AARP 2017 Purpose Prize Fellow: Gary Eichhorn, CEO, Music & Youth Initiative

“It’s really not about the music. It’s about the kids and their development and their growth. Music is what gets them in.”


It’s a typical afternoon at West End House, a Boys & Girls Club in Boston, where a cacophony of drumbeats competes with the sound of dribbling basketballs and fitness classes. “This is a relief of stress for me,” a 17-year-old enthuses over the din. Rapping and performing on the drums, bass guitar and keyboard “is how I express my feelings and get everything out. It gives you that confidence that you can do whatever you want to do.”

That’s the idea behind this Music Clubhouse and 17 additional ones in Massachusetts, Texas and Georgia. They’re part of a network being built by a retired tech executive and amatuer jazz guitarist as a way to draw in teenagers vulnerable to other temptations, who often drift away from youth centers like West End House and the other services they offer. “It’s really not about the music. It’s about the kids and their development and their growth. Music is what gets them in,” says Gary Eichhorn, that former CEO.

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‘Something magical that draws you in’

Wyclef Jean’s musical praise hits high note for Lowell High School junior

By RICK, MARCH 8, 2018

Lowell High School junior Brian Terrero-Batista had a week to remember — meeting Wyclef Jean, receiving VIP tickets to his show, and jamming out with him post-show. See video at SUN / RICK SOBEY

LOWELL — Brian Terrero-Batista starts finger-picking and percussion- tapping his guitar on stage.

Wyclef Jean — the three-time Grammy award winner — bobs his head, swaying back and forth.

He’s catching a vibe from the 17-year-old Lowell High School junior.

“Everyone always says they think it (the unique strumming and tapping) is so cool, and then Wyclef hears it and goes wide-eyed,” Terrero- Batista recalls from last week. “That was pretty awesome.” After jamming out and talking about music at UMass Lowell last Thursday, the pop superstar handed the high schooler VIP tickets to his show in Boston later that night.

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Music & Youth Receives Generous Grant from SheGives

Boston MA, August 9, 2017 — The Music & Youth Initiative is pleased to announce receiving a generous grant from SheGives after being selected to be on their 2017 slate of nonprofit organizations.

SheGives is a Boston-based private foundation that connects committed, inquisitive donors to a broad portfolio of vetted philanthropies around Greater Boston. The vetting process ensures that SheGives members can choose to make donations to or become involved with a slate of organizations that meet a high set of financial and operational standards.  

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The Opportunity of a Lifetime

The 2017 Music Clubhouse Showcase Gives Teens Joy and Self-Confidence

Picture this: 100 teens from different cities and different backgrounds, all with a shared love of music, together backstage in one of Boston’s most storied performance venues. They’re nervous but incredibly excited as they hold guitars in their hands or give their song-lyrics one last look. They can hear hundreds of audience members taking their seats. They deserve this. They’ve worked so hard for months. They’re about to step onto the Berklee Performance Center Stage and show their peers and family members– and themselves– all they’ve accomplished, musically and personally. Continue reading

Teens Become Leaders on Stage and Behind the Scenes

Bank of America Awards $25K Grant to Music & Youth Initiative’s Youth Leader Program


Boston MA, June 13, 2017— When 17-year-old Nicolas stepped on the Berklee Performance Center stage on May 5, it wasn’t just as a musician. He was there as a leader and mentor, a culmination of his hard work as a Youth Leader in his Boys & Girls Club’s Music Clubhouse. The event was the Music Clubhouse Showcase, where 100 youth from 14 Music & Youth Music Clubhouses took the stage to perform. Youth Leaders were at the heart of these performances, helping in preparation and organization, behind the scenes and on stage.

The Music & Youth Initiative’s Youth Leader Program, which provides workforce development opportunities for teens who have demonstrated excellence and leadership potential in their after-school Music Clubhouse programs, recently received a $25,000 grant from Bank of America. With this generous support from Bank of America, underserved teens like Nicolas are developing life and career skills and becoming leaders in their local communities. Continue reading

Music & Youth Grants $450,000 to 11 Nonprofits to Support After-School Music Programs

weh-ukele-image-sizeBoston MA, December 1, 2016 — The Music & Youth Initiative is pleased to announce that in 2016, it contributed $450,000 in grants, equipment, and support services to 11 Youth Development Partners in support of their after-school music programs.

With the funding and support from Music & Youth, these Youth Development organizations are able to establish Music Clubhouses where underserved youth, ages 10-18, can participate in contemporary music lessons, learn how to use music recording technology, and have performance opportunities. Through this unique, hands-on approach to music immersion, the youth participants are staying off the streets, improving academic and social skills, and building self-confidence and self-esteem.

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