Sneaker drive to help provide music therapy for local families

Anderson Music Therapy beginning monthlong drive Monday

By Colter Anstaett - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Your old tennis shoes can now help provide music therapy.

Anderson Music Therapy in Roanoke uses music to help kids and adults meet goals, like developing motor skills or communicating.

The company will start a monthlong shoe drive on Monday.

The shoes will be given to a nonprofit that recycles them and, in return, Anderson Music Therapy will get money for each pair of shoes.

All of the money will be used for scholarships for people who need therapy but can't afford it.

"When you are in one therapy, you typically are in several and that money adds up quickly. So we really want to try to help," Anderson Music Therapy founder Noel Anderson said. "When families come to me and I can see potential in their child or their adult child and they say, 'Oh, we can't afford this, though,' that breaks my heart."

Louise Dillon's granddaughter has autism and receives music therapy from Anderson.

She said the therapy has been very beneficial, so she's glad to hear about the shoe drive.

"I think the biggest thing is (the therapy) helps her to define her emotions," Dillon said. "She has not been able to do that, but I've noticed just recently she'll say, 'I'm mad,' or 'That was a little sad.'"

The goal of the shoe drive is to collect 2,000 pairs of athletic sneakers, Converse (tennis shoes) and rubber cleats.

Shoes can be dropped in the donation boxes at Brandon Oaks Rehabilitation, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Total You Health.

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