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For Once In My Life - PBS

Published: 2011-02-01
Author: Goodwill Industries International
Peer-Reviewed: N/A
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Synopsis: Inspiring documentary showcases a unique band with disabilities and their journey to show the world the greatness within them. Inspiring Documentary Showcases a Unique Band and their Journey to Show the World the Greatness within Them.

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Inspiring Documentary Showcases a Unique Band and their Journey to Show the World the Greatness within Them.


For Once In My Life is an inspiring, expectation-defying look at the Spirit of Goodwill® band, a unique assembly of 28 singers and musicians, all with disabilities "ranging from autism and behavioral disorders to cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, and visual impairments "who share an uncanny gift for music, joy and friendship. The film follows the band members, all of whom are program participants at Goodwill Industries® of South Florida (Miami), as their determination, talent and dedication takes them from the rehearsal room "first learning an instrument, then learning to play together as a group "to the concert stage. For Once In My Life will premiere on the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by America Ferrera, this evening, Tuesday, February 1, 2011, at 10 p.m. Eastern (check local listings).

For Once In My Life offers a behind-the-scenes look as the band members are discovered by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and music impresario Emilio Estefan and invited to perform at the 2007 U.S. Mayor's Convention, which was held in Miami. Most of the members never played an instrument before, and those who did had never before played in a band, so they faced many challenges as well as musical successes, and the journey was a test of patience and compassion as they prepared for a concert of a lifetime. Viewers will witness intimate scenes of the band members' families and homes. Some of those featured include a pianist, Christian, who is blind and autistic; lead singer Terry, who never fully recovered from being dropped by his father when he was 14 months old; and drummer Sam, whose development was stunted by his mother's efforts to hide her pregnancy.

Filled with joy, humor and tough love, For Once In My Life provides an eye-opening look at the tremendous potential people with disabilities possess, and the power of music to transform and enrich lives. Listening to the Spirit of Goodwill band in performance, viewers will realize that the members' disabilities don't define who they are.

"For Once In My Life delivers a poignant message that also gets at the heart of Goodwill's mission," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "We all share dreams and aspirations for a life lived in full, and, given the proper opportunities, we can accomplish amazing things."

For Once In My Life has won audience awards at the South by Southwest, Nashville, Sarasota and Heartland film festivals, the Jury Award at the Sonoma and Port Townsend Film Festival, and the Music Impact Award at the Nashville Film Festival.

"For Once In My Life provides a message that is consistent with Goodwill's philosophy: the people we serve have the same potential and warts that we all possess," said Dennis Pastrana, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of South Florida. "The inspiring film is a rallying point for the 54 million Americans with disabilities who should be given the opportunity to do amazing things."

To watch the movie trailer, meet the band, find out about upcoming screenings, and purchase copies of the film, visit DVDs are available at $16.99 each and the CD soundtrack is available for $15.

To learn more about the film, visit the For Once In My Life interactive companion web site (, which features detailed information on the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film's subject matter. The site also features a Talk-back section, where viewers can share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more.

In case you miss the broadcast, For Once In My Life will be offered via PBS' Video Player (streaming) on for seven days after broadcast.

For Once In My Life will also be digitally distributed and is launching online on iTunes and Amazon for viewers to download to own for $9.99 or rent for $2.99. It will soon be available on Netflix.

About Independent Lens -Independent Lens is an Emmy-Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of their independent producers.

Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about unique individuals, communities, and moments in history. Presented by ITVS, the series is supported by interactive companion web sites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen.

About Goodwill Industries International -Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of North America's top five most valuable and recognized nonprofit brands as well as a leading social services enterprise (Source: Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100, 2009). Goodwill operates more than 2,500 retail stores and the first and only nonprofit Internet auction site, Last year, more than two million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 83 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at, or call (800) 741-0186. Twitter: @GoodwillIntl. Facebook: GoodwillIntl.

About Goodwill Industries of South Florida -Goodwill Industries of South Florida is part of the Goodwill Industries International enterprise. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to training, employing and placing people with disabilities and special needs in community jobs so they can successfully transition to independence. Goodwill Industries of South Florida will be dissatisfied until every person with a disability and every unfortunate person in its community has an opportunity to develop to his fullest usefulness and enjoy a maximum of abundant living.

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Cite This Page (APA): Goodwill Industries International. (2011, February 1). For Once In My Life - PBS. Disabled World. Retrieved September 27, 2023 from

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