Clubhouse Transformed: An Interview with HSTF’s Celina Miranda

Celina Miranda, Executive Director of Hyde Square Task Force

Music & Youth has proudly partnered with the Hyde Square Task Force, a leading community organization in Jamaica Plain, Boston, for over 10 years. In their own words: “Our work is guided by our mission: to develop the skills of youth and their families, so they are empowered to enhance their own lives and build a strong and vibrant community.”

Recently, the Hyde Square Task Force Music Clubhouse underwent a major renovation, doubling its size! Gary Eichhorn caught up with Celina Miranda, Executive Director of Hyde Square Task Force, to find out how this renovation is making a difference in the lives of the youth HSTF serves.

What inspired you/motivated you to increase the Clubhouse space?

We were motivated to increase our Clubhouse space for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we believe wholeheartedly in the power the arts have in helping youth reach their full potential. Through arts programming youth gain critical skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, leadership), grow as individuals, and are motivated to strive academically. We have seen this time and time again in our Clubhouse programming! The arts, in this case music, has been a powerful tool for youth engagement and we have witnessed firsthand youth come out of their shells as their confidence grows. Youth take the skills and confidence that the arts gives them and apply them to other areas/aspects of their lives.

Second, over the years, we had been constrained programmatically by our space. With limited space we were unable to have multiple HSTF bands happening at the same time. We also did not have a dedicate tech lab for production classes to take place while other lessons were taking place, nor did we have a quiet space for songwriting and small group instruction. Our expanded space allows us to provide a lot more to our Clubhouse youth!

How many square feet is the new space versus the old space?

The renovation of our building allowed us to grow our Clubhouse space by almost 1,000 square feet. The old space was 1,416 sq. ft. and our new space is 2,344 sq. ft.

What additional programming is now possible with the new space?

With the expanded space we are now able to:
  • Offer Tech Lab Classes (media and music production in designated space)
  • Record full bands/ensembles
  • Accommodate multiple band/ensemble rehearsals according to skill level occurring at the same time
  • Offer multiple instrumental lessons at once and in different spaces to maximize learning
  • Work on multiple music projects at once

Is there a story about youth or group of youth who have been positively impacted by the Music Clubhouse because of the new space which may not have been possible in the smaller pace?

The Red ensemble allows beginner youth to play a bigger role during band practice. With limited space before, youth who were not as skilled in their instrument ended up with minor roles during band practice and were not featured as much as more advanced youth. With the added space capacity, beginner youth are able to step up and take greater leadership roles without feeling like they are not as good as others. An example of this is Yara. When she first arrived to the Clubhouse, Yara did not feel comfortable speaking or singing in English. The new space has allowed Yara to be in a designated space with other youth who are at her level, which has allowed her to feel more comfortable in her skills and ability. She is now speaking and singing in English without feeling intimidated by the skill level of others. Yara is now taking more of a lead in rehearsals (e.g., warming up other vocalists, taking charge in setting up sound). She is also taking initiative by learning all vocal parts, not just her own, and is singing lead more. The additional space has made it possible for youth such as Yara to have dedicated space that is level appropriate and, therefore, allowing them to grow artistically in a different way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: All photos in this article belong to Hyde Square Task Force.