Kay Paw arrived in Buffalo, NY six years ago. Her parents spoke only Karen, and she entered school with no English language skills at all. When she first entered a classroom at Buffalo String Works in 6th grade, she was shy and unsure of herself. Yet, her teachers were thrilled to see her diligent practice from week to week, often arriving early, and working through the music on her own before class began. This September, Kay Paw will enter high school. She has grown into a curious, confident young woman. Quick to smile, she is eager to perform on stage, and her pride in herself and in her fellow students is obvious. She said to us recently, “I love violin, I found new friends and I made new friends!” Through music, Kay Paw has found her voice, a means of self-expression, and the support of friends, students, and teachers who are cheering her on.
Kay Paw is not alone. 16,000 refugees have resettled in Buffalo since 2002. Many refugees have relocated on the city’s West Side, where over 50% of the residents live at, or just above, the federal poverty level. Children especially--who can be placed in schools with no English language skills at all--may be left feeling adrift and isolated as they search for a sense of belonging in their new city.
At Buffalo String Works
, we believe that music can be the antidote to these struggles. Research shows that music education improves social skills and academic outcomes, as well as self-confidence and emotional intelligence. Through the universal language of music, we extend a welcoming hand towards our city's newest Americans.
Since we opened our doors in 2014, we've been steadily growing: 4 years ago, we enrolled 17 students studying violin. Last year, there were 57 students studying violin, viola, cello - and some will start their first bass class this September.
Buffalo String Works students played 3 concerts in the first program year. For the 2017-18 year, they offered an astounding 13 concerts at incredible venues all over Buffalo, including Kleinhans Music Hall, Silo City, and Larkin Square. In just a matter of weeks, Buffalo String Works launches its 5th year. A waiting list of over 70 students are seeking to become enrolled. We simply don’t have the means to serve all the children who need this life-giving program.
You have the power to help. With your contribution, refugee and first-generation children will have access to the transformative power of music education.
You make it possible for students, like Kay Paw, to not only become exceptional musicians but even more importantly, exceptional citizens; young people who are eager to play an active role in their community and in their adopted city.
WHERE DOES YOUR MONEY GO?
- You can’t play music on an empty stomach! $10 covers 1 day of snacks for our 60 kids. $20
- Practice makes perfect! We give our students an instrument to take home for the year. $20 covers 1 month of instrument rental.$50
- BSW offers a creative home for our country’s newest Americans. $50 covers 1 day of venue rental.$100
- We strive to offer a focused, well-rounded, and, of course, FUN curriculum to our students. Sponsor a student for 1 month.$250
- We have incredible teaching artists who are 100% dedicated to our students. Underwrite a teacher's salary for 1 month.$300
- Wondering whether to rent or buy? You can buy a violin for a BSW student for $300.$500
- Bigger can definitely be better! Buy a cello for $500.