Our kids are being left behind!

January 1, 2003, at the Gifford Swimming Pool, I was facilitating my first Kwanzaa Program in Gifford, Florida. That’s when I met Annie Powell and our long -time friendship and community service alliance began. She said, “Our kids are being left behind! What are you going to do about that?” She showed me a photo of a little black boy dragging his cello at the end of a long line of other musicians. She thought he was at the end of the line because he was being left behind. In reality, he was at the end of the line because he played the cello, often the last one to leave the stage. I had no choice but to get busy developing the Gifford Youth Orchestra.

Rev. Dr. Crystal Bujol

GYO Founder & Chairman

GYO Hisoty

The story about GYO history is amazing. Filled with beautiful people, dedicated teachers, committed board members, generous donors, struggles and sprouts, phenomenal children and parents with dreams for better tomorrows who entrusted their children to Joan Haar and me. We didn’t know what was coming in 2019. We didn’t know that one day, one of our graduates would graduate from college and instead of teaching 40 or 50 children each week, she would teach nearly 80 children each day! How did that happen?


“Each One Teach One” -Is The Secret Formula!

A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. Furthermore, according to the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM Foundation), learning to play an instrument can improve mathematical learning and even increase SAT scores. 

Academic achievement isn’t the only benefit of music education and exposure. Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness: intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.”


How can the GYO help more young people choose a path “better tomorrows?”

The Gifford Youth Orchestra just needs to stay the course. Continue doing what it does. Follow the Mission Statement. Prepare boys and girls to follow their dreams and prepare them for the goal of “Each One, Teach One!” It is a perfect bridge to better tomorrows. “More Violins, Better Tomorrows.” More Music, More Melodies, Better Tomorrows. Keep them off the street and on the stage of a successful life!

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