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Open Access to Music Education for Children (OAMEC) is a music program dedicated to engaging at risk youth into the world of music, and providing students with a positive outlet to expressing themselves.
OAMEC started as an intervention to bring at-risk youth together and provide them a mean for self expression using music. The program was kept anonymous for several years, in order to protect the confidentiality of the earlier participants: Most of the families in the initial program were affected by HIV and other chronic diseases. During the past few years, due to the support of many funders and individual contributors, we were able to extend the program to include other children in the community with a focus on low-income families. Some of them face various other psycho-social, economic and environmental problems. With that extension, we are able to serve a larger number of youth and increase our ability to provide for social networking, recreation, mentoring, tutoring and referral to other services.
We chose music because it has been documented that music can have a tremendous impact on children’s lives by increasing their ability to deal with traumatic situations, giving them another means of expression, and promoting their self-esteem.
The program has also attracted several young Haitian musicians and leaders who help teach music, dance, choir and other skills during the summer program.
We currently offer violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, saxophone and piano lessons. We are working on expanding more musical instruments soon. We will continue to build on the principles of providing access to music instruction by expanding our current programing to provide more large ensemble oppurtunities for our young musicians as well as increasing the intensity of instruction.