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Local nonprofit helps families with special needs through music

10News Anchor Aaron Dickens introduces leadership award winners
Posted at 7:47 PM, Jul 07, 2024

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — Giancarlo Valdez gets a warm welcome when he walks through the door. Valdez knows how to carry a tune and he’s good at the drums too. 

Once a week, the 22-year-old attends the jam session in Chula Vista.  It’s organized by Banding Together.

The nonprofit helps adults and kids with special needs, through music.

“Growing up, I played flute and was in a band. I loved music,” said Julie Guy, co-founder of Banding Together.

Guy also loves working with people, so she became a musical therapist and co-founded Banding Together with Angela Meier.

“Julie and I went through the same music therapy internship in San Diego. We just found common synergy in what we wanted to do with our careers,” said Angela Meier, co-founder of Banding Together. 

“In our world they are total rock stars. Our program helps them feel like a rock star. They are on stage to make music and be the center of attention,” said Guy.

The music is integrated into helping participants like Valdez learn new skills at home. His mom says his life has changed in a short time.

“As a mom of a special needs child, you just want your kid to be happy. To see him light up the way he does when he comes in and be the star of the show it’s amazing you know,” said Valdez’s mom. 

“It is just so rewarding. I leave feeling like a better person,” said Guy.

For making families with special needs feel like rock stars, Julie Guy and Angela Meier from Banding Together are our leadership award winners. Congratulations!