Instruments of Change executive director and founder Glen Schubert accepted a $2,500 grant in March from Million Dollar Round Table Foundation (MDRT), the charitable arm of Million Dollar Round Table, an association of financial professionals.
The check was presented to Schubert at a ceremony at Clair-Mel Elementary by financial advisor Bryon Holz of Bryon Holz & Associates, a MDRT member who completed the application for the grant.
“I know the tremendous power that music can have in a person’s life,” said Holz.
Instruments of Change is a non-profit program that institutes band programs at Title-1 elementary schools and offers a pathway for fifth grade students to earn a musical instrument of their very own.
Clair-Mel Elementary was the first school to institute the program in 2009, but it is now offered at three other elementary schools in the area.
Upon successful completion of the program and proof of enrollment in a middle school band, students are able to select an instrument of their choice.
“These instruments aren’t just a free giveaway,” said Schubert. “They’ve earned them.”
This year more than 100 instruments have been awarded worth a retail cost of approximately $100,000.
Clair-Mel Elementary fifth-grade student Juan Cisneros hopes that he will soon earn one of the coveted instruments.
Cisneros is following in the footsteps of his two older sisters and older brother, who are all graduates of the program and earned instruments from the charity. All three of his siblings play clarinet in their schools’ bands, two at Dowdell Middle and one at Bloomingdale High.
He is learning to play the clarinet and practices with his siblings at home. “I like to play music,” he said. “It is so calming.”
Music teacher Lori Valdez, who was at the school in 2009 when the program first started, said it has had a positive impact in the lives of so many students.
“We have former program graduates who are now graduating high school and are still playing their instruments,” she said. To find out how to support the program visit www.instrumentsofchange.com.