Interview by Diana Vuolo, Founder, Executive Director of SWAN
Krystle, how would you describe the impact that SWAN’s drumming class is having on the children at Price Elementary? Since the SWAN program began, I have noticed an increase in student morale among those who are involved. The students are feeling a strong sense of connection to one another and to the school. Through drumming they are acquiring new skills that no one can take away from them.
How have the children embraced the drumming classes? They are coming to school with excitement on days they have drumming practice and that is so encouraging. They have been practicing and really putting in the effort.
Thank you for coming to their December performance. How did you learn about it? The children came to school very excited about it and started spreading the word and asking us to please come. They wanted people to come and be a part of it with them.
What about the impact of performing? When they performed as a group they got up in front of people they did not know. Each one of them played a solo in front of the crowd. Their audience was cheering and clapping for them. They took a risk and discovered they could do it. Everyone was excited for them. Yes, and they can refer back to that accomplishment when faced with other challenges.
How do successful performances improve the students’ images and how others perceive them? After their December performance, I posted their photos on Facebook and then made a general announcement over the PA system that we have some celebrities in our school. I invited the children to check out the Facebook post. Kids questioned them about it and looked at them differently. They admired their courage and ability to perform.
Have you noticed any social impact as a result of the drumming classes? The students involved in the program have acquired many useful life skills as a result. SWAN has helped students communicate effectively with one another in their small group, as well as offer a support system to each other. They have gained presentation skills as they have performed multiple times in front of large groups in the community.
How many children would you like to have SWAN serve at Price in 2017? I strongly endorse the program’s mission and vision and would like to see 25 enrolled and eventually work up to having 50 children in the classes by the end of 2017.