January 12 marked the fifth anniversary of the earthquake that left 220,000 people dead and another 300,000 injured in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Despite humanitarian aid and efforts to help with rebuilding efforts, the country still faces a host of challenges.
The Novack family of Miami is stepping in to assist Haiti's youngsters with an area of education that's often overlooked, even in American schools: music. They opened their first children's music institution in August of last year, and a second is soon to follow.
Currently, they're collecting instruments to be used for educational purposes, so start rounding up your flutes and guitars for a good cause.
The Novack family are philanthropists, and major supporters of Haiti. Allison and her brother Jason are co-founders of 1308 Productions, a family-owned non-profit that supports music education.
"I've always known that music is a huge part of Haitian culture, but that access to instruments there is limited, making it difficult for any child to find their potential musical talent," Allison says. "Music is proven to bring people together, advance learning skills, and elevate happiness - it's the universal language, and the best remedy for hard times."
Their first children's music school opened its doors in Tabarre, Haiti, in August of 2014.
"The school is still growing, as it only opened last August, but so far, we have had more than 60 registered students, who attend music lesson classes at Town Hall after school," Allison explains.
For the first school, Allison and Jason hand-delivered the instruments to the town hall, and presented them to an audience of children.
"Everyone was so excited for the opportunity to play music, with an instrument that they may have never seen before," she says. "The kids can now express themselves by creating music, and they can develop their talent in to something that can turn in to an impressive hobby, or a solid career."
Right now, they're soliciting donations of all kinds for their second school project.
"We encourage donations of any instruments that are in good-standing condition - new or used, brass or wind, electric or acoustic. We also welcome any monetary donations - small or large, that will help us book our flights to and from Haiti, pay for the shipping of the instruments, and to host live concerts with local bands in the Miami area."
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Donate an old flute, help a kid develop a passion for music -- sounds like a pretty good deal.
Instruments can be dropped off or shipped to 1308 Productions at 13899 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 400, North Miami. You can call 305-947-3000 to request an instrument pick-up.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.