… but to share that incredible vessel of healing with all my fellow wounded in the world.
When I moved to Nashville to be closer to the songwriting community of which I had started to connect with as a songwriter, I was immediately recruited to create a similar music program for a residential facility for adults, seniors, and children with physical and mental disabilities and illnesses. I now believe it was a divine providence of sorts that I began to fuse my two passions (helping people and music) into one, as I began creating music programs for various social service organizations.
The incredible success with these programs eventually led me to the creation of The Beat of Life, as I became infused with this new vision to see as many human service agencies and populations in need have programs utilizing this most powerful of tools we have available to us on earth: music.
Oprah once said that she felt that everything in her life experiences… all the beautiful, shiny, euphoric moments and blessings, but also all of the moments of great tragedy, trial, and heartbreak… brought her to the place where she was finally able to use it all for the purpose God had in mind for her. I love that statement, because I believe it is how many could summarize their own lives, and it is exactly how I would summarize my journey to The Beat of Life.
I am a Christian whose faith means more to her than anything else in her life. I am a songwriter and musician. I am a social worker who has worked with a vast array of the underprivileged, impoverished, infirmed, hurting, broken, and lost populations of human society. But I am also one who has been broken and hurting in just about all of the same ways myself, one who has survived enormous challenges and trials of life, and one who has developed an unquenchable passion for merging all of these pieces of who I am to somehow minster to and serve this world, and bringing as many as possible along with me.
The Beat of Life has my story written all over it. But more importantly, I hope it just may have your name written all over it too… and that you might join me, somehow, in this crazy crusade.
I was so honored to have my Alma Mater, The University of San Diego, choose my story and the story of our work at The Beat of Life for its magazine cover feature story in the Summer of 2018.