Help Us Make a Difference Through Instruments of Change

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What is Instruments of Change?

Instruments of Change® is a 501(c)3 Public Charity, their primary mission is: “To profoundly impact the lives of disadvantaged children through the gifts of musical instrument donation, instruction and performance.”
Image of the Instruments of Change logo
The goal of this project is to improve the lives of the children through music education.  In the process of learning a musical instrument, the children are mentored in essential life-skills including: hard work, personal accomplishment and improved self-esteem.  Glen Schubert, Director of Marketing at Braille Works, and his wife Kelly are the founders of Instruments of Change®.

Image of Glen and Kelly Schubert holding a custom-made Tampa Bay Lightning jersey with their last name on the back.

Glen and Kelly Schubert receiving the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award in 2014 .

Why does Braille Works give to Instruments of Change?

Lou and Joyce Fioritto, founders of Braille Works, know from personal experience the difference youth music and band programs made in their lives.  Music was instrumental in both Lou’s life and Joyce’s life and they are blessed to share their resources to bring the gift of music to children in Title 1 schools.

Image of Lou and Joyce Fioritto standing in front of the paparazzi media wall at the second annual Play It Forward concert

Lou and Joyce Fioritto, co-founders of Braille Works, and presenting sponsor for Play it Forward! The event would not be possible without their support.

Lou, blind since birth, found that band was an area in school that he could excel in and meet friends.  Lou jokes that he knew he wasn’t making the football team but the Marching Band allowed him to be a part of the Friday Night excitement.  Lou made lifelong friendships in band and still has his passion for music.

Image showing Lou Fioritto and Sarah Litchfield of Braille Works playing violins in the office.

Lou Fioritto, co founder of Braille Works and Sarah Litchfield, project manager at Braille Works show off their violin skills. These violins are on their way to a music program for at-risk children.

Joyce sang in the church choir and the school choir.  She learned to read music and play the piano while in school.  Her love of music is something that she encouraged in her children and is blessed to be able to share with her grandchildren.

Lou and Joyce share their love of music and look to strumming the guitar and tickling the ivories as a form of relaxation and entertainment.  The gifts and resources that God has provided to Lou and Joyce humble them.  They are grateful to donate to quality music programs and found Instruments of Change® to be a worthy cause.

Who is benefiting from Instruments of Change?

As part of the Tampa 21st Century Community Learning Centers project, Instruments of Change® is bringing piano lessons to students attending several Title 1 schools in Hillsborough County, FL.  Over the past four years we provided on-site music instruction in the form of piano lessons.  In all, more than 700 students have been taught the basics of piano and music theory.

Image of several boys and girls smiling and posing for the camera during a piano lesson.

Instruments of Change brings piano lessons to inner-city Boys and Girls Clubs in Tampa. The smiles say it all!

Instruments of Change® also provides rental instruments to the students while they are enrolled in the 5th grade band program.  We also provide the instructional books and a band director for the class.

At the conclusion of the 5th grade program, the student has completed the academic qualification to earn an instrument.  In order to receive the instrument, they must enroll in middle school band and be verified by their band director.  Only then do they receive their instrument. This Is Not An Entitlement Program.

Image of Glen Schubert and a group of band students posing for the camera in their classroom.

Glen Schubert, founder of Instruments of Change and Vice President of Marketing at Braille Works with a group of band students.

The students agree to stay with the program for the entire school year.  During that time, they must keep up with the program, regularly perform selections from the book to show proficiency, and attend performance opportunities to pass the program.

The band and piano programs are designed to give these children a place to connect in school or after school.  Many of the elementary school children we have reached over the years are now in high school and on their way to a much brighter future.  Music allows them to be involved with programs and projects that keep them connected and give them a reason to want to attend school.

Image showing several students sitting and playing trumpets in a classroom.

Several students playing trumpets at one of the 5th grade band programs.

Why should others give to Instruments of Change?

School budgets are being cut on a regular basis and music education is one of the first programs on the chopping block.  With grades falling and dropout rates increasing, music education is more important than ever.  Over several decades, studies have shown that students who learn to play a musical instrument have higher graduation rates, better grades, higher self-esteem and a host of other positive benefits.  Our goal for the Elementary School programs is to help these students prepare for middle and high school; and to increase their potential for success.

You can help too! Visit Instruments of Change today or check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Image of the Instruments of Change Play It Forward concert poster

Play It Forward 2014 featured special guests Caroline Kole, Striking Matches and Amber Carrington.

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This post was written by Braille Works

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