HOHNER Sponsors Big Brothers / Big Sisters Program



On June 8, 2012 Harmonikids worked with children with special challenges participating in the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program at Stetser Elementary school in Southeastern Philadelphia. This was the first time Harmonikids was asked to provide a session to a BBBS program. The children in the classroom were all from economically challenged backgrounds, most with single parent or non-biological parent guardians, and some with a parent who is currently incarcerated.

The session was a resounding success. Within an hour and a half the children giggled and applauded to a captivating performance, were joyfully astonished with the gift of shiny new harmonicas, and beamed with pride from their new-found talent as they quickly learned four new songs on the instruments.

The uplifting positive effects of the session are described in further detail in the letter (right column) from Adrienne Hessert, Manager of BBBS SEPA.

~ Gary Allegretto, Founding Director Harmonikids, www.harmonikids.org

Dear Gary,

On behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA, thank you for coming on June 8, 2012 with the Harmonikids Program and teaching 22 Littles Brothers and Little Sisters how to play the harmonica. It was an amazing activity and so meaningful to see the reactions on the faces of our Littles when they realized they were really playing a musical instrument! Having a musical instrument that they can keep with them, practice, experiment by “creating” music and turn to as a means of recreation, stress relief or a new possible career passion is an opportunity that most Littles in our program do not have, especially since most music programs have been removed from the schools with which we partner. This became even more apparent when the school principal told us that positive offerings like this are few are far between for children attending schools, like Stetser, who have very limited resources.

Events like the one you made possible for our Littles have a direct impact on the success of our programs as we work to fulfill our mission: to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Of the more than 3,500 children we serve annually in one-to-one mentoring relationships:

• 66% decreased school absences

• 88% avoided drugs and alcohol

• 98% avoided becoming teen parents

• 99% progressed to the next grade after being mentored for one year

These are just a sample of the positive impact made on the children we serve … not to mention the life-changing perspective experienced by the thousands of volunteer mentors themselves.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA is a donor-supported organization providing children in challenging situations with opportunities to see the possibilities of a bright and productive future. Your program and the life long memories you helped to create for our Littles helped us do just that. Thank you again.

Adrienne Hessert
Manager, Program & Match Activities
Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA