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Miami Music Project students keep playing amid pandemic with CONNECT

Posted By Josie Gulliksen
May 13, 2020 at 5:22 PM

Music is transformational for students in the Miami Music Project program so postponing the program until after the current Covid-19 Pandemic was not an option. Project Executive Director Anna Klimala and Board Chair Maria Pia Leon and Vice-Chair Daniel Mazanec were determined to continue their decade-old programming to serve the at-risk students from under-resourced communities like Liberty City, Miami Gardens, Miami Springs, and Little Havana, to name a few.

That determination by Klimala, Pia Leon and Mazanec resulted in the free after-school program going virtual and all teachers retained to continue virtual instruction.

It was obvious from the students’ response that they need and want Miami Music Project in their lives.

“We have close to 300 students participating in our virtual learning program which we are calling Miami Music Project Connect,” said Ms. Klimala. “Given the populations we serve, many families still struggle with access to internet connections and devices, plus the ability to have the kids participate due to family and work challenges.”

But they find a way, resulting in heartwarming sessions where both parents and family members join the students in their classes, making the lessons a family affair.

Miami Music Project knows their program opens up opportunities the students wouldn’t otherwise have, as evidenced by student Victoria Moya, whose mother Margarita Avila-Moya shared that, “Victoria has been accepted to Cornell University! I truly believe the Miami Music Project had a significant impact on this outcome!”

Avila-Moya goes on to say, “This institution brings not only a social transformation through music but also the perfect way for students to achieve their maximum potential.”

Her positive feedback is echoed by parents during the virtual learning. Parents are positive and grateful and Klimala says, “It’s helping relieve some tensions at home and also allowing them to focus on housework and enjoy moments of relaxation while their kids are engaged in classes.”

Anna shares this testimonial from Kimberley Muhammad, a parent in Liberty City whose child is participating in the virtual program:

“This has been a very trying time for my family. I am also a teacher and am trying to keep my students on track remotely, as well as taking care of my own children and, beyond education, keeping everyone emotionally well and encouraged.  Since this pandemic started with the cancelling of my kids’ concerts and several other activities, we were all feeling down and unsure of the future. It has been difficult for them socially because they already attended a small school, and Miami Music Project is a big outlet for them socially as well as musically.  Thank you all so much for starting the online program! It has added the social and emotional connection back to their lives. Being able to see their friends helps them to know that they are not alone and can look forward to a bright future on the other side of this!”

Miami Music Project plans to stay virtual as long as is needed. They are already planning a virtual Summer Music Camp which will feature special guest appearances.

“So far we’ve got musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra, jazz singer Nicole Henry, and others joining our program to bring some excitement to the students,” said Klimala.

Learn more about Miami Music Project on their website.

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