Last update: 09-Dec-2013 8:33 pm
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Music comforts Nelson Street teen
For Josiah Dubarry, living in South East Port-of-Spain means he has problems larger than most children his age.
The 15-year-old is constantly awoken by gun shots, gang violence and drug raids. But what’s worst is the fact that he doesn’t have the freedom to hang out with friends around the corner because he fears getting hit by a stray bullet.
“This is a normal thing here and I try not to take it on but sometimes it’s just sad. I mean you can’t go outside on some days, you can’t be normal and do things that normal teenagers would do,” Dubarry said.
Dubarry lost his mother at a very young age and has been living with his aunt Mary Dubarry on Nelson Street for most of his life. So when he started “to give trouble” his aunt enrolled him into the City Angels Music Programme three years ago.
A form three student at Barataria South Secondary, Dubarry says the programme gives the participants a chance of hope while keeping them off the street and out of trouble.
The programme is a free initiative for children aged nine to 18 who live in South East Port of Spain and its environs. It is coordinated by the Music Literacy Trust as a way to empower underprivileged youths though music and has been part sponsored by the RBC Royal Bank’s Education Foundation since 2010.
“My instructor is a well-known flutist and he tells us stories of how he has been able to travel the world playing the flute and to me that’s inspiring to think that I could do this and make a living and get to see different places because for me right now, I mean I can’t even get a passport, so to think that music could help me is really something good,” Dubarry said.
Today Dubarry is seen as one of the star flutists at the music camp and according to the programme’s founder, Jenny Lee; he is also one of the most changed.
“When Josiah first started out with us he was a bit unruly but today he one of the kindest and focused people you could meet,” she said.
According to Lee, the music programme has been a driving force in the community. What started off as a journey to financially assist a few students in 2004 through a degree and certificate programme in music at the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies has turned into something much greater.
She said since its inception the City Angels Music Programme has focused on taking at-risk youth off the street, turning them away from a life of crime, and giving them positive role models by offering them healthy, more positive alternatives via its after school music programme and August vacation music camps.
But more than that, Lee believes it gives many of the children an opportunity to relax in a positive and uplifting environment.
“We are located on Nelson Street, so we are right in the middle of it and the stories we hear from some of these children are often heart-breaking. Society, and life on the whole, has not been good to them which is why we are grateful to companies like RBC who get it, who understand what we are trying to do and support us because if these children have nothing good to look forward to we will end up with a recurring negative cycle,” she said.
• This story was provided by RBC Royal Bank’s Education Foundation.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.