Attendees at the Southwest Florida Music Education Center Fund a Need Event

Supporters help Southwest Florida Music Education Center open the doors of possibilities

A cocktail reception raises more than $350,000 for instruments to serve the innovative music center for neurodivergent young adults

Dr Jeff Leigh program director of The Creative Group

NAPLES, Fla. (May 16, 2022) – A cocktail reception at the Naples Yacht Club on April 5 launched fundraising efforts for the Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC), a nonprofit partnering with the The Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education of the Berklee College of Music in Boston to provide music education programs for musically talented, neurodivergent young adults. A call for community support raised more than $350,000 during the Fund-A-Need – more than triple the fundraising goal for the event – to help cover the costs of essential music equipment and student tuition assistance.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the community to support the launch of this much-needed music center designed for talented neurodivergent musicians,” said SWFLMEC Founder and Board Chair Rob Moher. “While this is a groundbreaking program for the Southwest Florida region, the music education center has even greater significance on a national level, as it will serve as the model for future programs across the country. This exciting event signifies the start of our fundraising efforts. To see the center reach its full potential and impact the lives of countless neurodivergent young adults requires the community to rally around our mission and help us get the word out about our life-changing programming.”

Since 2019, SWFLMEC has offered the community small-scale, low-cost collaborative music education for neurodivergent and neurotypical peers through a program entitled The Creative Group. This fall, the center will begin offering two-year and four-year post-secondary music certificates at Artis-Naples’ Toni Stabile Education Building, focusing on core areas of musical skill development for students who learn differently than their typical peers.

Phase two of the project will include a new campus, student living center and dormitory. The SWFLMEC is currently seeking financial support to build the new music center and dormitory, including land purchase and campus development.

Jay Baker served as MC for the eventThe reception to support the center was emceed by Jay Baker. The Fund-A-Need Committee included Jackie Cronacher, Barbara Lounsbury, Pam Marmaduke, Diane McGinty, Mia McKee, Anne McNulty, Marcia O’Neill, Nancy F. Seeley, Lynne Shotwell, Elizabeth Star, Jenny Sutton Sara Sutton, Elizabeth Swanson, Karen van Arsdale, Rose-Marie van Otterloo, Carol Walter and Joanne Wyss.

For more information about certificate programs or to support the project, contact Jennifer Clark at or 239-205-8258 or visit

About the Southwest Florida Music Education Center

The Southwest Florida Music Education Center is a not-for-profit organization serving neurodivergent young adults with a strong interest in music. Based in Naples, Florida, its mission is to create a world-class music education center where neurodivergent students who have a strong interest in music and low to moderate support needs receive education in music and life skills, preparing them for meaningful growth opportunities that enrich their lives and the community. For more information, visit

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Dr. Teresa Taylor

Dr. Teresa Taylor

Consulting Director of Mental Health

In her role as consulting 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.