Five years ago, as a contestant in the Miss Teen Arkansas pageant, Jennifer Lynn Crawley was asked to choose a critical issue that affects society in general, or young women in particular. In researching a subject that is near and dear to her heart, music, she discovered just how critical music is to the development of a child. She resolved that she would promote music education as her critical issue and broadcast its benefits. This dedicated young lady has done exactly that over the past five years. Jennifer is a volunteer for the Play It Again Arkansas Program. Play It Again Arkansas is a Department of Education program initiated in 1998 by Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The goal is to assist students in participating in school band and orchestra programs by encouraging Arkansans to donate used musical instruments to their local schools. Since 1998, Play It Again Arkansas has provided more than 1,000 instruments to students across Arkansas; Jennifer began working with the program months before it started.
As a volunteer at the Capitol she mailed letters, made telephone calls, sent response cards, and developed contacts for the new program. In addition, she entertained at the reception at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, and served as spokesperson for the program. She spoke in front of College Presidents, Dean’s of Fine Arts, and Chairpersons of Music Departments from colleges and universities across the state, newspaper and television media, and introduced Governor Mike Huckabee.
Originally a piano performance major, and currently a speech communications major, Jennifer is involved in many noteworthy activities at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. She is the assistant to the Campus Activities Director of OBU, a member of the Campus Activities Board, a member of the EEE Women’s Social Club, a member of the Debate Team, the secretary of the Debate Club, the Academics Editor of the Ouachitonian Yearbook, a participant in Elder-Serve, and a member of the College Republicans. She was Vice-President of her freshman class, resident advisor, summer conference coordinator, and represented her student body in the Miss Arkansas Pageant, a preliminary to the Miss America Pageant. She was awarded the Miss America Community Service Award for the state of Arkansas in 1999, 2001 and again in 2002. Sam Beard, President and Founder of the American Institute of Public Service and Arkansas Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller presented Jennifer with the President’s Student Service Award in May of this year.
As you can see, Jennifer is a busy senior at OBU, but has continued to support Play It Again Arkansas and her own program, which she calls FACE the Music. F, A, C, and E represent the space notes on the treble cleft and according to Crawley, the benefits of music education as well – F is for Fun, A is for Academic Achievement, C is for Character, and E is for Expression. She created a web site in 1998 that presents the benefits of music education and provides a vast collection of research material. Please visit the web site at www.whymusic.org
Jennifer has also written several articles on the benefits of music that were published in an Arkansas magazine Protecting Our Children. In addition, she has been promoting both programs for diverse audiences such as civic groups, school assemblies, classrooms, pre-schools, Vacation Bible School, pageants, fashion shows, luncheons and conventions. In April, she was the guest speaker at the annual luncheon of the Arkansas Association for American Mothers, Inc.
Jennifer has a sincere commitment to the young people of Arkansas and to music in the schools. She has a vision and commitment that is rare for someone her age. Her volunteer service has helped significantly in the ability to support music education in Arkansas. She can often be heard saying, “It is my prayer that more children will be given the opportunity to reap the benefits of music education because let’s FACE it . . . Music Education is hitting the right note!”