Music grant proposal sample - Sociedad Latina
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Music grant proposal sample - Sociedad Latina
Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse
Sociedad Latina’s target, at-risk youth are in a precarious position. They are up against poverty, racism, low-performing
schools, language barriers, and issues associated with immigration status and family mobility. But year after year we
celebrate the successes of youth as they graduate from high school, enter college, receive job offers, and grow into
competent, confident, self-sufficient adults leading positive change in our community. With more than 40 years of
experience working with our Latino community, Sociedad Latina has developed a powerful and innovative array of youth
development programming to address the challenges our target youth face. Our programs are community-responsive,
evidence-based, and data-driven.
Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse (MCH) provides in-school and out-of-school-time access to music opportunities for
the youth of Boston. To maximize engagement our curriculum is youth-centered, and focuses on popular music youth
want to play, computer beat-making, and studio recording. We encourage rapid skill-building for playing together in
ensembles – not meticulous technique practicing. The Clubhouse is also integrated with Sociedad Latina’s youth
development programming, linking participants to academic, workforce development and case management services,
and civic engagement experiences that provide long-term support and are research-proven to foster success. And our
organization’s focus on Latino culture and identity, incorporated in the songs youth play and lessons on musical styles in
our Clubhouse, builds youth resiliency and boosts engagement.
Meet Braulio Soto: Braulio Soto had never really played any music before coming to Sociedad Latina. He
joined our academic and college access program his senior year to get help with the college application
process, but ended up falling into a niche at the Music Clubhouse that has resulted in a career for him
today. Despite his inexperience, Braulio was able to explore the world of music production in Sociedad
Latina's beat-making lab. It wasn't long before he was making his own beats, writing lyrics, and
performing for the Music Clubhouse’s first CD, Sonic Life. Braulio says he was a quiet, “in the corner” kid,
but the staff and other youth at Sociedad Latina helped him find his voice through music. “They helped make me more
outgoing and improved my communication skills,” he says. Now Braulio also plays the keyboard and bass, and directs a
new ensemble at his church. In 2010, Braulio worked as an assistant in our Clubhouse while attending Wentworth
Institute of Technology on a full scholarship. He credits Sociedad Latina for helping him get into college with the college
access programming we offer. Since graduating, Braulio was hired full-time and now helps manage Clubhouse activities
such as music lessons and workshops. But he still finds time to regularly jam with Clubhouse members. He’s thankful for
how Sociedad influenced his life, and wants to support the next generation of Sociedad youth. “I want them to take
advantage of the opportunities they have. I wish I started playing at a younger age, like them. And the Clubhouse is here
in the community, when most studios are far away.”
Organization Background: Since 1968, Sociedad Latina has served Latino youth and the community of Boston,
pioneering new and innovative solutions to end destructive cycles of poverty, health disparities, and lack of opportunity
in our community. Thanks to creative leadership and ground-breaking programs based on leading research and designed
in direct response to community needs, Sociedad Latina has transformed into a premier youth development
organization. We provide integrated services for Latino youth that ensure their long-term academic, professional, social,
and emotional success. Sociedad Latina serves 1,000 youth at-risk and their families each year, with a focus on the
Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Our comprehensive, community responsive, culturally relevant, intensive array of
youth development programming builds skills in four key areas: Education, Workforce Development, Civic Engagement,
and Arts & Culture. Sociedad Latina’s Pathways to Success program model provides youth with multiple, closely aligned
roads to successful futures as adults, with the acknowledgment that not every youth in our target population is college-
bound. It promotes long-term engagement from age 10-21 and positive relationships with adults, providing youth with a
vast network of support they need to grow confident, competent, resilient, and self-sustaining.
Our Community: We serve Boston youth, with a focus on Latinos and the Roxbury neighborhood (highest poverty rate,
highest crime rate). The neighborhood, with a population of approximately 57,000, is about 25% Latino and more
than 50% African American. Youth in our programs have represented more than 20 different cultural backgrounds, and
are currently 61.4% Latino (75% bilingual Spanish-English), 23.4% African American, and 15.2% other backgrounds. Most
live at or below the poverty line (average family income is $26,000), half are from Roxbury, close to 60% are either
immigrants or first-generation Americans, and 75% live in subsidized housing or housing developments. On a daily basis
youth face systemic challenges that limit their opportunities for success such as underperforming schools, lack of
employment options, health inequities, racism, and street violence, and they are underrepresented in the power
structures that govern their lives. By connecting with Sociedad Latina’s array of programs and supports for whole
families, youth are empowered to overcome these barriers to success and achieve long-term success in school, at work,
and in their personal lives.
Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse: Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse is a 1,400-square-foot facility located in our
organization’s building on Tremont Street, the commercial center of our community. It includes a performance space, a
computer lab for beat making, a recording studio, and access to guitars, basses, keyboards, and drums. Our participants,
low-income, at-risk, Latino and African American youth age 8-21, often have little or no access to music experiences –
either in school or the neighborhood. Combining traditional music instruction with our unique Youth Development
Model, youth visit for school day, after-school, summer, and weekend opportunities to explore different musical styles,
build skills, appreciate cultural influences, and become community leaders and art advocates. Arts opportunities are
proven to increase school engagement, and through MCH, youth have a safe and supportive social gathering place that
encourages creativity and positive self-expression. MCH develops life skills such as goal-setting, increases interpersonal
skills, and nurtures talent that may have otherwise gone unattended. Our programming engages a diverse group of
youth with varying skill levels and interests, and encourages participants to play together and make music as soon as
possible. Since 2009, when the Clubhouse went to scale and moved into its current space, it has served more than 1,000
Recent Music Clubhouse accomplishments:
In 2011, the Music Clubhouse celebrated Latino Heritage Month through a National Endowment for the Arts-
sponsored series of weekly Latin music concerts featuring established artists such as Colombian songwriter Gregorio
Uribe, Afro-Latin jazz/folk artist Cornell Coley, and Puerto Rican percussionist and multicultural educator, Jorge Arce.
Music Clubhouse vocalist Athalia Lopez won first place in a 2010 citywide “Clubhouse Idol” competition, while seven
Clubhouse members won scholarships for prestigious summer programs at Berklee College of Music.
In 2009, the Music Clubhouse released a CD titled “Sonic Life.” The 12-track record features original hip-hop and
reggaeton beats and lyrics including our theme song, “Welcome to Sociedad” (listen at www.SociedadLatina.org).
In 2010, Clubhouse members organized a benefit concert for earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile, presented
workshops on Latino music to other youth organizations, and performed at nearly 50 community events.
For 2 straight years, youth won awards for their anti-tobacco hip-hop songs in The 84.org’s Digital Media Contest.
In 2011, guitarist Antonio Loomis won Berklee City Music’s Musician of the Year award.
In 2011, bassist Jackson Mann won a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee.
In 2011, we had 35 events such as a practice session and performance with Fausto Cuevas (who has performed with
Stevie Wonder, among others) and an outdoor merengue concert featuring 4-time Grammy winner Henry Jiménez
that was attended by over 500 community members.
In the past year, almost 100 youth used our beat-making lab and studio to create their own compositions and
MCH offers a variety of options to youth to cover their wide range of interests. Whether you like hip-hop, R&B, rock,
reggaeton, salsa, jazz, or blues, we cover it. If you’re interested in being a pop star, we have vocal lessons. If you want to
rock in a band, you can pick up a guitar. If you want to be behind the scenes and produce tracks for hip-hop MCs, you
can work in our beat-making lab. Drop-in hours make exploration easy for individuals or for groups of youth who want
to jam together. We encourage youth to play and enjoy music, and move as quickly as possible into rehearsing songs
and playing in ensembles through a sequential series of opportunities and programming that builds skills, provides
opportunities for long-term engagement, and launches a pathway of lifelong engagement.
The Clubhouse is a cultural institution in our underserved community, fostering connections between diverse groups of
people, increasing vitality, and celebrating and continuing our Latino traditions. By boosting academic achievement and
self-confidence, developing life skills such as goal-setting while rehearsing for performance, increasing inter-personal
skills, and nurturing talent that may have otherwise gone unattended, the Clubhouse strengthens our community.
Need: In a landmark, 10-year study from UCLA, researchers analyzed the school records of 25,000 students and
discovered those who studied music and the arts had higher achievement, better attendance, and were more active in
their community. Notably, low-income students improved school performance more rapidly than all others. We
understand the connection music education has to learning engagement and academic achievement, and we are
determined to provide this opportunity to the youth of our community. Too many of Boston’s students are denied
access to arts opportunities due to budget cuts and the low priority of arts education. In a 2009 report, only 5% of
elementary students and 6% of middle school students had the “best practice” benchmark of twice-weekly, year-long
arts instruction. Only 26% of high schools offered arts education to more than 25% of their students. In response, for the
past three years Sociedad Latina and others have partnered with the Boston Public Schools' Arts Expansion Initiative to
promote access, equity, and quality in Boston arts education programs. Thanks to this innovative program that matches
schools with community arts programs, the situation has improved; 9,000 more students have arts education during the
school day, and 81% of K-8 students and 47% of high school students have weekly arts instruction. With the help of our
program, 100% of our partner Maurice J. Tobin K-8 School students have weekly arts instruction. While we will continue
serving these students, there is still a great need among the city's high school students. Only 20% of students at
Newcomers Academy and New Mission High School receive any kind of arts instruction at all, and last year we launched
partnerships with the schools to serve 60 more youth with high quality music education.
Music Clubhouse Goals and Objectives
Goal 1: Increase music knowledge and skills through enriching music opportunities for at-risk youth.
Objective 1a: Youth participate in lessons and classes, and learn music theory, music history, instrumental skills, and
music production and recording.
Objective 1b: Youth attend MCH activities such as workshops and concerts, and perform regularly in the community.
Objective 1c: Youth drop-in during open studio, music exploration time at the Clubhouse to take advantage of available
instruments, recording and production equipment, and knowledgeable Clubhouse staff and consultants.
Goal 2: Promote engagement and higher academic achievement in schools.
Objective 2a: Youth attend music classes and lessons for middle school and high school students during the school day
that are not offered in their schools.
Objective 2b: Youth perform better in school through communication and personal skills developed in MCH activities.
Objective 2c: Youth are more engaged in their education with enticing, enrichment opportunities.
Goal 3: Create a community that values the arts as a key component of a well-rounded education and a healthy,
vibrant community, and raise awareness of challenges facing youth in our community and the safe and positive
alternative music provides.
Objective 3a: Continue to expand innovative arts initiatives such as the BPS Arts Expansion school day program.
Objective 3b: Advocate for sustained or increased funding for high-quality arts programs in and out of school.
Objective 3c: Youth record and release music with positive social messages.
Objective 3d: Host weekly community events and performances to expand access, interest, and engagement in the arts
among families and community members of all ages.
Goal 4: Foster parent and family engagement to support youth development.
Objective 4a: Youth and their families attend Clubhouse events and performances together.
Objective 4b: Youth and their families are exposed to new music and seek out further music opportunities.
Sequential Programming: MCH programming is designed to provide a pathway of sequential opportunities for
continuous music skill-building, with multiple options for entry and re-entry. Many participants are first exposed through
school day music lessons for our partner schools at our Clubhouse, the music “club” in our after-school, middle school
program, or by signing up for Saturday community lessons. Some are engaged through school day music lessons for our
partner schools. As skill levels increase, youth begin rehearsing and performing in ensembles. Open studio time allows
youth from the community to drop in and use our equipment. In high school, youth have the opportunity to be hired
and work in the Clubhouse as a Youth Music Ambassador. Top-level MCH musicians are connected with outside partners
such as Berklee School of Music for advanced training.
School Day Opportunities: The Music Clubhouse offers weekly, 1-hour school-day lessons throughout the school year to
180 students from the Tobin K-8 School, and the Newcomers Academy and New Mission high schools. Lessons include a
variety of options, such as drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, voice, or music production (beat-making, lyric-writing,
recording). Newcomers Academy students, who are mostly recent immigrants to Boston, have limited English skills. They
have thrived in our music program, however, which is a testament to the power of music to transcend language barriers
and be an effective engagement tool. While some NCA students are Spanish speaking and can communicate with
Sociedad Latina's bilingual Spanish-English staff, other students who do not speak Spanish or English have fared just as
well. And as a core component of our curriculum, world music appreciation activities have proven especially effective as
it gives students an opportunity to share their culture with the group as well as explore music from other cultures.
Out-of-School Time Opportunities: The Clubhouse is open weekdays from 1 to 7 p.m. During this time, youth can drop-
in, explore and practice instruments and vocals, make beats on computers, participate in workshops, rehearse in
ensembles, and use our recording studio. Every other Friday afternoon we feature open houses with performances,
guest professional musicians and bands, and other activities.
Lessons: During the school year, MCH offers 1-hour community lessons for up to 60 youth on Saturdays from 10 a.m.
to 2 p.m. for guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Over the summer, MCH provides lessons to our alternative summer
school, middle school program and other organizations in the community with summer programs such as the Tobin
Community Center and Roxbury Tenants of Harvard. In 2010 we began using newly developed method books from the
Music and Youth Initiative that are designed specifically for clubhouse programs such as ours. The curriculum is
structured to get youth playing songs faster than traditional books, and is synchronized between instruments so they
can start playing in bands right away. Instruction covers voice, bass, guitar, drums, and keyboards. The books have
been recently updated and revised in order to incorporate contemporary, popular songs, and to complement each
other, meaning that students in a variety of classes can come together to play one song, even though they have been
learning on their individual instruments. A key strength of the Music and Youth method books is they allow student to
progress on track with each other and to collaborate creatively with one another across instruments. Curriculum is
broken down into Music Production, Instrumental Instruction, Music Theory, and World Music Appreciation. Lessons
increase participants’ sight-reading and sight-singing skills, rhythmic and melodic dictation skills, and music theory
knowledge and its practical application. Clubhouse classes culminate in end-of-the-year performances where students
showcase what they have learned for the enjoyment of their families, teachers, and friends.
Ensembles: For those just learning an instrument, the potential to form your own band or join an established one with
a reputation is a strong incentive to keep practicing and stay involved. Ensembles offer opportunities for self-
expression, and empower youth through music. Ensemble classes, offered twice a week, focus on developing youth as
one unit and practicing eye contact, non-verbal communication signs, and interpretation of chord symbols for each
various instrument (i.e. what a guitarist will play when seeing an E-7b5 compared to what a bass player will play).
Other components include Theory & Ear Training, and Lyrics & Songwriting. Clubhouse ensembles are a cross-section
of Music Clubhouse members who are the most skilled and determined. They range in age from 10 to 18, and sing and
play guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. They are not content with just practicing on their own and taking lessons, they
want to work together with their peers, learn songs, write music, and perform for the community. They have
experienced the joy of spontaneously creating music together, are eager for any chance they can get to do so, and
want to share their passion with others. Our ensembles have included the middle school band, “Three Dreams”; our
blues-rock ensemble featuring guitarist Antonio Loomis, who recently won Berklee City Music’s Musician of the Year
award; our Latin jazz ensemble featuring bassist Jackson Mann, who recently won a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee;
our new, all-girl group program called “Girls on the Bandstand”; and continue to form as talents and tastes develop.
Due to their appeal and visibility, ensembles also serve as an important outreach and recruitment tool for the Music
Clubhouse, and engage the wider community in music experiences.
Youth Music Ambassadors: YMAs explore careers in the music industry and advocate for positive community change
through socially responsible music and creative cultural events. Youth receive a paycheck for the 10 hours/week they
work. They are immersed in the world of music with a curriculum of specially designed trainings on basic music skills
such as beat-making and music production, event planning and project management, and ensemble playing. Once
trained, YMAs promote Latino culture through performances, Music Clubhouse events, activities, and workshops, and
work for positive community change through original musical compositions. YMAs are also responsible for
management of Clubhouse activities, such as open exploration and studio time, learning graphic design skills for
organization flyers, and teaching lessons on beat-making and studio recording.
Meet Samantha Medina: When Samantha Medina started out in our after-school program, she was
timid and didn’t feel comfortable with her peers and the activities. Who would have guessed that she’d
end up joining our Sociedad Latina’s middle school band, “Three Dreams”? After Samantha started
taking music lessons through the Music Clubhouse and learned to play bass, her overall confidence
level skyrocketed. Now she’s outspoken. This spring, Samantha was even nominated for a Mission Hill
Youth Collaborative achievement award for her teamwork skills. Through the band, she’s been able to
play at locations such as the State House, Harvard School of Public Health, and a Boston Public Schools showcase of
after-school programs. “Over the course of a year, she’s really broken through,” says Sociedad Latina Coordinator Ariana
Lupercio. “A lot of it was being a member of the band. The youth involved with the Music Clubhouse often have the best
attendance and are often the most reliable because of their engagement.”
Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse is unique: Since its grand opening in April 2009, the Music Clubhouse has become a
hub for music engagement and appreciation in our Roxbury neighborhood, with a focus on fast-tracking youth through
the lessons they need so they can concentrate on rehearsing and performing in groups. To maintain engagement and
interest, we teach how to sing and play popular music on guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, and all lessons and classes
are student-centered, with instructors focusing on the songs and styles that youth want to play. Lessons and workshops
also focus on understanding the process of songwriting, and encourage youth to work on original material. It is this
philosophy of quickly giving youth vibrant, music-making experiences that makes our Music Clubhouse distinctive.
As with all of Sociedad Latina's programs, the Clubhouse is cultural-based, integrating language and culture into lessons,
trainings, and other activities with the goal of helping youth to build positive cultural identities that promote resiliency
and engagement. For example, a MCH rhythm workshop will feature diverse Latin rhythms, how they were developed,
and the connections between Latin music and social justice issues. Our intent is to help Latino youth develop cultural
pride that will serve as a protective factor, guide positive decisions, and enable them to overcome multiple barriers to
success. Research shows that a strong cultural identity and self-efficacy can have a profound effect on youth resiliency,
which in turn affects a youth's ability to engage and operate within opportunity structures (i.e. schools and jobs). Self-
efficacy also produces personal accomplishments, reduces stress, and lowers vulnerability to depression. Our
Clubhouse’s model promotes positive youth development for Latino youth by amplifying the protective factors that are
embedded into Latino culture such as the Latino focus on family and community. Besides boosting musical skills, Music
Clubhouse activities impact youth academically and personally. Since the Clubhouse is part of our larger youth
development organization, all youth are exposed to additional programming we offer such as after-school academic,
workforce development, and community organizing programs, and many end up enrolling after learning about them.