SHOULDERS OF OUR YOUTH
In the final analysis, when it comes down to it, the future of our country rests squarely on the shoul-ders of our youth. So what kind of adults are we going to have 10-15 years from now?
Ideally, we want the communities and families of young people to be able to supply all that they need – a nurturing environment, a secure child-hood, adequate housing, access to healthcare, a good education, uprightness of character through positive discipline, a sense of personal responsibility grounded on values, and a commitment to their com-munities and their country.
We all were young once. So, as adults, it’s not difficult to appreciate that our children also have noble dreams and aspirations for their own futures. But for multitudes of disadvantaged children their daily realities make those dreams seem forever out of reach.
As is prevalent elsewhere, the complexity of problems and challenges faced by disadvantaged youth in New Zealand is matched only by the complexity of traditional government responses to those problems. Some have been mea-sured and found wanting. Others contain complicated frameworks that are confusing, exasperatingly costly or ineffective.
AN AMAZING EVENT
Of the numerous youth-oriented initiatives that have come and gone over the last 50-years, only a handful appear to have produced a modicum of success and sustainability. One stands out above the rest.
The video you are about to view below – 9-1/2-minutes worth watching every second of it, tells you why.
Watch The Video
This story is not so much about the remarkable accomplishment of one great humanist – José Antonio Abreu, who dedicated his life to set up ‘El ‘Sistema’ in 1975, but about an astonishing transformation using a universal language – music, as a social engineering tool in Venezuela that has made a tremendous difference in the lives of that nation’s most disadvantaged children by keeping them away from a life of gangs, alcohol, drugs, crime and violence.
El Sistema (or, the System) has used classical music to tackle the social problems of a country where 60% of its population live below the poverty line. By offering free instruments and tuition through a network of after-school centres all over the country, El Sistema has redirected hundreds of thousands of children away from all the wrong and life-threatening influences of the street and misguided peers.
This system has led to the creation of 30 professional orchestras in a country that had only 2 before it started. Currently, 275,000 children attend the ‘Sistemas’ schools and many of them play in one of the 125 youth orchestras.
In the second video show below, listen to how Abreu achieved it.
Watch The Video