Author, poet, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie based his semi-autobiographical novel “The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” in Wellpinit, a small town on the Spokane Indian Reservation in western Washington State. In the novel, his high-spirited character Junior navigates a difficult upbringing (reflecting Wellpinit’s current 32.7% poverty rate), discrimination, and the general tribulations of teenage years, but finds his voice through creative expressions and the arts.
For the youth of many rural and urban communities across the country, getting access to hobbies like art and music can be one of the most important introductions to creative thinking and identity forming. VH1’sSave the Music Foundation wholeheartedly agrees.
For the past 22 years the non-profit has helped over 2,000 public schools across the nation establish music programs to enrich the lives of kids believing that “every child deserves music” citing that nearly 5 million public school children don’t have access to instruments or proper music education. For one of their most recent projects, Save the Music partnered with Paramount Networks and donated a Core Band Grant to the Wellpinit Middle District to start a new middle school band program. After receiving their new trumpets, clarinets, and flutes, one student gleefully said, “music brings people together”.
Save the Music’s three part plan has proved to be a success over the year as they’ve donated instruments and music technologies to school’s unable to afford music programs, they’ve supported teachers to give them the resources for more robust music programs, as well as advocating for music education at local, state, and national levels. Since launching in 1997, the foundation has impacted millions of children, giving them higher self-esteem and confidence, better grades, and a lifelong passion for music.
As Junior says in Alexie’sThe Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, “if you’re good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can’t be wrong.”