Special Drums to Fill Special Needs

When Dennis Jensen saw his step-grandson, whom we’ll call Tim, drum in a SaintA Christmas program, he though he could do something to step things up a bit.

Tim is in the Residential program and its Transitions Therapeutic School (TTS), and the performance was part of the performing arts work the boys do with Express Yourself Milwaukee. Mr. Jensen wasn’t really taken with their rectangular drum, he said, and, “I thought, ‘I can make one that at least looks partway round.’ ”

Dennis Jensen, left, with David Rothe.

So he and Tim took to the garage at his West Bend home and created an eight-sided, wooden drum out of 2 x 4s, sanded it, glued all the sides together and covered it with clear packing tape. It looked great and it worked.

When Tim’s teacher, David Rothe, saw the drum, he thought it was pretty wonderful, too. So he asked Mr. Jensen if he could make six more to use in classes.

“I figured if somebody can enjoy them, fine,” Mr. Jensen said. So he and Tim got to work, cutting, gluing and sanding. Although he was paid for the wood, he donated all his time and labor.

He delivered the drums, which will be taped over the tops later, at the recent end-of-school event for TTS. Decked out in tie-died shirts Mr. Rothe’s class had made as part of a unit on the ‘60s, Tim beamed when the drums were brought in.

“That was very generous, and it’s a great contribution to TTS students,” Mr. Rothe said. “Some of our kids need greater skills in rhythmic and repetitive activities, for regulation. So this will really help.”

Tim said he had a great time working through an entire weekend with “Pa-Pa” to fill the order. And students will benefit in the fall when EYM returns for more activities with the boys.

Said Mr. Jensen, “I was happy to help out; I’d just like to see and hear the finished product!”

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