Kids are kids…they all have hopes, dreams and aspirations for their lives. The economic disparity in our country creates an uneven playing field, erecting barriers for young people whose economic circumstances limit the OPPORTUNITIES available to them. Many urban teens and tweens navigate the reality of underfunded schools and dangerous streets, with limited positive outlets for their creativity and energy.
They deserve better.
In 2004, Joan and I decided to roll up our sleeves and do something about this disparity. We founded the Music & Youth Initiative, a non-profit organization whose goal is to give every young person an opportunity to bring the magic of music into their lives. We were particularly concerned with the lack of after school programs for teens and tweens (ages 10-18), a crucial turning point in many young people’s lives. We decided to create a program focusing on providing these youth with a world class environment for learning, performing and recording contemporary music.
Why music? Because music has been proven again and again to build academic and social skills, create an important outlet for expression and build self-confidence and self-esteem. And, most importantly, music is a magnet that attracts teens away from the violence of urban streets and into safe caring environments where they can learn and grow.
With my background in business and my passion as an amateur musician, and Joan’s education as a social worker and as a CPA, our husband and wife team formed the core of Music & Youth Initiative.
With every performance, open mic night and CD release party we go to, we are energized by the enormous impact music has had on the lives of so many of the youth we serve.
Each year, almost 1000 youth enroll in music lessons in our clubhouses. At our annual Showcase event, nearly 100 youth have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience of over 1200 cheering family, friends and neighbors. That event really highlights the scope of the impact Music & Youth Initiative is having.
This is the best job we’ve ever had!