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Music program helps San Diego's homeless youth

Homeless youth learn how to play an instrument and get a hot meal as well.
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San Diego’s homeless youth ages 12-24 can learn to play an instrument with free lessons in Photocharity’s “Taking Music and Art to the Streets” program.

The youth can pick one of eight instruments, get instruction, learn art, eat hot meal, receive chiropractic care, clothes, shoes, haircuts (monthly), and social services (ID card, food stamps, health insurance).

The classes last two hours and are spent with a team who build trust. And because TMATS is not a traditional outreach program participants are quicker to realize that program organizers are there to help them.

Music isn’t the only thing the youth learn as a part of the program. Mentors are on hand to answer questions about housing, build resumes or practice job interviews, also help with rehab and housing placement.

TMATS works with The Episcopal Church Center in Ocean Beach and Blues Lovers United to bring the whole program together.

Many influential lawmakers and community leaders have applauded the program, such as U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer, CA Senator Marty Block, and CA Assembly leader Toni Atkins. It was also named Best Youth Program in 2013 by the Ocean Beach Town Council.

The program sees about six to 37 youth attending the program each week. 

The public can help keep Taking Music and Art to the Streets by giving to the cause, each donation goes toward buying musical instruments and food.

  • $150 pays for 2 weeks of hot meals or for 1 guitar
  • $300 pays for 1 month of hot meals or 1 guitar & 1 keyboard
  • $500 pays for instruments for 5 youth who have earned them by coming for 12 hours of instruction
  • $1,000 pays for 3 months of hot meals
  • $5,000 pays the annual cost for all musical instruments needed for classes, or the annual cost to buy all the instruments youth have earned by coming for 12 hours of instruction, or the annual cost for all of the hot meals

To learn more about "Taking Music and Art to the Streets” or to donate, click HERE.

Doors of Change Mission Statement

Solving Youth Homelessness Through Empowerment and Self-Sufficiency. Safe Housing – Life Skills – Education and Training – Support Services.