American Idol star Allen Stone made a stop at PARC, in the midst of his U.S. tour, to perform a six-song set of covers and originals for the adult clients with developmental disabilities. Originally from Chewelah, WA, Stone is a Capitol and ATO Records recording artist deeply devoted to making uncompromisingly soulful music that transcends all pop convention. As a 31-year-old singer-songwriter, Stone is no stranger to performing in front of sold-out venues. However, the 85 individuals who cheered him on this Thursday gave him quite a surprise. “I’ve been on tour for three months now and this by far is my best audience yet!”, Stone said to the crowd.

The show was not open to the public due to restrictions regarding media attention and safeguarding clients, but there was nothing short of fun, excitement and laughter in the room. Stone played two originals (“Love Where You’re At”, “The Bed I Made”) and several covers requested by clients including John Denver’s “Country Road” and the Eagles “Take It Easy”. At one point during the show, a client joined Stone on stage to accompany him in “Bare Necessities” from Disney’s The Jungle Book. After his performance, Stone held an autograph session where he introduced himself to every client, interacting with them in his typical heartwarming style. Clients were able to share their excitement by connecting with him, laughing, crying and giving hugs whenever possible.

For individuals with developmental disabilities, live music performances, like Stone’s, captivates attention, motivates action and brings joy and success. It’s a multi-sensory activity that incorporates visual, kinesthetic, auditory and tactile systems. It also acts as a non-verbal system for those who struggle with language. Music can be a wonderful way to connect with others and express oneself.

PARC hopes Stone’s visit will encourage more people to volunteer their time and talents. Passionate volunteers are always needed as both children and adult individuals benefit tremendously from experiences like this. If you would like to volunteer, PARC has all the information you need to get started, whether you’re looking to do brief service, bring a group or want to make a longer-term impact. Contact PARC today at (727) 345-9111 or visit the website and fill out the Volunteer Form.

PARC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for children & adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest. PARC provides over 40 programs and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Established in 1953, PARC currently serves more than 800 people in the greater St. Petersburg area.

Photos and content provided by PARC

For another great story about a Destination Tampa Bay non-profit that is helping out children read this.

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