Parents Who Rock, a fundraising organization based in New Jersey, was more or less a side effect of Alma Schneider's longing to connect with her musical past. You know how it is: one day, you're this interesting, creative young person, then you get bogged down in adulthood, in raising kids, and you wonder what ever happened to your sparkle. At least Alma, a social worker and sometime singer/songwriter, did. "I started having kids, then slowly but surely I stopped playing altogether." Plus, there was the pressure of raising a child with special needs (one of her children has Prader-Willi syndrome), and she craved musical relief from the stress. So after the 2004 tsunami, Alma convinced the owner of a local club to host a charity concert featuring parent musicians. She gathered eight acts, and they packed the house and raised nearly a thousand dollars. A star was born (a lot of stars, actually: more than 100 parents now participate), along with a great fundraising idea. The group's biggest project to date: helping to raise $200,000 for a universally accessible playground that accommodates kids with special needs. "It was all such a whirlwind of goodness and joy!" Alma says, with her trademark enthusiasm. "It still is."
When Alma's not rocking, she's running Take Back the Kitchen, counseling people to approach cooking fearlessly. And keeping an eye on her community's most vulnerable populations. "We just ran a campaign to provide food and grocery gift cards to kids aging out of foster care who have college scholarships, to keep them afloat over the summer." We caught up with her to ask about the importance of creativity -- for all ages.
Why do you think it's key to have a creative outlet?
Whatever you do, it's so vital to incorporate your passions into your daily life, to do something that's meaningful to you for a cause that's meaningful to you; to tap into the passions of your youth. That doesn't mean doing back-handsprings if you were into gymnastics as a kid! You just have to think outside the box, figure out how to connect with the things that excite you.