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New music partnership for incarcerated youth

Posted at 7:16 PM, Mar 13, 2023

This school year in Leon County seven weapons have been found on four different Leon County school campuses. It's an issue that has resulted in the arrest of students, most of them under the age of 18. Those crimes can land young people in a detention facility.

A new partnership with the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center that's working to reduce recidivism through music opportunities.

The Tallahassee Live Music Community Charity Group is now offering free classes to kids at the juvenile detention center to help them get on the right path and find a career in the music industry after their release.

"Leading them towards a vocation, toward a trade in the music industry. It's a win win situation," said Gene Hall, a teacher at the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

After hearing most of the 30 incarcerated kids at the center aren't interested in continuing school when they're released, Hall decided to look for a more hands-on program that could help them enter the workforce.

Hall found the Tallahassee Live Music Community Charity Group which gives free performing arts and apprenticeships for at-risk youth in the Big Bend.

A $10,000 grant is helping TLMC partner with the detention center to provide free guitar and audio engineering lessons to 16 students. TLMC Program Director Chris Godwin said offering the students these lessons can not only give them an artistic outlet, but also put them on the right path and find a job.

"Keep them out and to keep them going forward we want to offer that and as well as a little bit of job placement for those who want to continue in the audio engineering side," said Godwin.

Students will attend the two classes every few weeks for six months. Upon completion, they can be certified and have recommendations with TLMC to help them join the workforce after incarceration. Hall said this will give them a leg up for finding future employment in the industry such as studio techs or stagehands for concerts.

"When they leave here and they go back out into society and they look for a job, then they can use her as a reference and they're very excited," said Hall.

Executive Director of TLMC Alicia Killman said the partnership will offer support and letting kids know they can still be successful.

"It takes them being exposed. The knowledge of knowing that you can rise above this. You can do better than this. You are better than this," said Killman.

Killman said they're also looking to expand their music program partnerships with Title I schools in the coming months as well.