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The Jason Mraz Foundation "Kaleidoscope" Production Shined a Light on Inclusive Arts

Updated: Feb 23


Andrea with Jason Mraz, and Luis, Andrea and Jordan before their performance
Andrea with Jason Mraz, and Luis, Andrea, and Jordan before their performance

The Jason Mraz Foundation's recent production of "Kaleidoscope" at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido was a concert and so much more! It was a vibrant celebration of inclusion, accessibility, and the power of artistic expression, featuring inspiring individuals like Andrea, Luis, and Jordan.


Andrea dancing in the show
Andrea dancing in the show

Andrea Rivera, a Division Manager with Toward Maximum Independence (TMI), a nonprofit serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and a member of Wheelchair Dancers Organization (WDO), took center stage alongside Jason Mraz and other talented performers. As a wheelchair dancer, Andrea embodies the spirit of "Kaleidoscope," showcasing the transformative power of dance for individuals with mobility impairments. WDO, was one of eight San Diego nonprofit arts organizations participating in the event, highlighting the diverse range of artistic talents within the nonprofit community.



Luis center singing and Andrea dancing


"Growing up I never thought that I would be able to dance as I never saw people in wheelchairs dancing and I never thought that I would get to dance on stage with some of the best," said Andrea. "I encourage everyone to go after their dreams, even if there seems to be no way. All you need is creativity, imagination, and passion. I'd like to thank the Jason Mraz Foundation, TMI, and Wheelchair Dancers Organization, for their continued support!"

Luis center singing with Jason and Andrea dancing

Luis, a TMI client and student at the San Diego Young Artists Music Academy, brought his musical passion to the stage. His participation in "Kaleidoscope" is a testament to the Academy supporting individuals with disabilities in pursuing their musical aspirations. Luis's performance serves as an inspiration to others, demonstrating that with the right support and opportunities, individuals with disabilities can thrive in the world of music and the arts.


Luis with his parents Juan and Cristina
Luis with his parents Juan and Cristina

"Luis loves music and art. It's one the gifts God granted him and he uses it well," said Luis's mom Cristina. "He is a good pianist who plays classical and contemporary music. He is studying to be a piano teacher. Luis is very kind and loves to help people. He often prays for the well being of who he encounters whether they are a friend or not. We are very proud of him!"


TMI Job Coach Abraham Perez assists Luis with transportation to music and choir practice, as well as assists him with completing his music homework and practicing his music scales and song list. Luis can get nervous before performing so Abraham encourages him to smile and remember why he enjoys music so much!

Luis before the show and with Abraham


Jason & Jordan
Jason & Jordan

Jordan, also a TMI client and a member of the Banding Together music program, had the chance to share his musical talent with the audience by being a rockstar on the drums. Banding Together provides music education and performance opportunities for individuals with special needs. Their participation exemplifies the program's success in fostering social connection, self-expression, and a sense of belonging through music.


Jordan, who has Williams Syndrome, has been working at Vons for 11 years as a courtesy clerk with the support of a TMI Job Coach 20% of the time. His favorite duty is bagging groceries which gives him an opportunity to chat with the customers. Jordan is well-known and liked in his community. According to his mom Deena, employment has been a process but it has helped him acquire independence and reliability.


Jordan before the show with his mom Deena and working at VONS


"Kaleidoscope" was a powerful message of inclusion and independence. It showcased the talent, resilience, and determination of individuals from diverse backgrounds, and the crucial role nonprofit organizations play in supporting their journey. The production re-enforced that with the right support and opportunities, anyone can achieve their full potential, regardless of their abilities.



CHECK OUT THE JASON MRAZ FOUNDATION ON INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK FOR MORE PHOTOS AND VIDEO!


What can you do to support inclusive arts?

  • Learn more about organizations like the Jason Mraz Foundation.

  • Support programs that promote artistic expression for individuals with disabilities.

  • Challenge your own biases and assumptions about disability.

  • Create opportunities for inclusion in your own community.

Together, we can build a world where everyone has the opportunity to shine their light!


Jason Mraz is a two-time GRAMMY Award winning musician/songwriter and recent runner-up on “Dancing With The Stars”. The Jason Mraz Foundation also presented “Shine", two amazing fundraising concerts at the San Diego’s Spreckels Theater in February 2020 in which our client Paela performed. You can catch Jason on tour this summer.


Thank you to Jason and the Foundation for all that they are doing for the nonprofit community. Congratulations to the entire cast and crew on an outstanding production! We look forward to the next one!

 

Founded in 1981, Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and veterans with disabilities. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living Services and Family Support Services. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.

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