Brandon-based charity Instruments for Change recently received a $10,000 donation from Safeco Insurance to provide music to students in fifth grade.

A Brandon area nonprofit charity believes that learning music gives children a head start in life and thanks to a recent donation from a Tampa company, they can now bring their gift to more students than ever.

Insurance and Trust (IAT) earned a 2018 Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award for volunteer work bringing music to disadvantaged children with Instruments of Change, a public 501(c)3 based in Brandon. The award included a $5,000 donation to the charity from Safeco Insurance, which was doubled to $10,000 thanks to an active social media campaign.

“Students who learn to play musical instruments generally score higher on academic tests and are less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors,” said the group’s media representative, Calvin Jordan. “Instruments of Change works to bring band programs to elementary school students in an effort to positively influence their personal development.”

According to Jordan, Instruments of Change currently serves five elementary schools in Hillsborough County by providing musical instruments and instruction to students.

“Fifth graders at participating schools must sign a contract which obligates them to care for the instrument they are given, practice in preparation for performances and be held accountable to other students in the section,” said Jordan. “Upon successful completion of the contract and verified enrollment in a middle school band program, they receive their instrument for middle school.”

Vice President of IAT, Jeff Chernoff became president of the board of Instruments of Change earlier this year and hopes to grow the organization throughout Hillsborough County into Pinellas and eventually to the Orlando area.

“My team and I have been involved with Instruments of Change for over four years and we are incredibly grateful to be awarded the Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award so we can give back even more,” said Chernoff. “Instruments of Change continues to have a lasting impact on our community by changing the lives of these children one note at a time.”

With the $10,000 donation from Safeco, Instruments of Change hopes to provide more than 20 instruments to students. The group was chosen for the award based on a photo application.

A total of 24 independent agents will be chosen throughout 2018 to receive The Safeco Make More Happen Awards which focus on the area of health and safety, education and civil service.

“We are excited to share the inspiring stories of our agents with their communities through social media while raising funds for these outstanding nonprofit organizations,” said Robyn Hawking, Safeco Insurance Southeast Region Territory Manager. “Safeco’s Make More Happen Awards program helps to recognize the amazing work agents do in areas like the Tampa Bay region and hopefully motivate others to do the same.”

For more on visit To learn more about IAT, visit

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.