Project Launch:In the communities of Canton Sunsulaca, Cacaopera and Morazan, young men previously had little to do in the late afternoon so they spent their time loitering around the local stores and were often blamed for misfortunes in their communities. With the help of local Peace Corps Volunteers, the community established a musical group, Sunsulaca Batucada, that meets in the evenings with at-risk males between the ages of 14 and 21 to play Fondos and Repiques, two batucada drums that are unique to El Salvador and its culture. The boys love spending their time doing something fun and productive and in the process, they learn about El Salvador's music history and work on their own band l-- practicing, watching music videos and planning their future concerts. The participants have shown improvements in personality and character as well. All the boys have taken on a new sense of leadership and Juan, the eldest of the boys, has even started volunteering outside of the band. In addition to writing all the songs for Sunsulaca Batucada, Juan has begun working as the local school’s band director and helps teach younger students in the community. The band brings a good name to the local community, especially after performing in prestigious festivals, and local community members stop by and listen in on weekly practices to hear the improvements the band has made. The band plans visit the elementary school and share their new skills with the younger kids, hoping to pass on their interests to other children looking for creative ways to express their talents. In the coming years, the group aims to incorporate more drummers and dancers. The music group gives participants the opportunity to pursue their talents and passion for music in a fun and safe environment, and develop important life skills at the same time, such as self confidence, self-esteem, teamwork, and commitment. They are also developing important business skills, such as advertising, marketing, money management, and information technology as they create and administer their own web pages to promote their band. The $412 grant from World Connect’s Kids to Kids Program in 2010 gave participants the opportunity to pursue something they love, develop important skills and talents, and get them off the street and out of trouble.
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