While living in the Boston area in 2013, Patrick and the rest of the Chung Changing Lives team made a visit to Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Inc (BCNC), located in the heart of one of the world’s greatest cities. He immediately felt at home, conversing with staff and playing with kids who reflected the diversity in Patrick’s own multi-racial family. BCNC was founded in 1969 by a small group of activist parents who believed children growing up in the inner city deserved a safe and welcoming community space in their neighborhood. They worked with City Hall to establish a program in the neighborhood school that could serve kids after school, as well as the weekends and during vacations to keep them off the streets. In the four decades that followed, BCNC grew into a multi-million dollar organization, that owns its own LEED-certified Green building, and employs more than 80 people who provide services to more than 2,300 people a year. In the following weeks, Chung Changing Lives and BCNC began to engage in conversations about the possibility of providing opportunities in music education to the young people of Boston, to honor the opportunities afforded Patrick himself as the son of his reggae-producer dad Ronald Chung and sweet-singing mom Sophia George, who topped pop charts the world over in the 1980s. In July 2013, we launched the Summer Music Academy for Real Teens (SMART) – a three week intensive for youth of Greater Boston to learn from and work with professional musicians to build their skills in songwriting, beat making, and more, but also to develop lasting connections across geographic and cultural boundaries with other young people who share a passion for music. Based on the success of last year’s program, SMART ran again in 2014, as a six week intensive for 30 youth from greater Boston, ages 12-15. In addition to building the music skills of the participants, SMART provides opportunities for a diverse group of youth to hone their musical and creative skills and come together as one community.
Bcnc.net 38 Ash Street, Boston, MA