Persbacker-Wyman Family Foundation develops $40,000 matching gift challenge to support Cultural Center’s Sound Connections program


The Persbacker-Wyman Family Foundation recently established a $40,000 matching gift challenge in support of Sound Connections, a music therapy outreach program offered by the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach benefiting children with special needs in four elementary schools in St. Johns County. 

The Cultural Center is seeking to challenge the community and help raise $80,000 to sustain this outreach program for the 2018-19 school year at Cunningham Creek, Ocean Palms, PVPV-Rawlings and Valley Ridge Academy. From now until Dec. 1, every contribution of $50 or more over will be matched dollar for dollar up to $40,000 to help the center reach its $100,000 goal.

The Cultural Center's board-certified music therapists, Minda Gordon and Candice Sirak, utilize music as an educational service to promote learning and skill acquisition. According to the Cultural Center, music therapy connects speech and singing, rhythm and motor behavior, memory for song and memory for academic material. Additionally, the practice can enhance mood and optimize the student's ability to learn and interact.

The Cultural Center added that melody is processed by a different area of the brain than speech and language. As a result, the center said a child may be able to more easily absorb information and skills presented with music. One of the purposes of the Cultural Center's therapy program is to provide children with varied disabilities assistance through melodic and rhythmic strategies, followed by the fading of musical cues to aid in generalization and transfer to other learning environments.

The Cultural Center is striving to one day be able to offer music therapy in all St. Johns County elementary school and expand the program into middle and high schools.

The Cultural Center is hosting a special event on Saturday, Oct. 6 to raise money for Sound Connections. Coined “The Sounds of Music,” this music-filled night will include a silent auction, dinner and three musical acts performed by the children themselves along with special guests Players by the Sea and the St. Augustine Orchestra. Tickets are available at or by calling (904) 280-0614 ex. 1206. Funds raised from this event will be eligible for matching by the Persbacker-Wyman Family Foundation.

Contributions to the Sound Connections Matching Gift Challenge can be made online at or at (904) 280-0614 ext. 1206. All gifts to the Matching Gift Challenge are fully tax deductible.


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