Boston Avenue’s Administrative Board approved an exciting new ministry - and made a significant commitment - at its most recent meeting. Our church will begin teaching instrumental music skills daily after school to 80 impoverished children as part of Sistema Tulsa. The children will then play together as an orchestra.
“I’m feeling very excited and really nervous about such an ambitions program,” said Director of Music Dr. Joel Panciera. “After much research into this program and the value of music education, I strongly feel that this is a way to reach out and really help kids escape poverty.”
A new director for the ministry, Jose Luis Hernandez-Estrada, begins duties this week.“I am delighted to be a part of the Boston Avenue family,” he says. “I look forward to ..our mission of service through the ideals of El Sistema. My goal is that, through our work together, we will be able to generate a spirit of communion and hope among us and in those whom we will serve. I am both grateful and excited for the journey ahead.”
As arranged with Tulsa Public Schools, elementary children from some of the Central High School feeder schools (including Burroughs) will be bused to the church after school each day. They will be fed a substantial snack, then will spend two hours working with teachers to learn an instrument and basic music skills, and to have tutoring help with their homework. Parents will pick them up around 5:30 p.m.
This program began in Venezuela in 1975, and has had a significant impact there and across the U.S. since that time. The program has universally received rave reviews as the children have improved math and reading grades and standardized testing scores, increased in self confidence and ability to work with others, and improved behavior as levels of responsibility and respect for others rise.
“Our music department has mostly been inwardly focused on leading in worship,” Dr. Panciera said. “Now we are going beyond our walls to use our gifts to help those outside our church. We’ll take what’s familiar to us and use it in new, novel ways.”
As they learn music skills, the children will also develop:
* Citizenship - Children will come to view themselves as proud, successful members of a larger community.
* Intrinsic motivation - Students will “own” and embrace deeper levels of personal responsibility for their learning, as well as deeper levels of self-motivation and intellectual curiosity.
* Success within and beyond the classroom - Tutoring programs will support development in key academic areas: reading comprehension, math and writing
* Social transformation - As students grow older and new students enter the program, the goal is to transform Central feeder schools into one of the most successful systems in Tulsa Schools.
“I’m excited to welcome Jose Luis,” Dr. Panciera adds. “He will be a blessing - such a skilled pianist, conductor and musician. His life experiences will bring a new richness and perspective to us. He is truly focused on using his gifts to help others of all ages.”