CHICAGO - Two local nonprofits have partnered to bring free music programs to children in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood.
Chicago Youth Centers (CYC) and Merit School of Music have teamed up to create several new music programs, including a violin class that gives students new challenges and opportunities.
Parent Brenda Bunch said the school music programs give her daughter Breanna, who is taking the violin class, an experience that she otherwise could not afford.
"It meant to me that I didn't fail my daughter in helping her to achieve one of her goals. With me not being able to afford for her to take these lessons was heartbreaking, my thing is I will go without doing for myself to give my child the opportunity to do what she wants to do," Bunch said.
For CYC and Merit, the collaboration gives kids the chance to learn music, but also skills that can translate to the classroom.
"The teaching the philosophy behind all of our programs are the same. It's about developing non-cognitive skills like problem solving and critical thinking but we use things like music or sports or culinary arts as all pathways to learn those skills," said Kevin Cherep, president/CEO of Chicago Youth Centers.
"Music is valuable, it is so important to young people not only for the musical skills that they will achieve for them being a part of a music community but also because of the skills they will learn when it comes to any pursuit in life," said Charlie Grode, president/executive director of Merit School of Music.
Bunch, Breanna's mother, said her daughter's desire to pursue playing the violin can take her anywhere she wants to go.
"She's limitless, you know before it went from you really want to do this but mommy can't make that possible to now the sky is the limit for you," she said.
This violin program is Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. Opportunities to take private, one-on-one lessons at Merit is available on Saturdays.
They have also launched a choral program in the city's Lawndale neighborhood.
For more information about Chicago Youth Centers (CYC), visit: https://www.chicagoyouthcenters.org/
For more information about the Merit School of Music, visit: http://meritmusic.org/