ESO cultivates partnerships to empower youth through music education outreachThe Edmonton Symphony Orchestra has embarked upon an extraordinary joint partnership with the Edmonton Catholic School District, the Rotary Clubs of Edmonton Riverview and Sherwood Park, and the Inner City Children’s Program (ICCP) whose work together will inspire a sense of community and empower Edmonton’s underserved youth through music education outreach.
YONA-Sistema (Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta) will begin as a three-year pilot outreach program launching in September 2013. Approximately 20 students enrolled at Mother Teresa Elementary School located in Edmonton’s city centre will begin participating in an intensive after-school orchestra program.
For three hours, five days per week, grade two and three students will receive group violin instruction in a safe and caring environment led by qualified teaching artists at no monetary cost to their families. Staff members from the Inner City Children’s Program, already well-known to the students, will provide additional after school care support. The free program encompasses nutrition and academic support and incorporates physical activity into free play time.
The conception of YONA-Sistema was inspired by the distinguished El Sistema program model developed over 35 years ago in some of the poorest regions of Venezuela. The program’s framework does not train students for musical excellence, but rather focuses on the promotion of positive social change through daily engagement in an activity that builds self-confidence and responsibility—learning to play an instrument. The program’s goals are simple: build stronger communities and provide the tools to create better futures for the children who participate.
“Our goal is to help youth see beyond the limitations they may believe about themselves in school or life,” says Annemarie Petrov, Executive Director for the ESO and Winspear Centre. “The transformative power of the program will enable students to develop a deep-seated confidence, help them cultivate a resilient self-worth, and learn how to incorporate the value of commitment into their lives. It has been proven in Venezuela, in the United States, and now in Canada—This program can change the trajectory of a child’s life. And with each child, these positive effects ripple out to families, friends, teachers and schools, and ultimately the whole community.”