"Volunteering your time, energy, and gifts is immensely rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone."
Zhelinrentice Scott, 31, of Redford, MI, USA, teaches music to disadvantaged youth in Detroit.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Zhelinrentice: My name is Zhelinrentice Scott and I am a musical philanthropist. I am passionate about bringing music into the lives of disadvantaged youth because studies show that musical exposure increases success in life.
In the spring of 2009 I approached City Mission with the idea of bringing violin classes to the K-4 kids at their summer school. They loved my proposal, and I provided violins, music, stands, and I taught them music at no charge. At the end of the three months the ten kids gave a recital for their parents. I must say that for three months they all play much better than I did when I first started.
I enjoyed working with the youth because I saw how serious they became about their music and how well they did.
I was able to be a positive role model for them.
They really enjoyed the music and enjoyed me playing for them as well. It was a great time.
The program was so successful that it inspired me to get my certification so I can teach in charter schools as a certified teacher and also continue to teach the kids two days a week in the fall.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Zhelinrentice: City Mission in Detroit, Michigan
Tell us about the project, especially who benefits from this work.
Zhelinrentice: I benefit from this project because I am learning how to be a better teacher. The kids benefit because they are learning how to bring together a lot of skills: math, reading, muscle memory, and how to think.
What inspired you to get involved?
Zhelinrentice: I was inspired to get involved because of the decline in the number of music programs in Detroit.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Zhelinrentice: I presented a proposal to City Mission.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Zhelinrentice: The smiles and thank you from the kids.
What was the biggest surprise?
Zhelinrentice: My biggest surprise was one of my students, who would always bring me a little gift or thank you note, and she was quite a player too. She truly touched my heart and cemented my decision to teach young people as my profession.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Zhelinrentice: I have learned that volunteering your time, energy, and gifts is immensely rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone. It is a humbling experience.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Zhelinrentice: I would say: Do it!
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