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El Sistema Colorado at Swansea Elementary

El Sistema CO uses music for the whole-child, as a tool for cognitive and social development, academic success and graduation. Low income children are often denied the educational and developmental opportunities of music as their schools focus on "the basics" to raise test scores. They are left without this AWESOME means of overcoming economic and community barriers to success. Deprived of the joy and engagement that come from more enriching activities, poor youth feel less engaged in school and the achievement gap that separates them from their more privileged peers grows.

El Sistema CO provides free instruments, music education and a youth orchestra at schools in the low-income Hispanic Globeville area of north Denver, CO. 97% of students live at poverty level, but music injects richness into their lives. Students from K to 12th grade receive music in-school & after-school, taught by dedicated teaching artists. In the last year, El Sistema CO provided 900 hours of programming to 290 students at Garden Place Elementary. Nearby Swansea Elementary needs our program, but to get started, they need violins. We can make this happen for these AWESOME kids. The youth orchestra will be a catalyst for these low-income children to succeed and to enrich their lives. Currently, only 31% of those with limited English proficiency graduate in this area – not AWESOME!

There is a strong link between music education, cognitive development, academic achievement and graduation. Music education improves pattern recognition, visio-spatial processing, memory, critical and systems thinking and problem-solving. The discipline and cooperation required of children participating in an orchestra also develops success skills such as self-discipline, teamwork and collaboration, perseverance, resilience and leadership. Lastly, we are about bringing people together with music, creating community identity and vitality. Leaders in El Sistema CO will be AWESOME leaders in their communities.

Funded by Denver, CO (Inactive) (October 2013)