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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Special Angel Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Mental Health, Music, Substance Abuse Prevention, Youth Development

Mission: Using music to help young people learn to express their feelings and to educate them on changing high risk behavior through discussion of the stories related through the lyrics in each song. Key Points According to statistics from the CDC, it is estimated that half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. are among people under 25. It is estimated that 75% of the teenage adolescent population have consumed alcohol or used illegal drugs at least once. These include marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy (rave), heroin, crack, huffing (inhaling) and others. Our goal is to educate young people on the potentially life threatening consequences of high risk behavior using music as the catalyst for initiating dialogue. We work collaboratively with agencies assisting young people in healing their lives and setting and accomplishing their goals. To educate the public on the problems young people face today and the opportunities available for help. To use any local or national exposure relating to the Special Angel Project as a way to shine more light on the agencies we work with in order to help them gain the attention needed to assist them in their growth. Every kid in trouble needs a special angel. We all have it in us to be one.

Results: Why It Works As a group we have performed in many places for different audiences but we all agree that the work we do with young people is by far the most rewarding. To see how the music can bring out feelings and change attitudes from the time we begin to when we leave is truly magical. Why it works We are able to connect immediately with any and all groups through sharing our own personal experience. Singing songs about real life issues enables us to talk about changing high risk behavior without lecturing or preaching. We are willing to be honest with the kids about our own feelings. Because of our approach, we find the kids connect with us in a special way. It’s interesting to see how they relate to the music and to us as a mother and daughter, especially those who have not had positive relationships of their own. Through the music these young people open up in a way they are unable to do at other times. Our band leader and music director, Jon Walmsley, has assembled a group of multi-talented professional musicians who have been with us for many years and have the ability to fit in with any group. They are selected for their ability to relate to kids and their commitment and belief in the mission of The Special Angel Project. They are particularly good with tough or initially resistant groups and always win them over with their musical ability. The music is the catalyst for all of it. Music is truly a Universal language and a true healer. There are other programs that use music with kids but we bring a unique ability to communicate on a real world level and the kids really open up to us. Our songs relate to real life problems and feelings. We have found that this works in helping kids talk and then open up in a way that helps them to continue to be able to learn and grow in their respective programs. Counselors have repeatedly been amazed at our ability to get the kids to talk with us so openly. We hand out program evaluations after each program and kids who may have remained silent, feel free to express themselves on paper. Some of the comments in the program evaluations to date have been: ~ I like the way I connect to the stuff ya’ll say. You bring hope to children like me. ~ You guys are very easy going and bring a smile to people’s faces no matter the issue wer’e dealing with ~ You guys make music people can relate to. ~ I liked learning about playing the guitar. ~ I really just enjoy the whole thing. ~ I like that you gave us the time….We really appreciate it. ~ I like learning how to play guitar again and seeing how much you truly care. Thank you so much for this wonderful class! Can’t wait to see you again.

Target demographics: Tweeners and parents, Troubled teens in transition,

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100+ Teens in transition at Children of the Night through our music program.

Geographic areas served: Greater LA and beyond

Programs: Discussion and sharing through Interactive programs using music, guitar workshops, girls night for Moms and daughters and other presentations.

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