I am Bobby Hatten, Board Director of Soundscapes since 2009 and its current Chairman. I am managing partner of the Peninsula law firm, Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein (PWHD), and have long been active in community affairs, serve on numerous local boards and have twice chaired the annual Peninsula United Way.I am proud of my city and try to make it better through volunteer leadership positions and financial support of worthwhile non-profits. My participation with Soundscapes has enriched my life greatly.
One of every four children in Newport News lives in poverty. Most of them are African Americans whose stressful, often chaotic, lives may lead them to drop out and give up on school, careers, and their communities. Newport News is fortunate to be the home of the Achievable Dream Academy, but this fine institution can only handle a fraction of the need. The high-tech employment market in Hampton Roads demands self-confident go-getters who understand the importance of teamwork and can accomplish goals on time and within budget.
Soundscapes uses intensive music study and frequent performance to give at-risk kids the skills to overcome their environments and become productive students and future community leaders. The program gives kids hope; it gives them drive; it teaches them self-motivation; it helps them perform better in school; and it will make them the future leaders of our city. They learn to control aggressive behavior before it can evolve into violence, and it is violence that is the Number #1 health risk in the United States, at least according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Soundscapes participates in a national and international movement to effect social change through intensive music instruction. It is based on a paradigm that is now under development on every continent except Antarctica.
Our program is not cheap, but $1,350 per child is a lot cheaper than the $54,000 per year that Newport News taxpayers are contributing towards juvenile detention for one delinquent. The costs of adult education, drug treatment, and teenage pregnancy only add to the tax bill.
Soundscapes is free to its students, who improve over several years. First, we see better school attendance and a decline in disciplinary actions. This is followed by prosocial behavior, then higher test scores in multiple subjects. Our fifth graders are winning the top awards in their class and have a strong presence on the honor roll. Dramatic evidence of self-motivation is showing up before these children reach middle school; we have fourth graders who want to start their own combo bands and are asking our teaching artist faculty how to cut a record and sell it.
After seven years, the Newport News School Division recognized that our kind of arts instruction and intervention is working, and we are now an integral part of a new public school initiative for youth development city-wide. Our role will expand fourfold in FY 2017, and with direct cash support from the school system.
We are constantly refining our model, and welcome visits from other community leaders who may want to create a program like ours. Come see us or visit www.soundscapes.org.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia7501 Boulders View Drive, Richmond, VA 23225804-330-7400 | www.tcfrichmond.org