The El Sistema after school program at Nellie Stone Johnson Elementary School in north Minneapolis uses music and more to fight poverty. I’ll explain how today in a new Minnesota Sounds and Voices report as part of All Things Considered.
The 12 volunteers work with 22 students four days a week for some intensive violin instruction. They also work with the school to help the students and their families with basic needs including food and clothing.
The volunteers, including co-founders Tricia Morgan Brist and Kelly Carter, are music educators and professional musicians. At this point, everyone in the two-year-old effort is donating their time; the stringed instruments have been donated by local music businesses, and the school is donating space and other support.
Volunteer Pam Arnstein, a first violinist with the locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, says a friend of hers in the Bloomington, Ind., El Sistema program had someone with deep pockets step forward and write a big check for them.
Many people who love music already buy the argument it has the power to change lives.