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Members of a program for the mentally ill homeless gathered with Teaching Artist Leo Schaff to create and perform a Christmas waltz to lift your spirits this holiday season.

Holiday Hope from the Homeless: Members of Outreach Program for Mentally Ill Create Christmas Waltz

christmas trees new york city homelessLeo Schaff is an actor, a singer, a performing songwriter, a Shakespearean – and an inspiring teaching-artist. Some of those he teaches are among the least fortunate among us: the mentally ill homeless of New York City.

Leo works with a long-standing homeless outreach program on the Upper West Side that’s focused particularly on that underserved and much-misunderstood part of the homeless population known as the mentally ill.

In addition to providing transitional housing, medication and social services, the program places great emphasis on creating a safe community environment, with member involvement based on a “clubhouse” model. This includes workshops in job training, computers, art, theater, and storytelling and songwriting.

As Christmas approached, Leo gathered with the members and together they wrote and performed “A Christmas Waltz,” which we are delighted to share with you this holiday season.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he's a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

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