“Learning to play music is so healing for our homeless children,” Principal Ricardo Cordova of Children First Leadership Academy stated after three weeks of watching children’s lives transform. The Assistant Superintendent, Jerry Lewis, had a similar observation, “The All Kids Need Music program has wrought a miracle in the lives of homeless children in just 3 short weeks.”
While poverty and homeless rises for Arizona’s at risk child population, All Kids Need Music, in partnership with the Children First Leadership Academy (formerly Thomas J. Pappas School for the Homeless), have stepped up to provide personal attention and support to over 70 homeless and impoverished Arizona children. In its final week of a four week summer camp, All Kids Need Music has provided the transformative power of therapeutic music education proven to positively impact physical, social, emotional and cognitive outcomes for at risk, underprivileged, foster and orphaned Arizona children.
Air conditioned classrooms, two nourishing meals a day, and academic tutoring have been provided by Children First Leadership Academy to improve academic outcomes. Arizona’s most vulnerable children are receiving the personalized attention they need to improve their chances for positive academic and mental health outcomes. Without intervention, the long term effects of childhood homeless and poverty can rob them of the chance for a productive, happy life.
Meeting the needs of Arizona’s at risk child population is a substantial undertaking. Poverty rates for children in Arizona are among the highest in the nation, with 21.5% of children under 18 living in poverty (University of Arizona, 2019). Children who live in poverty are at risk for homeless, substandard housing, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, unsafe neighborhoods, under resourced schools, and inadequate child care. Poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socio-emotional problems, health problems, and developmental delays are also risks as children in poverty grow older (American Psychological Association).
Fortunately, research illustrates that economically at risk children may be able to overcome
the significant risk factors with appropriate interventions. Learning to play music is one therapeutic intervention proven to improve cognitive functioning, educational outcomes, and positively impact mental health. All Kids Need Music focuses on providing at risk Arizona children the opportunity to overcome through the transformative power of therapeutic music lessons from a trauma informed perspective.
A generous grant from the Arizona Community Foundation , a private CFLA donor, and Jason Bowers, CEO of JLC Roofing, a local family owned business, provided the funding needed to conduct the music portion of the four week summer school camp. Over 100 musical instruments have been provided, plus music teachers and academic teachers to serve the 4th-8th grade students attending the camp
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