BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s Penn-Mar Human Services works to find employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Up until now, they’ve always placed people in a local business or company.
Raven says he’s been interested in being a D.J. since he was 4-years-old. Now, Penn-Mar is helping him launch his own business as D.J. Shaikh’.
“My goal is to teach people how to feel music instead of listening to it,” the 23-year-old said.
Raven feels the music he mixes. Last March, with Pen-Mar’s support, he launched D.J. Shaikh’, a mobile D.J. business.
“I was the guinea pig for starting my own business,” Raven said. “Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming when I get so many gigs.”
D.J. Shaikh’ caught the eye of a local filmmaker who was fascinated by his determination.
Raven is legally blind and has little use of his right arm. Yet he makes it work, with the help of Penn-Mar’s Gary Madigan, who’s his promoter and drives him to all those gigs.
“He has that never quit, I’m gonna fall but I’m gonna get back up type of personality,” Madigan said.
Every week, Raven meets with mentor and professional D.J. Mr. 14th to hone his craft. Along with Mr. 14th, he admires D.J.’s Marshmallow and Dead Mouse.
Raven says he loves his mouse helmet and is working on designing his own.
“I would wear a D.J. helmet which is a milkshake helmet to cliche my D.J. shake name,” he said.
Raven says he is a very shy person, so imagine the courage it took for him last March to stand in front of Penn-Mar’s staff and share his dream to start his own business, and how music saved his life.
“A family member passed away when I was 14, and that caused me to have bipolar disorder,” Raven said. “That’s why I want to D.J. cause that’s like the medicine.”
“It feels like I’m in heaven,” he said. “For me, it just feels like I’m happy and I’m in my zone.”