Montclair, NJ –– Since its founding, U.S.-based nonprofit Little Kids Rock has worked with 10-time Grammy winner Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation to bring music education to schools across the country. Mr. Santana and his wife, virtuoso drummer and vocalist Cindy Blackman Santana inspired Little Kids Rock students in Los Angeles with a virtual visit to their classroom.
“Music helps students find a group, gives them a sense of belonging and helps them find their voice,” Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “It was inspiring and fun for all of us to hear from Carlos and Cindy and share in their passion for music.”
The Santanas also came to celebrate the Milagro Foundation’s support for the launch of over a dozen new school music programs on the other side of the country. Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation and David Smith, President of Graystone Builders Inc of New Hampshire have raised over $85,000 to launch free music programs in over a dozen New Hampshire schools. This support will directly underwrite the professional development, curricular resources and musical instruments for teachers and students across the state.
The landscape of education has changed drastically due to the current global health crisis with the majority of music classes being held virtually this school year. Los Angeles students from John Marshall Senior High School and Carlos Santana Arts Academy were thrilled to have the artists join their class to speak about the power of music. “Even as a high school teacher of rock bands and guitar for over 20 years, it’s an unbelievable experience to have these legendary musicians join our virtual classroom!” shared teacher Dee Dee Panero of John Marshall High School. “We’re so very grateful for their support!”
“My sincere thanks to Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana on behalf of the students of LA Unified for their visit and their continued support of Santana Arts Academy,” Kelly Gonez, LAUSD Board President said. “Music education and enrichment are critical to public education, but especially so during the pandemic when our students are learning from a distance. Our students will remember this moment as a highlight during a challenging time.”
“For me, there is no greater joy than seeing the transformative powers that music can bring to a child. I know firsthand how it changed my life,” Santana said. “It gave me a vocabulary and a confidence to know that I am significant, meaningful, and that I can make a difference in the world. That is what Little Kids Rock brings to these children – the knowledge that they are all of these things and can touch people’s hearts and make a difference in this world. It is an honor to work with Little Kids Rock and celebrate all that they continue to do in this world.”
“We feel very fortunate in finding Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation as their focus is as ours, ‘helping the children.’ Seeing what Little Kids Rock has done throughout the nation is very inspiring and we are so happy that we have all been able to join forces once again with the Santanas to promote music programs in our home state of New Hampshire.” shared David and Laura Smith of Graystone Builders Inc of New Hampshire.
“Thank you to phenomenal guitarist Carlos Santana and his wife, Cindy Blackman, a drummer and vocalist for sharing their musical gifts with our students. What an inspiration,” LAUSD Board Member Jackie Goldberg. “Music engages our children, teaches practice makes them sound better, helps them learn to memorize and provides a sense of achievement whether they master a simple song or complex piece.”
“Music education gives children an outlet to express themselves, especially now when creative outlets are needed most,” said David Wish, Founder & CEO of Little Kids Rock. “It is an honor to partner with Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation and our new friends at Graystone Builders Inc of New Hampshire to use music to inspire children in our Los Angeles schools and to launch new music programs for kids in New Hampshire.”
About Little Kids Rock
Little Kids Rock transforms lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in our schools. Their network of thousands of K-12 teachers across 48 states lead a national movement that brings innovative and inclusive music education to students.
Using genres including rock, pop, Latin, and rap, their program empowers teachers to build music programs as diverse as the kids they serve. As a result, students see themselves reflected in their classes, which strengthens their connection to their school, their peers, and their community. Little Kids Rock also donates necessary instruments and curriculum, meeting a key need of many school music programs. The world of music expands through innovation, Little Kids Rock ensures that music education does as well.
Since 2002, the organization has reached more than 1,000,000 students with highly inclusive and culturally relevant music education. Today, more than 550,000 kids currently participate in Little Kids Rock programs. Learn more here: www.littlekidsrock.org
About Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation
The Milagro Foundation is a publicly supported foundation established by Carlos Santana and his family in 1998. Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation benefits underserved and vulnerable children around the world by making grants to community-based tax-exempt organizations that work with children in the areas of education, health, and the arts. Learn more here: www.milagrofoundation.org