In San Bernardino County the average youth drop-out rate is 21.2%, the delinquency/truancy rates are 60% and 70% of all youth lack recreational and cultural programs.
Josiah Bruny felt each child needed and deserved to have a creative outlet, so in 2004 he started a studio in his garage and founded Music Changing Lives (MCL) to keep youth off the streets. Josiah’s mission is to offer the highest quality of music and art enrichment programs year round to underprivileged, at-risk youth helping them improve their chances of achieving a positive and successful future. Run primarily by volunteers, MCL teaches the fundamentals of producing, recording, and marketing their music and image. Through Josiah’s record label Higher Ground Records, LLC. he sold his CD’s and self-funded the expansion of programs under Music Changing Lives. In 2009, with the help of the Redlands Police Department and City Council Bruny moved MCL from his garage into the Redlands Community Center.
Over 50% of the schools in California have been forced to cut or eliminate their music and arts program over the last 3 years. For some students, that was the only reason why they attended school. MCL understands that children who participate in a music and arts curriculum do far better academically and socially then students who do not. Music and art gives children something tangible to put their hands on to become creative. Students who were tagging walls for destruction are now painting murals for their preservation at the hands of Music Changing Lives.
To date, there have been nearly 4100 children and families from the Inland Empire who have received services from MCL’s afterschool programs. They are at the “highest risk” of academic failure with poor or sporadic school attendance, or seeking a life of violence, drug and alcohol abuse and other deviant behavior. These youth enrolled with MCL have increased their GPAs on an average of one full point by the end of the school year. In addition the high school drop-out rate has decreased an additional 4.8% within the last year.