Daily Point of Light # 1779 Nov 28, 2000

Singing and performing for large crowds comes natural to Maria Rose. She is an entertainer and the product of Baltimore, Maryland. She always wanted to sing and feels fortunate that she has been able to spend her life doing what she loves to do. Six albums and a television show are just a few of the professional accomplishments that she could list. However, she gains a greater sense of joy when serving her community.

Rose has traveled around the world entertaining our Armed Forces at remote bases. On a flight back from entertaining some troops in Panama and Honduras, she met the Maryland Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies chairman, Rick Gesue. He arranged a performance at the next State Games Ceremonies; Rose and her band were hooked.

Rose has no children, but she is very involved with children in a special way. She uses her music performances and workshops to bridge the gaps in school between mainstream students and those students with special needs. Because disabled children are often laughed at and isolated, she feels an education through music will show that challenged persons have abilities also, that are too often overlooked.

In 1996, Rose wrote “ You Are the Flame” and several coaches and 12 athletes from Maryland and the District of Columbia recorded the song. The stamina, courage and dedication of the athletes inspired her to write and record this song. She wanted to the athletes to know their importance and have something special to call their own. Other groups that worked with people with disabilities requested Rose’s performance, and she has taken the song from Alaska to Warsaw, Poland to London, England.

In 1998, Rose formed the nonproft organization, Perform Abilities. This organization brings a public awareness to the abilities of challenged persons and was awarded the IRS 501(c)(3) status in 1999. In June of 2000, Perform Abilities was awarded their first grant from the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Arts and Culture. Maria continues her work in schools, recreation centers and other facilities while Perform Abilities continues to relay the message of hope for those with disabilities.

In addition to her work with the Special Olympics and Perform Abilities, Rose serves with the Schools for the Blind, the Arc, National Down Syndrome events and at many Special Education schools. Her demeanor, outgoing personality and musical encouragement continues to give self-esteem boosts to challenged persons and inspire them to continue to strive. She will continue to tell others that “it is what you CAN do.”

Rose plans to open a theater in the future. She wants challenged performers to have a home and a chance to showcase their talents. There they can also feel the acceptance of their peers and the public. In addition to this, she plans to film an educational documentary enlightening the public by focusing on the Performing Abilities.