By Naomi Yakawich
This June, families of more than forty students gathered to celebrate the completion of a six-month pilot program fostering youth character and leadership education through music in Brazil. The LEAM (Leadership and Development by Music) project was initiated by Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Brazil in December 2016 with only four students hoping to address the vulnerability of youth caused by family instability, drugs and poverty.
LEAM music teacher and program director, Mr. Edenivan de Deus Santana, affectionately called Denis, spent 15 years in the public school system while developing the youth music band called Triumfo. The program has been supported by the Military Police to help more than 120 young people move out of the world of crime and create a new future as happy, healthy and contributing members of society. Inspired by the vision of the LEAM academy, Triumfo is now a proud partner in helping stimulate confidence, creativity and discipline for LEAM students.
With the uncanny ability to bring people together, music provides young people with the opportunity to develop teamwork, self-esteem and ownership, all while creating an auditory masterpiece as a band.
Through the LEAM academy, students are taught that teamwork applies to life beyond peer groups, expanding into the family and society. Global Peace Women (GPW) representative Ms. Beatriz Munhoz provided warm greetings to the families who attended the LEAM Family Day celebrations, saying, “Peace begins in the home.”
President of GPF Brazil, Lena Macedo, also advocated for the importance of strong families saying that, when focused on love, service and harmony, the family institution provides the pillar for stability among youth in the greater society.
Over the course of several months, LEAM students were able to practice for the recital performed at the GPF Brazil Family Day, singing as a choir, playing piano and guitar and presenting solo and small group performances.
The LEAM program will continue into the 2017-2018 academic year with the support of the municipality Department of Education. Based on the communities’ status of vulnerability, LEAM will be introduced to several new public schools to implement music bands that can connect with local neighborhood programs and activities with funds provided by the Federal Ministry of Culture.