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Trying to get an after school steelpan program off the ground in North Miami

I am a music teacher stationed in North Miami and currently at home for the next two months wasting talent and time. I have a small kids' steel ensemble but because school is out, the instruments are packed away and the kids are home also wasting talent and time. I was recently offered more instruments but unfortunately I may have no where to house them as the space I currently use is not mine. I have written a few people who work for the city of North Miami and below is my communication to them. I know that this website has many followers and I am hoping that you would be able to help me in terms of networking for ideas and support for this project.

Good afternoon Mr. Galvin, my name is Elizabeth Flocker-Aming. I am the music director of the steel drum band that was featured on NBC news last year. Although I was surplussed and transferred from one school to another, I still continued my after school music program at Natural Bridge where my instruments are still stored. Sad to say, 11 out of 12 of my band members graduated from Natural Bridge are moving on to various middle schools. I have been thinking of ways to keep the band together by opening a music school at a central location in North Miami, as these are very talented musicians. So far due to monetary constraints, nothing is affordable. Currently as a ten-month employee for Miami Dade County Schools I am at home with nothing to do until August 18th. The students are also at home with no productive activities beside watching TV and playing video games--both a waste of talent and time.

Just yesterday I was offered a set of steel drums that may possibly be given as a donation or for a highly-reduced price to my program. If given these drums I will be able to facilitate at least 20 children, which would be a pretty impressive and powerful band.

My only concern is that apart from the pod that I share with another teacher (in terms of space), I have no where to place these extra instruments when I get them. I wanted to start a North Miami after school music program for "at risk" kids but never got this off the ground. I believe that this is the best time to go after this dream as I now will have sufficient instruments for a solid program. I am willing to start such a program this summer if given the support and facility to work in.

My music students have received exposure from playing at the Annual Miami Thanksgiving parade, the North Miami Beach for the lighting of the Christmas Tree, as guests of the City of Miami Gardens. They also preformed at the Viscaya Botanical Gardens for Homeland Security, for the School Board, at the North Miami Beach Library, for the Lions Club (North Miami), at the Panamanian American Association of Florida banquet and for the Spanish Monastery; Saint Bernard de Clairvuax and most recently for the Florida Democratic Party for their Jefferson Jackson Dinner Fund raiser where they met/were introduced to several senators as well as the Mayor of North Miami.

I was thinking of asking the city of Miami for a facility to host an after school program as a non-for-profit organization. As a certified K-6 teacher I can also tutor math, reading, language arts and writing as part of the program (coupled with the music).

I can write a grant if needed and I have done the research that shows the effect of an after school music program on at risk students. I believe that this program would bring out the silent talent of our under-represented population here in North Miami.

Please direct me if possible to the right network that would be able to assist me in making this vision a reality. I have video clips of my current students performing upon request.

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