Updated: Feb 22, 2020
I’m often asked how I came up with the idea for Music4CHIEF. Here's the story.
In January, 2016, I was enjoying lunch with a friend, which is something we do regularly. On that day, however, we were chatting about the struggles and roadblocks for some of our local teenagers. We were talking about how we live in one of the wealthiest communities in the state, and our schools are recognized as top performers both in the state and the country, but regardless of that, as teens reach the middle and high school years, some just can't find the path they need to be traveling, and don't seem to have the tools to move forward. Although we are in one of the top-ranked communities for families, we still have high rates of teen depression and anxiety, teen suicide, and drug use. We have students in our county who can't find a place to fit in. They don't fit with team sports, aren't interested in theater, don't have the financial resources for extracurricular activities, or they aren't succeeding academically.
But they like music.
Around this same time in 2016, our own children were involved in music. They were in music lessons, were participating in music summer camps, and were performing with music groups, where they were surrounded by other teens who had a similar passion for music. In addition to all of these activities outside of school, my daughter was also involved in high school marching band, which was another very supportive and positive music environment.
While we chatted over lunch at Panera Bread, a light-bulb went off in my head: these teens who were struggling to be successful should have the same opportunities to be involved in music as our own children. In fact, all teenagers should have these opportunities! I already knew what music was doing for my daughter, and I saw other teenagers gaining confidence, building healthy peer relationships, finding guidance with mentors, and having FUN with music. So how could I reach out to these teens-in-need to offer these same experiences?
And that’s when Music4CHIEF was born.
In May 2016 the organization was founded, and by August 2016, it had its 501c3 designation. The name is both an acronym for our mission, and a tribute to a well-loved local music instructor who passed away suddenly around the same time the charity was being created. I introduced Music4CHIEF to the community in September 2016 as a registered nonprofit in Forsyth County ready to spread music throughout the community. In the last few years, over 13 middle and high school students in Forsyth County have taken advantage of the program to learn to play an instrument, make friends, learn from mentors, perform in bands, attend summer camps, and gain confidence to be successful.
Music can be a powerful tool for teenagers. It connects them, inspires them, and pushes them to succeed. It’s an outlet for emotions, a bond with friends, and a place to belong.
Music 4 Confidence, Hope, Inspiration, and Empowerment…
for a better Future.
~ Pam Sherlock