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Giving the gift of music to at-risk kids in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth

Every once and a while, our State of Opportunity teamreceives a story pitch from someone in the community who's trying to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth. This is one of those stories. It’s a piece about boys, girls, and the universal language of music.

The pitch came in from a guy named Casey Stratton. He's the music program coordinator at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth, and he sent us a bunch of audio from the kids in his program - everything from strumming their guitars to playing Ode to Joy on the keyboard to banging on some drums. But it was the kids' rendition of "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers that ultimately made us say yes to the story. The song was just too catchy and the kids were just too cute to resist.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself on the State of Opportunity page. Here's the link.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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