By Rusty Bradshaw
The rhythmic beat of a drum can have a soothing and inspiring affect on people.
A Sun City residents uses the instruments to promote Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing. Other community volunteers help create drums to spread that healing to those in need.
Lydia A. Woods, EdD, MDiv, MACE, is founder and CEO of Drum Arizona, Inc., a nonprofit organization formed to provide communities with the experience of African Djembe and Native American drumming.
“We facilitate drums circles for the homeless community on the street, in parks and shelters, as well as drum circles for local communities, in churches, parks, senior living communities, hospitals, etc.,” Dr. Wood stated in an email.
Dr. Woods believes the drumming experience helps in relieving stress and tension, promotes relaxation and ensure feelings of well-being after the drumming experience.
“We inspire visions of Hope,” she stated “We Hope to leave children with a means of expressing themselves that helps to relieve some of the pain, frustration and stress experienced through homelessness, hospitalization or foster care.”
Drum Arizona hosts a monthly free community drum circle 1:30-3 p.m. the first Friday of each month at Lakeview United Methodist Church, 10298 W. Thunderbird Blvd., Sun City.
Volunteers in the Sun Cities and surrounding area gather the first Friday of each month to create drums then paint them. These drums are then given to homeless and foster children on the fourth Friday of each month. In 2016, Drum Arizona gave away 100 drums to homeless and hospitalized children. The goal for 2017 is to give away 300 drums, Dr. Woods stated. The group is well on its way to that goal. Since the beginning of the year, Drum Arizona has given 140 drums.
There are 30 group foster homes in Maricopa County. Each home houses 10 children, ages 4-17.
Dr. Woods’ efforts have not gone unnoticed in the Valley. During her monthly drum circle Aug. 4 she was surprised when a television crew from CBS Channel 5 arrived to inform her she was nominated for the “Pay It Forward” award presented weekly by the TV station. The crew then presents her with the award of $500.
“Imagine my surprise,” she stated. “I was speechless.”