Southwest Florida Music Education Center wins ENPY award

Southwest Florida Music Education Center wins ENPY award

Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) was named Nonprofit Rising Organization of the Year for Southwest Florida at The Community Foundation’s annual ENPY nonprofit awards Oct. 18.

This award honors a nonprofit organization that has been in business for less than five years, has achieved stellar results and serves as a model for excellence in the non-profit sector.

“We are so pleased to have been recognized for the work we are doing to open the doors of possibilities for neurodivergent musicians in our community. It’s amazing to watch our student musicians develop their talent and create new pathways to independence, fulfillment and employment,” said Jennifer Clark, vice president of the Southwest Florida Music Education. “The first of its kind in the world, our post-secondary curriculum provides practical, career-oriented music education for college-age musicians who learn differently from their typical peers.”

Founded in 2019, SWFLMEC serves young adults who have a skilled passion for music but may not thrive in the traditional college or conservatory setting. SWFLMEC exists to help these musicians fulfil their passion for music while navigating diagnoses such as, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), learning disabilities, anxiety-related disorders and more.

In partnership with the Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education in Boston, SWFLMEC began offering two-year and four-year post-secondary music certificates this fall, focusing on core areas of musical skill development including performance, music theory and ear training, music history and a variety of electives such as technology, songwriting and composition. SWFLMEC currently operates out of the Toni Stabile Education Building at Artis – Naples and has plans to move to its own campus in the fall of 2024 at 2655 Northbrooke Drive, part of the former Hodges University Naples campus.

The Community Foundation received a record number of nominations for the annual ENPY Awards, which for six years have been recognizing nonprofits and nonprofit leaders throughout Southwest Florida. A panel of impartial, non-local judges selected three finalists in 12 categories from the nominees.

The Community Foundation was founded in Cape Coral and represents 5,214 nonprofits with a combined workforce of 37,619 employees that generate $4.15 billion in annual revenue. The Foundation is creating Generous People, a television program that will broadcast across Lee, Collier, Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades and Hendry counties will feature nonprofit leaders and experts.

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Dr. Teresa Taylor

Dr. Teresa Taylor

Director of Mental Health

In her role as director of mental health, Dr. Teresa Herrero Taylor will provide behavioral and program support to student musicians and staff. Born and raised in Boca Raton, FL, Taylor has practiced as a licensed psychologist and doctoral-level board certified behavior analyst for over 15 years, conducting evaluations and providing individual, group and/or family intervention and therapy working with both children and adults with anxiety, depression, ADHD, executive functioning weaknesses, autism spectrum disorder, social skills weaknesses, behavioral difficulties at home or school, and/or other life adjustment needs. An experienced, independent, motivational leader, she is passionate about mission-driven work and is excited about empowering neurodivergent young adults to be at the center of change through music and the arts. She has been an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate Psychology Department at Rider University for the past nine years and has worked in New Jersey public education for more than 20 years, overseeing behavioral, social skills, and mental health assessment, intervention, and programming across multiple school districts as a director of special services.