Harmony Project students of the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) perform as part of the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show alongside Gustavo Dudamel, Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

This year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show brought to the stage more than big-name, world-renowned performers. Instead, the super stars of the show stood as musical ambassadors of the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) – consisting of members under the age of 17 coming from low-income families – who performed on stage in front of a 112 million person TV audience. YOLA is a partner of the Harmony Project, an organization that provides musical instruments at no cost to students in under-served, high-crime neighborhoods. The program’s mission revolves around utilizing mentoring through music to keep kids safe, in school and creatively engaged.

The Harmony Project of America is a research-based public health intervention that has demonstrated the success of mentoring through music for 15 years. Jim Hudziak MD, creator and director of WEMentors, is a member of the board for Harmony Project of America. Alongside Margaret Martin, National Director and founder of Harmony Project, Jim has committed to helping bring quality music education and ensemble playing to the children of the Burlington community.

WEmentors and Mentees can look to the students of YOLA for inspiration. Music can take mentees to new heights that they may have never felt capable of reaching. Mentors have the opportunity to pass on these musical skills to the children of our community, resulting in positive development of mentees and the creation of healthier communities. And who knows, maybe one day Burlington youth could find themselves on a super stage spreading the positive message of mentoring through music.

Author: breannapletnick

Bre graduated from UVM in January 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Movement Science. During her time at UVM, she was a four-year NCAA student-athlete and served as a captain of the Catamounts women's soccer team, which helped to promote her passion in sport, health, and fitness.