Together, We Can Do More!
Blog by Denie Riggs
March 23, 2023
I just got off the phone with a mom from another state who has a 10-year-old non-verbal child with severe autism. Talking with her was so humbling, AND inspiring. It was inspiring, because of what we have witnessed in the last 20 years… I was able to give her HOPE that a change can occur through the power of prayer and specific types of interaction with piano and music. She is preparing to enroll her child.
A mom called a few months ago in tears as she explained that her child with special needs had just been “kicked out” by his second piano teacher. She tearfully begged me to not drop her child from piano study if he had trouble. Of course, I said, “No problem, I PROMISE!” He enrolled and is thriving in our Kids N Keys Online Course coupled with private Zoom lessons.
A deaf mom from recently contacted me to enroll twin 8-year-old boys on the spectrum. They are doing our Online Piano Course and joined our Zoom Classroom … and despite their obstacles, they are progressing well.
I’m reminded as I write this, about another Mom who took desperate measures to end the pain involved of dealing with her special needs son, when he became too big for her to handle. His story still brings sadness to my soul.
Since the Covid shutdown, I have been able to expand my remote teaching schedule to work with awesome families who have special needs, all across America. Some have Autism, Asperger’s, and Downs… students of all ages. It is so rewarding to participate and witness their progress. The joy of music is being demonstrated in their lives as they excel at piano and their brain is being changed in the meantime!
We have no idea of the difficulty that some families face when dealing with family members with special needs.
Providing a physical place for families to come to who need physical, mental, and spiritual impartation is part of what the Zoe Life Ministry Center is about.
Our Zoe Life Ministry Center will also provide a place of respite for families, conferences for all types of meetings, including Worship Mentoring Meetings, etc.
Speaking of which, our Worship Mentoring Program is growing in numbers and in abilities. Several of our Perfect Praise students are now leading or involved with worship at their churches. We will be having a Kick-Off meeting for the next year of Worship Mentoring on Friday night, May 19th, at the Cooper House venue. (This is the same week as recital, so look for and sign up for this event if you are interested!)
We are so excited about our Zoe Life Center’s vision … and watching progress being made, step-by-step.
It has been a while since I blogged about the Zoe Life Center. Our lives have been very busy … but we are making tons of progress.
To update you:
May 2022, we purchased 2 acres of land on Mooresville Road Athens, Alabama and got busy:
- It has a small house on it, and we moved our Perfect Praise Music office there from Slaughter Road. This move will save us money in the long run, as our business have rented office space in Huntsville since 2000.
- Denie began teaching private lessons from that location.
- Michael began teaching Early Childhood Music classes there on January 9th, 2023. As soon as we put the location up on our website, it booked up with a wait list immediately.
- Perfect Praise Music sponsored an improved parking lot by installing a gravel circle drive. (see pictures)
- John Holmes, an amazing gardener and friend, is volunteering to help us with many things including planning flowers, trees, and lending lots of gardening wisdom. Our goal is to make a beautiful Zoe Life Garden, a place of respite for us all to enjoy when on the property.
- Under Mr. John’s direction, we announced an opportunity to sponsor 8 Rose of Sharon Trees. Those were quickly sponsored, planted and named. Thank you to those families who quickly responded. (See the pictures).
- Michael has been working to clear a path for a perimeter Prayer Walk. This is slow going because he is doing it all by hand. The goal will be to provide a place for those interested to pray when on the property.
- Michael and John are working to clear a patch of our property for a Garden Café (a private area, not open to the public) which will be a seating area for meals, and for our Worship Stage which we will use for our monthly worship mentoring and other outdoor events.
- This week Dave Sharp of Sharp Roofing and Construction (of Priceville, AL) donated a large storage shed! This will save us thousands of dollars. We will use this shed to store tools and gardening supplies. It will need to be moved into it’s permanent location and some minor repairs made to it, once the land dries from our recent rain. Thanks Dave!
- The board members of Perfect Praise Projects, Inc. (our non-profit board) voted to help sponsor some projects. This is important, as your donations can be tax deductible.
Here are some other things that we are working on or are planning to do in the near future:
- We reached out to a grant writer friend in Nashville, who agreed to help us acquire grants. This project, at this point, has come to a standstill. This may resume at some point.
- There is a well on the property. It needs a pump system and then we will have the water tested. We will use the water for irrigating the Zoe Life Garden and for other things, depending on it’s quality. We are getting estimates for the cost of this project, but it may be several thousand dollars to test and to build the well facility around it. More info to come as we open this project up to public support.
- The property has not been surveyed, so we don’t exactly know where our property lines are. We are on a raising funds for this service, which may cost between $1600 to $4800. You may donate to this project, or if you know of ways to quickly move forward, please contact us.
- We originally desired 20 acres, and purchased 2. However, there is 18 acres for sale next door to our property. Pray with us for funding for that property if it’s in God’s will. If we gain that property, we plan to build housing for families to stay on the property when attending conferences, summer camps etc. We have other Zoe Life fund-raising ideas to do with the property, should we obtain it.
- Our long term goal is to build a large, conference teaching center that will double as a recital hall, etc. The cost of this is very high, and we will be fund raising for it, once some of the more pressing items are taken care of.
- We are seeking volunteers to help in many areas of our expansion. Please let us know if you have areas of expertise or know of small groups, Sunday School Classes, or anyone who may be interested in helping us!
Keep the Zoe Life Ministry Center in your prayers! We have lots of plans to add to these projects listed here. We will move forward as we can!
If interested in helping in any way, please contact me by email at Denie@PerfectPraiseMusic.com or text me at 256-348-6634. Please put Zoe Life Center in the subject box. Thank you in advance!