It is with a great deal of pride and excitement that I announce the beginning of a new program called PROJECT MAGIC. PROJECT MAGIC is a program that is designed to give the gift of magic to people with numerous physical, mental, or social disabilities, using magic as a therapeutic tool for rehabilitation.
I was recently working with therapists at Daniel Freeman Hospital and they introduced me to an eight year old girl who had had a stroke. She had lost all awareness of the right side of her body and was quite shy. I showed her a simple magic trick with a rubber band and then left her with her therapist. Fifteen minutes later she approached me in the hall, performing the rubber band trick using her right hand! The magic had motivated her to use muscles that she wouldn't recognize or be motivated to use moments before!
Obviously, as a person leans the mechanics of a magical effect, they are motivated to increase their dexterity, as well as their visual skills in recognition of color, shapes, and ability to work with numbers and problem solving. There is, however, another important aspect which has become apparent to everyone working with PROEJCT MAGIC. Since most persons with disabilities have come to believe that they are less capable than a non-disabled person, being able to perform a simple magic trick allows them to do something that others cannot. Only a magician knows the thrill of creating an illusion. When an audience reacts or applauds our magic, we feel like we have accomplished something. We want to share this feeling with those who have never had the opportunity to experience it. The therapeutic value of this new self-image is incredible.
The PROJECT MAGIC staff, along with doctors and therapists, are currently assembling a special booklet that will be used for teaching. All of the effects used in the booklet are non-competitive. They are not the type of secrets that would interfere with a working magician's act. The effects are being carefully selected from a library of donated material, and are designed to be both simple to perform and yet challenging to the person learning them - to develop new skills. Remember that the simplest of tricks for you provides a totally new learning experience for a disabled person.
PROJECT MAGIC is also designed to affect persons of both sexes, every age, regardless of their handicap. It will be of benefit to a variety of disabilities, such as persons with arthritis, stroke, spinal cord injury, head trauma, or just low self-esteem.
Now that you understand what PROJECT MAGIC will accomplish, I should explain how we could use your help. Within the next few weeks, we hope to complete the booklet that will be used in teaching the magic. It will give both the secret and a brief description of the therapeutic value of each effect.
This is where you will enter the program. I need magicians from every part of the country to assist in teaching the therapists and the disabled persons how best to perform the magical effects. It will require some of your time, actually going to the hospitals in your area, to help explain and demonstrate the project. Then you will work with the disabled persons, therapists, and others working with the disabled, teaching the specific tricks. After this initial contact and training, your follow-through could include your role as a consultant and resource.
PROJCT MAGIC will cost you nothing financially, but it will require that you are willing to take some of your time to make sure that the program succeeds. Naturally, the amount of time needed depends on the number of people involved and the speed at which they learn. I should also point out that PROJECT MAGIC is not a one-time program. We are sure that it will continue to server people fro many years to come.
There are rewards for your service. The most obvious payment you will receive is a look of confidence and hope in the eyes of the people you are helping. We are also creating a special recognition program for participants in PROJECT MAGIC.
If you are a member of The Society of American Magicians, The International Brotherhood of Magicians, or any other magical fraternity, we will be giving out special awards of merit, based on the effectiveness of PROJECT MAGIC in your area. There will also be individual awards for personal achievement. We are coordination PROJECT MAGIC to be part of National Magic Week and we have already received nation-wide exposure on television. This letter is appearing in all major magic magazines and in the months to come there will be different news updates in each publication. PROJECT MAGIC is a great way to brighten the image of magic and yourself, through positive publicity and press coverage.
If you are interested in becoming involved in PROJECT MAGIC, please drop us a note at our new mailing address, and let us know. As soon as the booklets and information become available, I'll be glad to mail them to you.
In closing, let me just say that since we have initiated PROJECT MAGIC, I have personally witnessed more miracles than you could ever hope to see in the world's largest magic shop. We have affected the quality of people's lives through magic, and with your help, we will continue to conjure up thousands more…and that is real magic!