Leo joined the Boys & Girls Club when his family came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic. After discovering the Music Clubhouse, he quickly expressed an interest in learning to play the guitar. Leo began to work with a band member, Elin, to master the guitar, and he was able to do so despite the language barrier.
Leo has been exposed to new musical styles – rock, reggae, and funk. He also has been influential in introducing Music Clubhouse members to Caribbean styles of music like Bachata and Merengue. Last winter, Leo was able to showcase his rhythm guitar skills when he joined the Music Clubhouse Band to perform two songs during the Clubhouse’s 3rd annual Pop Show.
Leo’s continued involvement in the Music Clubhouse proved to not only be a musical exchange, but also a cultural one. As Leo persisted with his study of music, he achieved a significant proficiency in the English language. And in turn, the Music Clubhouse director’s own Spanish-language skills have improved tremendously as a direct result of working closely with Leo.
“Today Leo is employed as a Youth Leader at the Clubhouse teaching guitar lessons and working closely with younger youth,” says the Clubhouse director.
As a Youth Leader, Leo is also responsible for completing a certain number of hours of personal development in academics. He has used this commitment to help him continue to improve his English language skills and prepare for the SATs and applications to college.
For Leo, the Music Clubhouse has provided so much more than the opportunity to study music. It has helped him improve his communication skills and has given him the invaluable experience of being a leader.
About the Youth Leader Program
The Youth Leader program is a Music & Youth workforce-development program that funds opportunities for Music Clubhouse members to be employed as mentors and teachers at their Clubhouse. For many, it is their first job experience.