The David's Harp Foundation https://davidsharpfoundation.org/ Mon, 29 Mar 2021 02:55:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://davidsharpfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-favicon-32x32.png The David's Harp Foundation https://davidsharpfoundation.org/ 32 32 From BizPod to College https://davidsharpfoundation.org/bizpod-to-college/ Mon, 29 Mar 2021 01:18:11 +0000 https://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=1486 At the start of every Business Pod class, the instructors and students take a few minutes to check in with one another. They share their high, low and hope for the week. This past week, student Symphony received some big news during check in’s and our amazing BizPod instructor Jesus caught it all on camera! […]

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At the start of every Business Pod class, the instructors and students take a few minutes to check in with one another. They share their high, low and hope for the week. This past week, student Symphony received some big news during check in’s and our amazing BizPod instructor Jesus caught it all on camera! Check it out below.

Our BizPod program is aimed at preparing young people for a life beyond high school. Supporting them in navigating a career as a creative as they pursue higher education. After Symphony hopped off the phone with her (very proud) mom, we asked her a few questions about getting accepted into college and how the BizPod program has prepared her for this next step.

What did it feel like to receive that acceptance letter?

When I opened the acceptance letter, I felt pure accomplishment. I have sacrificed time that I could have spent having fun or socializing with friends, in order to strengthen my college applications. But by receiving my acceptance letter, I felt as though all of the hard work and sacrifice had finally paid off. It was a great feeling, and gave me new hope for my future, as well.

What are you most looking forward to in college?

I am most looking forward to doing what I love in college. Depending on the school I attend, I plan to major in either Biochemistry or Molecular and Cell Biology on the pre-med track, which means I will spend another four years working even harder than I did before. Even with this in mind, I know that I will be studying what I am passionate about! I would also like to minor in Political Science, another passion of mine, and I could not be more excited and hopeful for my future.

What skills have you learned in the BizPod program that will support you in college?

Prior to joining BizPod, most of my school projects were individual projects, which I liked because I am a very independent worker. However, at BizPod, I definitely have learned a lot of teamwork skills. It is rare that I work alone at BizPod, and I know that there will be times in college where I have to apply the teamwork skills that I have learned at BizPod. Bouncing ideas off of each other at BizPod has been a fun experience, and I look forward to doing the same in the classroom.

There are a lot of new and challenging things you’ve done during your time in BizPod – how do you feel having accomplished so many new things and overcoming challenges?

I have never considered myself to be the most creative person, so overcoming this struggle felt like a challenge in itself. But working creatively at BizPod has definitely strengthened my ability to believe in my creativity. In such a short time, I have discovered a lot about myself and just how far the lengths of my creativity can go. I am proud of this discovery, and I feel inspired to know how much farther I can go in videography, photography, and other creative hobbies.

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What Do You Do When Distance Learning Isn’t Working? https://davidsharpfoundation.org/what-do-you-do-when-distance-learning-isnt-working/ Mon, 19 Oct 2020 00:18:05 +0000 https://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=1359 How do we support students academic success when they’ve stopped going to school completely? This is the question our staff found themselves asking when we learned that 91% of our young people were not participating in distance learning. As an organization that trades good grades for studio time, this concerned us. Not just because we […]

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How do we support students academic success when they’ve stopped going to school completely?

This is the question our staff found themselves asking when we learned that 91% of our young people were not participating in distance learning. As an organization that trades good grades for studio time, this concerned us. Not just because we know how vital education is, but because we understand the important role educators and school staff play in our students lives. Consistent support from adults is key for students who are already facing extreme barriers to success.

As we spoke with our students about why they were not logging into their zoom classrooms each day, we heard that their need for community, academic accountability and creative connection were just as important as access to high-speed Internet. We responded by creating a socially distanced learning hub for the fall semester generously sponsored by Cox Communications and in partnership with Reality Changers. Every Monday, students enter our socially distanced learning space where they receive one on one academic support from the Reality Changers coaches. Once students have completed their school work, they have the opportunity to participate in our music programs with the David’s Harp team. The collaboration allows us the ability to provide quality support to even more students, as we continue to blend the world of art and academics.

Music continues to be a powerful motivator and connector. Our young people are excited to complete their online learning as it grants them access to our studio facility and staff of Artist Mentors (Art Instructor/Social Workers) to create the music that they are passionate about. Through these sessions of creating beats and writing lyrics, youth get the opportunity to process the pain, grief and loss of this season through their art. And our instructors are there with them step by step, helping them navigate the ups and downs this year has thrown at us all.

Through our work in the education sector with under-resourced youth we’ve identified Five Pillars of Learning that the Distance Learning Hub is providing students:

Mentorship and Social/Emotional care: DHF’s studios are safe (socially distanced) spaces intentionally curated to empower youth voice and create authentic community. As youth engage in the creative process with their peers, social and emotional bonds are created that have had been impactful beyond the studio environment.

Academic Accountability: DHF is committed to providing academic accountability through partnership. Our Artist Mentors interface with teachers, administrative staff and program partners across out 20+ partnerships including San Diego Unified School District, San Diego County Office of Education, Juvenile Court and Community Schools, and local Charter Schools, encouraging students to attend school.

“High Speed” Internet/Computers: DHF will create socially distanced space for students to use their school laptops in addition to providing laptop/tech support to students in this season. Our partner, Cox Communications has provided “Gigbit” speed internet access in the Hub ensuring students have an equitable online learning experience.

Trusted Adult Relationships: Search Institute research has shown the direct correlation between student success and trusted adult relationships. Our Artist Mentors are trustworthy adults who offer support, guidance, and encouragement to help young people overcome challenges and become their best selves. Access to these relationships are critical for youth especially during these trying times.

Quality Art Programming: Our students have access to world class production tools in our studios because we believe in their artistic visions. DHF provides access to training in music production, audio engineering, photography and video creation that ensure students can artistically express themselves, while they learn valuable “soft skills” in the content creation process.

What we’ve found to be true is that students need access to all five of these elements to thrive. They need help completing calculus homework AND need safe spaces to be creative and process complex emotions. The goal of the Distance Learning Hub is to blend these worlds; offering our young people holistic and authentic support from adults who are committed to their growth in all areas.

Our latest video gives a behind the scenes look at our Distance Learning Hub in action.

Thank you to the incredible patterns who continue to make the Distance Learning Hub possible: Moniker Group, Cox Communications, Clare Rose Foundation, Westaf, Swinerton Renewable Energy and Reality Changers.

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More Than Music https://davidsharpfoundation.org/more-than-music/ Wed, 14 Oct 2020 22:33:55 +0000 https://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=1335 We live and breathe music. But if you ask any DHF staff member, they’ll tell you that music is just the vehicle – it’s the great connector between ourselves and the young people we do life with. DHF Business Pod (BizPod) Program graduates, David and Jesus, created a video series to highlight what it looks […]

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We live and breathe music. But if you ask any DHF staff member, they’ll tell you that music is just the vehicle – it’s the great connector between ourselves and the young people we do life with. DHF Business Pod (BizPod) Program graduates, David and Jesus, created a video series to highlight what it looks like to move beyond the music. David and Jesus have been involved with DHF for years, transitioning from the role of students to instructors and mentors. Since their graduation from BizPod, they have launched a media company and are leading classes with our staff in Juvenile Hall. There is no one better to tell the story of DHF, because they are the story of DHF.

We sat down with them to hear about the process behind the series and the impact they hope it will have.


1.What was your vision behind this series of videos? 

David: Our vision was to humanize the kids we work with; so many people hear about what we do and understand the music aspect, but don’t always see that we are really doing life with young people in a deep way. We want to show the world that a budget, or a title doesn’t make a difference for these young people. Caring does.  

Jesus: We also wanted to show the heart of our staff here, to let people see that a title or paycheck isn’t what matters most to the DHF staff, it’s the young people they work with. 

2. Can you share more about the process of making these videos? 

David: These videos weren’t invented, there were documented. The stories were already there, because they are happening every week. We didn’t discover them, we just amplified them. 

Jesus: Being able to document these videos reminds us why we love making videos for organizations and non-profits because without them there wouldn’t be the impact we see in our city. 

3. You are incredibly involved with an organization that is centered around music, and yet music is just the beginning of what DHF does. What does “more than music” mean to you? 

David: Music is how we connect but the relationship evolves with mutual respect and true interest in friendship. The teenagers that come here are our friends not our clients. It’s more than music because it’s a real friendship. 

Jesus: We focus on meeting kids where they are at in life and helping them get, or figure out, where they want to go. Music is how we meet them in the moment, but what happens after is where the real impact occurs.  
 

4. What inspires you to keep creating and making new things? 

David: I want to tell my friends (the kids) stories because nobody ever sits down and asks them about it. It’s like they are invisible or just a statistic. They have real emotions and stories to tell and I want to show the world that my friends are humans and not statistics. 

Jesus: What inspires me is being able to make videos that capture real moments that impact people. Many people have been impacted by the programs here and to be able to tell that story and show why the impact is so powerful is amazing.  
 

5. What do you hope people take away from the More Than Music video series? If they only hear one thing, what do you hope they hear? 

David: I hope they realize that music is just the connector, it’s all about respecting the kids and humanizing them. It’s all about the relationship.

Jesus: I hope people take away that being on staff at DHF is more than a position and music is more than a platform. Having the opportunity to be in young people’s lives and to really care about them through thick and thin is where the impact and real change happens. 


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Composing Toward a Dream: Nathaniel’s Story https://davidsharpfoundation.org/composing-toward-a-dream-nathaniels-story/ https://davidsharpfoundation.org/composing-toward-a-dream-nathaniels-story/#respond Mon, 26 Dec 2016 17:03:10 +0000 http://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=778 At the age of 15, Nathaniel Randle achieved something many musicians spend their careers working toward: he composed the soundtrack to a play (a medley of all 11 compositions are above). Nathaniel didn’t set out to create soundtracks. In fact, he never believed composing could be anything more than a dream he kept to himself. […]

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At the age of 15, Nathaniel Randle achieved something many musicians spend their careers working toward: he composed the soundtrack to a play (a medley of all 11 compositions are above).

Nathaniel didn’t set out to create soundtracks. In fact, he never believed composing could be anything more than a dream he kept to himself. But David’s Harp Foundation exists to inspire and empower students through music. With the instruction and tools of the David’s Harp studio, he learned how to bring the songs within him to life.

Growing up in a musical family, Nathaniel was surrounded by melody and instruments from a young age. He discovered his love of soundtracks when he returned from a movie one afternoon and found himself humming melodies from the scenes. “I thought, I want to play what was in that movie. So I started teaching myself.”

Despite his love of music, Nathaniel had no plans to pursue it outside of his home. He joined the David’s Harp program when his mom began dropping him off at the studio with his older brothers. Initially he was unwilling to follow in their footsteps. “I didn’t like it because I didn’t want to like it,” he remembers. “It took me a while to realize it was a super cool opportunity.”

As he worked alongside instructors and other students in the studio, Nathaniel’s perspective shifted. David’s Harp Foundation’s state-of-the-art equipment and one-to-one teaching empowers students to create music they couldn’t make anywhere else. With the help of industry standard software and individualized instruction Nathaniel learned to express himself with new sounds.

“When I first came here, you could tell I was making a bunch of sad stuff. The program helped me not go crazy,” he says.

Nathaniel’s early songs often surprised him by revealing feelings he hadn’t identified in himself. He learned to approach production with the desire to express himself and, in his words, “to see what happens. Composing is like saying my emotions without saying them, in a way that people will listen to.”

David’s Harp Foundation introduced him to music production as both discovery and art. He grew to love the creative process, the life songs took on, and their ability to communicate—both to himself and others. As he spent more afternoons in the studio, Nathaniel’s old dream of creating soundtracks came alive. He progressed from making beats to writing fuller arrangements with an array of instruments and layers of sounds.

After months of work in the program, Nathaniel was chosen to produce the music for a local play. Parade of History is a live production that spotlights powerful African figures throughout history including queens, pharaohs, and warriors. Hosted by San Diego’s Kuumba Fest, Parade of History celebrates the lives of twelve historical personas through dramatic monologue.

Under the guidance of David’s Harp instructors, Nathaniel produced Parade of History’s soundtrack, one song for every character. “I read over the paragraphs we had printed about each character and I imagined what their life would sound like,” he says. Each song called to life a different era, culture, and story. Cleopatra, for example, stepped on stage to an elegant and hypnotizing melody. Warrior figures were accompanied by drumbeats and powerful rhythms.

Parade of History was performed locally in San Diego as well as other cities in California and Nevada. Dajahn Blevins, founder of Kuumba Fest, credits Nathaniel with bringing fresh imagination to the production. “Nathaniel was motivated and inspired to create a sound for each one of the characters. Each one became more interesting to the younger audience because [the music] gave them a different kind of life.”

Brandon Steppe, founder and director of David’s Harp Foundation, views Nathaniel’s story as an example of the program’s potential to equip and embolden students. “At the highest level, it’s what the program can be; empowering students to go beyond themselves to create things that are relevant and have use in the world.”

“When you have a song stuck in your heart, a piano and a voice is not always enough to take that idea and make it a reality,” Brandon says. “But when you have all the tools you need to do that, it enables you to pour everything about that song out and hear it back, then make it exactly what you want it to be.”

For his part, Nathaniel sees his work in the David’s Harp studio as a privilege. “I don’t get an opportunity to do this anywhere else but here. If it weren’t for coming here, I wouldn’t be pursuing music. I would have given it up a long time ago,” he says.

David’s Harp Foundation gave Nathaniel the confidence and resources to see his gifts as worth pursuing. Through participation in the program, Nathaniel has emerged from a quiet teenager into a musician, composer, and leader. He’s learned to trust his musical voice and employ his gifts to create something remarkable.

“Coming here got me out of my comfort zone and gave me confidence in my music and what I do. I’m still learning, but it gave me confidence in what I’m passionate about,” he says. Most importantly, the studio helped Nathaniel find his voice.

 

Nathaniel’s story is one of many success stories from the David’s Harp studio. Every day we empower at-risk youth to find their voice—and it’s only possible with your help. Your support equips David’s Harp Foundation to educate and inspire teens through audio art. Give now to grow our impact and extend our reach! Donate Today.

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Healing Through the Lyrics: Amariah’s Journey https://davidsharpfoundation.org/healing-through-the-lyrics-amariahs-journey/ https://davidsharpfoundation.org/healing-through-the-lyrics-amariahs-journey/#respond Mon, 26 Dec 2016 17:00:34 +0000 http://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=775 What begins as anxious curiosity grows into excitement when students embark upon the creative process. During our Shelter night program on June 16th, 2015, a 16 year-old girl named Amariah arrived at the David’s Harp facility for the first time.  After checking herself into the shelter that night, she was noticeably nervous as she walked […]

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What begins as anxious curiosity grows into excitement when students embark upon the creative process.

During our Shelter night program on June 16th, 2015, a 16 year-old girl named Amariah arrived at the David’s Harp facility for the first time.  After checking herself into the shelter that night, she was noticeably nervous as she walked though the doors accompanied by her new found friends and Taylor, the San Diego Youth Services Storefront Emergency Shelter’s staff member. Her nervousness turned into cautious excitement after DHF Director Brandon Steppe greeted her with a high five and told her that she’d be rapping tonight in the studio.

“Oh, it’s going DOWN!” Amariah exclaimed as she turned the corner into the studio and saw the recording console. She quickly rifled through her backpack and pulled out a notebook of raps and poems. Seemingly forgetting her situation all together, she read over her notes a couple of times while other students recorded, stepped uncertainly in to the sound booth and recorded for the first time.

During the subsequent “Shelter Night” sessions, Amariah revised and eventually finished her song. But she was not finished in the studio!

Driven to see Amariah develop her talent further, Brandon spoke with the Director of Storefront Emergency Shelter, Sarah Merrill and the two came up with a week-long program to get Amariah back in the studio.

We called upon talented student music producers from DHF’s “The Project” program to work closely with Amariah to craft a musical composition to support her rhythmic poetry.  Through high moments and low moments, frustration and triumph, the students rallied together to help breathe life into Amariah’s dream.  By the end of the week, the songs were created.  More importantly, Amariah walked out of the studio with a sense of accomplishment.  Her story is not done.  She is enrolled in our Fall class to continue to refine her skills and we look forward to the strides that she will make in the studio and in the classroom.

The song that Amariah created (which can be heard below) is the soundtrack of healing that started in her life, and it is our pleasure to share it with you.

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Beating the Odds: Joy’s Story https://davidsharpfoundation.org/beating-the-odds-joys-story/ https://davidsharpfoundation.org/beating-the-odds-joys-story/#respond Mon, 26 Dec 2016 16:57:14 +0000 http://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=772 Joy’s story is a tale of perseverance. She didn’t have control of her circumstances; her family was unstable and moved continuously throughout her high school career. In total, she attended six high schools! Her freshman year began at San Diego’s Mira Mesa High, then onto Helix High. An abrupt move landed her at Jefferson High […]

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Joy’s story is a tale of perseverance. She didn’t have control of her circumstances; her family was unstable and moved continuously throughout her high school career. In total, she attended six high schools! Her freshman year began at San Diego’s Mira Mesa High, then onto Helix High. An abrupt move landed her at Jefferson High in New York state, then back to San Diego High School, on to Oceanside High and then back to Helix High. Finally, after an entire year away from school, Joy touched down at Garfield Continuation School—located in Downtown San Diego.  Garfield serves as a last resort for many students, but not for Joy.  She was determined to graduate and finish what she started.

In the fall of 2014, Joy came to the studio for the first time with Garfield’s Music Club.  She was so nervous she was shaking.  After warm greetings from the DHF instructors, she began to settle into the studio surroundings.  She expressed her interest and passion for music shortly thereafter, but was shy because she had no previous experience and didn’t want her classmates to hear her sing.  As most of our students have very little musical education, the DHF staff was ready to assist Joy in her first sonic steps. Week after week Joy returned.  “The music and instructors kept me coming back to the studio,” Joy shared. The instructors kept her motivated to return to high school.

Equipped with a newly formed knowledge of the song writing process, Joy teamed up with two other students, Emily and Ricardo, to start her first song in the spring of 2015. The team of instructors walked them through each step with patience and confidence in the potential they possessed.  Joy and the other two students shared their stories and were eager to create a collaboration that would bring light to their similar life struggles.  There is no greater success in the eyes of our staff, than when a student develops the courage to fully tell their story and use their trial as inspiration rather than a crutch.  It is beautiful when the students realize their story can serve as a launching pad into a successful future.

Joy on the day that she received her graduation letter!

After a semester of hard work in the studio, Joy and her team finish their song. The song they made was so much more than just lyrics or music. It was the completion of a project; motivation to finish high school. Music was Joy’s outlet. Our Student Studio became a safe haven for her. It was a place where she felt loved and encouraged to finish strong.

On the day she received her graduation letter, Joy brought her certificate to the studio and the whole DHF family celebrated her accomplishment…except Joy. She was distraught over news her family would soon be moving to North Carolina, this time without her.

We knew from that point our journey with Joy wasn’t over. Graduation was the first step, but we wanted to complete the due diligence and equip her with the life skills necessary to have a successful transition into the real world. Our team hand-crafted an internship for her, to assist her in building a professional resume, helping her find housing, as well as an array of resources that will translate to success for the rest of her life.

Joy has been a pleasure to work with and we see big things for her future; we can’t wait to launch her into the next season of her life as a new high school graduate. What is more exciting is that Joy can see her potential now as well. Her story is far from over and we are honored to be a part of it.

Congratulations Joy!

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From the Desk of the Executive Director https://davidsharpfoundation.org/from-the-desk-of-the-executive-director/ https://davidsharpfoundation.org/from-the-desk-of-the-executive-director/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2012 22:47:37 +0000 http://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=263 My name is Brandon Steppe and I am the Executive Director of The David’s Harp Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on inspiring, educating and empowering at-risk and homeless youth to achieve academic success through music education, sound engineering and multimedia production. We have been operating in the San Diego community for four years […]

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My name is Brandon Steppe and I am the Executive Director of The David’s Harp Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on inspiring, educating and empowering at-risk and homeless youth to achieve academic success through music education, sound engineering and multimedia production. We have been operating in the San Diego community for four years and have seen amazing advancements in the academic achievement of the students we serve. In addition to our program, we also work with students from both Lincoln High School in Southeast San Diego and Social Advocates for Youth’s “Storefront” homeless teen shelter.

After a long search for a permanent studio home for our students, we recently signed a lease on a studio space in downtown San Diego on 16th Street, not far from the homeless teen population that we serve. We are now faced with the task of constructing an acoustic space for the youth to work in. The project is about 50% completed, but we are now running very short on funds and do not have the means to finish the acoustic elements of the studio space at this time. To make matters more pressing, we are nearing the start of our 2012-2013 program.  More specifically, we are looking to purchase an acoustically rated door which normally costs $3000-5000. Since the outer room acoustical treatments and computer equipment along with the building materials were generously donated by Discovery Communications, Inc., and Loews Home Improvement respectively, the last remaining build out need is the aforementioned door.  In addition to aiding the homeless and at-risk youth of San Diego, all donations, both material and monetary, are 100% tax deductible (Federal EIN 27-0910766).

We would be EXTREMELY grateful if you could contribute in any way to our cause in helping to bring this studio space to life for our students. Please visit our website at www.DavidsHarpFoundation.org for more information. Thank you in advance for your consideration and I hope you have a great day!

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Summer Bridge Program 2011 https://davidsharpfoundation.org/summer-bridge-program-2011/ https://davidsharpfoundation.org/summer-bridge-program-2011/#respond Tue, 27 Sep 2011 10:04:34 +0000 http://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=201 Over the summer, we ran our summer bridge program where the kids filmed and edited for a local organization, along with engineering the audio also. See the pictures and more after the jump. You can view the finished product by watching and listening

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Over the summer, we ran our summer bridge program where the kids filmed and edited for a local organization, along with engineering the audio also. See the pictures and more after the jump.

You can view the finished product by watching and listening

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Finally! https://davidsharpfoundation.org/new-site/ https://davidsharpfoundation.org/new-site/#respond Tue, 27 Sep 2011 00:18:26 +0000 http://davidsharpfoundation.org/?p=121 It’s has been a long time coming… After months of waiting, and anticipating becoming a full-fledged  501(c)(3) non-profit, the letter finally came in the mail this past  March! And just in time too. It has been our dream to get our students a  studio space of their own for sometime now. Now that dream can […]

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It’s has been a long time coming…

After months of waiting, and anticipating becoming a full-fledged  501(c)(3) non-profit, the letter finally came in the mail this past  March! And just in time too. It has been our dream to get our students a  studio space of their own for sometime now. Now that dream can finally  become a reality…with your help that is.

I personally never dreamed that my music career would take me the  teaching path but here I am, extremely excited to begin our fourth year  of inspiring, mentoring, and encouraging teens to creatively explore the world of multimedia, and demanding academic achievement as well. With  the help of our talented Board of Directors, we are looking for EVERY opportunity to attain the funding that will allow us to give these kids the opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art space with industry standard equipment. While our corporate partners are stepping up to provide a very generous equipment donations we are still in need of major donations to accomplish the following.

Short-term Goals:

1. Procure a building with a long-term lease and cover rent for at least two years

2. Build out acoustically treated studio spaces

3. Attain computer hardware for Main studio rooms (4 Apple Mac Pros,  screens, peripherals)

4. Attain computer hardware for student  workstations (8-10 apple Imac computers, peripherals)

5. Attain production software (Pro Tools 9, Avid, Waves Mercury, and additional  peripheral software)

6. Cover general operating costs

In the past we have had an overflow of kids that heard through word of  mouth about our program; but sadly we have had to turn the majority away  due to the limited space and resources in our production studio. In fact, the space was never intended to accommodate multiple students in a  learning environment. We demand that our students operate in excellence,  both in the studio and in the classroom, accordingly they deserve to  work in a facility that matches their effort. We will settle for nothing less than a state-of-the-art facility. As the 2011-2012 school year is drawing nearer, we are looking to actually recruit students for the first time and begin the project  full-on in the spring semester of 2012. We hope that you will strongly consider partnering with The David’s Harp Foundation so that we can  extend this life changing opportunity to more youth in the San Diego community.

Sincerely,

Brandon Steppe

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