Daily Point of Light # 2505 Sep 11, 2003

Laurel Barchas, 15, a junior at Truckee High School, started an after-school program that recruits members of her high school band to give private music lessons to elementary school children from low-income and Latino families. “I came up with this idea after I realized that music, this thing that has been part of my life since childhood, is simply not an option for others,” said Laurel. After developing a business plan and budget, Laurel met with local school and community officials to obtain support, find space for lessons, and secure liability insurance. Letters, phone calls, grant applications and presentations to civic and business organizations raised more than $11,000 to rent and purchase instruments, music books, and accessories. Laurel also wrote and translated applications, letters, informational brochures and contracts for prospective students. Laurel and three other teen volunteers now provide weekly private music lessons to twenty students. “Music is a creative outlet for energy and has been proven to help kids improve in their academics,” said Laurel. “My program opens the door for young children who otherwise couldn’t afford music lessons and instruments. It also gives talented musicians in my high school band the opportunity to provide a community service and develop their own skills.”