The award-winning OpporTUNEity music program at Martin Methodist College (MMC) was offered at Ingram Sowell Elementary School in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., starting this fall thanks to funding from the Lawrenceburg Kiwanis Club.
OpporTUNEity is a co-curricular service-learning project that provides underserved youth in southern middle Tennessee with a unique opportunity to receive music lessons and mentoring from MMC music students in a supervised, one-on-one setting. OpporTUNEity was founded in 2014 by Dr. Melissa Martiros, music program coordinator at MMC, and was almost immediately awarded the 2014 Boys & Girls Club Tennessee Area Council Award for Program Impact Excellence in the Arts.
“I am very much looking forward to developing our partnership with Ingram Sowell,” said Martiros. “Ingram Sowell’s principal, Robin Thompson, has been a pleasure to work with. She has great passion for her school and her kids, and I feel confident that we will do great work together. It’s exciting to watch the enthusiasm for our programs in Lawrenceburg spread and, of course, our college students are excited as well. I love watching OpporTUNEity grow as we use our college music program to bring musical opportunities to children in our region.”
Guitar and piano lessons were offered at Ingram Sowell to select students in 2nd and 3rd grades, and a choral group was also be formed for students in 4th and 5th grades—taught primarily by MMC students. All lessons, books and materials (including instruments) were provided at no cost to the children or their families.
“The Lawrenceburg Kiwanis Club adopted Ingram Sowell School as a part of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce “adopt-a-school” program several years ago. Our Club has been excited to work with the excellent faculty and staff and students at Ingram Sowell School over the last several years.” said Paul Plant, past president of Lawrenceburg Kiwanis Club. “The OpporTUNEity program is a giant stride, we believe, in giving the youngsters in the old Crowder Field area wonderful opportunities that might not otherwise be available to them. Our Club is committed to helping change the world one child at a time, and we believe the OpporTUNEity program gives hands and feet to that idea. We could not be happier.”
“It sounds cliché, but the word OpporTUNEity sums up the partnership between Martin Methodist and Ingram Sowell,” said Robin Thompson, principal at Ingram Sowell. “Research supports the positive impact music education makes in the lives of children, and I am thrilled that children at Ingram Sowell will have the OpporTUNEity to receive private music lessons. For many, it will be a life changing experience.”
-Written by Sissy Garner, Director of Communications