This month: Fullbright scholarship recipient, new board member, and the budget.
From Myka Miller, Executive Director:
Fulbright Scholarship: We are proud to announce that Harmony Project graduate, Brettany T. has been awarded a Fulbright grant to teach in Colombia next year! Brettany studied flute with us for three years, and recently graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Economics. She is just one example of our success helping youth who take-on the challenges that come with growing-up in a low-income environment. Brettany credits her success to Harmony Project, the life-lessons she learned, and the relationships she established through her participation. She plans to return to her community and give back; we couldn’t be more proud.
Thoughts: Steve Lopez, in his Los Angeles Times column, recently lamented the cuts in public school funding for music and art programs that will leave nothing but “drilling on the three R’s in the morning and testing in the afternoon.” The arts, he argues, are not a luxury – they are essential for developing empathy, critical thinking, creativity, community and collaborative skills in children. This resonated with me, as I have for the last few months met almost daily with my staff and board members to work on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year: it has not been an easy or pleasant task, and we are facing tough choices forced by the unsteady economic recovery. To some extent, the difficulty stems from our own success in growing our programs to accommodate the over 1400 kids we currently work with – more kids means more resources needed.
This weekend, I attended the various concerts put on by our nine program hubs, and was so moved by what I saw and heard. Kids who had worked so hard preparing for these performances, parents who listened proudly and cheered loudly: Harmony Project brings families together, and that builds communities. I’m so proud of the kids for how beautifully they played – and so proud of this organization that gives them the chance to discover their talent, and themselves.
I thank my staff, all the teachers that work with our kids, our volunteers (including our Board of Directors) who give their time and talents, and you, for believing in our organization and making our beautiful work possible.