Nonprofit Spotlight: KEYS – Kids Empowered by Your Support
Catherine Halstead, Marketing Communications Manager | September 13, 2023
Last month during our all-company SOAR Week a group of Jaffe Holden staffers visited the new home base of a nonprofit organization close to our hearts, KEYS, which stands for Kids Empowered by Your Support. The KEYS mission is to provide free music lessons and performance opportunities to under-resourced students in Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut, and we were given the opportunity to visit the organization, provide lunch for the students and faculty, and tour the classrooms with Assistant Executive Director, Laurie Bradbury.
Music education plays a pivotal role in the lives of young students, offering myriad benefits that extend far beyond the confines of the classroom. For these young learners, often facing socio-economic challenges, music education can be a powerful tool for personal growth and enrichment. It provides an avenue for self-expression and creativity, allowing students to explore their emotions and thoughts through the universal language of music. This creative outlet can be cathartic for those dealing with stress or difficult circumstances, offering them a constructive means of channeling their emotions.
Programs such as KEYS also foster self-discipline, teamwork, and perseverance. Learning to play an instrument or sing in a choir requires dedication and practice, teaching students the value of hard work and determination and allowing them to see their efforts come to fruition at each milestone or performance. These qualities are not only essential for musical proficiency but are also transferable to other aspects of their lives, including academic pursuits. Music programs foster a sense of community and belonging, giving students a supportive environment where they can build meaningful relationships and develop a strong sense of identity. For some, music can even open doors to scholarships or career opportunities they might not have otherwise had access to, and KEYS provides support to those students who are looking forward to the next chapter of their lives. In essence, music education and programs such as KEYS are not just about learning notes and melodies, but about nurturing students’ potential, resilience, and well-being, equipping them with invaluable tools to overcome life’s challenges and thrive.
We are always considering the students who use the spaces we design, as well as the influence the performing arts can have on communities, so the mission of KEYS is in direct alignment with Jaffe Holden’s. Our very own Russ Cooper, Principal of Acoustics, has been involved with the organization for almost ten years and has served as the Board Chair until just this month when his term ended, and our staff has elected to donate to KEYS twice in the past year. To know that we can have even a small impact on students at such a young age is deeply rewarding, and we encourage you to consider making a donation to this organization, whether financial or in the form of a musical instrument you may have lying around your house. There are ample ways to show your support so please visit keysmusic.org to learn more.