Nurturing The Next GenerationMusic Dealers Gives Back To The Community!
By Christopher Rucks | Music Dealers
At Music Dealers, it’s of the utmost importance for us to play a positive role in our community. There are so many programs to be a part of and we’ve always sought to get involved with the right cause, a cause aligned with who we are as a brand. Fortunately, we ran into the perfect program.
Spark is an organization that pairs together underserved middle school children with motivated mentors in career fields of the child’s strengths and interests. The apprenticeship helps children build interpersonal and professional skills while helping to offer a vision of their potential and future.
Spark aims to serve by “helping underserved youth become motivated learners and connected community members, and by encouraging adults to nurture the next generation through mentoring and volunteerism.” It’s founders, appalled at the growing dropout rates across the country, created the program to battle the ugly trend and its long-term effects.
Recognizing the importance of such endeavors and the potential positive experience we could create, myself and several of our team members including our CEO, Eric Sheinkop, COO John Williamson, and Communications Director, Lyndsey Ager, decided to volunteer our time.
After completing training on the program and the makings of an exemplary mentor, we all suddenly realized that we were going to be at the mercy of 13-year-old kids for two hours every week. Admittedly, we were all a bit nervous as we embarked on this journey. I couldn’t sleep at all before the program began, and I stood at the bus stop with beads of nervous sweat accumulating on my brow before the kids arrived on the first day.
Bonds were soon formed and creating a unique and motivating experience for the three kids became the highlight of our week. Each session, we would teach them different facets of music licensing, publishing, and the music industry. And we would stand back and marvel as the kids were able to articulate back to us the concepts we were explaining. Outside of the lessons, the real magic was in spending time with these kids, getting to know and understand them, being able to interact with them (and watch them devour snacks and cookies), and knowing that those positive encounters would go a long way towards shaping who they would grow to become.
Throughout the eight-week program we worked towards a major project to present at “Discovery Night,” the culminating event, which features projects from all students involved during the semester. All in all, it was an incredible experience and turned out to be a perfect way for Music Dealers to be an agent of change. We’re thankful to Spark for offering us the opportunity and grateful for being able to craft a great apprenticeship for little Ashley, Dominique, and Javarius.
Check out the video that John and Javarius created for their final project. Also, feel free to explore the Spark website and see how you can get involved.