Each One, Reach One
When I was six-years-old, my mother taught me
how to play the flute. That's how old my mom was
when my grandfather taught her how to play the flute.
Eventually, I also learned to play the piccolo and the acoustic guitar and was a member of my high school marching band, Wind Ensemble and Chamber Choir.
I've been reading music so long, it's hard to think back to when I didn't know how.
My love for music didn't stop me from taking ballet lessons or learning about science, technology and math. In fact, in high school, I took physics, computer science, and business calculus. Music actually helped me with these subjects and I did a really good job!
I didn't learn all of these things by myself. I was
taught by my parents, grandparents and teachers who
were taught by people who reached-out to them and other people who reached-out to them before that.
My grandfather, Mr. Giles Bragg, Sr., is a musician, a retired educator and someone who benefited from a school band teacher who reached-out to him with a trombone when he was 10-years-old. Would you believe he played the trombone just about every day for almost 70 years?
He inspired me to start "Music Counts" back in 2011. It was my Girl Scout Gold Award project (the highest award in Girl Scouting equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle Award) and took over two years to finish.
I was able to earn my Gold Award because when I first reached-out to Mrs. Patricia Branner-Pierce, she reached-back. Ms. Pat was so wonderful; she believed in me and believed in what I was trying to do (that's us in the above photo). She and her staff from the Howard County Public Schools' Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) Community-Based Learning Centers graciously allowed my volunteers and me to reach-out to almost 60 children.
Some of my kids eventually started singing in school chorus or playing instruments in band; one of them even tried-out for the Maryland Boy Choir. I know we made a difference.
In February 2014, "Music Counts" evolved into this new organization, The E.S.T.E.A.M. Initiative. Our motto is "Changing Lives through the Arts & Sciences... One Kid at a Time."
Through our grassroots efforts and partnership-building, E.S.T.E.A.M. is already reaching-out to people not only in the Washington-Baltimore area but in different parts of the United States. I wonder if my grandfather's band teacher imagined that she would have this kind of impact on the 21st Century when she reached-out to him in 1939?
Today, if we work together and commit to the idea of "Each One, Reach One," we can have that same kind of impact on generations to come. ~ Malerie