The other day a local band The Soul Rebels Brass Band came by my tutoring site to talk to the kids about music and education. There was a pamphlet on what Lamar (a band member) was talking to them about. I was leading the child I tutor, Manny through the words by underlining them with my finger. As Lamar went on explaining the different instruments Manny started to underline the words on his own, and he was following them in perfect order with what Lamar was saying. It seems like no big deal, but it made my heart swell. I knew that I was giving Manny the tools to become a better reader and that he was actually picking them up and putting them into practice.
Literacy is big deal, and in NOLA music is an even bigger deal. Prior to Katrina there were a lot of music programs for elementary school aged children in place. As of now, very few exist at all. Lamar told us that through his elementary school music program he became hooked into something positive that gave him focus in school. Lamar has both a BA and a Masters, and currently tours the world with Soul Rebels. Imagine the possibilities for the current generation here in NOLA.
Tutoring programs like STAIR (Start the Adventure in Reading) is only a small piece of the puzzle. Music and arts education isn't suffering, it is practically extinct. In a country where we are supposedly "leaving no child behind" it seems that several are neglected and discarded everyday. I urge you to get involved locally. Ask the tough questions, demand answers.
You can check out dosomething.org, volunteermatch.org, or serve.gov.
The list goes on folks. It's up to us to make the changes, and be the light. The spirit is alive in me, and I see it everyday in this city.
Hence my diatribe...