LOCATIONS: KINGSTON, JAMAICA; LIMA, PERU; SANTO ANDRÉ, BRAZIL
Through INMED’s IAMusic program, at-risk youth learned fundamental guitar and music skills with the guidance of a positive adult role model. The name of the program, IAMusic, reflects the fundamental concept of “I AM” that is sadly missing for many children in the project communities.
Growing up in impoverished, violent surroundings, these children saw no opportunities, no hope, and suffered from low self-esteem as a result. The IAMusic program reached out to at-risk, often “forgotten” youth to give them a sense of purpose and accomplishment through music instruction and the encouragement of a positive adult role model.
The IAMusic program helped participating youth develop the critical perception that “I AM”: I AM somebody, I AM important—in addition to everything that involvement in music represents: I AM creative, I AM capable of learning a skill, I AM dedicated to my goals, I AM talented. Over time, the youths’ newfound sense of “I AM” evolves into “I CAN”: I CAN be successful in school, I CAN stay away from gangs and drugs, I CAN make positive changes in my life, I CAN achieve my dreams.
The program provided the youth with beginner guitar instruction—with acoustic and electric guitars donated by the Gibson Guitar Company and the Gibson Foundation—by qualified music instructors experienced in working with at-risk youth.
The program also incorporated key elements supporting positive youth development, such as healthy, positive messages about life and social behavior; promotion of educational achievement; and opportunities for participation in civic and community activities.