WELA YMCA Youth Institute, is part of the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative funded by The California Endowment.Youth are exploring and investigating how the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) can empower and improve their local school communities.
Our team chose to focus on music programs for our community cause because our own school, Environmental Science and Technology High School, doesn't offer a music department to the students. This is very important to the Cyberpunks, because music is a big part of our lives, and since our school doesn't offer music, it feels like we're missing a creative outlet in our high school careers.
We have received a positive community response for our cause. Susan Romero, an artist and music advocate in the Boyle Heights community, was in full support of our cause. She felt passionate about our cause because she feels it's a huge disservice in the lives of the youth that most schools don't offer music programs. In the Boyle Heights community, we passed out surveys on Healthy Kids Day, asking parents and students their opinions on music programs in schools. The community had no doubt in their minds that music in schools is important in a child's academic career.
It's been sad to see that music isn't a priority for many schools, even though our research showed how much music in schools is so important to student success. We learned that the community believes that music is beneficial for students, but many are deprived of music because their schools don't offer programs.
Our focus never changed because there were so many people that felt very passionate about the lack of music programs in local high schools. This included Susan Romero, who told us, "I think it's doing the community a huge injustice. It will lead to the damage of today's youth because they will not be able to experience the musical aspect of life in school."
The main thing we learned from working on this project is that our local schools are in dire need of a stable music program through funding from the government and school district. We also learned how much a music program can positively affect the students in a learning environment where they are able to express themselves in a creative way.
The solution is more funding for a music teacher, a music room, equipment, and a whole music program altogether. We also think that a level of awareness should be spread telling everyone how important music is.
After the KCET Youth Voices program The Cyberpunks plan to do more community outreach and put a spotlight on the lack of music programs in our local high schools. Through social media, we plan to continue working hard to help get more music programs in our schools.
Other members of the community can join us as we journey through the process of getting music in schools by sharing all of our stories on social media and using that as inspiration to fight for music in our schools.