Maryville collaborates with Pujols Foundation to provide music therapy for young adults with Down Syndrome


ST. LOUIS–Fifteen young adults with Down Syndrome in the St. Louis area are benefitting from music therapy thanks to a unique partnership between Maryville University and the Pujols Family Foundation.

Last summer representatives of the Pujols Foundation connected with Cynthia Briggs, Director of the Maryville Music Therapy program, to start discussions about starting a music therapy program for Pujols Foundation clients who live with Down Syndrome. Maryville helped the foundation find and hire a certified music therapist and  the “Rhythm of Life” music group started in late October.

The group of 15 young adults meets once a week with the therapist on Maryville’s Sunset Hills campus. The inaugural group was limited to 15, but another 13 are on a waiting list the program. A student intern from Maryville’s music therapy program also participates in the program.

“The Pujols Foundation and Maryville are hoping this will be an ongoing program,” Briggs said. “By spring, I hope we will be able to meet twice a week and involve more young adults and music therapy students.”

The Pujols Family Foundation is a public not-for-profit organization headquartered in St. Louis and dedicated to raising awareness and fulfilling the needs of families and children who live with Down Syndrome and other disabilities or life-threatening illnesses. The foundation also seeks to improve the quality of life for children living in poverty in the Dominican Republic.

Former Cardinals star Albert Pujols and his wife, Diedre, who are parents of a daughter with Down Syndrome,  launched  the foundation in 2005.

Music therapy is an established health profession in which a certified music therapist uses music within a therapeutic relationship to address patients’ physical, social, emotional and mental needs.

About Maryville University

Maryville University is a selective, comprehensive and nationally ranked private institution with an enrollment of 5,033 students. Maryville offers more than 75 degrees at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels to students from 46 states and 30 countries. Consistently ranked as a top private school by Forbes and Kiplinger’s, in 2012 Maryville was named the No. 1 Overperforming University in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Maryville’s athletics teams compete at the Division II level in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Founded in 1872, the University is ideally situated on 130 picturesque acres in West St. Louis County.

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