“Nothing ends the cycle of poverty as effectively as education, and teaching children music dramatically improves all their other school grades because it improves their learning and listening skills.”
— Bob Terry
Many people in the Buzz readership area know former Hancock Park resident Bob Terry as someone with more than 50 years’ experience in the investment and banking industry, and for his longtime philanthropy efforts on behalf of organizations such as The Center for Reflective Parenting, Heart of Los Angeles, Hospitaller Foundation, Rotary, the Good Shepherd Home for Homeless Women & Children, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Lift Up the Vulnerable, the Ebell of Los Angeles, Homeboy Industries, and many schools.
Terry now lives in New York, but he contacted the Buzz this week to let us know about his new work as a member of the advisory board to another Los Angeles non-profit, Global Arts, which provides free after-school music education to students in the Pico Union neighborhood.
“Pico Union is a very old area of Los Angeles,” wrote Terry, “as well as a very poor area. It is a very densely populated neighborhood of 42 thousand people, most of whom recently came from Mexico and Central America. The average family in this neighborhood has an annual income of $26,000.”
Terry says he has two godchildren who live in Pico-Union, and that his connection to the area, and to Global Arts, has been such a transformative experience that he is now working full time for the organization.
“Global Arts’ mission is to contribute to educational equity by providing exceptional music classes for underserved youth,” he wrote. “The learning environment is intentionally centered around music, community, and personal growth…where difference is valued, and where equity and inclusion are practiced. Music’s role in a child’s education is key in engaging them, sparking their creativity and unique voices, and improving their overall enjoyment and success in school. A vibrant, music-rich curriculum makes an immense difference in their lives.”
More specifically, according to the Global Arts website:
• The organization provides a safe place for students to come after school, keeping them out of trouble and providing peace of mind for parents.
• Music enhances the process of learning by nourishing integrated sensory, attention, cognitive, emotional, and motor capacities, which are driving forces behind all other learning. (“This is why we see a dramatic change in students’ grades when they are studying music.”)
• Music tunes your listening skills, and we all need to be better listeners.
• Playing and listening to music reduces anxiety levels and improves the body’s immune system.
• Music education helps boost students’ self-esteem.
According to Terry, Global Arts is in its third year and currently serves 68 students…but his goal is to help expand the program to serve hundreds.
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world,” Terry said. “Some people see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were and say why not. A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives.”
“We live in a time of crisis where the divide between the wealthiest and the poor has never been greater. I cannot change the world, but if each and every one of us does something to help, then collectively we can change the world for the better. I beg the great and the small to share with those who have nothing.”
Terry will be vising LA in October, and says he will be moving back again after his son finishes college in on the east coast and returns to Los Angeles for law school. “I miss and love LA and all you wonderful people,” he said.
First and foremost for the moment, though, Terry just wants share his new passion with everyone in the area. To learn more, see http://www.globalartsco.org.